Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex / Solid State Society : 4 of 5
Although I watched this movie recently on Netflix (in English), I couldn't resist buying this DVD during Amazon's anime sale, since I really wanted to see it again in Japanese, plus I'm just a huge a fan of Ghost in the Shell! The plot, which takes place at the end of the Ghost in the Shell timeline, is too complex to go into in this review, but suffice it to say it's a fascinating story with some great twists (especially the identity of the Puppeteer!). The animation is fantastic, with even more attention to detail and design than the series, so all of the characters, city environments, and cars look stunning. Of course, Motoko herself is incredible, especially during her signature "falling" move and her first meeting with Batou. There are some awesome scenes that combine excitement with technology, such as the satellite-assisted sniping segment, or when the Section 9 network detects a virus and everyone goes crazy trying to stop it (eventually chopping the power cables with an axe!). I noticed a cool detail that I missed the first time around - Togusa mentions to his wife that she should send him a photo of his little girl sleeping, and in a later scene he's using as the wallpaper on his cell phone. I also was really excited to see the Tachikoma back in action again (after their demise at the end of the first season of the series), since their "ghosts" apparently were still in the net (where they could be recovered by Motoko) so they could be put in fresh mechanical bodies! The DVD has a short behind the scenes segment in English, a fairly cool storyboard feature, plus a wonderful comedy short about the Uchikoman (not so great replacement for the Tachikoma). I'm totally looking forward to getting into the second season of the series, as well as the first movie sometime soon, and I even have the manga to read. Ghost in the Shell is going to keep me entertained for quite some time!