Well, it’s been a while since I last visited the stand-alone complex, but it’s good to be back. However, I recently revisited the live-action film from 2017. The movie was interesting, considering I am becoming more familiar with these characters. A Perfect Day for a Jungle Cruise was found to be too dramatic for some television studios, warning viewers of its strong adult content. Thankfully, adult content is what I enjoy.
A lone man stands at an empty crossroads late at night. A large knife is raised before a woman tied to a chair. A stranger is filming this gruesome murder as he removes her skin with the blade, leaving her to die. The Section 9 team are trying to piece together the multiple murders that have happened across the city. Batou explains that the murders are not systematic, religious or political. The victims have had their skin removed in the shape of a t-shirt and left to die, but why? They have a suspect, Marco Amoretti, a former American Navy Officer, and the CIA are present for the investigation, so the American is apprehended before he strikes again.
Togusa and Batou are out on the streets, looking for clues at one of the crime scenes. Batou suddenly reawakens a haunting nightmare from his past. The Major can sense a lot of anger and frustration from Batou, warning the team to keep an eye out for him, especially Togusa, who sits beside him in the car. Togusa admits that something isn’t right with the big man. Back at headquarters, the agents explain that they hope to close this case quickly but are interrupted by the news that data discs containing videos of the murders have found their way to a local market. Why would the killer do this? That is Amoretti’s objective, explains Batou, and again, images of war play over and over in his mind.
Ishikawa is frustrated with the interference of their visitors from the CIA, and the Major leads away one of the agents so he can take a closer look into their database. What is Project Sunset? Batou explains that trained soldiers would make their way into local villages, slaughtering the women and children to spread fear amongst the civilians. Batou believes Amoretti is still fighting that war and trying to spread that fear within the city. Another video is released, and a seventh victim is attacked. Thankfully, she is not dead, as Batou and Togusa manage to locate her in time. The CIA officer explains that the victim’s skin grafts will be sufficient, not perfect. Batou explodes and is ready to spill blood. Suddenly, the CIA agent offers up one last piece of vital information. Amoretti is hiding in the sewer system, which makes sense to Togusa because all the attacks run along the pipeline.
Batou goes down into the sewer to face Amoretti, but interference underground takes him offline. The Major finally understands the agent’s motives. The CIA want Amoretti eliminated and wants Batou to carry out that task. Finally, Batou comes face to face with his past. Gunshots blaze between the pair, but Batou comes out with the upper hand. Amoretti admits defeat and asks to be skinned alive, just like his victims. Rage increases within Batou, and he fires his gun towards his capture. The soldier is still, bullet holes lodged in the brickwork beside his head. Batou’s war has ended, and he is now an officer in this city. The agents arrest Amoretti and return to America with the killer.
It has always seemed that Batou is fighting an internal battle, and it’s good to see some of his background story. His previous role as a soldier has made him isolated. However, you also begin to understand how closely Section 9 work together as a team. The CIA agents are not welcome into this inner world, nor do they fit into it. It is plain to see Amoretti is the killer in this episode, but we also understand that the CIA agents are just as guilty. It surprises me how the writers use real-life agencies from across the globe and are happy to mention the atrocities of war and all the classified information that goes along with it. However, it is pretty powerful and only adds to the authenticity of the stories.
Given that this is a stand-alone episode, my hopes of this storyline continuing are diminishing. However, I want to know what happened to turn Amoretti into a killing machine. The flashbacks from the war are powerful but give nothing away. I guess you always leave your viewers wanting more and the writing in this episode is precise in its execution; pardon the pun. Thankfully, Batou has found someone or something more meaningful in his life that can help him overcome his nightmares. It certainly brings more meaning to Batou and the Major’s friendship.
What about the graphic content? Well, I am a bit desensitised with all the horror books I have been consuming since Halloween. On the other hand, I find that warfare is the actual frightening element of this episode. Highlighting the adult content without understanding the real message of the story is everything I expect from day-to-day reality. I don’t want to air my personal views about war, but I think most fans of Ghost in the Shell respect the value of the individual. Overall, a fantastic episode and a series that I am still enjoying. Next up, Episode Eleven. In the Forest of Imagoes.