Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig

So like I wrote in my previous review Ghost in the Shell SAC 2nd Gig deserves a review apart since it is different from the first and for the better I might add. Off-topic, know from the start that if you’re reading this for a laugh then don’t, cause when I review something I like there really is no point in making fun of it. Know that for funny reviews I prepared a special list of shitty anime ( and the list will be growing ), so be sure I’m downloading a truck-load of shit just for you. So if you’re just interested in my personal opinion on the things I like and why I like them, then please continue reading.
Now on-topic, the plot in 2nd Gig takes place 2 years after the first series. Like I said in the previous review between 2000 and 2032 there were two major conflicts that changed the world. The first is nuclear World War III, and the other is non-nuclear World War IV, also known as the Second Vietnam War ( so I suppose it has something to do with Vietnam ). So because of these 2 conflicts, during 30 years a lot of things have changed like an increase in independent states and sovereign regions. And as with any other war-torn world, there is a lot of chaos and anarchy. How do I know all this? Well 2nd Gig uncovers a significant amount of back-story that was only vaguely talked about during the first series, and that includes information about the last world wars. Also in the first series, they usually refer to events surrounding the Laughing Man case, and they focus on the teamwork observed in Public Security Section 9. Here they discuss more on the issue of War, how it can be conducted in the 21st century. Mamoru Oshii, who wrote the story concept, commented about this new approach by saying ,,… we simply couldn't ignore the way society had evolved since the events of 9-11 : That was the approach we decided to take, and I tried to illustrate a 21st century (near-future) war.”. Also, while in the 1st they focused on Section 9 as a unit, now they focus on each character from Section 9 ( including the Tachikomas ). So there isn’t just world history, but also character history and how they met, and what they did before. That helps for character development. And in my opinion the series focuses more on Major Motoko ( which now doesn’t dress like a female super-hero from DC Comics ), and her personal background. There is also talk about a group called Individual 11, but unfortunately I didn’t quite get it all, but what I did get is the most important member of the group, and that is Hideo Kuze which plays a very important part in the story and (spoiler) Motoko’s life.
Speaking of character there are a lot more people on the cast compared to the 1st series. There are also the Section 9 Forensic team, the Section 9 All-Purpose Female Androids, two new Section 9 members Azuma and Yano-kun, Proto a technician, the female Prime Minister Yoko Kayabuki and what I think is the antagonist of the series Kazundo Gouda head of the Cabinet Intelligence Service. You’d best memorize this names and what they represent cause there are others and it can get a bit confusing at times when they talk about them, especially since they don’t always say ,,The Head of…” but they say they’re name, so you can be a little confused. But every character acts like how he is supposed to act. I mean a general will feel like a real general, a minister will feel like a minister and a technician will feel like a technician. It’s hard to explain, but once you see it ( or if you saw it ) then you probably know what I’m talking about. Plus the Tachikomas are still the same self-aware philosophical little rascals that I love and now I kind of had some smiles while I watched them. I mean don’t get me wrong, the comedy sketches at the end still suck, I don’t know why they even bothered. I hope at least the Japanese appreciate they’re own humor cause if not, the jokes are on them. But when it’s in the middle of the episode it’s good, cause they interact with other characters, some of which grew close to them.
Presentation is better then the 1st. Graphics are stunning, character models are sharp and detailed, give personality, background feels interactive ( like real, cause sometimes backgrounds feel more like props in a theater ), and visual effects are realistic. Sound department – flawless. Not just sound effects and voice work are done on a professional level, but the musical score as well. Every action comes with the appropriate musical note, and if you don’t believe how good it is just listen to the opening. One thing about the opening though, I don’t understand why it is sung in Russian then in English. I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s not a complaint, but if I didn’t know Russian then I wouldn’t have understood the words which is bad cause these are good lyrics ( I’m one who likes meaning in a song ).
Also one minor thing that puzzles me is the title. I don’t get what Gig means. I thought 2nd meant that it is the 2nd season. But no, it is the 2nd Gig. So where is the 1st? The first season isn’t called Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex 1st Gig. It’s just Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex. So where is the 1st Gig? I don’t know, and I don’t even bother cause it’s to brilliant a series to get worked up over some title.
In conclusion this one is a must see. It isn’t necessary for you to watch the 1st to see the 2nd so I would recommend this one over the 1st if you don’t know with which one to start. So download it, sit back and have a good 2nd Gig marathon xD

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