Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
Posted by : ErwinRommel
Posted on : 2009-05-08
It's made by Production I.G.; enough said.
A rule of thumb for most action oriented anime is that the first half involves "character introduction" episodes. This euphemism for filler is lived up to as much as politicians live up to their campaign promises. A majority of the initial episodes are fillers, and only when the anime has the potential to generate money will the studio risk investing in the main story. The structure of this show is no different. What sets Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex apart from the pack is the attention to characters, and the brilliance of the filler episodes. All of my favourite scenes have nothing to do with the episodes involving the main story (The main story is good but I like the one-shots better). The TV series is slick, confident, and immersive in portraying a futuristic Japan scarred by another world war.
I haven't watched any of the Ghost in the Shell movies before writing this review. I shudder at the magnitude of the regret I'll feel when realizing how much I'm missing. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is wonderful. It explores every corner of the futuristic society from the daily lives of the middle-class symbolized by Togusa to those that are still reeling from the war as shown by Batou in the gruesome Jungle Cruise episode.
The Jungle Cruise episode is a great example for another reason. It demonstrates that the anime doesn't shy away from subjects like atrocities during war. These more serious episodes are balanced by the truly whimsical ones. A blue spider-like tank that sounds similar to a bubbly teenage girl can also dominate a whole episode. What's impressive is that these episodes were all fillers. The excellent fillers occupies about half the season.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex sells itself very well. Through slick action scenes and fast paced stories it manages to use many technological innovations without really explaining them (How does one exactly "hack" a brain?). Section 9 officers and the Laughing Man consistently use these vague devices to further the plot, and escape from impossible situations. How Motoko escaped her assassinations still baffles me.
Except for minor blemishes this show is a wondrous experience. It is also a quality production that makes it far superior to most anime.
Posted by : leoxjm
Posted on : 2007-12-05
Smart, original, entertaining and good-looking. Those four adjectives can accurately describe GITS: SAC's first season. I really can't say that the show "is a joy to watch" given its serious tone, but that statement probably hits close to the intended mark.
The plot itself is relatively straightforward: the daily work-activities and lives of the members of Public Security Section 9, a secret unit that serves the Japanese government in a high-tech, somewhat dystopian future. However, and fortunately, the development of the story is far more convoluted than just that. The cases that Section 9 investigates are always well-conceived and designed. The show itself is engaging and invites the viewer to put the pieces together on his own sometimes, drawing up conclusions as each episode develops. Passive viewing is possible as well, but something will certainly be missing. If you don't want shows that tend to make you think, I suggest you give this one a pass.
The setting itself is well-crafted and developed; it is not only the stage where the characters take action, but is also one of the elements that come into question and that are reflected upon. Is the ever-increasing influence of technology in daily life truly taking us in a positive direction? What are the dangers of it? Does it make us more human? Less? Each person's answer will be different depending on how they see this show. Some might have one answer some may have another, all drawing on the same source material. This is one of the beauties of GITS: SAC. Some of the ends are up to you to tie.
Aside from that, the way the story is developed is pretty interesting as well: it contains both "Stand Alone" episodes with self-contained storylines, or "Complex" episodes which follow a larger, overarching story that the characters encounter throughout the series. In this season, it is the case of a super-hacker/cyberterrorist: the "Laughing Man". The stories pertaining to both types of episodes are intelligently constructed, which is especially true for the case of the Laughing Man, where there is always a surprise or unexpected twist when things finally start to make sense. These developments, far from frustrating, tend to add to the story and drive home a very important point: not everything is so simple... even when it is already complicated.
Visually, the series is quite solid. The show's character designers took quite a few liberties with the designs from the original manga, which is something understandable since the original ones would have been a pain to animate. Still, they convey the important points: the Major is good-looking, Batou is tough-looking and Togusa remains ever "human" (watch to understand). Probably, the one thing that always bothered me was that in some shots Kusanagi looks fat... probably because of the loose jacket hanging over her skimpy, skintight outfit. That was a poor choice of clothing for her, if you ask me. Especially since only a handful of female characters who appear here and there wear similar stuff. Does she like to stand out or something? Odd as it may be, it looks like she doesn't.
In terms of more technical aspects, animation, sound and music are all pluses. The sound effects are believable, make sense and really contribute to the way the setting "feels". The animation usually rates high, with the odd deformed-character here and there as you might expect from just about any series. The CG-animated Tachikomas were so well done that you can't really tell that they are CG, which is something in favor of the show's animation as well. All the elements blend perfectly. The music is also pretty good and ever-appropriate. Personally, I plan to get my hands on an OST as soon as possible. I really like it a lot.
In itself, the show has no serious flaws in my opinion. The pace may be uneven at times depending on how each episode is structured, but most pack a good dose of action, mystery and thought-provoking situations and dialogue. Even the comic relief provided by the Tachikomas is set in a context that makes it welcome and not stand out exaggeratedly. Some episodes (such as that with the virtual chat-room) may be a bit to slow even for the most patient viewers to stand, but those are details pertaining to such episodes. Seen as a larger whole, the show is pretty much flawless, even if you consider that it had to be somewhat "dumbed-down" from its original material in order to appeal to a larger TV audience. I can say that the producers succeeded in this field as well: the show remains smart, but not mind-bogglingly so.
As a whole, this show really does deserve a score of 10. Entertaining, action-packed, thought-provoking and good-looking. What else can you ask for?
Posted by : Molenir
Posted on : 2007-03-11
Ghost in the Shell: Stand alone Complex is a puzzling name, and concept that throughout the entire series never really made sense to me. It's irritating that I watched the entire series, both 1st and 2nd seasons, all 3 movies, and still I never really grasped the idea behind a Stand Alone Complex. And why they keep refering to it. This said, I really enjoyed the show.
The plot was terrific, with great action and animation, and great in-episode music that helps build suspense, or enjoyment. The OP was weak, having seen it a half dozen times, I was more then ready to skip it the rest of the season.
Rereading my review thus far, I have a hard time justifying why I'm giving it such a great score. What it really came down to for me was that, despite the problems I had with parts of the plot, it was such a great anime, that I simply couldn't stop watching it. I highly recommend this series.
Posted by : EvilMonkeyLord
Posted on : 2007-02-18
This anime is one of my favorites, good story, great artwork, cool music, and great characters. The only thing wrong with this anime is that the story might not fit easy going anime watchers, who just want to sit back and watch an easy going anime. The other problem is that some of the characters design (Togusa's mullet) are a little old at times. Still it's a worthwhile anime that should be watched.
Very smooth and cool, but some of the CGI/Hand drawn sections feel popped out in some areas. But other wise really good animation.
The sound was really well done, but I like a little more variety in the music.
This story is not for everyone, young viewers will find confusing and lose interest in it fast. Also it's slow in a lot of places and it moves at slug speed in a lot of places. The 6 means it’s above the norm, but it will confuse and frustrate easy going viewers.
Gets an 8 because of the characters have depth, but they seem too superhuman to relate sometime. Still that's what makes them so cool in the first place.
Art Design 9
Excellent, but there are times were I felt that there was too much gray and lack luster in some areas in a lot of places, so that’s why it got a 9.
Obviously I liked it, minus a few minor quirks, but that's always expected of a high production anime like this. I suggest renting the anime, because you may like it and might not. So a watch it and decide for yourself. I hope you like this anime because there are a lot of good things about this anime.
A great anime that depends on the individuals taste in anime.
Posted by : Knightmare
Posted on : 2006-10-09
Arguably the best thought-out and produced realization of Masamune Shirow’s mangas, Ghost in the Shell was one of the front runners in the main wave that sparked the North American anime revival in the late ‘90s. There is good reason for this as well, as Ghost in the Shell accomplished many of the goals that Japanese animation fanatics had been attempting for years: it proved to North American audiences that animation can be a serious genre that doesn’t necessarily require a happy ending or talking animals. On the surface, Ghost almost promotes the stereotype of boobs and blood, but people who watched the film and paid attention realized that there was a comprehensive story and struggle within the action and confusion.
In typical Shirow stereotype, the story takes place in the future where technology has integrated itself into humanity (or vice versa, as many humans have chosen to augment themselves with cybernetic parts). In the center of the conflict is a hacker called the Puppet Master, and he is being pursued by a hit squad from the police’s ninth section. The leader of the squad, Major Motoko Kusanagi, is a babe with a body to die for, but it matters little (despite constant gratuitous display), since most of it is cybernetic and also because she’s completely asexual in her attitude. While her main target may be the Puppet Master, her section slowly unveils a cover-up by section eight, putting the police at odds with itself within the chaos.
Guised as an action-packed hacker hunt, the true conflict is within Motoko, as she is continually questioning her own humanity. Her cybernetic enhancements have left virtually all but her brain to higher technology, and she wonders whether she even has a human spirit (or as most of the augmented characters refer to it, their “ghosts�?) left within the titanic, titanium body she has. Salvation from her questioning comes in the form of the hacker hunt, as the Puppet Master may very well hold the answers she seeks.
Ghost not only succeeds in telling a stylish, complex story, but it succeeds visually as well. The animation is second to none, with visual details that are mind blowing, from reflections in car windows, to the details of traffic movement as seen from a skyscraper, to the distortion of vision from water droplets on Motoko’s diving mask. The look is realistic and urban: scenes are dark and gritty, with an almost continual overcast look that recalls Blade Runner. The acting in both the Japanese and English versions is excellent as well; Mimi Woods’ tomboyish bad-girl-inflected-with-self-searching-pensiveness is right on target, as is Abe Lasser’s surprisingly moving (no pun intended) Puppet Master, who is far more than the vicious hacker we are led to believe he is. The music, composed by veteran Kenji Kawai, adds to the rainy, overcast mood that the animation sets while combining modern musical elements with touches of Kabuki theatre-esque references. The soundtrack is worth a purchase if you can still find it, not only for its consistent excellence, but for its uniqueness as well.
Ghost in the Shell is a fantastic display of what American animation studios could easily produce, but choose not to. A gritty, involving tale that is complex enough to make viewers think (and/or watch it several times) in order to enjoy it. Furthermore, the animation is strikingly better than anything Disney has ever released, which is not something many animes can claim. In the whole, Ghost in the Shell is an unprecedented success that proves that anime is more than boobs and blood.
Posted by : Feylin
Posted on : 2006-10-05
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is a anime show based in the future (year 2030). In this show, technology has advanced, and human augmentation has become the norm. People walk around with android bodies, brains augmentations, and artificial organs (like eyes, etc.). This anime is mainly based around action, and philosophy (for example, are you considered living if you're AI, but obtain self awareness, and intelligence).
I'm going to give this a 9.5 instead of 10 because its colour isn't that great. Other then that, there's massive detail on the environment. The smallest things in this anime can be zoomed in on (if you have a high enough quality video) and you can notice how much detail the artwork goes to. I found that the fight scenes were also done very well, but you can refer to the little details for what I would say about the fight scenes.
I found that the music was... pretty good, not the best, but listen-to-able.
The opening theme is a russion song, beyond that I don't understand much of it. The music during the prep, or before action scenes add a bit of attitude and feeling to it, but doesn't over do it which is good to. I disliked the ending theme song, but that's just me. The sound effects were fairly well done, gun sounds, machine noises, in general it was fairly good.
Well, the story... I found it very interesting. In the story, a man they call the "Laughing Man" is known as a corperate terriorist, and the main protagonist faction of the story, AKA Public Peace Section 9 is trying to stop him. Eventually after much investigation, they finally discover that he is fighting against a company, and the government after they decided to use Nano treatment to fight "Cyber Brain Sclerocious (A equalvent to AIDS or a modern day untreatable disease)". The Laughing Man knows that they declined the use of drugs (even though it works) to prevent the disease and used nano technology. They later assist the laughing man (or rather the laughing man assists then), and stop the government and company through leaking out information.
Posted by : ryukopron
Posted on : 2006-10-04
As the prequel series of one of the most praised anime title of all time, Stand Alone Complex had big shoes to fill. Ghost in the Shell was the first anime I ever saw and what got me hooked, So when I first got the chance to see new series I was skeptical. Needless to say it carries the burden well.
The opening is very good, and music throughout is phenominal. Yoko Kano, the composer, is a master. All characters return and are further developed. Motoko is still alive and just as calm and cool as ever, Batou is the crude tank that I'd loved, Though my favorite character would have to be Aramaki, Section 9's genius leader. His planning and analysis left me in awe left and right. He is my hero now. Motoko heads the crew of Section 9 through over a dozen assignments each a mind trip that will leave you questioning your faith in reality. The main story is The Laughing Man case; It follows an expert hacker and will leave you guessing till the end. My only complaint is that some episodes do have very long talk seesions full of dull futuristic techno babble.
I should also mention that this has the best collecters set I'm aware of. Each volume has it's own special addition that comes with a bonus disc and one piece of fluff such as a deck of cards, shirt, or figurine that will make any otaku salivate. The best though is the beautiful metal case that comes with the final volume which hold all other volumes and a shirt.
Overall The series is a powerful combination of moral values, beauty, and thought that should not be passed up. It is as good as the origainal and I wish all to witness the bleesing that is Stand Alone Complex.
Posted by : Fission2
Posted on : 2006-09-11
Stand Alone Complex: A therotecial mental scenerio caused by the introduction of cybernetics that bases copies with no original. Human psyces being joined collectively are lead by no original but by the combination of all the individuals experinces, knowledge, ideas and opinons into a single entity. That is to say in this particular scenerio there were no criminals originally but an event instigated copycats or look-alikes that did so. An invisible non-existent enemy.
The plot is realistic and believable. The future portrayed in this anime is a very plausable reality as technology is advancing to the microscopic level (nanomachines) computers can enmass unbelievable amounts of data and the way society is functioning. A very original anime that deals with the matters of reality and virtual reality, a matter of perception and dwelves into the recesses of the human psyce. Made like some particularly brilliant and inspiring science-fiction novels or dramas, this anime is splended in conveying the concepts behind its origins. An ideal plot.
The animation of this anime was very well done, although the op sequence was if what lame. However, the anime is actually animated very well as the characters have realistic mobility and the designs of their weapons were innoventive and original. Visually speaking this anime is one of the best ever produced.
The audio componant of this anime is also spectacular. All sfx, op/ed, music interludes and voice acting was above the average level of acceptance. Both versions, english and japanese are very well done.
Must watch for anyone that has any interest in science-fiction as this work will astound you. Watch the second season GiG's as well as it will not dissapoint.
Posted by : Disconnected
Posted on : 2006-08-18
There is no word to really describe this anime, that is how I feel about it. When I heard it was a mecha anime i was shaky, cause im not a mecha fan. But it's not really that mecha-ish, unless u consider cyborgs to fit into mecha genre.
This anime captured me with it's opening, Inner Universe by Origa, wow the voices here, are amazing. Another singer that's featuring here is Benedict, a young soprano with a great voice. The opening was so good, and it captivated my heart so bad, that I honestly repeated the opening at least 7 times before watching it. The ending wasn't that good tho, it's wasnt bad ethier. :D No coments on it. The background music was GREAT~ god man they got so many good musicians for this album. Well it's not like I ever doubted Yoko Kano, this woman is just amazing when it comes to making music, Ghost in The Shell Soundtrack and Wolf's Rain soundtrack are both made by her, what else can I say.
The story and plot are good, it NEVER goes off-topic. Everything is co-related, everything has meaning. Character development happens in every episode, you get to know every single Section 9 member more as this anime goes, and u never stop loving them. The end was really satisfactory, I have no complains.
Everything is well drawn, and the way they mix 2D with 3D is really effective, I wouldn't complain on these. All I can say is, watch this anime, it has what u want, it's just u haven't thought of it yet.
I give this anime a 10/10 because right now, out of the 120 animes I've watched, it's in the top 10.
Posted by : mangaddict
Posted on : 2006-08-06
Why am I the first to give this anime a 7? This must be what the Stand Alone Complex feels like. I didn't like this anime but atleast it has depth unlike it's successor, IGPX.
I love the laughing man. Any episode involving the mystery of the laughing man is intriguing. The mystery of who is the laughing man develops with every relevant episode making this one of the best mystery anime so far. So what is the problem? The problem is that this anime constantly forgets what it is.
There are so many waste of time filler episodes where the plot and characters don't develop and all we have is thirty minutes of shooting, fighting, nattering, politics, more nattering, and Confucianism. This anime ditches it's mystery and adventure appeal for action and apparently philosophy. This anime doesn't stay consistent with it's purpose. Even if did, it didn't have much going for it in the first place. I would have loved to see some purpose and development behind characters. A brilliant anime watered down to the status of Cowboy Bebop.
Posted by : Trivialpanda
Posted on : 2006-04-27
I like this series alot. The central plot it about an elite Japanese section of the government called Public Security Section 9 and "character" known as the "Laughing Man" who is a hacker trying to expose the government. There series also as other independent stories that help flesh out the series and characters as it progresses on ward. The series itself is very complex and can get obsurdly complicated.
The series also seems to base itself upon a certain book, "Cather in the Rye," by JD Salinger (which is a good book btw).
What makes this so interesting is that the real laughing man wants to be the catcher in the rye, he wants to help people but remain nameless himself. So that's where the title comes from. Copies with no original. In other words people copying the "Laughing man" incident but there doesn't seem to be any person who started it. Well that's just more for you to ponder as you watch the series.
As far as character development, the only characters that it revolves around Matoko Kusanagi "Major", Batou, Togusa, and Cheif Aramaki "Old Ape face". There seemed to be a relationship developing between Batou and the Major and that's about it.
The animation is very well done and very beutiful, as well as the CG.
The movies were very good in my opinion, but for me, the series takes the cake.
Posted by : pangzy
Posted on : 2006-03-12
This is one anime most (including me) wouldnt understand on the first viewing. The storyline is incredibly complex and requires several rewatch to fully appreciate the subplot contributing to the main storyline. Suffice to say, people who arent willing to follow the complex plot but only searching for a futuristic action anime should skip this.
SAC explores the benefits and harms of technology expecially regarding cyberspace and artifical intelligence. Hacking into systems to gain information/plant information is one reality we are already facing in this internet-era. The main plot is however, some manic abusing such technologies to coerce the government. Its a very interesting storyline, alluding to the current firstworld countries and their treatment to the thirdworld countries.
Personally the opening theme was a refreshing change from sugarly techno we are usually treated to, but its not one that most people will immediately take liking to. But I must say that the OP/ED have a unique flavour to them. Character voicing and effects are well done.
Graphics is well drawn. Each character is distinct and background for each scene is detailed. One major plus point is that this anime does not suffer from the mouth-moving only syndrome. The animators did not cut down cut by only redrawing the mouth while keeping the rest of the face static during conversation. This adds the characters having more facial expressions.
Posted by : xaows
Posted on : 2006-01-31
The setting is in the future. Ghost in the shell is focused on the new AI and technology. It shows the pros and the cons of what technology brings, giving the police force new tactics, but also providing criminals with nasty machines.
Being a person who loves sci-fi, i really liked the tachikomas or think tanks. Equiped with an AI chip, they are able to communicate with humans and at an amazing rate.
The plot and and the story lines were a bit hard to follow though. I really didn't understand the part about the "ghost of a person". But I really like the way every episode was set, slowly unrolling the man behind the mask of the crime in every episode.
The music was very good. I especially like the ep-ending song (lithium flower).
Overall, Ghost in the shell SAC is an excellent anime series, especially for technology lovers.
Posted by : MrPink
Posted on : 2005-11-10
Gost in the Shell is one of the Best Anime shows ever made.
That said Heres a synopsis of some of the different elements
Story: They plot is amazingly complex and deep but by then end you will most likely feel like everything made sense. They funning thing is that for the most part people don't find all the connections in the movie. Let me explain- a large number of the episodes appear to be simple short stories that are just interesting looks at this advanced society but perceptive veiwers can actually find direct links to the story's main plot in almost every episode, whether it's something new that the characters learned and utilized later or a minor part of the overall story. Every episode's important and at the same time the story survives and makes sense even if we don't catch the connections. The plot of SAC is a masterpiece 10
Characters: This is actually where SAC can sort of falters a little bit; each of the characters are very well fleshed out and have interesting story's and personalitys but it is very unlikely that you will find you self getting sucked into their personal struggles. It's almost as if the character aren't really that important; they are merely mediums though wich the amazing setting and plot are portrayed.
Setting: Quite possibly the most amazing part of this anime is the setting and the amazing backround that the characters act in. It feels like an extremely real and likely view of a future japan as a technological society.
Animation: For the most part the animation is excellent... beyond excellent, in fact. I admit to not really being a big fan of the cell shading for the most part but the actiong sequences are incredably viceral and just awsome to watch because the feel amazingly real.
Overall this Anime gets 9.5. I can't show that in that stars, but it's my personal view that SAC is one of the best shows ever made combining an amazingly deep philosophical plot with a complex and interesting setting.
Posted by : pandemic_virus
Posted on : 2005-11-09
Fans of the move will love this show, and even those that haven
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