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 51225 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
Episode Director, Storyboard
Episode Director, Storyboard, Key Animation
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
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is an anime that needs no special introduction since it often gets praised as one of the most outstanding shows ever created. The question is, what are the reasons for those high accolades and are they actually justified? Well, let's look into the matter to find out the truth.
While often claimed to be the best cyberpunk show ever, GITS SAC is ironically one of the less typical representatives of the genre. Although it does share the name, the main characters and the focus on cyber technologies with its famous predecessor, the Ghost in the Shell movie, this series doesn't continue the movie's plot, and the "punk" & gloomy atmosphere is pretty much absent here since the creators decided to make the anime accessible to a general audience. Did they make it worse? I think, no. While the show indeed became a little more mainstream, it also gained a lot in the story department.
The story takes place in a society with amazing technologies, precisely:
- cyberbrain i.e. human brain with cybernetic augmentation that allows its user to have a mental interface with computer networks and thus communicate at distance, transmit & download information directly into the brain or simply enter the net like virtual reality and operate there;
- advanced prosthetics: in the world of GITS SAC not only one can replace injured limbs & organs but also have an entirely new artificial body. Consequently, this technology permits cyberbrain users to transfer their minds from one body to another which makes it rather easy to prolong life or conceal a person's identity;
- some other important innovations include robots with artificial intelligence; micromachines utilized to maintain connection between cyberbrain and computer networks; and thermo-optical camouflage used by special forces.
Unsurprisingly, not only these technologies change the everyday life as we know it but they also alter people as such, blurring the line between man & machine, virtual & real worlds. Therefore, the story tackles quite a number of thought-provoking matters, from classic sci-fi themes (like the aforementioned artificial intelligence) to philosophic questions of memetics and hyperreality, explaining how information is transferred in modern society and how it affects our perception of reality. All those topics gain importance every day due to rapid technological growth, which makes this futuristic series very relevant to our present world. That's why I highly recommend to watch it attentively as it will sure give you enough food for thought.
However, even if you are not that much into philosophy or science, I believe you may still enjoy the show since it has absolutely kickass action and one of the most thrilling detective plots ever. Essentially, the series tells a story of Section 9, a police department which is more akin to FBI or CIA rather than simple police as its members are simultaneously proficient in the arts of combat, hacking and detective work. The main plotline revolves around their exciting chase after the Laughing Man - a highly-skilled hacker, accused of corporate terrorism and blackmailing. Eventually, the whole cat & mouse game turns out even more complex and interesting than it looks at first, involving more parties and providing fantastic social commentary... but I won't elaborate on that to avoid spoiling: let's just say I'm not a tiny bit overrating the qualities of the story.
Like most, this story has its obvious drawbacks. I presume, there are three of them:
1) contradictory setting. The anime focuses too much on cybernetics, therefore you get the setting where people have androids and crazy technologies like the ability to transfer one's mind to another body... and yet they drive 20th century cars and live in 20th century houses. It just doesn't work that way. However, the amaziness of plot twists and those questions & technologies almost negates the setting issue, and soon you simply stop paying attention to it;
2) while the anime is clever indeed, it may occasionally feel pretentious, prolix and difficult to grasp as the characters happen to carry lengthy discussions overcomplicated with pathos and philosophy. Well, that's bearable considering all the things they say are very interesting and plot-related - it's just the complex presentation of ideas that needs some time to get used to. Not to mention the show isn't only about talking: it also has very dynamic action and some nice comic relief like robotic tanks that read books(!);
3) half of the series are stand-alone episodes that break the integrity of perception and make the narrative look somewhat choppy. Yet they aren't your typical fillers because those little stories are very memorable and they allow to explore the world, flesh out the characters and tackle the main topics from different perspectives. You won't have much trouble with this aspect of the show (in fact, you may even like it) if you're generally ok with episodic format.
Overall, the aforementioned drawbacks are effectively compensated with the positives, and the story successfully blends intellectual matters and pure entertainment in a very original & enjoyable way.
Unlike some other great series, GITS SAC does not feature any unique art style; what makes its animation outstanding nonetheless is the overall quality. You would never think this show was produced in 2002: it still looks like a contemporary work and even better than many today's anime in terms of both drawing and cinematics. The latter becomes especially clear when the action kicks in: not only it has everything you could ask for (gunfights, car chases, hand-to-hand combat, mecha combat etc.) but the choreography is very impressive and pretty realistic at the same time. On another note, the animation employs quite a lot of CGI yet it doesn't spoil the picture at all - in fact, it gives everything a sort of robotic look that ideally fits the show. In general, I wouldn't go as far as calling the animation a masterpiece yet the excellent rating seems more than appropriate here.
Well, soundtracks are probably the strongest part of the whole Ghost in the Shell franchise. However, while the music in the movie is amazing indeed, there's not really much of it and all the tracks belong to the same style. GITS SAC takes a different approach: the soundtrack by Yoko Kanno is very diverse, with songs in different moods, styles and languages, but of the same exceptional quality. So, besides it's beautiful and breathtaking, it also provides you a great opportunity to find a song that best suits your personal taste. Needless to say, it gets a 10/10 score.
At first glance the cast resembles a regular special squad... except their commander is a lady dressed (or should I say undressed?) in a very peculiar way, and they also have wacky AI tanks with high-pitched voices for fire support)) These fanservice and comic relief elements may initially feel wrong in a serious anime that GITS SAC is. However, as the show goes on and the characters get some time to prove themselves you inevitably start to appreciate both their personalities and genuine brilliance as special agents. Even Tachikomas (those AI tanks) have a number of interesting and really great moments of their own as they end up playing a much more important part in the show than mere comic relief.
The only remaining issue is that while the characters certainly aren't cardboards, they still don't get much development, remaining cool rather than deep. One reason is most of their development happens in the 2nd season (also known as 2nd GIG); the other reason is the nature of the series as its main focus lies on story, philosophy & action. Yet that doesn't become any serious problem because the protagonists are still easy to sympathize with and absolutely fitting for this kind of show; I only wish the supporting characters like Saito, Pazu and Borma got a little more spotlight.
As for the Laughing Man, I won't go into detail for obvious reasons - let's just say you'll be very surprised when you learn his actual role in the story.
As you could already guess, GITS SAC is one of my most favourite series and I highly recommend you to watch it in case you haven't. Bear in mind however that it strongly demands your thinking and attention to follow the story and appreciate its ideas. So, you'll need to use your brain quite a lot, and if you do, you'll certainly understand why this show belongs to the golden classics of anime and why it deserves the time I took to write this long review. 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.
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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