English: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
Synonyms: Ghost in the Shell SAC, Koukaku Kidoutai: Stand Alone Complex
Japanese: 攻殻機動隊 STAND ALONE COMPLEX
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 1, 2002 to Mar 25, 2003
25 min. per episode
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.451 (scored by 51340 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
action cyberpunk mecha sci-fi
SynopsisIn the not so distant future, mankind has advanced to a state where complete body transplants from flesh to machine is possible. This allows for great increases in both physical and cybernetic prowess and blurring the lines between the two worlds. However, criminals can also make full use of such technology, leading to new and sometimes, very dangerous crimes. In response to such innovative new methods, the Japanese Government has established Section 9, an independently operating police unit which deals with such highly sensitive crimes.
Led by Daisuke Aramaki and Motoko Kusanagi, Section 9 deals with such crimes over the entire social spectrum, usually with success. However, when faced with a new A level hacker nicknamed “The Laughing Man”, the team is thrown into a dangerous cat and mouse game, following the hacker’s trail as it leaves its mark on Japan.
[Written by MAL Rewrite]
Related AnimeAdaptation: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
Alternative setting: Ghost in the Shell
Sequel: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG
Spin-off: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Tachikoma na Hibi
Summary: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - The Laughing Man
Side story: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Tachikoma no Hibi Fan Disc
Characters & Voice Actors
Director, Script, Storyboard, Series Production Director
Episode Director, Storyboard, Key Animation
Episode Director, Storyboard
Episode Director, Storyboard
Science Fiction has come a long way from stories involving the unknown reaches of space by the works of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells to stories that draw social implications of our own society from famed authors George Orwell and Phillip K. Dick. There is little doubt that anime productions have tackled a lot beneath the limits of the genre ranging from Space Opera to Cyberpunk. One series that is often considered one of the most popular in the anime Sci-fi genre is Ghost in the Shell. After the success of the movie, directed by celebrated director Mamoru Oshii, we now have Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex but this time without Mamoru Oshii involved with the production. Considering how well Oshii directed Ghost in the Shell, people were skeptical on whether Stand Alone Complex could best out the movie in terms of quality storytelling and animation. Long story short, it did on almost every aspect perfectly.
The way the story sets up isn't just following one main story, which is the Laughing Man plot arc, rather it follows a formulaic style that makes us follow the Section 9 team going after various cases around the world. A case against the show's credit that the Stand Alone episodes deviate the main focus of the Complex episodes that chronicle the Laughing Man plot arc, but I would argue that the Stand Alone episodes are important to deal with a great amount of character development for our main characters. Some of the episodes offer memorable story arcs that aren't important to the overall narrative but they constantly show how immensely well crafted the writing is in not only the dialogue but of how well put together the world is in the show. What's so great about the world of Stand Alone Complex is the subtle details the writers put into account, such as the political and social plateau of how the world works that truly make it a living breathing world and not a superficial one.
As with character development goes, Stand Alone Complex definitely stands out in how it gives a lot of time to put forth plenty of depth with each character that is on-screen. This doesn't just apply with the main characters, many of the side characters in each episode that we come across has a deep level of characterization to where they aren't just these one-sided antagonists who do evil, they're just normal people who are in this situation because of the society they're living in. With regards to the each specific main character, they all have their own uniquely written personalities that show off their own personal presence in the show. Handled with great care and precision, they all play out so well with each other that make you care so much for their own struggles and relationships as coworkers trying to handle any given situation they meet. Chemistry is the key part in tying together a well-rounded cast of characters and Stand Alone Complex hits the nail on that part exquisitely. Batou and Kusanagi are especially two of the best characters, simply by how well the chemistry is between the two from their interactions and personalities.
What many consider the most poignant in the Ghost in the Shell saga is its music. Out comes famed composer Yoko Kanno producing all the music in Stand Alone Complex and provides a deeply layered texture into the overall atmosphere in the show. Shows typically set in a futuristic setting relies heavily on electronic sounding orchestration mixed in to feel more natural within the landscape of the setting. While there are certainly a lot of that to experience through the ears, Yoko's brilliant blend of Jazz, Electronica, and Classical musicianship that combine each other amazingly well to give the soundtrack it's own unique style that she is widely known for. Although I find Kenji Kawai's score in the Ghost in the Shell movie left more of a profound impact on me in how it incorporates a lot of dark ambiance to the atmosphere, there is no denying the creativity that Yoko put into the score and ignoring completely would be insane when discussing the show.
Normally anime movies have the upper hand as having stellar animation and art while TV anime have a limited capacity in the level of budget that film studios have. There are, of course, exceptions to this and Stand Alone Complex is definitely one of them. Sure the animation isn't as fluid as the movie but how the art's quality perfectly compliments the ascetic vision that the artists were going for, it's a true accomplishment to experience. How the city looked, the characters all having their own distinct look that makes them recognizable the moment we see them, and how the 3D models of the machines flow with the 2D animation of the characters work each other sublimely.
It is haphazard to call Ghost in the Shell an action show since it relies heavily on Noir aspects of tone and pacing, unlike in your typical action show where the pacing is more fast-paced in that respect. However, once it does delve into action territory, that is where the animation and sound really take it to the next level of technical genius. The fluid motions involving characters fighting each other still hold up to this day than many other action anime out there in terms of animated fighting sequences and gun fights. Sound effects of machines and gunfire feel very authentic and real that puts you on the edge of your seat as you're transported into the scene. So yeah like I said, the show on the technical level is surprisingly still amazing to look at as it once was ten years ago.
One other aspect of Ghost in the Shell that is often noted when discussing the series is its profound philosophical themes. In the movie, it delved into the ideas of consciousness and ethics of A.I., while Stand Alone Complex is mostly centered on political corruption and conspiracy theories that involves the book "The Catcher in the Rye." The one part where it does delve deeper into is when we follow the Tachikomas and how they describe the "Ghost" in each machine through their A.I. Oddly enough, it really works despite the fact that these childlike voiced machines seem as though they were there for comic relief. With regards to the political themes thrown into the plot, it doesn't have nearly as much impact as the writers thought it would have considering how it's told through a conventional style of storytelling and not try to seem as though they wanted to make a big political statement out of it. That's not the same as saying that it's a huge knock on the show, but it's something that I felt would've been much stronger.
Whatever the case, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex will surely leave a strong impression on people on what makes a story stand-out as one of the most well-crafted entries in writing great characters and a largely detailed world. It is by no means a show that you can just like for the action or the great animation because that is only one-third of what makes Stand Alone Complex so deep in its overall philosophy and story. Well written character progression, great world-building, and amazing animation all combined into one glorious experience that will inspire anyone who wants to get into writing stories for years to come.
Grade: A read more
Everyone has their choice which are to be respected but to critique or review means to consider from an unbiased and logical point of view. Thus, due to my affiliation with the original movies and the characters, I would give it a 10 but if considered technically, there are things to be mentioned. Slight as they are, they will be mentioned. This review contains some spoilers.
GiTS is a combination of a major plot complimented by what seem like sub plots but they combine - not all of them - to produce a grand finale. This is an interesting but risky approach - fillers appearing every second episode can easily affect the pace of the viewer and annoy him. That is gladly not the case with GiTS - its fillers are not exceedingly boring.
The story is about a Super A-Class Hacker that surpasses the skill of Kusunagi Motoko who created an air of unrest six years before the present setting. Picking up pieces from where they left, small clues and hints bring the team in a series of trial that brings them closer to the case itself - not the culprit. The story then ends with an astoundingly interesting sequence of tense and exalting events but ends with a rather sober and calm note.
The story is cut off from the original two movies created by Masamune Shiro and thus does not contain the extreme monotonous and rather unnerving feel of the movies in which cyborgs seem the representation of emotionless beings that follow orders - such is the feel of almost every other person in Section 9 with rare occasions when the Major would actually smile. GiTS: SAC is on the other hand a lot light in terms of content; it has its moment of sarcasm and humor yet it seems awkward only in the beginning episodes. Later on it feels more natural and meaningful for an organization like Section 9 enjoying themselves. The Tachikoma's (talking AI tanks) however did seem like a set back for me but (spoiler) their removal in between the anime and come back near the end did them justice. So, while not as philosophical and psychologically unnerving as the original movies, the season did have the air of professionalism and maturity that the movies had.
One point I would add: the fillers at places were theme based. Starting with Batou's "My battle was already over" and friendship based as was the case when the son of Chief Aramaki's friend goes berserk, which give them a... well non GiTS and more typical anime feel yet it wasn't imposing enough to get me annoyed.
If someone would compare the animation in the original movies with that of the anime, they would be slightly disappointed with details lacking at places especially with Aramaki's hair and Motoko's expressions (whom they tried making 'attractive' with more shapely lips and face) and at times when showing people interaction from a distance (faces would literally disappear at times). YET, the animation is good.
The character proportions are mostly accurate and believable, the physics that follow their bodies are well handled and the motions are fluid - an example being Batou's warm up against the Silver Medalist. Backgrounds and robotic motion is very fluid and the fight scenes are also beautifully handled with shooting and battered cyborgs and mangled bodies as can be seen when the Tachikoma's save Batou.
Although not part of the series directly but the opening in the first half of the anime had some impressive scenes and while Motoko looked a bit expressionless, coupled with the OST and animation it was a wonderful opening and the opening track was fit for GiTS.
Moving from the rather amazing OST that has been developed for GiTS, the music and sound has variety and more well defined composition that makes the viewer enjoy the anime along with the mood and expressions and emotions that the creators wanted to integrate with the scenes. Places where one can expect a little humor are complimented likewise, scenes with tension or suspense are equally complimented.
Some moments like the scene between Batou and Motoko when they are the only 'unarrested' members of Section 9, feel a lot different than they would have seemed without the sound sequence that followed.
When talking about realism, the sound scenes regarding shooting, helicopters, cars and even simple sprints were realistic - they could be heard to some pretty detailed portions.
The character development in GiTS: SAC makes one respect and admire the relationship between the major members in the movies even though the two don't have a producer/story relationship. Now I will go into a one by one summary Character analysis of section 9, just to emphasize them being not so typical (not all).
Authority has been defined and not only on the basis of rank but skill and personality. Chief Aramaki as the head of Section is responsible, considerate, calm and specializes in decision making. Yes, he does have an emotional center but he keeps it well under control (I would have been disappointed had he given into emotional stress).
Mokoto, the second in command is able to tackle operations well with and without detailed mission proceedings. She takes care of the team but when it comes to work she can be excessively stern. An impressive hacker, she uses her abilities as often as she can. Motoko always chooses a female body for herself despite its lack of strength and stresses more on mental capability. Despite that, she does have exceptional fighting skills.
Batou, a member that is considered a rough man for the job since he is too easy going and resorts to violence easily. That aside, he is one of the few that are compatible with the major (something better highlighted in GiTS: Innocence) and is a skilled fighter. His skills are complimented with his cyborg body giving him precision and brute strength. While on the outside a carefree person Batou is extremely sensitive regarding his own team and does not take harm to them easily.
Ishikawa is the technical giant among the group who is best seen hacking into data bases and cracking barriers. He is also respected in the group and well relied on. he is also shown intuitive sense when coming to tacky situations. One of the most emotionally stable characters along with the Major and Chief.
Togusa is another important character that imposes his presence through immaturity and lack of excessive skills. he is easily swayed emotionally and at times takes too long in understanding situations that others grasp easily. That aside, he is one of the major characters and plays an important role in finding the laughing man or at least identifying the case. Togusa is completely organic unlike the rest of his team.
Paz/Borma/Saito can be considered as professionals in the team that are all cyborgs and are usually playing generic roles in operations with Saito standing out with his skillful snipping skills. All three haven't been dedicated much time to develop personalities or past.
Summing up the lengthy character to character details of Section 9 (sorry for that, I didn't know ho to generalize them in my style. I won't mention other side char's), the character setting is pretty good and believable.
The enjoyment that one gains from GiTS: SAC is in the atmosphere they create that is unique to them - a professional atmosphere in which a team is handling a case that is not so out of the world that whole Mankind depends on it but neither so meager that it can be waved aside. Tackling missions, developing relationships and establishing roles, while all the while approaching an unsolved mystery.
The use of hacking, intelligence, AI and weaponry makes this an ideal combination. Anyone with even a gist of computers and AI will probably love this anime and with the action and storyline integrated, it actually appeals to a large population.
There is yet, one aspect of the series that did give me a bad nudge. When we had the two movies, we had two endings. Giving them a non-concluding ending (as is in the first movie) is fine, but when such endings are given in various episodes in the movie, it seems awkward at times. Yes, make us think but not in a way that it makes a pattern.
Again, I have highlighted an otherwise hidden issue I felt so it is actually not that bothering.
Over all a great anime with a huge variety integrated in it. Anyone who is into cyber, cyborg, Hacking AI and mature animes should watch this definitely.
Feedback is highly appreciated! read more
Both are procedural crime shows and set in a future version of Japan. Both shows are very focused on sci fi and each has their own interesting gallery of gadgets and systems. Both follow the attempts of a law enforcement agencies attempts to capture an enigmatic criminal who's always several steps ahead. Ghost in the Shell is more episodic and the underlying plot is visited in standalone episodes throughout the season. Psycho Pass is more focused on the main plot. I've heard Psycho Pass get called at best inspired by and at worst a rip off of GitS but I think it's its own show and I'll recommend it as such. If you like detective stories, Sci-fi, and character driven drama you'll like this
Both are set in a plausible futuristic setting focused on some police authority. Action scenes litter throughout both series, and when done, they're brilliantly choreographed. Like any two great sci-fi, both looks critically into the social implications of technology, the ethical considerations, and any significant impact of change in lifestyle. Easily two of the best sci-fi anime has to offer, utmost care was put into both in developing a world that feels real and the characters themselves behave accordingly to the circumstances given.
crime-solving in a futuristic setting is similar, both get very serious and give a commentary on the human condition.
First of all in both cases we have the police as the main characters. Secondly we could say the time period is not too distant cyberpunk style future.
Psycho - pass seems to have some interesting philosophical views on this kind of future... It's the kind of anime which actually needs you to think when watching it.
Ghost in the shell has multiple story arcs, while Psycho Pass has a single arc which connects it all together.
Both are set in a futuristic society and both talk about psychology and philosophy extensively.
Both of these story lines fall deep into the future with technology that can better mankind but also still have the same amount of crime. Characters are a bit different than ghost in a shell however you will learn about the characters in this anime at different episodes just like ghost in a shell.
Both series shares similar themes involving dealing with criminals in a world with powerful technology. In fact, these traces of technology can be traced with cyperpunk themes. Thus, both series has a similar feeling.
Both series' characters works with a superior organization to deal with the criminals using their skills.
Production I.G. is also involved with both series hence similar animation artwork and visuals.
Both series has action, drama, police, and great dialogue usage in many scenes.
Both amines have a similar feel to their story telling as well as both being worlds in a not too distant future. Both can also be classified as science fiction and each follow a form of law enforcement.
Both animes feature an advanced technological society that despite the cutting edge technology suffers from both existential and criminal issues. Both animes feature cybercrime and a lot of action. Both animes focus on police and investigations.
Both are in the future, have to deal in a sci-fi genre and deal with aspects of philosophy. Specifically, they deal with the philosophy of current life and future life. Both also have great, almost similar artwork (minus characters).
Both share a similar style where a greater storyline is carried on by seemingly unrelated episodes (or episode pairs in the case of Darker than Black).
Show is episodic in nature for the most part and is a crime/drama as well.
They have a very similar feel to them. The story in DtB is a little darker than GitS, and the worlds are very different, but the seriousness and overall feel to them is very similar. If you liked one, you should give the other a try.
They both have an episodic "crime of the week" format combined with a long-term story arc. There are sometimes similar plots, and both explore the idea of people who are somehow different from ordinary humans (cyborgs in GITS, people with superpowers in DTB). Both are intelligent (moreso GITS), dark (moreso DTB), and mature and have kickass soundtracks by Yoko Kanno.
Both, Darker than BLACK and GiTS: Stand Alone Complex have similar plot build ups. While each episode seems mostly independent of the other on a deeper almost all episodes are related in some way. Also both revolve around a team protagonists (although admittedly both teams has its own protagonist)
These two animes revolve a protagonist with a strong support team in a political and action thriller featuring unique powers (although that's a given in most animes).
While Ghost in the Shell series revolves more around a central political plot, Darker than BLACK asks similar metaphysical questions underlying Ghost in the Shell.
-Secret organisation employing talented individuals.
-Slow space at the beginning but later moves faster and becomes more intense.
-Realistic action and/or well animated action.
Note: Darker Than Black as special powers.
Both are based around teams in secret organisations investigating and participating in missions.
Similar style of case by case operations, with undertones of something more serious going on.
Both groups have specialists in their teams based on resources and abilities that aren't available to general public, some of which must be kept secret.
International governments/organisations trying to manipulate and control information and access to resources.
Both series look over the implications on society after drastic changes to what being human means.
Opening Theme#1: "Inner Universe" by Origa
#2: "GET9" by Jillmax (Japanese Terrestrial Broadcast)
Ending Theme#1: "Lithium Flower" by Scott Matthew
#2: "I Do" by Ilaria Graziano (Japanese Terrestrial Broadcast)
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