© 2006-2007 Anime 2 Manga

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Vol. 3

Alex Papillon   June 3, 2007

GitS continues being more intellectually stimulating as more of the complex episodes kick in. The animation continues to be great (unlike some that sort of wax and wane) and I like the music even more. It’s not annoying like some series, where the token music for whatever kind of sequence starts in and you just know what’s going to happen. The keyword for this series is subtlety, but in a very polished and sophisticated sense, of course.

Episode 9: Kusanagi enters a chat room where various people discuss their theories about The Laughing Man; whether he exists or not and if so, who created him and for what purposes? This episode is mostly talk as it simulates a chat room, but it offers some interesting insight into The Laughing Man. It offers insight on how culturally significant events like that of The Laughing Man can be created and propagated and how motivations for such an event is relevant to corporate blackmail, conspiracies and corruption. The social implications that GitS grapples with can be quite dense at times, but fortunately Kusanagi always explains to the audience what happened in case you missed it and any undercurrents.

Episode 10: A bit of Batou’s past is revealed. Throughout the series so far, the supporting characters haven’t been given much personality per se. They all follow Kusanagi’s orders, everything functions efficiently - case solved! However, Batou’s cool is tested in this episode as he faces a gruesome serial killer from his past. Another small, but noticeable thing in this world - the killer is able to implant his visuals into the victim’s cyberbrain. Therefore, one can see oneself being killed. That is indeed a feat…plus, Batou is really a lovable oaf.

Episode 11: It’s a curious piece of work. Togusa is assigned to investigate a clinic for children with Cyberbrain Closed Shell Syndrome since it seems that the Ministry of Health was hacked from someone in there. I couldn’t figure out exactly what happened until I watched some of the later episodes. But because it’s a complex episode, it has to do with The Laughing Man which is the case as parts of J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye is quoted in this episode. The identity of The Laughing Man is exposed (thinking in retrospect)…since Togusa’s eyes/memories were hacked and instead, he recreates the logo every time he tries to show others how The Laughing Man looks like. That means he must have seen The Laughing Man some time!

Episode 12: It’s very interestingly titled “Escape From: A Movie Director’s Dream” where it’s actually divided into two parts but connected by a cyberbrain a tachikoma picks up when it escapes from Sector 9. It meets a little girl who tells the tachikoma that she lost her dog Lucky and in return for helping her, she’ll take it around the city. When they get there, it’s revealed that her dog is actually dead! She explains to it that when she first lost it a while ago, her parents lied and told her that it was missing but she knew that it was dead. The tachikoma tells her that she should get a new pet, but she says that it will die too. The tachikoma in return replies that it can’t die…and it seems like it was crying too (or an oil leak). Meanwhile, it’s shown that a person who oddly looks like Kusanagi seems to be shadowing the tachikoma. When the cyberbrain the tachikoma stole is analyzed, the brain diver seems to be lost and can’t come back. Kusanagi decides to take matters into her own hands even though there’s a chance she might not come back either. It turns out that inside the cyberbrain, a movie is playing and several people are watching it. Once you start watching, you can’t stop…for, a movie director sealed his greatest movie inside himself (so to say) with no beginning or ending. Anyone who wants to forget their grim reality can hook themselves to this cyberbrain (or any other device that mimics the same thing) and never go back. Kusanagi argues that this means the person is functionally dead as their consciousness is elsewhere (i.e. not in their body). But the director argues that for the people who choose to remain watching this movie, that is their reality and as far as he’s concerned, it’s not so bad. Kusanagi however, expectedly has great self-reserve and leaves…but she can’t help but be pensive. It makes you wonder what the movie was about or like.

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Category: Series Reviews

A. Papillon is not amused.

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