Secret Santa 2013 – Combo Pack

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

Image Source: Ghost in the Shell

Ah yes, Ghost in the Shell. If you didn’t know, I am a huge fan of the franchise, which might introduce some bias to my review. But that’s what opinions are for. It might interest you to know that I just so happened to watch Solid State Society and Ghost Whispers back-to-back. So I think it might be appropriate to compare the various takes on the GitS universe here. First, we have the original film. Featuring heavy philosophical themes and questions, this film sets the standard, as it should. However, this highly sophisticated nature can come back to bite the film as it can come across as either unecessarily confusing or even pretentious. Moving on from GitS, we have the TV and movie series, GitS: SAC (a horrible acronym, I know). Solid State Society falls under this universe and serves as a finale of sorts for it. From my experience of the TV series, I can safely say that this is without a doubt my most favorite portion of the franchise, if only due to the sheer amount of content it has to back it up. And finally, we have the latest reboot, GitS: Arise (I swear, they seriously need to rethink the choice of “GitS”). Despite having the advantage of being the “freshest” of the bunch, having seen it directly after Solid State Society, it becomes clear to me that this newest take caters to a more action-oriented audience and is much less thought-provoking.

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

But I’m not here to review the original film or GitS: Arise, so let me return to the matter at hand. Being the “middle child” of the bunch, I find GitS: SAC much more palatable compared to its older and younger siblings thanks to a better balance of philosophising and sci-fi action. Solid State Society demonstrates this balance very well. The premise is simple enough: a mysterious “Puppeteer” is behind a recent cases of suicides, and Section 9 is tasked with investigating. Along the way, they uncover a bizarre plot which might threaten the very future of the nation. The show throws us for a few twists and turns, but for the most part the philosophical aspects of identity and self don’t clutter and overly complicate the experience. For those unfamiliar with the franchise, a central theme present in all universes revolves around the possible existence of a “ghost” or soul in an age in which humans regularly undergo “cyberization” to replace their organic parts with electromechanical ones. Needless to say, being the finale of GitS: SAC, Solid State Society gives us an answer (which is actually still somewhat up to our interpretation, as most of the rest of the franchise tends to do) along with a plot twist and a half.

Image Source: Ghost in the Shell: Arise

In short, if you fancy some deep thinking and don’t mind not getting all the answers spelled out for you by the end, you should go ahead and check out any and all of the GitS franchise. Solid State Society in particular is an excellent watch, but you’ll need to have seen the rest of GitS: SAC (two 26 episode TV series or two movies for a total running time of about 5 hours and 20 minutes). That’s quite an undertaking, but if you’re interested in the more thought-provoking style of story-telling, it’ll be well worth your while.





Blinklist BlogMarks Delicious Digg Diigo FaceBook Google MySpace Netvibes Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter

14 Responses to “Secret Santa 2013 – Combo Pack”

  1. AllenAndArth says:

    hmm…Solid State Society seems nice…i’ll give it a look

  2. BlackBriar says:

    Out of what’s shown here, I’d go with Whisper of the Heart because of my loyalty for anything made by Hayao Miyazawa and Solid State Society. I saw a few Ghost in the Shell episodes on Toonami and fell in love with the show.

  3. zztop says:

    I hear Masamune Shirow mostly draws pinup girls for ero manga magazines nowadays.
    Apparently it was more profitable for him, or so I hear.

    • Sumairii says:

      Knowing the evolution of the Major’s character design (not including Arise since that was someone else), I can see why he went for pinup girls in ero magazines… There certainly was criticism for the sexualization of her character between the original film and the TV series.

  4. Foshizzel says:

    Awwweee yaaaaa Azumanga Daioh! My only experience with that is in dub format and the same goes for Solid State, but Azumanga was so damn fun to watch <3

  5. Highway says:

    Yeah, of these four I’ve only seen Azumanga Daioh, and had about the same reaction. The jokes just kind of peter out, and while it’s interesting seeing them all eventually graduate, and it’s also good that they feature Sakaki more, it’s just not as funny or captivating later. Some things just get *too* weird, and other things just get old.

  6. anaaga says:

    Holy boobs I’m amazed you can watch all 4 in such a fast amount of tine

  7. […] reviewed Azumanga Daioh, Whisper of the Heart, Planetes, & Solid State Society as recommended by […]

  8. akagami says:

    The knife season in Azumaga Daioh is ingrained in my memory (I burst out laughing at that scene). I enjoyed Azumanga the first time through, but it’s not one of those series that I would watch more than once (there’s not many of those). The Otou-san was weird at first, but I got used to it.

    I’m a fan of the GitS universe, the two main series were a blast to watch. I found the OVAs and movies were a hit or miss though. SSS was more in the miss bin for me, personally. Ok, not great.

    • akagami says:

      I take that back. I got SSS confused with something else. SSS is actually pretty good =P. My memory just sucks, I take all the blame.

Leave a Reply