Stand Alone Complex is the answer to the call for a sequel to the highly-acclaimed movie Ghost in the Shell. It is released in Japan as a pay-per-view television series.
Stand Alone Complex is set in the same world as the movie, with the same characters, but it is officially an “alternate university”. The events from the movie never took place… so it isn’t really a sequel but more of an, uhm, well, alternative. From the “A Prior Notice” special (which is pretty crummy) we learn that the creators hope to match the movie in terms of quality and of the influence they hope it will have on “Hollywood”.
The series consists of – until episode 15, which is the last one I have seen so far – more or less unrelated incidents and crimes, that the protagonists investigate and solve – from a spider-like tank on a rampage to the suicide of obsolete androids and organ-legging, it’s all there. There are hints of a wider connection in some of the episodes, but so far we’re none the wiser. A word of warning: Some episodes are very brutal, and one episodes is downright disgusting; but it works well as intended – it is not senseless violence, but it builds the world and the characters.
The show is beautifully drawn and has nice plots as well as good action. I also like the little spider Tachikoma robots that serve as fire support and for comic relief. The soundtrack is chosen well, although the lyrics of the end titles song… uhm… do not seem to make too much sense.
If you liked the movie, watch this show… it isn’t quite as evocative as the movie (I remember the wonderful scenes of the rainy city), but it’s solid entertainment and will keep you thrilled and on the edge for a while. Definitely one of the better shows I have seen so far; let’s hope they don’t screw it up in the remaining 11 episodes.