The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Solid State Society

Title: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Solid State Society aka Kokaku Kidotai: Stand Alone Complex Solid State Society
Genre: Action
Company: Production I.G.
Format: Movie, 105 minutes.
Dates: 1 Sep 2006

Synopsis: It is A.D. 2034, two years after the Individual Eleven case and the depature of Motoko Kusanagi from Section 9. Since then, the section has been led by Togusa and had an overhaul of new personnels. Now the team has to deal with a number of unexplained incidents where the name “Puppeteer Master” is mentioned several times. Who is he and how is Kusanagi involved in this complex case altogether?

The Highlights
Music: Not as spectacular as GITS:SAC 2nd Gig but still commendable.
Visuals: Gorgeous as always.
Characters: Your favorite old cast doing what they do best.
Plot: Similar to Individual Eleven case but with a twist.
Complexity: Only GITS(1,2) fans will understand with ease.

After the end of the Individual Eleven case in 2nd Gig, Section 9 has gone through a number of changes which may be considered a good or bad notion depending on the viewer… including for die-hard GITS fans like myself. Putting aside my adoration of the GITS saga, this movie is more than just a random filler flick that just adds on to the popular series.

From the action-packed beginning to the cryptic clues Section 9 find, many of the conventions in the plot will be familiar to experienced GITS veterans. This is because Kamiyama Kenji followed many of these conventions before in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig, meaning viewers wanting something new may be turned off immediately. Fortunately, the intrigue in the film increases after a plot twist regarding the possible identity of the main antagonist. This, along with the marvelous visuals synonymous with all GITS movies and series, was what kept my eyes glued to the screen.

The cast remains more or less the same from where GITS:SAC 2nd Gig left off. The inception of the large number of personnels in the section means that we are left with less emphasis on character development due to airtime constraints. It further hurts that much of the focus of the film is on plot rather than character development, which may pull down the movie in the eyes of some audience members.

Concerning the music department, whenever you have Kanno Yoko at the helm, you can rest assure that you’ll be in for some wonderful tunes. In particular, the opening and ending songs “Player” and “Date of Rebirth”, both featuring Origa on vocals, respectively justify Kanno as one of the best composers of all time. It also didn’t hurt at all that some of the music was re-used from the previous series.

As for the plot, it is similar to Kamiyama‘s previous work… with a slight twist to it. One may initially have the impression that the prepetrator is another wizard-hacker with a sense of justice, much like The Laughing Man and Kuze Hideo but the twist behind the antagonist’s possible identity helps keep the situation thrilling. There are a number of action scenes which justify the hype behind the film, especially GITS‘s trademark jumps from high platforms and the showdown between Saitou and a surprise sniper.

For a movie which boasts US$3,200,000 in production costs, it certainly did have its perks. In the end, the movie is a feast for the eyes and ears for all viewers – and for the mind, for those able to keep up with the intricate (and sometimes incoherent) progression of the story. For all fans of both the GITS movies and series like myself, this is certainly a must-have, and it clearly shows why GITS remains one of the most popular cyberpunk anime franchises of all time.

The Rating: 8

Reviewed by: AC

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