a whole world of anime

Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 0
Blu-ray Reviews
Thursday, 26 April 2012 00:00
Ghost in the Shell: Solid State SocietyGood franchises never die, they just keep going until nobody cares anymore (I once held Star Trek up as the perfect example of that effect, but then we got the reboot movie). Ghost in the Shell hasn't reached the "don't care" stage with me, though, so when the DVD version of the latest edition - feature length OVA Solid State Society - landed in the UK back in 2007 it got a hearty welcome from me - and now it's back for a Blu-ray re-release. Taking place in the Stand Alone Complex continuity, once again the real world is threatened by events in the virtual. Can the Major and Section 9 save the day - again..?

When a man involved in a terrorist plot hands himself over to Section 9, it results in the team becoming involved in an operation to prevent the attack that he was involved in. Colonel Ka Gael (formerly of the Saek Republic, but now living under asylum in Japan) and his son were implicated in the plot - Gael committed suicide when faced with arrest by S9, his son is under house arrest, and a number of other Saek Republic military men have apparently committed suicide in support of Colonel Ka. Gael's last words were a cryptic warning about the approach of "the Puppeteer" - S9's investigations suggest that The Puppeteer is a highly-skilled hacker who is not only responsible for the recent spate of suicides but is also behind a series of child abductions. But who is the Puppeteer and what is his connection to the so-called Solid State Society?

In the DarkBatou & Motoko

Things have changed within S9 since the end of 2nd Gig - with the Major gone, doing her own thing, Togusa has filled her role as commander (and has finally had to accept some artificial systems as a result), while S9 itself is a much bigger unit than it used to be. Aramaki is still in overall charge, though, and as ever spends as much time dealing with the political effects of the team's actions as he does with the operational. It soon becomes clear that the "suicides" were actually assassinations, set up to look like suicides to cover the tracks of those involved, but the expanding S9 investigation has trouble tracking down the culprits. What leads they have point to the "Solid State Society", but even then there's little evidence as to who or what that is - and it's a conundrum that Togusa and his team will have to solve if they're to resolve the original killings.

AramakiNot missing afterall

Solid State Society may be feature-length, but unlike the Ghost in the Shell movies it sticks to reasonably-understandable storylines and action, and doesn't try to blind you with literary knowledge and philosophising. That's definitely a good thing - the movies (particularly Innocence) had an awful habit of boring me to the point where I didn't want to continue, but that fortunately isn't an issue here. Where SSS maybe does fall down is in trying to be too complex for its own good, in places - the terrorist angle at the beginning of the show gives you the impression that the story's going to go in one direction, that's then replaced by another issue, before you're finally lead onto a third line of investigation that turns out to be the "correct" one. You need to be paying very close attention to the story, otherwise that progression and how it plays out could be more than a little confusing.

Tachikoma actionDead, but not useless

Visually, it's as impressive as you'd expect a Ghost in the Shell title to be - missing the drop-dead gorgeous set scenes of Innocence, perhaps, but then it hasn't had a theatrical budget lavished on it. The original DVD release looked damned good in its day, and this Blu-ray naturally kicks the transfer quality up a notch, to gives us a release that looks truly impressive. High production values have always been something GitS has been particularly noted for, and that hasn't changed here.

Overall, there's not a lot here that can be faulted - pacing, story and production values all stand up to scrutiny, with only a little over-complexity to the way the story plays out spoling things, but that's a minor issue. More of the Major would also have been nice - she does play a key role in the story, but with her no longer working for S9 she's not quite as central to the story as you'd maybe expect. Batou and Togusa take up the slack, but they're missing some of the Major's unique attributes. The main question, though, is: is Solid State Society worth picking up? The answer: absolutely.

Rating - ****

blog comments powered by Disqus