GHOST IN THE SHELL: STAND ALONE COMPLEX review/preview
by David Blackwell
Years ago, I read a fantastic comic book known as GHOST IN THE SHELL. Dark Horse presented the GHOST IN THE
SHELL magna in the form of an 8 issue comic book series for the USA. I liked reading about the world of Tokyo
in 2029 with cyborgs working for a covert government agency. I loved the GHOST IN THE SHELL anime when I watched it on STARZ!
years later, and now I have seen three episodes of GHOST IN THE SHELL: STAND ALONE COMPLEX- a 26 episode anime series now
airing in Japan. 12 episodes have aired via paid TV in Japan so far, but the series acts as a companion piece to the manga
and the anime film.
Episode One shows a covert team made of humans and cyborgs trying to figure out why a government minister
was taken hostage by robot geishas. Episode 9 has most of the action take place in a futuristic chat room where people discuss
and watch video relating to "The Laughing Man". They are discussing whether a recent crime was done by "The Laughing Man"
who first popped up a few years ago leaving behind his symbol with his brand of crime. One of the people in the chat room
isn't who they appear to be. Is someone else also not what they appear to be? Is The Laughing Man in the chat room? It is
a very interesting episode even if it is a talking episode and there is even a jab at otakus.
Episode 10 has Batou remembering his past when he was working for the CIA as the team hunts down a serial
killer that the CIA want dead. Episode 11 has one of the team, Togusa, go undercover as an orderly at a facility that treats
people with serious cyberbrain closed shell syndrome to find out who has hacked into the Ministry of Health, labor, and Welfare's
database from the social welfare facility and finds that the patients talk about someone called "The Leader".
STAND ALONE COMPLEX is a very interesting series from the four 24 minute episodes I have watched. The animation
is great. It combines traditional animation with 3-D CGI animation. Each episode is overflowing with lots of story and even
some rock/techno music at times. I cringe at how much would have to be cut out and censored to air on American TV because
this is definitely not animation for kids.
GHOST IN THE SHELL: STAND ALONE COMPLEX is a series with very mature subject matter with graphic situations,
violence, and graphic language. It would be a shame if this series aired on Cartoon network. This series is as great or greater
than the NEON GENESIS EVANGELION anime series (26 episodes and two movies). GITS: STAND ALONE COMPLEX is a thought provoking
series that shows a possible future in Tokyo of 2029 where the United States is the bad guy in the 2 of 3 episodes that I
watched. Of course, I do wonder if the Laughing Man will become a major villian like the Puppet Master was in the anime film.
Will the Leader show up again? Where is the series heading and will there be a major arc forming that will be resolved by
episode 26? The series is in a world where people's brains get hacked like computers. Each episode adds to that
If aired by the right cable network, GHOST IN THE SHELL: STAND ALONE COMPLEX could be as popular or more popular
than the last interesting mature sci-fi series to air on cable television, AEON FLUX. It is just too bad that more serious
animation can't make it on TV in the United States due to some thinking animation is just for kids. It is an attitude
that needs to be fixed and more should accept the possibilities and stories that animation tells can be more than kid stuff
in the United States. I like what Japan has done with their magna and anime. They offer a variety of material
for various age groups from kids stuff to teenage audiences to adult audiences.
GHOST IN THE SHELL: THE STAND ALONE COMPLEX deserves the biggest audience possible because this is a great
anime series. I hope ther is another GHOST IN THE SHELL series after these 26 episodes. I can't wait for this series to come
out on DVD in the United States because the series has left me impressed so far.
this article is (c)2003 David Blackwell and email any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE (7-7-2004): Season 1 starts being released to DVD by Manga Entertainment on
July 27,2004. Season 2 is currently airing in Japan. More info on the series can be found at
http://www.ghostintheshell.tv/ and http://www.productionig.com/
The series is expected to start airing as part of Adult Swim (on Cartoon Network) in Novemeber 2004.