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Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex #7 PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Wednesday, 07 February 2007 00:00
GitS:SACAnother day, another series done - normally not really worth a mention, but when the series is as good as Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, it takes on the feel of the end of an era.  I'm just glad I wasn't following this as it was released, or I'd have gone quickly nuts.  Section 9 have uncovered the identity of the Laughing Man - and created a whole heap of trouble for themselves in the process...

24 - Annihilation / Stand Alone
After news leaks out of Section 9's involvement in the latest "attempt" to kidnap the president of Serrano Genomics, the government orders the team to be disbanded.  While Aramaki is taken away and Togusa is arrested, Motoko assembles the remaining team at headquarters for one final mission - to prepare for a full-scale assault while the Elite troopers and Armed Suits descend on Section 9 Headquarters.  Events are about to take a deadly turn for the worse..!

Presenting the evidenceDefence

25 - Barrage / Smoke of Power, Hail of Bullets
Following the raid on their headquarters, the remaining members of Section 9 are rounded up one by one by the government forces.  The last two survivors, Batou and Motoko are separated. Batou goes in search of the Major and heads to her apartment even though he's sure it's under surveillance.  Once inside, he realises he has fallen into a trap.  Is this the end for Batou or will help arrive in the nick of time..?  Aramaki, meanwhile, uses what contacts he can to try and protect his team, but their fear of being on the wrong end of a losing battle limits his options...

Tears of a TachikomaBatou & the Major

26 - Stand Alone Complex / Redux
Motoko had a theory: that an individual Ghost could survive as an individual within the Net.  After the military's attempt to kill her, she gets her chance to find out if she's right.  Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the Section 9 purge, Togusa is released from jail, but his badge and gun are confiscated and he is given papers confirming the dissolution of Section 9.  Out of work and depressed, he tries to find information on the others, but turns up nothing.  Grief stricken and thinking that he has nothing left to lose, he attempts to seek vengeance on those he believes are responsible for the deaths of his friends.  What has happened to Section 9 and where is the Major?

Togus goes looking for revengeLaughing Man

By this stage of the show, the real Laughing Man's involvement in events is pretty much done - he makes a brief appearance in episode 26 as a way of tying things up, and that's about it.  Episodes 24 & 25 are the real meat of the story, looking at the disbandment and subsequent round-up of Section 9 - which goes out of its way to generate a real "wtf!?" feeling from the audience - while episode 26 finally explains exactly what's been going on for the past 3-4 episodes or so.  And it takes a little explaining, believe me.

While there's a lot of explosive action here - all paced so quickly you barely get a chance to take it all in - it's the political side of things that you need to pay attention, as that's where everything is flowing from.  Section 9, by exposing a senior politican, find themselves being made the fall guys so that the Prime Minister can present some heads on a platter now, rather than letting things fester until after elections.  Motoko and the others have the information to put the record straight, but first they have to survive the military's efforts to bump them all off - that's easier said than done, but essential if Aramaki's plans are to pay off, and it's a real roller coaster ride watching it all unfold.

One nice touch is the return of some of the Tachikomas - while most have been wiped or dismantled, some managed to escape from the lab (seeing one working in a care home was a surprise - and the personality's almost perfectly suited to it).  When they see the news about S9 on the TV, there's a common decision that they have to do something to help, and it's good to see them back in action.

Also curious is the number of times the Major changes bodies or uses a fully remote-controlled version of herself - something that works so well as a decoy method that you wonder if nobody else has thought of it.  I certainly hadn't - although since the trick wasn't used in 2nd Gig that I can recall, it may just have been a convenient plot gimmick here.

Once everything has been explained in episode 26, the events of the series all slot nicely into a story that's fairly easy to understand, and very satisfying in its resolution - justice is done, and not too many of the good guys suffer in the process.  After being wary of the hype arround GitS:SAC for so long, I'm really glad I finally put my misgivings to one side and watch the show - it's been one of the best I've seen in a while, with very little in the way of scenes or episodes that I thought were a waste of time.  Thoroughly enjoyable throughout, and well worth picking up.

Rating - *****

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