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Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex #4 PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Friday, 19 January 2007 04:00
GitS:SACAn unusual kidnapping, an unusual tycoon, some unusual problems with the Tachikomas' AI - and not a sign of the Laughing Man to be seen.  At what point does a machine's AI stop to be an asset and become a liability?  The Major seems to believe the Tachikomas have passed that point - is this the end of the line for the little critters..?

13 - Not Equal
The Section 9 team is called in to rescue a young girl who has been kidnapped by an anti-cyberbrain terrorist group known as the Human Evolutionary Front.  Events soon take a turn for the strange when Aramaki reveals to the team that the missing girl, Tokura Eka, heir to the Tokura Electronics fortune, was kidnapped sixteen years ago.  He shows the team reconnaisance photos taken two days previously, and they reveal she hasn't aged a single day during the time she's been missing.  Kusanagi, Togusa, Batou and Paz infiltrate the terrorist's hideout - can they save the girl?  Is she the real Tokura Eka, an imposter, or something else..?

SurveillanceVictim?

14 - ¥€$
Section 9 set up a sting operation to capture a team of bank robbers who are determined to sabotage a number of Japanese corporations.  The operation is a success and the thieves are arrested, however, it is revealed that the gang's ringleader is a disgruntled Chinese investor seeking revenge on the Japanese companies that ruined him.  Soon S9 is locked in a deadly race against time to prevent the assassination of a prominent yet reclusive Japanese multi-millionaire.  Can they find Mr Kanemoto before the assassin reaches him, and what is the secret behind his tremendous wealth..?

Handy weaponToo late

15 - Machine Desirantes
During a routine research and development test, the Major's worries about Section 9's Tachikoma units comes to a head.  During the exercise, the Tachikomas sneak off with the cyberbrain from Saito's sniper system, hoping to fix some problematic bugs, but their efforts are considered unnecessary and potentially dangerous interference by the Major.  She decides that they should be brain-wiped and arranges to have them shipped off to a research lab to have the work done.  The Tachikomas, vaguely aware of Kusanagi's concerns, hatch a scheme to appeal to the Major and prevent their deactivation...

One machine to anotherFriends

16 - AG20
The Tachikomas are tagged and ready to be shipped to S9's labs where they will be brain-wiped.  Meanwhile, Batou is ordered to investigate a possible information leak being perpetrated by a former acquaintance, the semi-retired professional fighter and Olympic silver medallist Pavlo Zaitsev.  This assignment, and his attachment to the Tachikomas, leads him to question his loyalty to S9 and the painful decisions it often forces him to make...

SparringAlmost spotted

Plenty of screentime for the Tachikomas here, which in one way is a good thing (I just love it when they start talking amongst themselves), but in another way it's possibly marking the end of the line for them, which wouldn't be so good.  When last seen in episode 16, they're on their way to the lab to be wiped - but they're not aware of that themselves, so their final goodbye to Batou takes on a significance that it otherwise wouldn't have.  You can understand why he may be a bit pissed off at the way they've been misled - they're more human in their actions than some humans would be.  Their fate is still uncertain, though, so there's hope for them yet.

Outside that, we're back into routine investigations for S9.  Episode 16's is the most straightforward - it's used more as a vehicle for Batou to work up his frustrations with the way his job's going than providing anything difficult for the team to uncover, but the focus on Batou and his own thoughts is a bit different from the norm and worth watching.

The first two episodes on the disc each provide their own little twist in the story, with episode 14's being particularly unexpected.  So often investigative shows get stuck in a predictable rut - GitS:SAC at least makes an effort to keep you on your toes and keep you thinking as events unfold, and while it doesn't always work as well as it could it does mean that it's rare to see any stories where you can figure out from the start how it's going to play out.

The lack of Laughing Man stories on this volume doesn't really bother me, as in places that story's almost too clever for its own good - these standalone stories are, for me, far more enjoyable, so this volume gets a definite thumbs-up.  Well worth the money.

Rating - ****

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