Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

Today I decided to do a review of a great anime, and that one is Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. It has a serious political tone filled with action. It has a lot to offer, but it also has its little downsides. GitS takes place in the year 2030, in the fictional Japanese city of New Port. The series follows the exploits of Public Security Section 9, a special operations task-force made up of former military officers and police detectives. The series comprises individual cases and the underlying mystery of the Laughing Man. So as you can see, unlike most anime the plot doesn’t overcomplicate so you can have an easier time following the story. Since it’s the year 2030 you can guess that a lot of shit happened before, like… 2 World Wars. Yeah, WW3 and WW4. Now how cool is that. And the world isn’t shown like it destroyed itself or anything, it’s still intact and the people are rebuilding it. The anime has a good way of showing not just a good sci-fi imagination, but also a good ,,what if” scenario. But the most important thing is how well it shows Section 9 as a secret special ops team. Unlike other anime, when you see special ops members, they are shown like people with irresponsible or carefree or cool and badass behavior, not like a true special ops member should behave. That type of anime usually focus more on action, so you can’t blame them if those members are behaving as they are, because they do so for the sake of the action. But here they are behaving like true professionals. That’s not to say that there isn’t action. But it isn’t as intense as it would be like in Full Metal Panic or Dragon Ball or other action anime, but it feels more realistic. Add the fact that some of the members are cyborgs and you get one good recipe of entertainment.
I also like the cast here. We have the 9 core members of Section 9 and the Tachikomas, cute blue robots with machine guns that become self aware. So first let’s talk about the 9 core members. I already said that they are professionals and that they are members of this special task force, but that doesn’t mean that they are similar. Each individual is an expert in his own domain. I mean, all these 9 aren’t special in the same field, like they all have something in common and that’s why this group was formed, but every one of them has expertise in a certain domain and to accomplish a certain objective, he needs the help of the other members. So it gives the feeling of teamwork and gives importance to every individual. Also the central character, Major Motoko offers sex appeal to the series cause when she’s in uniform she dresses... provocatively. And there are also the Tachikomas. Not only they are a good combat asset, but as the series progress they play more important roles in the story and they become self aware which I believe was meant for comic relief. I say ,,It was meant” because they didn’t quite achieve this purpose. And while I’m at it I’d like to advise you not to expect comedy here. At the end of each episode they have like a small scene of the Tachikomas which are supposed to be funny, but… well I’m not about to criticize Japanese humor, cause a westerner like me doesn’t understand it, but… didn’t they know that shit like that won’t be understood in OTHER countries? It’s not a big flaw, I didn’t pay much attention to it cause I didn’t expect comedy here, it’s not needed, but if you’re gonna do some comedy then do it right.
But even though the series is good, it’s not to say that there aren’t flaws. Fortunately for me there is only one, but one that hampers the experience. There is A LOT of talking. And all of that talk is important. But usually they discuss political factors, or history or philosophy. But all of that is important because that’s how they get to a final conclusion or say a key element in the plot. Or you have to discover it yourself in all that talk. It's hard to explian. But it gets boring, and sometimes you can skip it, but most of the times you have to endure it. Most of the talk is about the Laughing Man and some Stand Alone philosophy, but I didn’t quite get it all, so the Laughing Man still remained a bit of a mystery for me, so I had to read Wikipedia to figure him out and that’s no fun. Others may not ecounter such problems, remember these are my reviews, which mean my opinion, but still, there must be other people who share my view.
The presentation is top level, background has a lot of lighting and gives the feel of a city, character models are all distinctive and give personality, visual effects are great and the Tachikomas are absolutely cute. The sound is also done right. Voice work is professional ( guess they were paid good ), sound effects are real and the music always accompanies the right mood and setting. Plus I like the opening.
Overall this is an awesome anime that’s worth watching. It has the issue of overcomplicated conversations but luckily all of that is addressed in the second season called Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig for which I will do a separate review.


Anonymous said...

Don't think I'll post more than once but hey, I tried. So... review is in English... Comment is in English... and I'm to lazy to actually write everything I think you got wrong. But there is one thing: if you're to be "mean and funny" don't forget the "funny". Motoko dresses like a slut. Well... this is actually cliché in sci-fi and all the other related genres. And no.. "slut" didn't make me laugh. Could've been a lot less intrusive to say something like "She dresses like Wonder Woman" and make a small intentionally crappy gif. Don't know if it's funny but take it as a safety measure so you don't piss of your readers. Oh... and take these as friendly advices: 1)black is cool but it's a total eye-fuck for text. 2) Images tend to be blurry and stretched in header and footer, fix it. 3) Where there's a will there's a way... keep searching for that "way" and you'll get there. Cheers.

Hyperion said...

i would appreciate to know all the facts i got wrong for the sake of prevention of future mistakes and thank for the good advice

but you kinda lost me on point 3

Sapphire Pyro said...

when this series was popular, it was during the time wherein I only appreciate fluffy shoujo and action shounen, not the serious and deep types. so I didn't bother to watch it before.

but now that I'm into this kind of thing, I wanna see it badly. I hear so many good stuff about it. I hope I can watch ti soon *_*

Animenerdz said...

should really check it out...never have the time