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This set of episodes represent a bit of a change of pace from some of the previous story arcs. Taken individually they are disconnected stories about everything from modern anti-technology terrorists to cyborg philosophy and it is only in retrospect that the connecting thread stands out.
Not Equal starts when a woman kidnapped by terrorists many years ago is spotted n a surveillance film. The story puts Kusanagi and her team on a village which has sprung up on an abandoned oil drilling platform traders on top and Human Liberation Front folks underneath. That action includes what is the best battle scenario of the series so far and some surprising twists at the end.
The Y$S heads in the other direction, when a sting operation in a run down bar reveals a plan to take down a reclusive billionaire with a yen for hoarding gold. An assassin who is fond of killing people with coins is the lead horse in the race to get to the target but, as usual, nobody finds what they expect and the aspect of artificial intelligence haunts the fringes of the story.
In Machines Desirantes the tachikomas try to link to a malfunctioning sniping device and become enmeshed in a philosophical discussion of their own mortality, the nature of humanity, and the possibilities of revolution. The surprise here is Major Kusanagi's reaction to what is essentially a comic situation.
In Lost, Batou finds himself pitted against a boxer that he once greatly admired. This is a spy vs. spy story, but it is oddly disturbing, with a very bitter ending. And I think this is where the story beneath the story finally opens up. While Batou played a supporting role in the original movie, Innocence (the sequel) revealed that his personality had surprising depths.Read more ›
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This set contains episodes thirteen through sixteen of the first series/season from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. The fourth volume sets aside the Laughing Man plot for now and instead shifts to the Tachikomas. It's a nice variety of episodes and those wanting action, following a more talkative third volume should be mostly satisfied.
Here is an episode summary (in order, with some spoilers if you hadn't seen the previous episode):
NOT EQUAL: A teenage girl, one of the first to have a cyberbrain and kidnapped some twenty years before by the Human Liberation Front, suddenly reappears in the sights of Section 9 - who looks exactly the same as before. Even worse, she's apparently the new focal leader of the HLF. Section 9 is detailed to "rescue" her using any means necessary. All of Section 9 and the Tachikomas get involved, and they get embroiled in a huge firefight. There's probably more action in this episode then the first twelve episodes altogether, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
YES: A reclusive wealthy magnate becomes the target of an assassination plot by a foreign agent. This episode doesn't really expound on the evils of stock and money market manipulation, and really just shows that the Tachikomas are becoming more unstable - at least in the eyes of the Major. The way the episode resolves is disappointing as well.
MACHINES DESIRANTES: The Tachikomas engage in various philosophical debates about robots, appearances, children, and mostly, death. One Tachikoma, who appears to collect books, uses Flowers for Algernon (yet another literary reference) as a reference point. If you don't like how the Tachikomas sound you'll probably get really annoyed by this episode.Read more ›
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I would rate the show as 5 stars, this is a review of the extras and features of the Special Edition issue.
I recently bought all the Special Edition releases of "Stand Alone Complex" after trying to research what I was going to get as extras not included in the regular edition. I found the listings on Amazon's product details to be a little confusing and incomplete on some of the volumes so I decided to write this guide for others trying to decide. I'm not going to review the "Ghost in the Shell" episodes or the series in general because there are so many excellent reviews already on this site, and most of you probably know about this great anime TV series already. There are various other reviews that say that some of the DVD's and CD's have errors on them and Bandai will replace them with corrected discs if you send them in for exchange. I have not ran into problems yet, although I haven't gone through the whole series either. And I will also state that I love the TV series as well as both movies, but I would recommend the Imported Region 2 version of GITS2:Innocence if you have a region free DVD player. Dreamworks really messed up that release omiting the English dub and putting Hard of Hearing subtitles instead of regular ones on the early issues of that movie. Most people find them very distracting and annoying.
First off the discs themselves, you get two DVD discs in each volume with the same episodes on both discs. Volumes 1-5 have 4 episodes each, 6 and 7 have 3 episodes each making 26 episodes total in the series. Both discs are Anamorphic wide screen encoded directly from the High-Definition Masters. Both Discs also have English subtitles.Read more ›