Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex / Complete 1st Season Collection : 5 of 5

Even though I just watched all 26 episodes of this incredible anime series on Netflix Watch Instantly in September, I had to buy this DVD set to watch it again in the original Japanese (plus I was tempted since my dad let me know about a special price at Amazon.com!). I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing the entire series again, and not only was it fascinating to discover new details in the story, but truthfully I understood the broad Laughing Man case much better this time. I'm still completely impressed with the format of this series as a futuristic, cyberized "cop show", and there are so many standalone episodes that really shine, sometimes for fantastic action sequences, but often for in-depth character development that is so hard to do in a 30 minute episode. My favorites are episodes that feature a particular character, such as Batou's undercover operation where he encounters his former boxing hero, or Aramaki's trip to England where he foils a mafia money laundering via wine investment scheme. And like many fans, I absolutely love the Tachikoma (it was great to hear their Japanese voice), both in the touching episode where the little girl looks for her dog, and of course in the climax of the series where they return to sacrifice themselves to protect Batou (which actually brought a tear to my eye). Speaking of Tachikoma, this DVD set includes the Tachikoma Days comedy segments with each episode (which were not available on Netflix), and some of these are hilarious! Each DVD also includes interviews (in Japanese) with voice actors, CG artists, script writers and directors that are short and to the point, but still really interesting to watch. I could go on and on about this series - while I was watching it I noted way too many cool details to mention in this short review! Obviously Ghost in the Shell has quickly become one of my favorite anime series, not only because it's action-packed and incredibly cool, but because the intelligent plots and deep characterization require a level of attention and thought that completely draw me into the story. I can't wait to see the second season of this show sometime soon!