(THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS)
Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex 2nd Gig, the second season to the SAC series. I’m not really sure what I’m going to say for this post so let’s just see where it goes. In this season, the story continues and section 9 are reassembled after the Laughing Man incident. In this season, section 9 are called upon to help the Prime Minister deal with a refugee crisis, as well as stopping a group of terrorists known as the individual eleven, AS WELL AS dealing with internal government corruption (so for the most part, it’s practically season one again). The thing about the 2nd Gig is that it still had its differences from season one and it helped to make it feel like a slightly different viewing experience.
The first thing that I have to mention is the layout, the layout of the episodes for the first season really confused me. I won’t say that I hated it but it did make the story hard to keep up with and it didn’t help since it GITS:SAC is one of those series where you’ve really got to pay attention to what’s going on at all times (in my opinion). I thought that this season was going to be like the first season because I checked Wikipedia and it did say that there were three types of episodes (Dividual, Dual and Individual) and some of them weren’t story based. The Dividual episodes were basically the Standalone episodes for this season but not all of them were completely separate from the story, in fact most of the Dividual episodes had a loose connection to the main story which is something that I appreciated seeing. The layout of the episodes made the story less of a chore to keep up with especially when considering that most of the story in the first season took place in the last five episodes. The story was solid, although I will admit that a few story based episodes in, I was already starting to draw comparisons to the Laughing Man story. I might mention a few more times (or I might not) throughout this post that this story was similar to the laughing man, which I feel is understandable just based on the name of this series and the explanation of what a standalone complex is.
I don’t feel like this season was as difficult to follow as the first season and the philosophy in this season was pretty much like the philosophy in the previous season. There might have been more philosophy but that went over my head if it was there (if you noticed anything then let me know). The episodes kept me thinking about how things were going to end, from when I saw Kazundo Gohda (I’ll talk more about him later) tell section 9 that they should be happy that he let them be a part of his plan, I knew that he was going to die. This was one of the few occurrences where I was left wondering what would happen as the story moved forward and it helped because I was interested in Gohda as a character. I never had to guess the identity of the main antagonist which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing but it was something that I did like in the first season and I didn’t watch a load of episodes wondering what purpose they served (because that’s what filler arcs are for). I can’t badmouth the development of the story because it didn’t stray far and it’s not like there’s a hell of a lot that you can put into 26 episodes.
One character made this story more interesting and that was Kazundo Gohda (or Goda… I’m not too sure). He was the link between a lot of the episodes and he helped the story to flow together because he was portrayed as the master orchestrator of the events that took place throughout the season, when the episodes didn’t involve him it was simple to blame him for whatever was happening and the truth is that I would happily take that over episodes which aren’t related to the story. Had it not been for the way that Gohda looked, I probably wouldn’t have paid attention to him, I feel like he was kind of like Light Yagami because he clearly wanted to make a new Japan to control himself (I think I said this about Rock in Roberta’s Blood Trail). I can get used to watching a villain stay one step ahead of the main characters without trying to hide that he’s using them and everybody else around him (I don’t feel like I’ve watched enough shows like this). I would have liked to see more on Gohda but I can’t really criticise because there was more of an effort with him than there was the laughing man. I never really cared for the individual eleven or Hideo Kuze either, I know that Kuze had charisma but I could never really get into the character, I thought he was going to be a romantic subplot for the major but the major is an ice chick so that probably wouldn’t have worked. He felt really flat as a character in my opinion and if I’m honest his facial expression matched mine when I watched him.
I understand that there were a lot of things that couldn’t fully be developed on so I won’t go into that but I will say this, I enjoyed the animation so much more. The animation was so much smoother this season and it resolved one issue that I had with the major which was how inconsistently she was drawn. I can’t explain why but I really couldn’t let it go when I was watching the series and I was happy to see it remedied. Lately, I’ve been finding that when it comes to anime, the quality of animation impacts my viewing experience and there are only a few exceptions to this. I have to admit that I hold anime up to a high standard and I feel like some shows have suffered from poor animation (cough, cough the early episodes of Dragon Ball Super). The animation in anime is generally presented beautifully and I can find myself lost in the presentation of a show (you’d be surprised at how anime grabs you when you’re on the drugs). The soundtrack was a decent listen, it’s not like it added anything for me but I did bop my head a few times; with that being said, I’ll admit that there’s no GITS:SAC track that will beat this one for me in my opinion:
There’s not much more to say on the 2nd Gig in my opinion, this season does certain things better than the first season but I feel like it won’t give you much in the way of new things. Before watching this series, I read that it was a masterpiece and whilst I can see why people would love this, I can’t say that I agree at the moment.
- Most of the members of section 9 didn’t receive much more character development and the ones that did weren’t significant. They did give Saito and Paz episodes of their own which allowed me to learn their names and that’s always good
- Gohda’s death was deserved but not extremely satisfying
- The Tachikoma provide the most emotional moments of the series which is weird to me because they’re robots
- I want to know why the opening has words in Russian, it works but I want to know
- No Aeria Gloris 😦