Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Episode 1

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

"Section 9"

It was only a matter of time before the Ghost in the Shell universe was tapped again, and with the Stand Alone Complex TV show and the new movie, that time is now!

When I first heard about this show, I was curious as to how they could reconcile the matureness of the movie with the realities of a television show. Watching the first episode of Stand Alone Complex, it's obvious that it wasn't entirely possible. Luckily, most of these changes are inconsequencial. The lack of big bloody explosions doesn't really take away from the show, nor does the fact that Motoko no longer needs to strip down to use her thermoptic camo (oh, and that means the guys can use it now, too).

The visuals are a step down from a movie, which is no surprise, but are still quite good (there's a small amount of CG filler that looks less convincing, but passable). On the other hand, I'd say that the music received an upgrade with Yoko Kanno creating the score for the show.

From what I can tell, the show focuses more on the action side of Ghost in the Shell, which some people would say is missing the soul of the movie. (But where does a movie's soul begin and end...)

This is an introductory episode, so while it has some good action, a good amount of time is spent on, well, introductions. As a package, this show does look good though. If it has a real downside, it's probably that it will alienate half of Ghost in the Shell fans who are looking for more cerebral dialogue and questions. For that half, I guess you'll just have to wait for the movie.

Rating: A-

Posted by Kei at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Episode 2

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

"Runaway Evidence"

Stand Alone Complex is more proof that anime creators are allergic (or completely incapable) of creating a show that has constant style, theme and mood throughout. Despite the fact that I do not like the mech designs for the Tachikomas, I can understand why they might be designed that way, and don't really feel like it takes away too much from the presentation of the show. But then you take their voice into account, and I suddenly have the urge to scratch my eyeballs out.

This is more of my gripe with anime in general, however. You just can't have a show (with a few exceptions) that resists these silly grabs at humor. I don't think a squeaky, helium-sucking computer voice makes this show better. I don't think there's really anything particularly funny about that voice.

I mentioned that I wasn't crazy about the mechanical design in this show so far. Ghost in the Shell (the movie) had a very dark feel to it. The rounded curves of the designs for Stand Alone Complex, feel quite out of place to me. Yes, these are different entities, but given the connection, I expected something closer to the movies.

Also, even though characters in the movie did some superhuman things, the over-exaggerated anime super bounciness is in full effect in Stand Alone Complex, in everything from Makoto and the rest of Section 9, to the bouyant, hyperactive tanks.

The weakness of the show's format is apparent in this episode. Having each episode stand alone (get it?) breaks up the continuity of the show. There's no connection from segment to segment, so you don't feel like you're really going anywhere (at least not yet).

On the postive side, Yoko Kanno's music is brilliant, as expected. It accents the action of the show while not dominating it, and Kanno's versatility as an artist shows through in the various themes and songs from Stand Alone Complex. The animation is also very good, doing the action scenes well, detailed and sharp.

I have a few gripes with the show, but it's still well worth a watch.

Rating: B

Posted by Kei at 10:02 PM | Comments (2)

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Episode 3

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

"Android and I"

Unfortunately, I'm almost positive I missed the point of this episode. I get the impression that I am missing the big connection between some films that are very important to the plot, and what actually went on.

Feeling left out of the joke, I still think this was a pretty good episode.

Standalone Complex's CG isn't perfect, but in most cases, it's hard to tell the difference unless you're really looking for it. The show is gorgeous, though, and I don't just mean "the most popular female cyborg in anime history".

This episode brings up (partially) a theme near and dear to Ghost in the Shell: what is the soul. And in classic Ghost in the Shell fashion, it doesn't really answer the question, or really expand on it, other than to pose the question. The greater plot deals with nostalgia, and some people's inability to let go.

This was a a surprisingly slow-paced episode for a show that seems to focus mostly on the action side of things, but not fall asleep slow, as many anime shows tend towards.

Not quite what I was expecting, but still good.

Rating: B+

Posted by Kei at 08:38 PM | Comments (1)

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Episode 4

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex


It's episode four, so that means I'm scheduled to comment about the show's music. Of course, Yoko Kanno composed the score for Stand Alone Complex, which means two things: 1) I've already commented about the music, and 2) it's very good.

This episode's fairly action light (and Makoto light, but she still gets her moments), but has an interesting plot that further cements the feel of the world of Ghost in the Shell. Overall it feels a little far-fetched, but you're strung along well enough that it isn't a huge impediment to enjoying the episode.

Another solid episode of this series.

Rating: B+

Posted by Kei at 01:40 AM | Comments (0)