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Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, 2nd Gig #2 PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Saturday, 25 March 2006 00:00
Volume 2 (Cover Art)Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex returns for another volume, as the Individual Eleven begin to make their presence known.  Unfortunately, rather than being at the forefront of the fight against this new enemy, Section 9 find themselves pushed more and more into the background, as Goda seems to be pulling the strings, leaving the Major and Batou more and more frustrated...

5 - Inductance
A death threat has been made against the Prime Minister following the repeal of the Refugee Special Action Policy.  The letter carrying the threat carries a logo that's also appeared in connection with a number of other recent attacks, so Section 9 are called in to provide protection for the PM until the threat can be neutralised.  What information they have points back to the "Individual Eleven", the group that claimed responsibility for a terrorist raid back in volume one, while there are also parallels to the killing of a Japanese in the early 20th Century that was also carried out by a group that became known as the Indiviual Eleven.  Enough of the history - can Motoko and Section 9 prevent history from repeating itself..?

Unwelcome GiftAttacker revealed

6 - Excavations
Kanji Kotan, a suspect in a blackmail case, has just turned up dead - at first glance an accident, but on closer investigation it appears he was murdered.  Just before his death, Kotan had contacted a reporter, promising to give him details on a major story involvong the Energy Ministry - the organisation he'd been trying to blackmail.  With most of Section 9 still assigned to protecting the Prime Minister, Togusa's assigned to find out what happened - but Togusa's not the only person looking for information on Kotan's untimely end...

All that remainsTogusa find an ally

7 - Pu239
The Prime Minister has received another letter from the Individual Eleven, this time warning that they plan to attack a top-secret tramsport carrying plutonium fuel rods from the nuclear reactor uncoverd last episode.  Plutonium isn't the sort of thing you want falling into the hands of terrorists, so once again Section 9 are called upon to do the PM's dirty work - and that's really beginning to get on Batou's nerves.  Adding Goda to the mission doesn't help his mood, either...

Ready to goHere comes trouble

8 - Fake Food
Motoko's had one of her men run a background check on Goda - she's becoming ever more suspicious of him and wants to know who she's dealing with, but details on him are sketchy at best.  While that investigation isn't really going anywhere, they're having more luck with the Individual Eleven - or at least, the member who had attacked the Prime Minister, who has been identified as Sho Kawashima, a former SDA member.  Motoko's ordered to bring Kawashima in for questioning,  but as with most of Section 9's mssions that's easier said than done.  Meanwhile, Goda knows more than he's letting on to Section 9 and seems to be involved in some scheming of his own...

Analysing the evidenceKnowing more than he should

Is the "Individual Eleven" one man or many?  Just who is Goda working for - his own personal agenda or someone else?  Why are Section 9 being sidelined?  Is the PM a victim in all of this or somehow pulling the strings?  Those are just a few of the questions that came to mind while I was watching this volume, and none of them have been answered yet.  It's fairly clear that Goda knows a lot more about what's going on than he's telling everyone, and he seems to be playing Section 9 and others for fools as his maneuvering continues to catch them off-guard.  He's definitely the most enigmatic of th characters in this series, and one to watch.

The end result of this volume's "missions" is that the Major and her men are becoming more and more disgruntled at being used for jobs that should really be other peoples' work, while their reason-for-being becomes more and more sidelined.  It'll be interesting to see just how far Motoko allows this to continue before something snaps.

As far as the style of these episodes go, eps 5-7 are fairly typical action-based episodes, with Togusa's detective work in episode 6 bringing back memories of the Innocence movie.  There's some movie-style philosophising in episode 8 as well, something that SAC fortunately keeps to a minimum.  It's difficult to put a finger on precisely why, but these episodes are missing something that keeps them from being quite as appealing as volume one was.  That's not to say it's a bad volume - there's still plenty here to keep the attention, but the urge to keep going just wasn't there.  Still worth watching, but Stand Alone Complex has shown itself capable of being better than these episodes manage to be.

Rating - ***

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