Title:Koukaku Kidoutai STAND ALONE COMPLEX
Ghost in the Shell TV
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 1st GIG
Stand Alone Complex
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Music - KANNO Yoko
Original Concept - MASAMUNE Shirow
R1 License - Manga Entertainment
SAKA Osamu
TV series about a future world where cyborgs are mostly relied on by both humans and life itself. An exciting anime of sci-fi, and the series providing the background for the "Puppet Master" movie from 1995.

[TV series, 2002, 26 episodes, 24 min]
1:31min Series Opening - YouTube Video
[edit] The ↗Ghost in the Shell franchise:
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 10 10 9 9 9 10 Ggultra2764 [series:494#1552]
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex was a title I never had a chance at seeing in its entirety during its run on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block and being on a Netflix subscription, I decided to rent the series throughout this month. And for a sci-fi action title, the series tackles a lot throughout its 26 episode run and impressed me heavily for the complexity of its storyline and looking into the future world that it takes place in.

But before I get to those, I want to compliment on the characters for this series. One of my biggest beefs with the movie adaptations of Ghost in the Shell was that the characters appeared to be lifeless and lacking in personality thus making it tough to relate to them. Here in Stand Alone Complex, the characters do display a decent amount of personality as Batou occasionally likes cracking jokes and getting short-fused at points during the series plus the Major is shown to be a little bit easygoing when not involved on missions and having her moments of anger as well. There is some fleshing-out of the major players of Section 9 where you get enough sense of how they adapt to their lives as cyborgs and their personal beliefs regarding situations that they face on and off missions. Of course with the series being more plot-driven and action-oriented, you shouldn't expect too much in the way of character exploration and development.

On the plot end, Stand Alone Complex is scattered up into two different types of episodes: "stand alone" and "complex". The "stand alone" episodes are episodic plots involving Section 9 taking up a case or dealing with matters around their headquarters. These episodes tend to focus around covering aspects to the characters or the world in which Stand Alone Complex takes place in, which I will get to in a little bit. The "complex" episodes explore the main storyline to the series, that being the Laughing Man case. This one proves to be quite the complicated little case to cover indeed as what starts off as a simple case of corruption within city police turns into a complex plot involving an infamous hacker and a grand-scale conspiracy connected to some rather powerful figures in political and economic circles. Like the "stand alone" episodes, the "complex" episodes are connected to the exploration of issues faced within the world of the series, as well as exploring corruption within politics and economics which is a hot-button topic within current events for our time as well. The "complex" episodes do build up to a suspenseful finale and ties up all loose ends concerning the political-economic conspiracy, the Laughing Man's identity and the fates of those within Section 9.

In terms of relating its elements to the cyberpunk genre, Stand Alone Complex does do well at giving its audience enough familiarity with the issues and new technologies used within its near-future setting while exploring its characters and developing its plots. Throughout both the "stand alone" and "complex" episodes, elements to the world of the series are explored in a future where the developments of cyberbrains and cyborgs create a blurring line over one's human identity. This is where the show's philosophical element comes in where heavily cyberized characters like Batou and Motoko often contemplate on how much of their humanity and original self is intact through the cyberization process. The series also explores the societal effect and new risks of cyberbrain use and having a cyborg body. There is talk on new diseases discovered from use of one's cyberbrain, the obvious risk of one's body being vulnerable to hackers if cyberized, cyborg bodies being illegally modified as use for prostitution or assassination and trying to recreate the very personality and identity of a cyberized individual's "ghost" (slang for a person's soul in the world of GITS) through cyborg copies. Focus is also given at points to the AI development of the Tachikoma units used for combat developing their own individuality and even having their own comical omake at the end of each episode to the series.

In terms of visuals, Stand Alone Complex is above average in its presentation for the time it was released. There is clearly plenty of effort put into getting as much detail into the scenery of New Port and the cyber world as possible featuring vivid and colorful settings. A mix of cel-shaded and CG animation is used for creating these environments and rendering vehicles, characters and robots into them which works almost seamlessly. Movements and action scenes were animated at a fluid pace, especially with Tachikomas and mechs in action. Yoko Kanno contributes her soundtrack composing talents to the series and as usual, her tracks do well at blending with many of the situations that take place onscreen.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex delivers quite well with both style and substance with its sci-fi action genre. It combines above average visual presentation of nearly-seamless blurring of CG and cel-shaded animation with two types of plotting styles that serve to explore the characters and world of the series, as well as the complex plot developments brought on from the Laughing Man case. Anyone who is into the sci-fi or cyberpunk genre should definitely check this series out as it has much more time to explore both plot and philosophical dilemmas for its time period than those two other movies. I look forward to wanting to check out 2nd GIG sometime in the near future.

Last updated Sunday, November 28 2010. Created Sunday, November 28 2010.
Buy 8 10 10 9 9 9 Silence [series:494#2939]
A very serious and mature anime. This is what an ideal action anime should be like. The side with the best tactics and information wins, not the one that shouts the loudest. No nonsense, no frills, Major and her team gets the job done. Must say that she is really charismatic. The tachikomas are very nicely done too.

Very accurate and mature political backdrop. It is always interesting to see Aramaki dealing with politicians. I liked the fact that the author is aware that not everyone can use cyborg bodies well. Major just happens to be a very proficient user.

The whole laughing man plot is so interesting and intriguing, right till the end. And the tachikomas save the day. Could not really ask for more. A very solid buy.

Last updated Thursday, December 03 2009. Created Thursday, December 03 2009.
Buy Forbin [series:494#1573]
Anime Type
DramaMed/HighIt Makes you think
ComedyLowTachikoma's are it
ActionHighLots of LOTS of Action
EcchiLowSome slight scenes, but if you are looking for the Major she is covered up
Wow!!!! That is all I have to say.

I didn't like the movie all that much. Too confusing and I didn't like the story. This on the other hand I enjoyed immensely right to the end....

Bandai usually has an indifferent dubbing team...but this one is the tops!

What did I like about it?
  • The plot
  • The designs
  • Cool stuff
What did I NOT like about it?
  • Tachikoma. Those drove me NUTS!
Any thing special I liked about it.
  • The whole laughing man plot. It was so complex though it looked so simple on the outside.

Last updated Friday, August 18 2006. Created Friday, August 18 2006.
Buy Z [series:494#1781]
WOW! What an amazing series. After watching the first quarter of this series (my introduction to the GITS family) I knew I couldn't rest until I got them all. And this is the best one. Usually it takes me a while after watching a series to be willing to put a new anime in my top 5, with this one there was never any doubt. This is the type of show that if I was trying to get a friend to give anime a chance I'd show him. From the first minute, which literally had me saying "Holy crap!" out loud, to the end of the show I flew through this series as fast as I could. You won't regret adding this one to your collection. I know I didn't.

Last updated Friday, August 18 2006. Created Friday, August 18 2006.
Buy 9 8 9 7 8 7 DillonSOB [series:494#1352]
This series was a welcome addition to the great GITS film of the 1990's that left fans wanting more. That film was such a landmark trendsetter, I thought it would be hard to follow it up with anything substantial (especially after so much Hollywood copying like the Matrix, AI, etc.). But this series is clever, complex, and spectacular. Although I prefer the lone hero vs. overwhelming odds paradigm, it's also interesting to follow the adventures of a crack team of anti-hacking, anti-terror agents uncovering plots of conspiracy and crime. Like X-Men or Mission Impossible, each member has unique talents that they lend to the group, and they work very well together.
However, some episodes got too bogged down with political scheming and conjecture about existence and other abstract notions that we didn't really care to know about. Other episodes were almost completely dialogue (the chat room episode was unique though), which made them a bit boring. The Laughing Man plotline was very cool, but wasn't very original compared to the old Puppet Master enemy. The Tachikoma story was not that worthy, and their high-pitched kiddie voices got annoying after a while. Though it was touching when they bravely defended Bato in the end. Motoko's character is meant to be stoic, but at least it was refreshing to see life from Togusa and Bato, plus we were given glimpses into their pasts. Chief Aramaki played the role of the sage father figure well, and bridged the gap between Motoko's troops and the stuffy politicians/businessmen. And like the GITS film, there was plenty of philosophical allusions and segues involving the interface, exchange, and potential conflicts between technology, humanity, and civilization. Once again, the definition of existence and soul in an AI/cybernetic world were debated well. An unexpected tender moment was shared between Bato and Motoko when they were on the run in the end, and that whole plot twist of "hunters turned hunted" turned out to be pretty tense and enjoyable.
The visuals are pretty cool, especially the cityscapes, vehicles/mechs, and light-effects. I think they blended the right mix of CG in there to keep things futuristic but not overwhelming. However, some of the animation seemed cheap for a series of this quality; mouth movements and facial expressions were pretty simplistic. The GITS world was vividly drawn and colored. Like Cowboy Bebop, there is a stark contrast, yet blending, of the future and the 20th Century (but of course GITS is a lot more techno-heavy and modern). For a generally serious anime, it's funny to see Motoko parading around in basically a swimsuit, and the animators give us plenty of T&A shots (we especially got a good look at Motoko's sexy doctor). The music score was run of the mill, with some scenes being a bit too MIDI-video-gamey for my ears. Following the series theme, songs were more on the techno/hard rock side. But in summery, GITS SAC was an intriguing, well-made series that is entertaining and worth the buy.

Last updated Saturday, April 24 2004. Created Friday, April 23 2004.
Buy 8 10 10 8 9 Kaali [series:494#1285]
[I have only watched this series once.]
I was positively surprised by this series. I did like the original movie, but i still had my doubts about this series. The reason why i had my doubts propably was because i thought that this series consists of fillers after fillers, which it mostly did. But the difference in this series is, that none, absolutely none of the "filler" episodes was boring. This series has a lot of stuff about blending the line between robots and living beings and some very nice storylines about this. Themes ranged from AI's getting consious, falling in love with AI, to hacking cybernetically enchanted brains etc. with a lot of philoshophical ideas. This is an action/sci-fi series that makes you think about these stuff.
The series isn't just about the fillers, it also has 7-10 episode long story spread here and there called "complex episodes", the fillers are titled "stand alone episodes". I really enjoyed watching these story episodes too, but i won't reveal anything about them so i won't accidentally spoil anything.
I recommend this series if you want to see some sci-fi action with brains.
- Art / Animation: Top notch. Well, the series beginning 3d-crap was.. quite crappy. But the CGI used in the series was very well executed. And the animation/art overally was very consistant good quality stuff. Well, maybe they should have cutten those mullets. And Motokos clothing were quite crap most of the time.
- Character design: This series has a lot of interesting characters. Maybe few of the Section 9 crew was left a bit 1-dimensional but overrally the character design was excellent.
- Music: There are some very nice songs. But comparing to the original movie these songs did not have the same feel to them, actually i was disappointed about that. Well, these songs still fit in the series feel.
- Series Story: It was good. And so were the fillers.

Last updated Wednesday, April 07 2004. Created Tuesday, April 06 2004.
Buy 9 10 7 8 10 9 Devil Doll [series:494#752]
[Score: 85% = maximum "Buy-". Other recommended SciFi/Mecha anime: Shin Seiki Evangelion, Uchuu no Stellvia]

Oh wow! The last quarter of this series kept me watching breathlessly to the very end, absolutely demanding a "Buy" rating for this series. Except for the characters this series came quite close to my favorite police series Silent Mobius - and that's as high a comparison as an action series can probably ever get from me.

The 30 min teaser special "A Prior Notice", kind of an "introduction into the world of GitS" (explaining a couple of technical terms such as "ghost" or "standalone complex", presenting all members of section 9, showing synopses of the first two episodes and providing some "making of" elements, including excerpts from the press release) tells us that GitS SAC takes place in a parallel world to the one where Koukaku Kidoutai took place (as Kusanagi Motoko can't have lived through the events of that movie in this time line).

The technical standard is what you would expect from a good 2002 anime: Art is fine, Animation is excellent (with breathtaking CG elements embedded in many scenes), Kanno Youko's Music is not my taste but appropriately "gloomy tech" for this cyberpunk scenario ("Lithium Flower" as ED song), with the exception of "Inner Universe" as great OP song, with lyrics consisting of English, Latin and Russian lines...

Being kind of a prequel to the Koukaku Kidoutai movie in terms of the time-line, the first four episodes introduce the special police unit "Section 9" and their staff - here you will learn the origin for the main characters and their position in a world of complex dependencies and political ploys, with 'cyber-brains' for most every people. Public Peace Section 9 will be put in charge with most every kind of important case, be that investigating the kidnapping of politicians or starting heavily armed rescue operations. With most members being more or less cyborgs equipped with the latest technology and weaponry these eight people can do surprising things - but their opponents aren't sissies either.
Starting with the action-packed double feature episode 5 and 6, the main Story arc of "the Laughing Man", supposedly a cyber terrorist hacking the "ghost" (i. e. the psychic identity of a human or equivalent being) of cyber-brain equipped people who increasingly connect themselves to the Internet, is put into the focus of the narration. We soon learn that this hacker has his own ethical agenda, trying to bring "the truth" to the people - whatever that actually means. Once he has crossed the path of Section 9 they'll pass each other by every now and then, and this security unit will inevitably be dragged deeper into his case.

Most of the series is episodic, and the Characters don't get too much depth or even development - it's more of an action series than its predecessor movie (including occasional trips into philosophic area, such as episode 15), with terror acts, criminal organizations, trading of human organs, cyber-crimes... you name it. The team of Section 9, consisting of eight members, is basically just that, a team: The white-haired, thoughtful leader Aramaki Daisuke, the energetic major Kusanagi Motoko, her powerful right hand Batou, the "mostly human" ex-detective Togusa, the information specialist Ishikawa, the sharp-shooter Saito, and the also-rans Bomer and Pazu - they all work together seamlessly. We get only some background information about the first four of them, mostly in side stories featuring the past life of one of them. Individualism, while being a fundamental philosophic concept of this series, isn't actually a primary attribute of these characters; albeit being the good guys their role isn't to be really loved by the audience - there are other characters that are more developing in this story, and attaching more to the audience's hearts. And the Section 9 people make too few mistakes to appear human enough.
The Episode Stories are thrilling with high narration speed and plausible conclusions. There's lots of action scenes with gun-play as well as close combat; the violence level is rather high at times (Episode 10 was putting my stomach to a severe test, that's no lite stuff at all, and episode 13 comes with a full-fledged carnage). Then again, there's some dry humor (mostly from Batou's disrespectful remarks about his superiors) - and don't forget the cute Tachikomas, police fighting machines looking like blue giant metal spiders with the brains of curious children!
After a couple of side stories (to give more life to the main characters) the main storyline is revived in episode 20, and from here on the suspense and action elements dominate, using excessive violence at times but never completely leaving the philosophical layer: identity, information, individuality, life&death, and the price for justice - they're all significant parts of the story. The ending is marvelously executed, closing all open ends while not providing a simplistic solution for the underlying problem.

So unless you can't handle the bloodshed you should absolutely give this series a serious try, regardless whether you're into dramas, action thrillers or brain-bending philosophical disputes - there's enough of all these for everyone. The one thing you won't get is romance of any kind - it's a cold world (but an exciting one nonetheless), which is where Silent Mobius is most different from this one.

Last updated Wednesday, August 10 2011. Created Sunday, July 20 2003.
Buy 10 10 10 10 10 10 Azusa [series:494#718]
It's a cool series and is a complex storyline it's cool and the animation is great i like the opening song too it's wicked :D i love it and i don't think i'll ever get tired of it

Last updated Saturday, June 14 2003. Created Saturday, June 14 2003.
Buy 10 10 10 10 10 10 Ðå kïÐ [series:494#464]
Hey i doubt you will get to see this on dvd for now or maybe you will but this is a must have for your collection my god i liked vampire hunter d: bloodlust alot!!! and i just watched the first episode of this man if your on dsl i suggest you download it, if its not out on DVD man they animation is awesome, Icouldnt have waited a minute more to tell you all about this and I think I saw it somewhere that there gonna be 26 episodes in all. If you love the movie you'll love this TRUST ME THIS IS AMAZING EMAIL ME AT MY NEW EMAIL KID_HUSTLES@HOTMAIL.COM IF YOU SEE ANY ANIME THAT CAN TOP THIS OH YA IF YOU LIKE COWBOY BEBOP YOU'LL LOVE THIS!!!!!:)MAN THE ANIMATION IS AWESOME!!!

Last updated Tuesday, March 04 2003. Created Tuesday, March 04 2003.
Buy 10 10 10 10 10 10 Nurika [series:494#549]
I thought this anime was amazing to my eyes. I mean the anime, art and graphic design was WOW. The music was stimulating on my mind. I loved the experience the movie casted on you.

Last updated Thursday, February 20 2003. Created Thursday, February 20 2003.

Other Sites
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex http://www.production-ig.com/Ghost_TV.html

Community Anime Reviews

anime mikomi org