Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Season 1

GiTS

A whole new TV series created in the Ghost in the Shell universe. Produced by Production I.G this is a visually stunning TV series with fluid 2D and 3D animation with character designs by Masamune Shirow. Sonically it has one of the best soundtracks I have heard in recent times many thanks to Yoko Kanno’s beautiful compositions from Inner Universe to Run Rabbit Junk.

The storyline lies firmly in the future where the life between the digital and physical world has long since become blurred. Humans co-exist with cyborgs and androids merging the barrier that once existed between humanity and technology. That very meeting of man and machine has lead to a new breed and re-definition of mankind as we know it.

With such evolution also breeds new levels of danger. Cyber terrorism is on the rise and new powers are required to retain order. Being led by Aramaki, and old wise man and the ever present Major Mokoto Kusanagi they lead Section 9 – A specialist group of elite soldiers that carry out tasks underground without official government knowledge.

A new terrorist attack begins and “The Laughing Man” is known globally as the main culprit. In 2040 he kidnapped the president of a revolutionary nanomachine company and held him to random. Six years later the case was opened again linking another terrorist attack with “The Laughing Man” after a detective finds important pieces of evidence that can lead to the conviction of the terrorists. Shortly after releasing a phone call to Section 9, the detective is killed in an “accident” and crucial evidence was lost.

Known as a skilled hacker and manipulator “The Laughing Man” will pose a global threat and no easy target for Major Kusanagi and her team to defeat, as the series unravels the mysteries behind the Stand Alone Complex.

I will state now that I just love this series! Being a huge fan of the original movie I snapped this up as soon as I heard about it and was surprised at the level of detail and depth. It is a pure cop drama at heart with as many action scenes as thought provoking ones as you try and piece together the puzzles in a twisting storyline. Many episodes are “Stand Alone” where the whole episode is contained (they don’t overlap to the next episode) but that makes it much more interesting and changes the pace.

There are also subtle plays on your memory and visuals in terms of quotes or recognisable characters in old movies and novels such as The Catcher in the Rye. Another character that made me think, appeared halfway in the series (episode 11) was of a mental health administrator that was modeled after the actress Louise Fletcher. She was well known for her role in the 1975 version of “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”

From those small samples you can tell that this series has true depth and is worthy of watching, especially if you like your cop dramas. It is highly recommended by me as it has beautiful visuals with a soundtrack to match mixed with gripping and thrilling drama. Season One is available to buy on DVD and Season 2 has now become available to buy in the USA.

Pros

  • Fluid, clean artwork and animation from Production I.G
  • Beautiful compositions once again by Yoko Kanno sung by Origa
  • Absorbing drama with many references and visual clues giving it depth
  • Better than the original movie
  • Believable worlds with their own terminology and phrases to technology
  • Many events based on real life historical situation and events
  • Special Edition DVDs come with soundtracks and DTS audio

Cons

· Some parts might get confusing for some

· The idea of technology and mankind struggling against each other might not be appealing to some

Score – 09/10