Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex #5 Print
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R2 DVD Reviews
Written by maehara   
Wednesday, 24 January 2007 00:00
GitS:SACTogusa makes some progress on the trail of the laughing man while the Major gets a trip to London (sadly on business) and the rest of the team deal with a kidnapping and an attempted assassination.  Just another day at the Section 9 office, then...

17 - Angel's Share / The Truth Behind the Unfinished Romance
Aramaki and Kusanagi take a trip to London to attend an international anti-terrorism conference, and Aramaki takes the opportunity while there to visit an old friend who has found herself in a bit of trouble.  She's convinced the bank she's working for is covering a mob-run money laundering operation, but a bungled attempt by two ex-mob members to gather enough information to keep the mob off their backs results in Aramaki being taken prisoner, leaving Kusanagi to use her feminine wiles to infiltrate the building and rescue the hostages...

Old flame?In hiding

18 - Lost Heritage / Assassination Duet
Charged with protecting a visiting Chinese dignitary during the commemorations for Japan and China's war dead, Aramaki and Section 9 uncover what appears to be an assassination plot.  As the team searches for the assassin, Aramaki visits the memorial of Hideo Tsujisaki, an old friend from his days working for intelligence.  There, he meets Tsujisaki's daughter, who tells him about the disturbing behaviour of his deceased friend's son & asks for his help in finding out what he's up to.  Could he be the assassin..?

Worried daughterFinal defiance

19 - Captivated
When the daughter of a disgraced but still powerful former Prime Minister is kidnapped with no apparent motive behind the crime, Section 9 is called in.  The investigation turns into a political minefield when it becomes apparent that the perpetrators are members of "Blindfold Ivan", a group involved in the black-market organ trade and whose existence had been denied by the former PM.  Batou and Togusa are assigned to check out possible holding locations for the girls who have been kidnapped, in the hope of tracking them down before their bodyparts can be harvested...


20 - Re-View / Deleted Medicine
Togusa once again finds himself on the trail of the Laughing Man as a new lead is unearthed during his investigations into the disappearance of a list of patients who have been treated with a secret vaccine.  It's his belief that someone in the top levels of the Ministry of Health, Labour & Welfare is behind the Laughing Man, or at least protecting him - but he needs to find proof of that.  The information trail leads through the missing list of vaccine recipents to the Sunflower Society, an organisation that helps individuals take legal action against government and corporations - but his digging also attracts the attention of people desperate to prevent the information he's uncovered from becoming public...

Checking with the bossQuestioning

Episode 17 is one of those rare episodes where Aramaki's the star - having ended up on the wrong end of the hostage situation, he's the brains behind manipulating his captors while waiting for the Major to find a way to get them out of the situation, and ultimately getting sweet revenge on the man behind his friend's problems.  It certainly makes a change from watching him give out orders.

Episode 18 digs into some of the stranger things that GitS's modern technology lets you do with a person's mind.  Yu started acting strangely after receiving his late father's portable terminal on his 16th birthday.  Through that terminal, his father was able to download at least a portion of his personality into his son, allowing him to live on - but the way it was done, the father was essentially the lead personality.  Would that count as "killing" his son, in the mental sense?  I admit that some of the cyberbrain hacking & manipulation that goes on in this series goes over my head, and for me would be a good reason not to have any such modifications made - it seems to be far too easy for the unscrupulous to use the technology against you.  Makes you wonder if Microsoft provides the operating systems.

The final episode sees S9's investigation into the Laughing Man begin to step on the toes of others in government authority - the response to Togusa's investigation is a fairly strong indication that someone in the Ministry doesn't want him digging any further.  It's a cliffhanger episode, sadly, so the resolution will need to wait for the next volume, but that side of the story is definitely beginning to heat up now, with S9 clearly straying into areas that are going to get them into trouble down the line, depending on how much power those behind the Laughing Man are able to wield.  I suppose the arc dealing with the Special Investigation Unit and the attempt on the police commisioner's life earlier in the series should have been a pointer that the Laughing Man was an "inside job" of sorts, but this confirms it.

Overall, then, another good set of episodes.  The Laughing Man arc is beginning to pick up & become more interesting than it had been earlier in the series, while the stand-alone episodes here are all of a good standard.  It's always a surprise to me how consistent GitS:SAC manages to be - there are very few turkeys in the series and plenty to keep the attention.  All we need now is the return of the Tachikoma, and I'll be a happy viewer indeed.  Well worth watching.

Rating - ****

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