Ghost in the Shell, Stand Alone Complex. Episode 9, The Man Who Dwells in the Shadows of the Net.


It’s great to be back in the world of the Standalone Complex. I feel like this project is taking its time, and reviewing one episode at a time amongst other projects is not an easy task. I might have to change the way I do this for season two. However, the show is becoming far more than I first expected, and my enjoyment of the franchise is well worth the hours. I managed to pick up The Ghost in the Shell, Deluxe Edition Hardcover in a second-hand book shop in Liverpool for seven English pounds! I can’t wait to read and review that book, but reading from right to left will be a new experience for me. Still, it looks beautiful, and I will be starting that very soon. Anyway, let’s get started with episode nine, Chat! Chat! Chat! 



Kusanagi is still determined to leave no stone unturned when it comes down to the Laughing Man case. Online, the Major visits a chat room. The room discusses, uncovers, and inspects every bit of information they can find about this case. However, it seems that most of the avatars are merely speculating and not coming up with any solid information that can solve any questions the Major wants to answer. During the virtual meeting, an older man finally begins to talk about something that becomes very valuable to the Major. Kusanagi pulls the man from the room, finds out what he knows and warns him that this could be a lot of trouble for him if the wrong people find out what he has uncovered. However, back in the room, the Major and another guest are suddenly transferred out of the chat room. In the final moment, did she catch a glimpse of the Laughing Man?



After watching this episode, you start to realise that the writers on this show are operating on a very high level. The Laughing Man case has a very intricate storyline, and the audience needs to be reminded of that. However, to use a chat room to bring us all back into the loop is a fantastic writing prompt. The episode is full of information and still gives me more questions than answers to ponder? What is Sorento’s connection with Laughing Man? Why did Nanao suddenly change his entire modus operandi? Are these attacks down to a single person or a group venture? At this point, I don’t have any idea of where this is going, but I admire that.

The storyline is complicated, and I think there will be a lot of twists and turns before the Laughing Man is revealed. As I said earlier, how the writer or writers deliver all this information is brilliant. I think the guests and moderators in the chat room represent the audience. Okay, maybe they are giving us a little bit more insight into the evidence, but you forget that we are just getting slapped around the head with all the information we might have forgotten. However, you believe in the characters and go along on the journey.

The avatar of an older man finally reveals something new to the Major, something that might bring her one step closer to the laughing Man. Kusanagi hacks his avatar and interrogates him about the information, and this is when the episode works on another level for me. I suppose it’s a real fear of technology, and how that could be incorporated into a human body is what appeals to me about the Ghost in the Shell. I suppose this chat room could be a reality by now, with the popularity of VR. However, when the episode ends, you soon realise this is all happening in the cybernetic brains of its guests. The Major is literally driving around the city as the episode plays out. That is a unique perspective and sounds pretty cool.

What intrigues me about this technology is that an individual can be hacked. In reality, our thoughts are our own and imagine having someone look inside your mind and then discuss it with you without your consent. Scary stuff, it’s like violating someone on a subconscious level we can’t achieve, and that does not sound pretty cool at all. Back to the story, however. Kusanagi flexes her power over the older man, but, interestingly, someone with far more intelligence gives her a taste of her own medicine. What a superb way to end the episode and let the viewer realise that the Laughing Man is watching Kusanagi. The Major is almost insignificant at this point, and the real power lies elsewhere.

It was good to go back and take a closer look at the case before moving on. I enjoyed looking at the iconography of the Laughing Man and his almost godlike status. Thankfully, I can now go and watch the next episode. One episode at a time may be time-consuming, but it’s rewarding. I enjoyed this episode a lot. It delivered everything it needed smartly and uniquely. I couldn’t have asked for more.

Thank you for visiting today. Have you watched this episode before, and what do you think about it? Please let me know in the comments below. Next time I will be looking back at The Ghost in the Shell, 2017. So, if you fancy a bit of that, please follow my site for my future posts. Adios and take care.

Ghost in the Shell Anthology.