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Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, 2nd Gig #6 PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Monday, 13 November 2006 00:00
Cover ArtAfter several volumes where nothing of major importance really happened, Ghost in the Shell finally produces a volume where if you blink, you'll miss something.  Three words: It's about time.  Over the course of these three episodes, "friend" and "foe" are seemingly redefined, as Section 9 find that despite past events, Kuze may just be someone they'll need to work with to defeat Goda's plans...

21 - Embarrassment
Batou's initial confidence when he meets Kuze soon evaporates - for someone whose prosthetic body is mean to be nearing the end of its design life, he's surprisingly strong and agile, and the result is a humiliating defeat for Batou - although Kuze at least doesn't make use of his chance to finish Batou permanently.  Saito & the Major, meanwhile, are having their own problems, allowing Kuze to get his boat & cargo away.  Aware that Kuze will be heading for Nagasaki, Motoko plans to follow him in the tilt-rotor - but it seems Kuze's planned even for that.  Even Kuze can be fooled, though...

Kuze gains the upper handSuspicions

22 - Reversal Process
Back to Fukuoka, the scene of the Individual Eleven's group suicide, and a city from where 35 million people have been evacuated after a tactical nuclear warhead was discovered in the Kyushu Broadcasting tower.  To the media, it's another act of terrorism by refugees, but it looks like once again Goda and the Cabinet Intelligence Service are once again involved.  While a team led by the Major is sent to defuse the bomb, Aramaki tries to persuade the Prime Minister to avoid reacting in the way Goda obviously wants her too - but political pressure is becoming hard for her to resist.  When Batou gets a chance to ask Goda for some answers, he doesn't get the answers he expected...

DefusingFriendly chat?

23 - Martial Law
Having realised that Section 9 have one-upped him, Goda begins planning to retrieve his plutonium before it can be linked to the CIS.  The Prime Minister, meanwhile, has been unable to veto a decision to deploy troops to Dejima - meaning war is looking increasingly likely and her own position is looking increasingly precarious.  On one level it looks like Kuze and Goda may be getting their way, but aware that Kuze still has a level of free will to operate beyond Goda's influence, Motoko turns to him for help in bringing the situation back from the brink.  Will he respond?

Hunter and preyMessage received

There's finally a feeling with these episodes that 2nd Gig's story is finally beginning to come together - I can't help but wish it had happened a little sooner, as the way the standalone episodes have been placed this season has left the pacing of the series feel decidedly off.  Still, that's in the past, and there can be no complaints abot the pacing of these episodes, which rush non-stop through a series of events that S9 must deal with, not always successfully, while Goda and Kuze increasingly look to have the upper hand.

Events in the political arena have a major impact on S9's activities, too - part of the manoevuering that's going on relates to attempts by the cabinet old-guard to remove the Prime Minister, who looks increasingly out of her depth in dealing with their scheming.  Aramaki has become her last confidante and her last hope of holding on to her position, but by the end of the disc things are not looking good.  The increasing urgency is reflected in the way that Motoko evenutally turns to the man they're meant to be hunting, Kuze, as her own last hope for resolving the situation.  Cue cliffhanger, as the credits roll before we get to know Kuze's response.

This disc is uniformly good - the story simply doesn't stop to draw breath, and it's one of those rare discs were you really don't notice the time passing, you're so engrossed in what's going on.  It's not very often that I can get that into a show, and 2nd Gig scores definite bonus points for achieving it.

Three episodes to go, then, and I've got no reason at this point not to expect a suitable explosive finally.  Especially with all that plutonium on the loose.  I wasn't sure what to expect when I started 2nd Gig, but now for all the right reasons I can't wait for the conclusion.

Rating - ****

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