|...unless you take a chance on Stand Alone Complex.|
There's no question that Ghost in the Shell was chock full of shock about the question of individuality amid the proliferation of digital culture. What becomes of us when our memories can be edited, overwritten, or even replaced?
The original motion picture doesn't answer those questions. It merely poses them, and that's not nearly interesting enough to sustain the franchise. It was a great start, though. If you want to get to know more about the world the Major sprang from, track down the two full seasons of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.
If you're not in the mood to track those down, Steam has the motion picture, its HD update, two movie style releases of Stand Alone Complex and its follow up movie: Solid State Society in a bundle. Not a bad deal at $25 (CDN).
Each season of Stand Alone Complex takes the form of a police drama, much like Law and Order, except that a major plot arcs over the entire season while smaller, seemingly unrelated cases take place each episode. Ironically, it takes a story about the humanity of Section 9's team members to fully grasp the reality of our struggle with technology.
It is increasingly applicable as we analyze and question every action by anyone inclined to share their views on a subject of interest. While I'm talking GITS:SAC, you'll notice a few differences compared to the recent cinematic outing. Character design.
There's been some comment about Makoto's build, though not by anyone who's seen or read the manga. Stylized is a kind word for her build, akin more to Bayonetta than Scarlet Johanson. She's a cyborg, and could be built any way she likes, but Production I.G. tailors it back from Masamune Shiro's highly sexualized designs.
It's not practical to run around in that gear? Not being a fan, of the first season's getup, Makoto does dress in a more practical manner in the second season. So there's that. What is compelling to watch though, is the moments of human interaction between team members.
And do yourself a favor, find a release of the entire season, not Steam's crazy long movie release versions. Why they redubbed everyone but the Major is a wonder to me, but the intimacy of character development is lost when you're rushed through the flow of events.
Anime plays more like a novel than a movie, preferring to take long looks at moments of beauty - especially because it keeps the budget under control - and then animate its action in a dramatic fashion. The series, at full length, has interesting things to say about our relationship with life and the bodies we live it with.
And there's no point even mentioning Innocence... it practically rebounded off our shores without so much as a scorch mark. Transhumanism is fascinating, but it turns out, the basis of our foundation is much deeper than the sometimes body horror that comes of exploring what we think we could become.
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