The year is 2030 and six years have passed since a criminal known only as ''The Laughing Man'' swept through top medical nanotechnology firms committing acts of cyber-terrorism, kidnapping, extortion, and corporate espionage leaving no known suspects. New information is revealed to Japan's top homeland security force, drawing Major Kusanagi and Section 9 into the hunt for a suspect capable of hacking the eyes of every operative, obscuring all details of his appearance and leaving behind a trail of copycats and hacked cyborg citizens.
The OAV Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex--The Laughing Man
(2005) consists of footage from the 26-episode Stand Alone Complex
TV series (2002), recut to tell the story of a police battle with an über-hacker. Writer-director Kenji Kamiyama oversaw the re-editing and rewrote some of the dialogue for greater clarity. The main arc of the first season of S.A.C.
, The Laughing Man
is a complicated tale of cyber-espionage and government corruption. Major Kusanagi, Batou, Chief Aramaki, and the other officers of Public Security Section 9 must untangle an intricate web of deception to discover a hidden scandal involving a bogus cure for the debilitating disease of "cyberbrain sclerosis." In the original series, this story was interwoven with brief adventures involving the black-market sale of human organs, the growing consciousness of the Tachikoma robots, and Chief Aramaki's colorful past. The Laughing Man
, a title borrowed from J.D. Salinger, is interesting enough to stand on its own, but at 2 hours and 40 minutes, it feels very long. Bandai has rerecorded the dialogue with a new cast, which sounds jarring to audiences familiar with the series. The Laughing Man
may appeal to viewers who didn't see S.A.C.
in its initial release: otaku
who know the original may find the reworking feels like a gimmick. (Rated 13 and older: violence, violence against women, grotesque imagery, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon