Hello and welcome back to my review of the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. As I expected, this episode is pretty light compared to the previous Laughing Man episodes. However, it was beautiful and action-packed in moments. Anyway, let’s get started.
Marcelo Jarti, a drugs trafficker, foreign revolutionary leader and one of the world’s most wanted criminals, has just landed in Japan. Marcelo has been visiting the country regularly for months, and the Major is keen to find out why? However, there are reports of an assassination attempt on the drug kingpin, but after checking his ghost signature, an agent confirms Marcelo is still alive and well. Marcelo meets with a local crime lord at the Newport Hotel, and the Major goes undercover.
Unfortunately, a team of narcotics investigators have also decided to bust into the hotel, leaving nothing but death and destruction in their path. Marcelo and Gondo, the crime lord, manage to escape with the Major’s help. Togusa tries to follow the suspects but is soon left behind. Luckily, the team find a factory nearby that shows suspicious spikes in power activity, leaving the Major with only one place to investigate.
Inside the plant, Batou, Togusa and the Major all find Marcelo. However, it turns out they are all separate clones. Once the team have taken control of the situation, they learn this is a cloning facility and find the real Marcelo Jarti inside a ghost dubbing machine. Section 9 take control of the facility, but later they decide to release a new Jarti clone anyway. Marcelo was also responsible for freeing his country from a military dictatorship, and if the Jenoma Government found out about his death, it could bring trouble for its people. He is a symbol of hope for those that need it, and that illusion is worth keeping.
Okay, reading through this story made this episode seem a little bland, but I enjoyed the simplicity of it. I’m not saying the storytelling is simple because you are already curious about Marcelo Jarti. His reputation is conflicting, and you wonder who we are going to see in this episode, the drug trafficker or the revolutionary leader?
“Things seem to have gotten out of hand”
I have watched the scene at the Newport Hotel a couple of times now, and it is spectacular. It was such a great idea to have Motoko take over the ghost of a maid robot. Inside the room that Marcelo and Gondo are meeting, there isn’t much the Major can do but observe the situation. However, as the narcotics team enter the landing and the brute of a giant bodyguard starts shooting the hallway up, the operation falls apart at the seams.
The maid takes a bullet to the head, and Motoko no longer has eyes at the scene. The Major then drops down to the hotel, leaving a Tachikoma to shoot out the windows. The Run Rabbit Junk music starts, and the Major takes out two androids escorts with brutal force. The editing is pretty much perfect, and the whole sequence only lasts a few minutes, but the impact is immense. It was a little reminder of how great the original movies are and is everything I hoped for in starting this series.
I guess there is only the ending to talk about, but when Section 9 catches up with Marcelo, it feels like the story ended pretty quickly. Okay, watching the Major having a final battle with Jarti and then taking out a second clone was pretty great. Batou is comical as always, and Togusa is always a cool character. I did notice the silence helped build up a bit of tension, so I enjoyed that. My favourite moment is when we finally meet the real Marcelo Jarti. I am not a religious person, but I find some comfort in religious artefacts and pictures. At first, it reminded me of something from the Bhagavad Gita or Hinduism, but I suppose it’s more like the Japanese Shinto gods. I know very little about these religions, but I have always admired them.
The power of an idol is pretty intense, and I could think about some terrible stories in the media when the military has covered up atrocities and tried to create the hero narrative. However, this story also reminded me about Curt Claudio! Curt had become slightly obsessed with John Lennon in 1971 and travelled from California to Lennon’s home in Tittenhurst in the UK. Curt was sleeping rough in the bushes around Lennon’s house and thought the music star could help fix his problems. In the video below, Lennon talks to Curt and tries to explain the reality of the situation instead.
I enjoyed this episode, and it was enough of a break from the previous episodes to keep me interested in the series. Have you watched Idolater, and what are your thoughts about it? I would love to hear from you in the comments below. Thank you for visiting today, and if you enjoyed reading my review and would like to follow my journey through the stand-alone complex: series, please follow my site.
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