Following hard on the heels of the anime series Ghost
In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex comes a new series of
Masamune Shirow's groundbreaking cyberpunk thriller. This
time based on a story concept by Mamoru Oshii, director of
the critically acclaimed feature film Ghost In The Shell
2: Innocence. The first of a seven-volume series picks
up where the first series left off, with the surviving members
of Section 9 reunited but under a government enforced Indefinite
Standby Order that effectively renders them inoperable...
Reembody a criminal group calling themselves the Individual
11 has taken hostages at the Chinese Embassy demanding that
the Prime Minister publicly announces a change to the government's
Asian Refugee Policy. The incident provides Section 9 with
a last-chance opportunity to be fully reinstated, but only
if the situation can be resolved without any hostage casualties.
episode was made all the more jaw-droppingly impressive by
the fact that out of nowhere came a totally gratuitous gory
scene. This actually helped to bring home to the viewer that
this is about as far removed from Disney as you can get (before
your DVDs start being distributed by a man down the pub).
It was made all the more bizarre because one moment you have
a guy's face being blown off and then minutes later you have
a cutesy scene with the Tachikomas being reintroduced into
the employ of Section 9.
Cruise sees a cyborg war veteran serving as the personal
helicopter pilot for the chairman of a large company. This
cyborg has begun to experience disturbing daydreams in which
he is responsible for the violent murder of his boss. A recurring
element of the dreams is the presence of a young woman who
looks remarkably like Major Motoko Kusanagi. But are the dreams
purely fantasy or is there an element of reality to these
Cruise follows the story from the point of the cyborg
war veteran who dreams of taking control of his own future.
He's a bit of a "yes" man, but at heart he dreams
of running the show and getting the beautiful girl - all things
beyond his reach. As you'd expect, there's a rather interesting
twist in the tale.
Eye: When a wealthy businessman claims the infamous thief
Cash Eye is planning to steal from him during a forthcoming
social gathering, the members of Section 9 find themselves
posing undercover at a very strange party.
episode examines the seedier side of the Ghost in the Shell
universe. There's something decidedly creepy about the room
that contains the wealthy businessman's Pleasure Doll collection.
We are also kept in the dark about why Section 9 have been
called to help this businessman, especially when we already
know that the Major was responsible for the initial break
in. Again, as with Night Cruise, Cash Eye also
delivers a rather interesting, and unexpected, conclusion.
Enemy: Section 9 is called in to resolve a potential crisis
situation when the AI units of a series of attack helicopters
go rogue. Their involvement brings them into contact with
the mysterious Special Intelligence operative, Gohda.
episode is interesting as it examines the use of AI in military
vehicles. While on a training mission, the pilot of a helicopter
dies of a heart attack. But, as his brain is still giving
off activity, the helicopter ignores a computer override command
from HQ to return to base - believing that because the pilot
is still alive the command must be that of a hacker. There
is an ongoing feeling that this heart attack was not an accident,
but by the end of the episode everything is very much up in
the air. Is this the start of some larger attack? Or was it
just an unavoidable, and tragic, accident?
first volume sees the Ghost in the Shell writing team
taking a different approach to the series. Instead of an ongoing
story line, the first four episodes are individual stand alone
tales. This works really well, and I found myself enjoying
the stories much more than the drawn out story arc that took
up most of the previous Stand Alone Complex series.
new direction means that episodes like Night Cruise
can be introduced - something which wouldn't really have worked
as well in the previous series.
include a 16-minute interview
with Kenji Kamiyama (chief writer/director), an 11-minute
interview with Yusuke Takeda (art director) and Hiroshi Kato
(conceptual artist), and various trailers for other releases.
moaned about it before, but I'm going to do it again I'm afraid.
I'm still at a loss as to why the Ghost in the Shell
releases insist on being spread across two discs (with all
four episodes on both discs). Disc one has both Japanese and
English stereo and 5.1 soundtracks, and disc two has a Japanese
and English DTS mix. With only around 80 minutes of actual
episode time I can't work out why this needs to be spread
across two discs. They managed to include the same number
of audio tracks (including DTS) as well as a 40 minute 'making
of' featurette on the recent release of Millennium
Actress, so why couldn't they manage to do
the same here?
that moan, this is an almost faultless start to the latest
series of Ghost in the Shell episodes to be released
on DVD. I can't think of a better way to introduce a new series
than with these four fantastic episodes.