Jun 15, 2022
Preliminary (34/? chp)
So! GITS-SAC_2045 ain't so great. It's okay, but it's too silly to reach the heights that the original Stand Alone Complex did. I blame two things here.

One is Shinji Aramaki being one of the directors of the new GITS. No offense, but the man makes silly cyber-action, stuff where the plot isn't really the point the way it was in Stand Alone. I love the guy's work, he was a big part of Bubblegum Crisis, but GITS ain't for him.

The other is a writer by the name of Junichi Fujisaku, who wrote may of the original SAC's best episodes, and based on the stand-alone (heh) SAC light novels he wrote, probably was one of the best minds in Production IG's stable of writers for the series. He is not on SAC_2045's staff. Instead, he's making this comic, a monthly adventure which wrapped up its first arc a few months ago.

I can't say much about the new arc - going to Africa is dangerous territory for the series to explore without coming across as cringey, but time will tell. That being the case, this series makes a convincing argument that Fujisaku was one of the main minds that made good GITS stuff. It's... that damn good.

Sure, Motoko isn't in it, but that's no gaurantee of non-quality (Innocence, Solid State Society, the 1.5 manga). Instead, we follow Togusa, Batou, and the rest of the gang plus a young psychic (they exist in Shirow's work, don't make a big screaming deal out of it, it's nothing new) as they work to uncover a murder mystery that then, in classic SAC fashion, turns out to involve a wide-spanning conspiracy involving bio-enhanced test-tube kids, weird cults, shady corporations, and even some sinister Chinese influence.

So... The art style may not look Shirow, but it tracks pretty close to the fairly realistic design of SAC; the plot may not feel Shirow, it's a little too long-running and deep-reaching compared to the more vignette style of the OG manga, but it sure *feels* like a good cour of SAC-style content; the story has moments that shouldn't work but do time and time again just by leaning on the strength of its characterizations. It really does feel like a modern classic for GITS fans, even if it never quite plumbs the philosophical depths that everyone praises the series for getting into.

In other words... go read it if you like Ghost in the Shell and want some franchise content that doesn't equate depth with fucking 1984 references. Jesus Christ, if this had been animated as new GITS content things would be great, I'd be happy, we wouldn't be having all these problems SHINJI ARA-FUCKIN-MAKI.
Reviewer’s Rating: 8
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