The series follows the mysterious Motoko Aramaki as she runs an investigation into a incident at an organ factory and it's consequences. she's on the run to clean up the mess and save herself in the process Meanwhile the former members of section 9 investigate Motoko to find out who she really is.
Koukaku Kidoutai 2: Manmachine Interface was originally released in hardcover format in a limited edition box set titled Koukaku Kidoutai SOLID BOX on December 1, 2000. Kodansha later released the standard edition in tankoubon format on June 26, 2001.
The SOLID BOX version added over 140 pages of new content and more changes were added to the tankoubon version, such as 24 color pages and large modifications to over 20 pages. However, 200 pages from the original version that ran in Young Magazine were not included in either versions.
The series was published in English as The Ghost in the Shell Volume 2: Man-Machine Interface by Dark Horse, initially into 11 comic issues from January 29, 2003 to December 31, 2003 and later into a single volume on January 12, 2005. Kodansha Comics USA picked up the license and republished it on August 10, 2010.
The Japanese publisher Kodansha published a bilingual version (in English and Japanese) on March 2011.
There is a world supersaturated with technology without any foreseeable boundaries. No more is there the question as to the link between man and machine; it is the foregone conclusion. We stand at the edge of an ocean of change and somewhere deep, down in those unlit and unfathomable dark places, it must be awaiting us. So where do we go from here? Such is the world of Ghost in the Shell. Such is our own.
If the original manga stood us on a hill overlooking this ocean, Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface places us firmly on the shoreline where the waters swell and recede. Motoko Kusanagi ended the first manga with a next step towards humankind’s transcendence. In this work, she takes the second.
Nearly five years have passed since she merged with the Puppeteer and left Section 9 to venture out into the Net. But while she now acts as head of security for Poseidon Industrial, she’s almost a different person. Even more skilled in cyberwarfare, much more self-confident, more the business woman than the smack-talking assault girl. And yet she clearly has lingering connections to her past, seen in her current name: Motoko Aramaki.
The theme of identity is much unchanged since Masamune Shirow’s first treatment. If anything, it shows how much Motoko’s sense of self has blurred and the extent to which she is willing to preserve -- or even discard -- it. Throughout the story, she ends up using over half-a-dozen different prosthetic bodies. While at times she will be physically recognizable to fans, her ‘main’ body is not one we’re familiar with.
She switches forms with such ease that it begs the question: who is Motoko now? It’s a fascinating question and one that receives an equally thought-provoking (see also: mind-blowing) conclusion, but it is also the first stumbling block that may irk lovers of every other GITS adaptation.
It cannot be stressed enough that this is not a direct extension of the original. Oh, it’s definitely the “what comes next” of the original plot, but don’t expect more of the same. Motoko isn’t entirely the Major you’ve come to know and love; Section 9 isn’t even in the background, instead vaguely on the periphery elsewhere. So you probably won’t be seeing your favorite characters -- and you definitely won’t be seeing them team up to take down cyber-terrorists and preserve public security.
Shirow himself penned a preface to this manga, amusingly (and appropriately) entitled ‘Warning: Read Me First!’, saying much the same. He warns us this is something new. He tells us this isn’t what we expected. He even apologizes for this fact and hopes we’ll give it a chance!
And if hacking cyberbrains, beating the crap out of cybernetic bodies, and watching the lovely, battle-hardened Motoko dish out that action is your idea of a good time: you really, really should.
To say the artwork here is beautiful, breath-taking, and Shirow’s best work yet is almost an insult. Such superlatives cannot describe how staggeringly amazing each panel looks. 200 pages (that’s two-thirds of the entire manga!) are fully colored. Color explodes off the pages. Quite literally bleeds into and out of black-and-white panels -- transitions that are themselves artistic in purpose. And this isn’t just Shirow painting inside the rich lines of ink. This is Shirow using digital imaging and blending it seamlessly with his always-great drawings. It’s the same vibrant burst of life as seen when Kurosawa finally made the transition to colored film -- the same expected greatness, but with a new spell-binding visual wonder.
Like Motoko, give him the chance and he will dazzle you.
The fanservice is -- as you might already suspect -- pervasive, extensive, and many other adjectives probably currently racing through your mind. Few pages go by without a carefully angled shot of a posterior, bust, or nether region. In cyberspace, Motoko appears more often than not fully nude -- minus the naughtier bits detailed. At first, this omission can potentially seem like a distraction, but instead this choice emphasizes the form, rather than function, of Motoko’s body. It becomes a work of art in itself, not just a biological machine. And yes, I am using the term ‘biological’ very loosely here.
Man-Machine Interface is a heady work. It is intelligent yet confusing, exciting yet difficult. Cyberwarfare battles drag on for pages upon pages, filled with enough techno-jargon to require patience, careful thought, and multiple readings. Some sense gets lost. Likewise, the story rarely takes time to breathe and even when it does what has happened -- or is happening -- is not always clear. It’s a work that asks many questions and forces the reader to figure out the answers, even when those answers are staring you straight in the face. There’s a dense, almost opaque, realism here: all the characters understand the world and its workings, but that hardly means you will.
In the end, that will either alienate or captivate you. But that seems to be the point. There’s a concept called the ‘technological singularity’: the point at which our normal paradigms break down and new models are required in order to understand the current, new paradigm. Yet, ironically, that new understanding is beyond our intelligence. Like showing a movie to a Neanderthal or describing a computer to an Elizabethan, there is simply no reliable frame of reference to impart the total understanding that you have of these things to them.
That ‘lost in translation’ feel permeates this work and is at the heart of Motoko’s struggle to rationalize the man with the machine. The question is in the subtitle. “Man-Machine Interface.” What is that interface? Is it the gateway to the Net? Is it just the synthesis of cyborg body with human mind? Is it Motoko herself?
Still we stand, our feet in the ocean. We know it’s possible, but can we change? And what does it mean to transcend ourselves? Would we know what to look for? Would we even recognize ourselves? Motoko refuses to say. But in her journey, in that refusal, she seems to be beckoning us to be ready. To wait for when the tide rolls in. To listen for a great wave to rise up. To do then what we do best when we cast aside the limits of our shell.
Try drawning some half naked women, or sometimes completely naked, in scenes that you can have a good view of their asses, panties, or pointy big hard tits, or everything in the same scene as they are doing some contortion to show you everything at the same time... then you add some lines saying "hacking this" "hacking that" "corrupting files" "putting up firewall" "my skirt is too heavy, better take it off", add some poor crime investigation or mercenary plots and some cheesy philosophical questions not adding anything new to the GitS series...
You have Koukaku Kidoutai 2: Manmachine Interface, a total waste I couldn't recommend even to the most hardcore fans of Ghost in the Shell.
obs: The overall is 2 just cause the art is average.read more
All of the other GiS and Gis:SAC anime and manga strongly resemble each other, this one is very different.
Set several years subsequent to the earlier manga, the world has changed a lot. The Major, merged with the Puppeteer is now a disembodied consciousness somewhere on the web. She does, however, merge at times with other bits of consciousness that she then spins off the results as "children," of which there are several, all now separate entities. One of these, which has chosen to call itself "Motoko Arimaki," (the Major calls it something else) is the boss lady of a global corporation, who has stashed an assortment of cyborg shells (of varying special capabilities) around the globe, available for her to download into. This corporation has come under attack from some unknown antagonist(s), and the manga is mostly about Motoko Arimaki discovering and dealing with the adversary(s) and the attacks. Section Nine's involvement is restricted to fielding a new character (a psychic) to monitor, report on, and interfere with this situation.
The plot is very complex, I had to reread several parts, sometimes more than once, to get what was going on. Very thought provoking about issues of what is consciousness and what is identity, and how these might interact with technology.
Highly recommended. And, oh yes, there is a panty shot on almost every page. read more
If you read the original manga and thought the technobabble was confusing, this manga is quite a bit worse in that respect. Where I could somewhat keep up with the plot of the first volume, this volume takes the technobabble to the extreme, with a very large portion of the story being the protagonist endlessly spouting information that only the most tech-savvy people would understand.
As for the characters, the vast majority of the story is our hero (Matoko from the first volume fused with the puppeteer calling itself/herself "Matoko Aramaki") jumping into puppet bodies stashed all over the world in order to fight crime like a true vigilante. As one of the readers in a Q&A in one of the volumes said, this makes it somewhat difficult to form a connection with the character, as it is not always clear which body is Aramaki, and even when it is, her look is always changing because of this.
Aside from the endless confusion of the technobabble, the hard to follow political plots, and the difficulty to form an attatchment to the main character, there are some interesting spiritual ideas brought forth in the last few chapters (or part of chapters, since the chapters seem to be split up into parts).
Overall, I cannot see myself rereading this, but if you are a hardcore fan of Ghost in the Shell and are very knowledgeable about computer applications and viruses, you may very well enjoy Man-Machine Interface.read more