Initial Review: Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex

ghost-in-the-shell-stand-alone-complexIt’s rare to find a series as carefully crafted and made as Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and it was a pleasure to watch the whole story unfold. As I mentioned in my First Impressions post, the series is divided into 2 different types of episodes, Stand Alone episodes, and Complex episodes; the latter dealing with one very specific plotline known as the Laughing Man Case, and the other just being individual episodes that tie into eachother in a loose, yet coherent fashion. The large enjoyment I got from the series was mostly through the Complex episodes, and seeing the whole mystery of the case, and intricacies play out. While I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the Stand Alone episodes, I was so enamored and encapsulated with the main case that I just wanted to watch more of that. I’ll probably end up watching the compilation film that deals solely with the Laughing Man Case, but that film happens to be almost 3 hours long, and that’s quite a bit of time to be watching a movie. To give a quick briefing on what the case is about, I’ll say that it involves the efforts and trials of an unknown hacker society has dubbed, The Laughing Man; the case also has some nice J. D. Salinger thrown in there if you like your literature references. The Stand Alone episodes deal with different cases that Section 9 (the organization the main cast is apart of) partakes in. The main members of Section 9 that the story deals with and revolves around would be: Batou, who is a lot more jovial here than in the films, The Major/Motoko Kusanagi, the lead squad member of Section 9, Daisuke Aramaki, the chief of Section 9 who is a master at pulling strings, and Togusa, the least cyberized member of Section 9. I also need to mention the little robotic tanks that accompany this crew, the Tachikomas. The Tachikomas add a nice bit of comic relief to the series, as well as being philosophically important during the later parts of the series, they even have an episode dedicated to them, and I remember that episode being a great watch. Every episode seems to mesh with the series almost perfectly, and the actions of characters in prior episodes come back to be impactful in later ones; the world building for this series is some of the best I’ve seen. Minor characters from earlier episodes come back to be impactful in later episodes, and that even happens across episode types. The whole world feels alive and everything seems to have an impact somewhere and nothing feels out of place. The depth the show goes into its characters and setting is phenomenal, and it’s great to see them interact with the world around them. I am excited to watch the next season, and if I can sit through the whole thing, I’ll definitely be watching the compilation film; the Laughing Man Case was incredibly interesting, and the I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. If you are at all interested in sci-fi, or if you enjoy yourself a little bit of philosophy, this series is certainly a must watch. While this series might not be one of my personal favorites, it is still a stand out classic that you should definitely check out and something I think anyone can enjoy. This is one of those series that makes you think and get your mind turning. After all of that, I would give this series a:

9 out of 10.

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