>DVD Review: Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex

>This is old news by now, but the complete collection of “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Season One” was rereleased in a cheaper box set in October of last year. Unlike the previous DVD of merely the Laughing Man story arc, this set features all the complete episodes.

And if anyone hasn’t seen “Ghost in the Shell” before, it’s a dizzy spectacle of robot military action, deep philosophizing and complex dialogue.

The main character, Motoko Kusanagi, is the operations leader of the secret special ops group named Section 9. They specialize in policing all forms of heavy-duty cyber crime, such as drug and organ smuggling.

However, this is very dangerous work. Some of these groups deal in heavy-duty machine guns, and some of them possess cybernetic body parts. Thus, almost all the members of Section 9 have complete cyborg bodies. Well, all of them except for the former police investigator, Togusa. He’s flesh and blood, but he possesses cybernetic gizmos in his body.

The cyborg bodies allow all the Section 9 members the ability to communicate wirelessly without moving their lips. Their eyes are equipped with night vision. And they all can read bar code data for information. They also have spider tanks called Tachikomas.

Although the machinery and cyber-punk technology alone makes this one of the coolest anime series, there is also a much more complex storyline which starts in episode four. Togusa gets a tip from a former coworker at the police department about Interceptors, optical implants which allow hackers to see video through other people’s eyes. Togusa discovers his first shocking conspiracy–that police are illegally installing Interceptors in all their officers to find the Laughing Man, a professional hacker.

However, the hacker is also a professional muckraker. Although he doesn’t show his face too often, the Laughing Man is also trying to lead Section 9 to uncover a hideous plot involving corporate blackmailing on the scale of billions of yen.

It’s a complex anime to say the least. “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” is an epic masterpiece, involving government conspiracies and military warfare. It almost suffers from too much fancy shmancy dialogue about hacking, Internet communications and existential conversations. However it all holds together to make an awesome first season that is hard to beat.

The series is now available for $40 in stores. If anyone hasn’t seen any “Ghost in the Shell” anime, they have to check out the movie. “Ghost in the Shell” is deservedly one of the best action anime around, even if Motoko tends to show a little too much skin.

Images courtesy of grumpfactory.wordpress.com

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Filed under action, Ghost in the Shell, Mamoru Oshii, masterpiece, sci-fi, shonen

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