Ghost in the Shell
Stand Alone Complex
Volume 5

Starring: Atsuko Tanaka, Osamu Saka and Akio Ôtsuka
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 15 August 2005

Japan 2030 and female cyborg Major Motoko Kusanagi operates as a key agent of Section 9 of internal security under Chief Aramaki.
Together with her support crew she must tackle the numerous threats facing Japan...

Volume 5 of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex contains another four episodes of the award winning Manga series.

In Angel's Share, Aramaki and Kusanagi take a trip to London to attend an international anti-terrorism conference and Aramaki takes the opportunity to visit an old friend who is in danger from a group of corrupt police officers. When the two Section 9 members uncover a mob-run money laundering operation, a bungled robbery attempt results in Aramaki being taken prisoner, leaving Kusanagi to use her feminine wiles to infiltrate the building and rescue the hostages.

Lost Heritage, sees Aramaki charged with protecting a visiting Korean dignitary during the commemorations for Japan and Korea's war dead. Aramaki and Section 9 discover what appears to be an assassination plot. As the team searches for the assassin, Aramaki visits the memorial of Hideo Tsujisaki, an old friend from his days working for intelligence. He meets Tsukisaki's family and learns of the disturbing behaviour of his deceased friend's son. Could he be the assassin?

In Captivated the daughter of a disgraced, but still powerful, Prime Minister is kidnapped with no apparent motive behind the crime. Section 9 is called in and the investigation turns into a political minefield when it becomes apparent that the perpetrators are members of "Blindfold Ivan", a group involved in the black-market organ trade and whose existence had been denied by the former PM.

In Re-View Togusa once again finds himself on the trail of the Laughing Man as a new lead is unearthed during his investigations into the disappearance of a list of patients who have been treated with a secret vaccine.

Extras on the discs include a really hard quiz - you'll really have to have paid attention throughout the episodes to be able to complete it successfully; interview with various members of the crew and a DTS soundtrack.

While the DTS soundtrack is impressive, I was a little confused as to why this collection was spread over two discs. The extras last hardly any time at all and I've seen longer movies sport a DTS track, and plenty of extras, on one disc. This collection has two copies of each episode - one with DTS soundtrack and one with 5.1 and stereo 2.0 (there's also a choice of Japanese DTS, 5.1 and 2.0 soundtracks). I'm not entirely sure how much space soundtracks take up on the discs, but I've seen DTS tracks and numerous 5.1 languages on DVD releases in the past.

However, it's better to have the Japanese options - even if the English dubbing is incredibly well done.

Ray Thompson

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