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Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, 2nd Gig #3 PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Saturday, 01 July 2006 00:00
Volume Three (Cover Art)The Major and her team return for another group of episodes, and their digging into Goda's past is beginning to pay off as a link is discovered to the Individual Eleven, while there's an interesting little detour into Kusanagi's own past.  Ghost in the Shell: SAC continues...

9 - Ambivalence
A terrorist group has announced their intention to carry out five suicide bombings with the next day, but has given no indication of where the attacks will be - leaving Section 9 running around picking up the pieces but unable to do anything to stop the attacks, until Batou spots a link between the sites attacked, refugee groupings, and locations where the Individual Eleven are suspected of meeting.  Will following up this new line of investigation be enough to help them prevent the fifth bombing?  Meanwhile, Kusanagi uses a little creative hacking to find out more about Goda's past...

Tachikoma at workShoot to protect?

10 - Trial
While driving home, Togusa nearly runs over a woman who's being chased by a gun-toting man.  Or at least, he appears to be a man - when Togusa gives chase and tries to stop the man's attack, he appears to be impervious to gunfire and despite Togusa's best efforts the woman is killed.  Unfortunately, firing his weapon while off-duty is an offence, so when the killer's family wheel out some high-powered lawyers to defend their son, Togusa himself ends up on trial...

Plea for helpIn the dock

11 - Affection
Kusanagi's been playing hide-and-seek - a training exercise in surveillance of a target for new recruits, and it hasn't been going too well for the trainees.  It makes for an easy day for the Major, and a rather dull one for Batou and Togusa, who have been monitoring the proceedings.  Come the end of the day, though, Batou finds he's unable to contact the Major, while Kusanagi finds herself trapped offline in an empty world, aware that her systems have apparently been hacked.  Or was it just a daydream?  When "normality" returns, she's not sure herself...

Memory storeLook familiar?

12 - Selecon

While Ishikawa, Borma and Togusa attempt to hack into the Individual Eleven's system, Section 9 is notified that one of their known members - Kuze, who attempted to assassinate the Prime Minister earlier in the season - has been spotted on CCTV cameras in Nagasaki.  Keen to capture him for the information he's likely to hold, Aramaki orders the Major to head to Nagasaki and try to bring Kuze in - although by the time Kusanagi and her team are on their way, he may have already given them the slip.  The trail leads to the Kyushu Tower, where he appears along with the other members of the Individual Eleven to make a very public statement...

PlanningThe end of the Individual Eleven?

One stand-alone episode, two that link with the main story but don't have a huge impact on it, and a final episode that gets back to the main "conspiracy" if you like.  In some ways, that mix may be a reason to complain about slow progress, but the way it all plays out, you don't really notice that the pacing is really quite slow - there's still enough going on to make sure that your attention never really gets a chance to wander.

For pure curiosity value, episode 11 is the best on the disc as it gives a rare - and slightly surreal - glimpse into Motoko's past, and a little of how she came to be who she is today - definitely a touching story, partly because there's no happy ending.  The other three episodes return to Goda's maneuvering and the actions of the Individual Eleven, but while you know this all needs to be paid attention to - it's the main thrust of the story, after all - it's still far from clear how this aspect of events is going to play out, and I'll admit that perhaps a little feeling of "get on with it" was beginning to creep in by the end of the disc.  Goda's link with the Individual Eleven was a surprise, as were their actions at the end of the disc, but the constant behind-the-scenes scheming he seems to be involved with just seems par for the course.  Whatever he's planning, I'm beginning to wish he'd just get on with it.

I'll still happily admit to enjoying Ghost in the Shell: SAC far more that I had expected to when I started, though.  Some of the characters remain a little under-developed and I like a little more clarity to my stories than what you get here, but it's engrossing viewing.  Well worth getting.

Rating - ****

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