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M: Well technical difficulties had they’re way with my last review that may not ever see the light of the review board, HOWEVER! Time must continue and in the never ending quest to review everything I find the time to watch I must by duty review Ghost in the shell stand alone complex’s somewhat perplexing sequel the second gig. Strangely enough I can’t imagine much can be done in the stand alone complex world with only two gigs but hay whatever.
When technical difficulties murdered the actual review copy of the review I still will be posting it as a blog however in the interest of saving time I’ll just copy and paste my old explanation of the first seasons setting
“Ghost in the shell stand alone complex is in its base components a super intelligent futuristic noir police/military action show set in the ghost in the shell universe which has been compiled into every format possible. Basically it follows Major Motoko Kusanagi learned, cyborg, feminist, lesbian, bad ass that is possibly, at least this version of her, one of my favorite characters to date and her team of otherwise all male section 9 operatives on adventures of espionage battle and detective work mostly surrounding the mysterious Laughing man. But more importantly all taking part in the near future of like 2030 where just shit apparently really went sideways. Most people are cybernetic the world is in a digital future all that jazz.”
However now that the laughing man case is over a new case begins as section 9 is reformed under a new national assembly. This is the case of the individual eleven surrounding a number of crimes seeming to irritate the refugee situation. The cases no longer are sperratic as they were before and now mostly just try to make you more invested in this one case instead of just having it be the biggest case in a list. This keeps the story more focused. Plus the involvement of the cabinet’s intelligence
bureau adds another at least in the beginning interesting addition to the list of sides.
Alright normally I would start with the bad but today I’m beginning with the good. While I have mentioned time and time again how much I adore the world of stand alone complex I finally got my wish of having just anything about the world explained. They actually spent a good chunk of time setting up the whys to the what, mostly because for the first time the story relies on a much bigger scope the first one, the first one was just about uncovering a grand domestic conspiracy this time it’s on a national and even international scale. Bigger scale makes things matter more, mattering more means higher emotional investment of the audience which plays out usually better, another dream wish was realized of actually having a ghost in the shell’s excellent rising action go into an actual climax instead of just going completely sideways and down into falling action suddenly. The music and production continues to be top notch as well as the character and their motives. It was like the stand alone committee read my review ages ago and then worked on every complaint
But in doing so forgot a lot about what I rather enjoyed about ghost in the shell. Apparently I’m an unappeasable ass because I still don’t feel like it reached the levels it could have been better to me, at it’s heart ghost in the shell is noir meets cyber punk meets Descartes meditations on first philosophy however when they went farther down the macro path of story telling they kind of lost how it worked, I mean section 9 is at heart super swat but they act more like delta force does throughout the entire season. It’s not bad but they just made something completely different when it didn’t seem like that was the goal during
production. The noir switches to super spy the cyber punk becomes more sci-fi military and philosophy turns to politics It’s not a bad change it’s just jarringly odd for it to move in that direction or to at least not keep more of the old elements in a bit more, perhaps if the season had a few more episodes with random cases to allow for more noir style to show up. This weird sense of trying to redefine itself even lead to one of the most pivotal characters in the first season make literally no appearance of mention by name in the entire second season simply because his skill set is not as well suited to the shifted style. The shift is refreshing but apparent and a little forced, and on a kind of end note I won’t to mention something I’ve always adored about stand alone complex is how they always make weapons and fights seem powerful and destructive however the more macro vision of battle that usually prevails in the second season never really shows that same respect to the terrifying power of things like a single tank or even a machine-gun actually has in that unique way that Ghost in the shell had always done.
In the end I’m a little on the fence about the whole thing, most of it’s huge pluses start to wane at the end, plus the main story and characters ever never quite as appealing or shocking, a much better ending and a more illuminated world get it places, just I don’t know if they’re quiet as appealing as I had envisioned. I slide Ghost in the shell stand alone complex the 2 gig 4 megalomaniacs out of 5 plus the award for the most absurdly long name. Literally the name is longer then some of my sentences.
P.S Fun drinking game towards the end, take a drink every time someone mentions a nuclear bomb.