Starring Arsuko Tanaka, Akio Ohtsuka, Koichi Yamadera, Ooki Sugiyama, Osamu Saka, Rikiya Koyama, Sakiko Tamagawa, Taimei Suzuki, Ken Nishida, Takashi Onozuka, Taro Yamaguchi, Toru Ohkawa, Yuko Sumimoto, Yutaka Nakano
Directed by Kenji Kamiyama
As the title might suggest, this is a sequel to the previous Stand Alone Complex. It’s also a compilation film just like The Laughing Man. Because it’s a part of the same TV series, it has the same solid animation, though a little heavy on the CG for my tastes, and the same great dramatic Yoko Kanno scores. But somehow Individual Eleven didn’t entertain me as much as The Laughing Man did. It was a bit less action packed and more explanation packed. And this is in a franchise that is already very explanation heavy in the first place.
It doesn’t help that it mimics the opening scene of the original Ghost in the Shell film not once, but twice over the course of the movie. Yeah, I know, it was a cool scene, but I don’t need to see it reenacted all the time. After that opening that I’ve basically seen before, it dives into a very long fictional history lesson to set the groundwork for the events of the film. I can’t say that this was unnecessary, but it really dragged down the first part of the film. Things thankfully pick up from there, but I couldn’t get into it as much as the previous film. It may have just been that opening breaking the mood, but I wasn’t so fond of some other factors either.
Kuze is trying to get his hands on a nuclear bomb to use as leverage to create a new independent nation for the refugees. But there’s also a creepy, scarred government agent named Gotoh who seems to be manipulating events behind the scenes. Our intrepid detectives are working the case from both angles, but the motives and reasons for how things worked out were a bit lost on me. I think this was a story that needed to be told in a longer format than a two-hour film. It just had far too many complexities to work in such a short space.
In general, the action is well done all around and provides a sort of momentum for the story that keeps it going even though I found myself a bit lost regarding the plot. So even though I have my issues with the film, it still has its moments of fun. I suspect this was a pretty good story in the series format, but here it just has too many gaping holes that need filling. The Laughing Man might have worked fine as a film, but Individual Eleven is undoubtedly best watched in its series format.