It seems that after watching the original Ghost in the Shell, 1995 and the sequel Innocence, my interest in this franchise is very much alive. That said, I feel like I don’t know much about the universe and who created it? Manga itself is a world I’m not too familiar with either. Hopefully, by the end of this project, I will understand its history and more about the people involved.
Next in my viewing order is Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex which first aired in October 2002. It was written and directed by Kenji Kamiyama and to my surprise; and pleasure. I have read that Kenji will write and direct an animated series, Blade Runner: Black Lotus and it will premiere in 2021. Its only January 1st but this year is already giving me something to look forward too. Anyway, enough of the chit chat, let’s get this thing started.
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The Major is back in action and protecting the streets once again. The Major is informed about a hostage incident that includes some high-ranking government officials and a foreign dignitary from the United States. Section 9 is tasked with resolving the crisis that is emerging in a geisha house. It’s not long before the Major and her team end the situation after taking down the geisha robots. Batou chases down a hacker who’s responsible for the attack, but the man wipes his memory before anyone can interrogate him.
A male in his early thirties is dead at the scene while the Minister’s secretary is now in intensive care, but why? It turns out the military is investigating the Japanese Foreign Minister after he became interested in the Ichinose Report. The report gives diplomatic and military information on what will happen in the event of a national crisis. Kubota asks Aramaki to help him with the case, and he will make sure section 9 will not take any responsibility for his actions. There doesn’t seem to any motive for the hostage situation, but camera footage shows the foreign dignitary going into a room with a geisha. It turns out that the Minister likes to swap bodies with them sometimes. Later the secretary also goes into the room, followed by the male, who was killed in the incident.
It’s not long before Togusa pieces the puzzle together, as he attends the scene of the crime. The Foreign Minister has had his cyberbrain switched, and an American intelligence agent is now using the Ministers body. The Foreign Minister is currently on the way to the airport, with the Ichinose report in hand. Section 9 manage to get a bit of luck, as the Minister has his flight delayed due to bad weather. Aramaki arrests the Minister and tells him that he will be removed from his public affairs. He will receive a full medical examination and answer accusations of spying. Good news soon follows as the secretary’s life will be saved, using cyborg implants. Section 9 has managed to stop sensitive information from leaving the country. It’s funny how the plane was delayed on such a beautiful day.
It was good to see the Major on the screen once again after watching the end of Innocence. I enjoyed watching her take out the geisha robots because it just looks so iconic and brutal. In this episode, it’s the character Togusa who stands out to me. There is an interesting scene between him and the Major as he takes target practice. The Major says he would benefit from becoming a full cyborg, funny, as he already has a cyberbrain? I like the humanity of Togusa and in some ways, he represents the viewer and their curiosity in cyborg technology. I hope we get to learn more about Togusa in the future and look at his relationship with the Major even more.
My favourite moment from the episode is when the Foreign Minister is at the airport and is scanning the Ichinose report. Seriously, how cool would it be to read barcodes like that and receive all the information you need in seconds. It just looked amazing and has got me excited for what’s next? I think twenty-five minutes runtime is pretty good for me personally. It gives me a bit more time to think about the story and how it affects the characters of the show.
Who created Ghost in the Shell?
Masanori Ota also known as his pen name, Masamune Shirow is the man responsible for bringing this franchise into this world along with some other work that has caught my eye. Black Magic and Appleseed are definitely graphic novels that I will be looking at purchasing the in the future. If you would like to know more about him, check out this amazing website in the link below. I actually feel like I’ve just opened Pandora’s box.