So, after a break for Halloween, we’re going to wrap up our Ghost In The Shell anime reviews with the final installment of the the franchise (until they put out another one) – the movie spin-off of the TV series – Solid State Society. Does the franchise wrap up with a satisfactory conclusion, does it leave us hanging, or worse, does it leave us with a sour taste in our mouths?

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Akio Ohtsuka as Batou
Atsuko Tanaka as Motoko Kusanagi
Kouichi Yamadera as Togusa
Osamu Saka as Daisuke Aramaki
Takashi Onozuka as Pazu
Tarô Yamaguchi as Boma
Toru Ohkawa as Saito
Yutaka Nakano as Ishikawa
Yuya Uchida as Takaaki Koshiki
Dai Sugiyama as Proto
Yoshiko Sakakibara as Prime Minister Yoko Kayabuki

Written and Directed by Kenji Kamiyama
Animation by Production IG

Premise

Following the end of 2nd Gig, Motoko Kusanagi has left Section 9 and stuck out on her own, leaving the rest of Section 9 and the rookies to pick up the slack. 2 years after her departure, they find themselves facing a new opponent, the Puppeteer, who may be the most dangerous opponent Section 9 has ever faced.

High Point

While there are many nods to the other movies in here (Togusa and the other field ops having taken on more cyber after Motoko’s departure, like in Innocence, and the opening shot being similar to the opening shot of the first movie, but with Motoko wearing more clothing,) there is plenty of new ground that is trod as well – particularly regarding Aramaki’s background, and how he’s coping with his aging (and his plans for the future of Section 9).

Spoiler Guarded For Your Protection (where there are spoilers) – On the gut-wrenching side of the die, Togusa being willing to kill himself to save his daughter, and being just about to pull the trigger had my heart in my throat – particularly considering that this is the last big of the SAC franchise we’ve got at the moment, so they could very easily kill of Togusa here, just to show that anyone can bite it. On the heartwarming side of the coin, while I knew in 2nd Gig that they’d snuck in a way to bring back the Tachikomas if they wanted to in a later series or movie, seeing the Tachikomas in the “flesh” step out of the back of Motoko’s truck was awesome, as well as the look on Batou’s face earlier when he learned they were still alive. On the “Poor Batou” side of the die, I found myself feeling sad for Batou as he tried to re-create the individuality of the Tachikomas in the Uchikomas, and continually failed. Finally, on the “familial” side of the die, a lot of the familial feelings between the characters of the show, particularly with Batou looking to Aramaki as something of a father (and Aramaki looking to groom a successor) that were lost in 2nd Gig, and we got a taste of in the first season, are revived here.

They leave room for a sequel, beyond just “The Net is vast,” though they do say that. That sounds like a stupid thing for a high point at first glance, but I could stand to see more with these characters, and if they could pull off another sequel, I’d watch it – gladly.

Low Point

The ultimate identity of the Puppeteer is more than a bit iffy.

Nudity and Violence

There’s less nudity and sex in this film than last season (with the sole exception of nursing bots who are basically wearing lingerie and aprons, and that’s it). The violence is also more “realistic” here than in prior seasons – less head explosions than last season

The Scores

Originality: Again, a sequel to a spinoff, and one that treads some new ground (without going too much into specifics, The Puppeteer is not who the Puppet Master was in the first movie). 4 out of 6

Animation: The animation here is still excellent – there’s a sum total of one CG shot that bugged me. Specifically, when we get the rotating camera shot of Motoko standing on top of the scaffold with the city behind her at the beginning of the movie, there’s some very noticeable stutter – that’s the only fault I have with the animation. 5 out of 6

Story: The story is decent, but the identity of the Puppeteer doesn’t quite mesh with how the crime, in this film, was committed. The character development elements are very good though. 4 out of 6

Voice Acting: The voice acting is still good – everyone is working on roles that they’ve been doing for quite some time, and there aren’t a lot of new characters for the ball to be dropped on. 5 out of 6

Emotional Response: Probably the best thus far – unlike in the other installments of the franchise, if you’ve made it this far, you’ve really been able to come to know these characters, and thus you care about what happens to them. 5 out of 6

Production: Aside from my complaints about the CGI at one point, my only complaint is that we get some noticeable score re-use from the first season. 5 out of 6

Overall: This is a good way to wrap up the franchise, while still leaving enough room for additional installments if the mood strikes them. 5 out of 6

In total, Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society receives a 33 out of 42.