Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig

Title: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig aka Kokaku Kidotai: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig
Genre: Action
Company: Production I.G.
Format: 26 episodes
Dates: 1 Jan 2004 – 8 Jan 2005

Synopsis: With the Laughing Man case behind them, Section 9 is reformed and back in action. This time around, a terrorist group called the Individual Eleven is creating a crisis involving the numerous refugees living in Japan. If that wasn’t enough, a suicide virus and a government conspiracy might bring Japan to its knees.

The Highlights
Music: Kanno Yoko at her best.
Characters: Become more realistic and developed.
Plot: Very intricate and complex, but is sometimes incoherent.
Animation: Gorgeous and fluidly animated.
Individual Eleven: Not as interesting as the Laughing Man.
Coherence: About as coherent as They Might Be Giants’ lyrics about a Picasso painting.

Picking up right where Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex left off, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig brings more of everything we came to love and hate from the first season. Oshii Mamoru has cooked up another mind bending and intricate plot, and Kanno Yoko has composed a fantastic soundtrack to compliment it. Production I.G. delivers with their signature stunning 3D animation and cell shading, but Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig fails to improve upon the spectacular first season.

Oshii Mamoru is not known for writing easy to follow and straightforward stories, and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig does nothing to change that reputation. The plot is often too difficult to follow, and one would need the attention span and discipline of a Buddhist Monk to be able to follow the long dialogues explaining the motives of the characters and the nitty-gritty of the subplots. One can understand what is happening on the surface in a single watching, but it would take far more viewings than anyone has the patience for to take in every detail.

The Individual Eleven and the essays of Sylvestre, though (seemingly) modeled after Japanese author Mishima Yukio, aren’t as interesting as the Laughing Man and Salinger‘s The Catcher in the Rye from the first season. At least some of the characters are far more interesting in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig due to several episodes that explain their backgrounds. Kuze Hideo also receives far more background than the Laughing Man ever did, making for a more compelling antagonist.

The music is another improvement over the first season. As impossible as it seems, Kanno Yoko managed to best her performance in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex with amazing songs like “Rise” and “Living within the Shell”, that are among the best songs ever used in anime. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig is truly Kanno’s best musical score since Cowboy Bebop.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig is a great show, but unfortunately is an inferior product to its previous series. Trying to be too deep ultimately makes the show too difficult to watch to be truly outstanding. If you liked Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, you will definitely want to watch Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig. Just don’t expect an improvement on the first season.

The Rating: 7
7/10

Reviewed by: Kuma

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