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» Company
Bandai Entertainment, Manga Entertainment
» Running Time
113 mins
» Genre
Action, Sci-Fi
» Type
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Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society (Blu-Ray)

» written by Wai Yung (Wayne) Chim [Discuss]

The year is 2034, and the face of terrorism has changed. No longer restricted to the limits of the physical world, the war on terror has exploded onto the net. In an attempt to confront this new threat, an elite counter terrorism and anti-crime unit was formed: Public Security Section 9. Two years have since passed when the team’s commander: Major Motoko Kusanagi, resigned from her post. After a rash of mysterious suicides Section 9 is forced to confront the “Puppeteer,” a dangerous hacker with unsurpassed skills. As their investigation of this terrorist threat takes them deeper into the bowels of a potential government conspiracy, Section 9 once again crosses paths with the Major, but is her sudden reappearance more than a coincidence, or is she somehow connected to the “Puppeteer”?

In this third release of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society, we are not dealing with a film where it is a compilation of scenes from the television series. This is a new story and a continuation of where Stand Alone Complex left off. After the incident of “Individual Eleven,” Major resigned from Section 9 to do stand alone investigations on her own. Upon her net dives, she stumbles upon the case that Section 9 is just starting to get into; the suicides of people and a lead with the name “Puppeteer.” The whole situation began with one aspect, suicides, but balloons to bring in other concepts, such as, abducted children, and the aging population. Director Kenji Kamiyama brought the current social issue in Japan and mixed it within the Ghost in the Shell world.

While the population is in decline due to low birth rates and the aging population goes up with not enough able bodies to replace their place in the working populace. So what is the solution to this problem? According to the show, one way to solve this problem is to take a look at the death total of children. What if those children did not have to die? So as suggested, the government will devise a plan where they will take in these children who are on the brink of dying; kids that receive abuse etc. And put these kids in position where they will at least contribute to society, instead of just dying somewhere if they were left where they were. This sounds like something that will work, but is it ethical? Is it really that simple? Of course not, when it comes to Ghost in the Shell, someone always has to take it to another extreme. Otherwise, there would not be a show.

So what I thought about this show as I was watching it. Obviously, this time around the feature is in 1080p and not 1080i. I will not get into “p” or “i” but just know that “p” is better. And also, Nissan was brought into the mix. They meshed in flawlessly, because if I had not recognized the Nissan and Infiniti logos on the cars, I would have thought they were normal Ghost in the Shell world vehicles. I have to bring this into light as well. When you are watching an anime, you must pay full attention to everything on screen, or else you will miss the tiniest of hints that the film crew puts in. What do I mean? Well, for one, when Section 9’s Infiniti Kuraza pulls up, the license plate reads “3923.” If you pronounce it in Japanese it reads, “San Kyu Ni San,” which really means, “Thank you, Nissan.” Well that was the Nissan plug, but back to the story. When Motoko goes back to her pad after the scene where she retrieves the ampoules, as she gets out of the elevator, a man gets in. For a short moment you get to see that person’s face. And as you could expect, that person will make a strong appearance later on.

In Solid State Society, there was not an evil villain that the viewers can hate. Actually, the Puppeteer does not make many physical appearances. He hacks from a far and lets the people that he hacked do his dirty work. So throughout the show, there is a feeling of there is a threat out there, but where? In this feature, there was a lot of story development and action scenes were short and to the point. I have to say this again, but watching this one, I had to pay a hundred percent attention or else I would have been lost. And honestly, I might not have even comprehended the whole show on the first go around. Now that I have seen all three of these releases, I will say that Solid State Society was not as entertaining as the others. While I enjoyed my time with it, there was not anything where I got overly excited about. Do not get me wrong. This film was good, but I think the standard has been set so high by the previous Ghost in the Shell shows that Solid State Society just could not climb over.

The Breakdown:
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society features a social issue that has been around in Japan for a while now. It attempts to take that angle and put a twist to it to make it work within the Ghost in the Shell world. While the overall product was good, there was just too much dialogue and not enough action as you would expect from a Ghost in the Shell series. At least in the end, there seems to be some “closure” between Batou and Motoko’s relationship. That was a plus!


» The Pros
This time around, the extras were stacked. This looked more like a Blu-Ray release. I enjoyed learning about this show from a different standpoint from the World Work File. The Anime + Car Design extra was interesting as well. And the Making of Tachikoma Robot just made me imagine a world where everyone had a working Tachikoma robot in the household!

» The Cons
A lot of dialogue, not enough action. There was no physical villain so there was no target where you can direct your feeling of hatred toward, as compared to with say, Gohda from Individual Eleven. In that show, you knew Gohda was bad, you knew who to hate, but in Solid State Society, you do not get to see this villain until towards the end and not for long either.

» Animation
If the 1080i shows were impressive, watching this in 1080p was amazing. The animation received a lot of work. Having to put together a 50 seconds scene of the cybernet world, as well as the animation of futuristic vehicles, and the scenes where you get to see Saitou's Hawkeye ability at work. That was pretty nifty.

» Sound
Going to bore you with this, but again, a Yoko Kanno composed product is rarely going to disappoint. And I cannot stress how much a home theater system can do to immerse you into the film.

» Story
While I am a Ghost in the Shell fan and I appreciate everything that I have seen thus far. I am not fond of this plot. It was not as exhilarating as the others and some of the conversations put me to sleep. Maybe I was tired last night, but yes, I was falling asleep during the first 22 minutes of the show, where I then said to myself, "I'm not doing this show its justice half-ass watching it." So I restarted watching it this morning. It could have made a difference, who knows. But I rather watch more people getting their heads blown off, than old folks rotting on their death beds. Sorry if I sound insensitive.

» Recommend
This is unlike the usual Ghost in the Shell series where there is a lot of action and dialogue is to the point. In Solid State Society, there is more dialogue that the viewers have to pay attention to. A missed dialogue can derail the rest of the film for you. Just as a quick blink of the eyes and you could miss minute details that can help you understand the film further.


» Other Information
Language: English/Japanese Dialogue in Dolby True HD 5.1 Audio with English Subtitles.

Uchikomatic Days, World Work File, Anime + Car Design - Designing the Future Car, Making of Tachikoma Robot, English Production Interview, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa (Production I.G) Interview, and Trailers.

The face of Motoko within the Cybernet. Looks pretty cool and it makes sense since she is the focal point of this story.



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