#AnimangaMonday’s AHQ Recommends: “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

We’ve got a new segment for our weekly #AnimangaMonday posts. Every last Monday of the month, we will be featuring anime and manga reviews written by Anime_HQ members themselves! To start off, here is Kessatsu Yagami’s review of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.

Ghost in the Shell


I’ve never really been a fan of Sci-fi series, but Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex made me reconsider that. To start off, GitS:SAC is the anime counterpart of Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell. Director Kamiyama Kenji gambled by deviating a lot from the popular manga, but it paid off as this anime remains one of the most memorable cyberpunk animes of all time.

Graphics: The visuals of GitS:SAC incorporated a blend of CGI and traditional animation. The way they pulled it off was flawless, as the effects were smooth and consistent. Whether it is the team switching into optic camouflage or the Tachikoma talking amongst themselves, the graphics never cease to amaze. The only thing I can criticize here is the skimpy clothing of Major Kusanagi, which fitted her personality but not her job.

Plot: Some of the episodes referenced works of literature, such as the Nine Stories. The most obvious one was the Catcher in the Rye, which played a large role in most of the Complex episodes. The anime is centered around a world about cybernetics, which unfortunately means it also contains jargon which may confuse more conservative viewers, such as cyberbrains and AIs. The anime is also heavy on philosophy, such as the nature of humanity, and the boundaries of man and machine.

Story: The title, Stand Alone Complex, refers to both an integral part of the storyline and the structure of the anime. There were Stand-alone episodes, which are one-episode stories, and Complex episodes, which usually come in three-episode parts that formed the main storyline. I found some of the Stand-Alone episodes intriguing, such as the episodes about the Tachikoma and some bland, such as the one about the retired boxer. The Complex episodes, however made me come back for more. The storyline, centered on the Laughing Man incident, is very intricate and well-done.

Characters: The main characters of the story are from the fictional Public Security Section 9 of the Japanese Police, which is formed for cyberwarfare and anti-terrorism. The members of the Section had unique personalities, with each possessing different skills and fortes. Unfortunately, the anime did not explore the backstories of each, except the protagonist, Major Kusanagi’s. The character design varied little from the manga, with only the Chief and the Major undergoing design changes.

Music: Yoko Kanno composed the musical score of the anime, and as such, she never disappoints. The opening song is called “Inner Universe” which is sung in a heavenly blend of Russian, English and Latin by the talented Origa.

To conclude this review, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is definitely a must-see anime for sci-fi and action fans. This anime will make you wonder what the future is like and what it has in store for us. Even if you’re not a sci-fi or an action fan, the high adrenaline action and well thought plot makes it worthy of a try. While there isn’t much drama, the anime compensates by introducing the Tachikoma. If you’re looking for something interesting, GitS:SAC has got you covered.

Thanks for reading, and happy viewing.

-In Ridentem


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