Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society

Normally I’d add a cute subtitle to articles, but I thought the actual title was already pushing the limit. The Solid State Society is final part of the Stand Alone Complex series. After two 26 episode seasons, the original S.A.G. and 2nd Gig, this Original Video Animation (OVA) finishes the series. Was this more of the same or did it break the mold?

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Solid State Society takes place two years after 2nd Gig. Major Kusanagi has quit Section 9 with Togusa taking over as field lead. Investigating a rash of refugee suicides, Section 9 learns of a powerful hacker calling himself the Puppeteer. While dealing with the expected amount of red tape, Section 9 continues to dive deeper to find the identity of this new terrorist.

Considering the show’s primary focus has been counter cyber terrorism, I don’t know why I expected anything different. Laughing Man, Individual Eleven, and now the Puppeteer. I don’t mean that disparage the movie, but there’s obviously one type of story the creators are capable of telling. Despite being only two hours long, they manage to pack in nearly the same amount of material. Over abundantly so. Minus a few stand alone episodes (see what I did there), the main story from each of the previous seasons took nearly the entire 26 episodes to decompress and unfold. Jamming the same amount of material into just under two hours does the story a disservice.

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The animation is just as flawless as ever. Though I must note that I encounter the same interlacing issues on this DVD that I did the previous. I don’t think people even purchase DVD’s anymore so it’s mostly a moot point, but still worth mentioning for those of use stuck in the old ways. Prolific composer Yoko Kanno returned as well to score the series. While she delivered a solid score, I couldn’t help but feel left down by one part, the song from Origa. The Russian singer has sung the theme song for the previous two series. Her contribution here, “Player,” isn’t as good. The song had an accompanying J-Pop artist called Heartsdales who rapped a portion of the song. This juxtaposition brought down the entire number for me.

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Ghost in the Shell has always been a series that made you work to understand it. While that doesn’t appeal to some, the dividends are high. Solid State Society falls in the same vein, but suffers from being too compressed for it’s own good. Though there is a solid story underneath (that’s twice now), you’ll have to dig deeper to enjoy it. Which is sad considering this was the end of the Stand Alone Complex, as the series has now been rebooted, looking more cartoonish.

Think Solid State Society was too compressed? Looking forward to the reboot? Comment below!

Really sore and tired. 

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