Stand Alone Complex 2
Alex: Ghost in the Shell is a phenominal franchise, abit a slightly intimidating one. Containing 2 TV series, 7 movies and a lot of OVA stuff and bonus episodes, its actually really daunting to start.After finally plucking up the courage to get on with it, I was blown away by how amazing the first season was. With a top class plot, setting, it had everything apart from the top class characters. You liked them, but you didn’t get the chance to know very much about them, or to understand them. The only one you really got introduced to is the female lead, Major Kusanagi. She’s cool and all, and she was one of the first people to adopt a cyber-body. She also has trouble balancing her work life and her real life, to the point where her real life doesn’t exist. The rest of the characters just got sprinkled on, but that’s hardly a bad thing when they’re using such thought-provoking ideals such as what makes a robot who can think different than a human, and the whole approach to “cyberization” of the human-kind.
For you to fully understand what a the title here means, you need to watch Season 1. And i’d strongly suggest you do, it’s really really good :3 With stronger characters it could become a fully fledged masterpiece, so it’s lucky the characters take the front seat in this series, as Public Security Section 9 deal with a surge in terrorist threats from a group calling themselves the Individual Eleven.Whilst at first the plot does seem a little bit weak, and mostly focusing on complicated political struggles, the plot certainly picks up towards the second half, with rebellions being ready to form, and figureheads from the refugees of World War IV emerge.
Granted, I would have liked to have seen a little bit more of exactly WHY the refugees are so hated, since it’s never made entirely clear. Then again, you could probably compare it to our modern society, with the black and white colored people, even though its on a much more drastic scale.It’s made clear that refugees aren’t popular among the citizens anymore, though, and that’s all that you need to know to get to grips with the plot. It’s just a shame that it doesn’t go into even greater detail, as there’s a fair amount of detail behind it.
Just like in the first series, it’s got a fair amount of case-based episodes, and then some key plot episodes, all dotted together to tell one oversized story. As such, even though some of the episodes may not give you very much detail to the characters, i’d strongly suggest watching them, just to gain a stronger insight into the futuristic haven these characters live in.
Now, the weak point of the first franchise: the characterization.Thankfully, all the characters get touched upon and developed, and it even leads to backstory of the wars, and how some of them got scouted and recruited by the major.It isn’t perfect characterization, and some of it gets left to your imagination, but that’s the kind of series this is.
However, the climax in this series is probably among the best ones i’ve seen. It uses the full power of everything from the last 50-so episodes in order to create a badass, awesome, and emotionally powerful climax. And even rarer, this was the first anime i’ve seen in which the good-guys didn’t manage to burst in and save the day. It felt like a proper battle, where nobody won.
To summarize, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2 is a more than worthy sequel, telling a detailed and in depth story of political warfare, discrimination and terrorism. It’s very complicated in select areas, but if you’re able to focus, you’ll get a story that’s hard to find. Whilst the characters are lacking just a little bit of that final development apart from the lead, it’s entirely left to your imagine, just like parts of the real world. The overall villain isn’t as strong as the Laughing Man, but it doesn’t try to be, and he’s a unique and intriguing badguy, a dying breed in anime. It’s more than worth any anime fans attention, and it has more than earnt the hype it has throughout. You don’t have an excuse not to have this sci-fi classic on your plan-to-watch list or to have already seen it.
(9.9 to be precise, but Mimi doesn’t like me using decimal numbers~)