Thoughts on Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex


(Possible spoilers)

Can you believe that as a guy who calls himself an anime fan, I’ve only just watched Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex? Even worse, I’ve never watched the movie (the original one). Please reserve all of your judgement for me until the end of this post as I continue to share my thoughts on this series and not explain in any way, shape or form why it took me so long to get around to this. When I first heard about GITS:SAC one word came up and that was philosophical, that led me to believe that this would be one of the most philosophical anime I’d ever get to watch in my lifetime and… I haven’t lived long enough to confirm this so I’ll get back to this in about 30 years. There is a lot of philosophy in this anime and it does cause deep thinking which is always good, in fact I’m pretty sure that a few episodes touch upon topics that go over my head. Moving on, the series follows section 9 as they track down a hacker known as the laughing man, this isn’t the only thing though as they also go through many other situations which gives some insight into specific characters.

The first thing I have to say is that I feel as if I might not have understood the series and characters as well as I could have given that I haven’t watched the film. Only time will tell if this is true, anyway I did manage to see that it was an interesting plot and I didn’t know what to expect from it. There are two types of episodes: standalone episodes and complex episodes and in my opinion it was a lot easier to be invested in the complex episodes because those were the ones that made up the story. I didn’t really mind what the standalone episodes had to offer because a lot of philosophy took place in those episodes and it allowed for thinking without paying any more attention to the series than needed since standalone stories were limited to one episode. Due to the nature of the standalone episodes, I felt that the season was unnecessary extended especially when considering that most of the episodes in the series are standalone episodes. The complex episodes clearly show that the story requires 100% concentration, it’s not one of those ones where you can doze off during a few lines and still have a general idea of what’s going on, YOU WILL GET LOST! The truth is that you should be paying attention when watching anime anyway but because of the layout of the series, it was hard to keep track of the story. The complex episodes were split amongst the standalone ones and most of the story took place in the final few episodes, which for me made a task of remembering what happened and piecing everything together. If I had to guess why it was like this, I’d say that it made for a way to insert more philosophy in the series as it would have most likely been confusing if there were too many topics being tackled in the main story.

I wasn’t very invested in any of the characters, in fact you might have noticed that I didn’t write the names of those in section 9 at the beginning of the post like how I usually do when writing up my thoughts on anime series. The truth is that their names frequently escape my mind, I only remember the major (whose real name wasn’t revealed until a couple of episodes in), Batou, Togusa and Aramaki without much trouble which is because they get most of the shine in the series. The characters mostly seem like they’re standard get down to business people and I’m assuming that because of the nature of their work, much isn’t meant to be left in terms of personality. It’s not a problem that I didn’t connect with the characters because I don’t think that the series ever intended for that and this isn’t the first time that I haven’t connected with characters when watching an anime (Kurozuka and Shaman King to name a couple). I know that there’s a second season so maybe that might provide some character development, if it follows the same formula as the first season.

If I still engaged my philosophical side, or even engaged it regularly then I might say that this anime is one that I’d be calling a masterpiece a couple of years down the line. It doesn’t mean that I can’t see some of the greatness that was displayed, in fact, I had to go back and rewatch the final conversation between the major and the laughing man to understand what was going on in terms of the laughing man as a character and a concept. I liked the critiques that the show had on individuality, to think that a group of robots who constantly synchronised with each other became more individual with each sync was interesting, not to mention it led to a conversation about what makes them individual, I felt like it was a reminder that no two people can ever be the same, even if both go through the same things. I know that the meaning of the conversation was even deeper, given that they also talked about things such as experiencing death and if it made them any closer to being like a human. The laughing man was a lot deeper than I expected and in the end, his purpose seemed to be non-existent pretty much due to the involvement of other people who added their own meaning to what he stood for in order to fit in with his narrative (kind of like feminism on social media).

Deep Jeffrey is trying to come back

If it wasn’t obvious before, then I can say that I’m not used to watching anime like this, I usually see loads of fighting and moments that make me shout ‘jheeze!’ however I can appreciate when an anime makes me think.

Outside of the individuality subject, I did see that there were plenty of wisdom nuggets and a few of those things stood out to me. The major telling a villain to change himself if he had a problem with the world was one purely because it goes against what I think but when thinking about it, it’s a lot easier and more realistic than trying to change the world. There was something said in the twelfth episode which I don’t remember too well, however it was along the lines of disagreeing with vicarious living and detaching yourself from reality and it’s something that I agree with because I don’t really see the point of treating somebody else’s achievements as my own.

I think because of the layout of the episodes, my impression was ‘ok, so this is happening’, if the standalones were put together and the complex episodes were put together, or if there were less standalones, I would have appreciated this series more. It wasn’t as if the layout did any serious damage to the series, especially considering that the first three episodes were standalone episodes. I also didn’t know how to feel about the ending if I’m honest, I don’t think it was crappy, just convenient. Shit really went down in episode 25 and then in the final episode, it turns out that it was all planned. A lot of characters started getting added closer to the end of the series which I felt could have been developed on earlier at the expense of the standalone episodes and I felt that because of the amount of antagonists that were there, it was easier to remove the laughing man from that role and in the end, I felt that the antagonist who was punished was unworthy of the role.

What the show might have well said to me about the antagonist who got in trouble

The series had me feeling that I have to watch the movie because I’m curious to see what it’s about (I mean the original, not the Hollywood remake, I heard Scarlett Johansson and everybody else in it sucks… Scarlett Johansson is still a very respectable woman and on the off chance that she reads this, I want her to see that I want to spend a day with her, respecting her).

Fist bump of Scarlett Johansson respect

Other thoughts:

  • The soundtrack for this series is amazing and I’m hoping there’ll be more to enjoy in the 2nd Gig
  • Aeria Gloris!!!
  • When I watched the opening credits for the first time, it made me wonder if I made the right choice giving up the drugs.
  • The plot of some of the standalone episodes were a bit complex (yeah, I said it)
  • Maybe it’s me but I thought the drawing for the major was inconsistent.

Rap is an art

Music is an art, I think rap is an art as well as other kinds of music but because I listen to rap more than I do others, I feel like I can personally relate more to what I’m saying if I describe rap. To be honest, I could never change my view on rapping being an art just because of how I’ve personally learned about how diverse it is as I’ve listened to it over the years.

A while back, I was thinking as people usually do and a couple of songs popped up in my head which made me realise how many styles of rap there are (again) and within those styles of rap, there are sub-genres which involve different things like the beats and the delivery. The lyrical content is sticking point for me when I understand the lyrics because the lyrics could be a critique of society, a group of catchy one liners that happen to rhyme, a story, some bragging, or something else that I haven’t mentioned.

As I said before, this could be said of other genres but I mostly listen to rap as my song of the week posts will tell you. Some people talk about rap having gone downhill in recent years and all that jazz because people mumble and the lines are hard to understand. I used to agree with it but the truth is that, with every era of rap, the genre diversifies and allows for more potential greatness within the genre. Every rapper plays their part and whilst not every rapper is good, they bring something to the table because they appeal to somebody.

Music is something that does a lot for those that listen to it, or at the very least it does a lot for me. Like I said before, rap is an art; hopefully one day I’ll be able to explain it better but for now I’m going to appreciate it.




Personally, I just want to win in life, in fact I’m sure that everybody wants to win in life. I’m not going to go into what winning means for everybody because it’s subjective and I don’t have the answers. For me, winning means being where you want to be in life and constantly adding more W’s to your name but the thing is that it’s not easy to get to such a point. There are a lot of obstacles in life that will have so many effects on you, for me I have a job that I’m not particularly fond of and my money disappears quickly because of random commitments and I don’t even have it the worst out of all the people that I know. There are also random daily events that will lead to things unfolding that you never expected to see. One thing I’ll say is this, despite all of the shit that life throws at you, there can always be something to motivate you and help you continue on your way to winning.

I ask a lot of questions on this blog about achieving what you want from life or sometimes I just talk about it and it’s because I see a lot of people who are living proof of the things I want to see. One example that I’m going to give to you is Diddy, this guy is a living legend in my opinion. He got to be around The Notorious B.I.G, a musical great and that doesn’t even scratch the surface for me. The truth is that he just makes winning look easy, probably because he just doesn’t give a fuck. Diddy is a guy who definitely enjoys his money and lifestyle and when he isn’t… Actually lets be honest, he’s probably always enjoying his money and lifestyle which is why I’m aware that he’s always winning. Don’t believe me? Tell me who else in this world goes to a party in a car and leaves in a yacht (A FUCKING YACHT!) and who else in this world stops sex so that they can call their personal chef to serve them snacks. Diddy is a guy who clearly makes sure that he gets the most out of life.

I said earlier in this post that winning isn’t easy which I think is true, it’s probably one of the most frustrating things to do but I feel that we can agree that it’s very worth it. Everybody has the ability to channel their inner winner and disturb the sleep of a chef so that you can eat when you get hungry during sexy time. As hard as things will get, I think that there’s no reason to stop going after something when you know you want it.

In hindsight

Me contemplating life (when I have my facial hair)

Not everything is for everyone and I’m happy that I’m learning this, it would have been better if I learned this earlier in life but at the end of the day, life is just a huge learning experience. The other day, I was thinking about a job that I didn’t get and it should have been depressing but it really wasn’t. In hindsight, I’m happy that I got rejected by the company and I’m seriously writing this.

If I had been employed by said company, I’d be working more hours, making more money, possibly having a better sleep pattern and one warning away from being fired. The reason that I believe the last part of that sentence is because the company is based in an area which is only served by one train that runs twice an hour (because fuck a metro train system), not to mention this train frequently gets cancelled. In other words, my employers would get really pissed with me despite doing my best to be on time because employers have no souls (and nobody is telling me otherwise).

Life is so shit when things don’t go your way, especially if you feel that you’ve worked hard enough for a break and I’m sure everybody reading knows this. I’ve had so many times where I’ve felt disappointed in myself for not doing what I felt should have been piloting my own life because things didn’t pan out the way that I wanted. The thing is, whatever happens, happens for a reason and it can work to your benefit. Cheesy lessons like letting go of things and looking forward whilst enjoying yourself are some of the wisest things that can be spread and they’ve definitely been some of the best things I’ve heard in my life. The amount of value that words like these hold can’t ever be underestimated.

Me when I used to hear things like ‘Let it go’

Hindsight can be really helpful (probably not as helpful as foresight) for your mind. It makes it clear that things will make their way to you in due time (not like destiny because I don’t believe in that).



I feel like I understand people who hustle more than I did before. I’m not too sure why but I feel like I just do and when I mean hustle, I’m not talking about the dictionary definition, I’m talking about those who think of ways to get ahead. You’ve got to hustle to get to where you want to be in life, that’s probably part of why it’s so fucking hard to progress at times (or at least in the case of what you want to do with yourself). When I think about it, I feel like people who have a hustle show ambition and the earlier you do it from the better.

During my first year in secondary school, there was someone who decided make a little bit of business for himself. He decided to innocently sell some chocolates for a good price (and the bars were pretty big), he managed to make a decent amount of sales and I’ll admit, he managed to get a sale out of me. In the end, it turned out that he didn’t get too far with his business because the chocolate was expired (I should have checked the date but I didn’t and it tasted good). To be honest, I was there when he got figured out and I’ve never seen somebody disappear so quickly in my life.

When he got caught out

The guy had some questionable morals for making money off expired chocolate bars (but I have to respect an eleven year-old for being so crafty) but he somehow knew that he wouldn’t be caught out immediately, or he was just feeling brave. I don’t really know far you have to go in order to get what you want but clearly you’ve got to be willing to take a risk (even if it’s other people’s health) and it seems like those who are willing to risk more gain more because I know for a FACT that the person selling the expired chocolate didn’t give any refunds.

Obviously, I don’t respect every hustle, some things aren’t explainable like dealing arms and things on that level. If it’s something relatively harmless then I’m all for it because for me it shows the willingness to take risks and get something that you didn’t have before. Until a few days ago, this wasn’t in my head but I thought back to that situation and asked myself why I didn’t think of that.

Sometimes relax

Me at work… A lot

If I haven’t said it before on this blog then I’ll say it now, I love work! The gloriousness of spending my most productive hours travelling and working, watching the day go by as I wonder what I could be doing with my time if I had the day off, telling myself that not all people who hurl abuse are shit humans and all of that jazz. You know what I mean? If not then you might know what I mean when I say that work can be rewarding when you go above and beyond the cause. This is something that I can legitimately appreciate…

What I could be doing during those hours

I know I’ve said that I’m lazy somewhere on this blog, really lazy, really, really lazy (depending on what’s at stake) but with that being said I really do appreciate hard work, without hard work it’s unlikely that you’re going to achieve much. I feel like people have to be mindful of what they’re investing their energy into because rewards differ based on the situation, I also feel that relaxing doesn’t get enough credit. One thing I’ve learned from working is that you’ve got to be in the best frame of mind if you’re going to have any chance of taking the day on and to do that rest is needed. I know that not every working situation is ideal and so not everybody is afforded the time that they deserve to relax (if you earn minimum wage living in London then you might have to embrace your inner Oliver Twist and beg for more work unfortunately). For me I feel that if you’re constantly working yourself, you may make money and gain compliments along the way but you’re killing yourself to do it.

I don’t think this would be my line of thinking after being in my job for a while but there’s a man who I used to work with, he told me that he’s been working since his early teens and at one point he was working five jobs. The kind of conversations that I used to have with this guy made it clear to me that the working lifestyle is what he knows and what he’s used to. He’s actually a very hard worker and he’s the type of guy who’ll happily spend 16 of his 24 hours working if he has to, basically he’s somebody that any company would find to be extremely reliable if they had a sticky situation. He admitted to me that he practically lost his back to work, which I have to admit is very obvious and he also admitted that he doesn’t get as much time to himself which has worn on him (luckily, he got a better job). I’ll admit that I tried to take on more shifts once upon a time, I worked from 6am – 10pm over the course of a couple of days and I told myself that I was a fucking champion when I took those shifts. The thing is that it didn’t take long to realise that strong headaches and lack of sleep aren’t a good combo.

My body when I took the extra shifts

So much time is spent working, I’m pretty sure that the retirement age for my generation is 71 so that’s an indication of how much more work the people around my age are going to have to do. If we lose or quit a job we have no choice but to find another one, money is a great perk but it shifts between going and coming. Time is more valuable and everybody has to look out for theirs, I’m not saying fuck work and I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do your best when possible but there’s no denying that people put themselves second when they don’t always have to.

Since being in my job, I’ve met a decent amount of people who look as if they’re always refreshed even though they’ve been working from before I turned 10 and I’ve also met workers who look as if they’ve had enough of everything from when they step into work. There’s a difference between the way that these set of people are when I interact with them and I don’t think I need to say which group takes it easy.

Obviously, people can live life however they want, this is just my perspective. I know that I’m getting this one chance to live and I don’t want to sacrifice my wellbeing for shit. (You might think that I’m just ridiculously lazy reading this and I need to man up and if you do, I can’t on sight you so you can have this instead).