Starring Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Ohtsuka, Kouichi Yamadera, Kazuya Tatekabe, Masuo Amada, Osamu Saka, Takashi Onozuka, Taro Yamaguchi, Toru Ohkawa, Yutaka Nakano, Yuya Uchida
Directed by Kenji Kamiyama
When I started this journey through the Ghost in the Shell films I fully expected them to go straight downhill and never recover, and even though I still think the original 1995 film is the best, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well the franchise has held its quality. Solid State Society keeps that tradition going with another good blend of cyberpunk thrills and intellectual depth. I think that’s what holds the series up and keeps it from grinding to a halt. It has never drifted so far into action fluff that it becomes mindless, but it has also never forgotten to keep that visceral edge honed sharp.
Unlike the previous Stand Alone Complex films, this one is actually meant to be a film. It is not a compilation, or even an adaptation. The story was intended from the start to be a movie, and that has helped it avoid the flaws that brought down Individual Eleven. I was hoping that would translate into better animation, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. It still looks about the same as the other Stand Alone series. That’s no terrible insult or anything, but it would have been nice to get a visual boost.
In Solid State Society, Kusanagi has resigned from the force, and no one knows where she went. But as Batou is investigating a new case around the Puppeteer, an expert hacker setting up assassinations, he runs into Kusanagi once again. She tells him to back off and watch out for the Solid State Society, whoever they are. Since we all know how well cryptic warnings work at keeping main characters out of trouble, Batou keeps digging up clues and finds evidence that Kusanagi herself might be the Puppeteer. And just because all that was way too simple for a Ghost in the Shell story, Section Nine finds a bunch of kidnapped children whose memories have been hacked for reasons unknown, leaving their actual parents a mystery all its own.
I must say I’m impressed with Solid State Society, and I have to rank it just behind the original Ghost in the Shell, losing out only in the animation department. It seemed like it was trying to do too much, but that ending really got me behind this one. Put on your thinking cap before diving into this one, but definitely do dive into it. It’s a must see for any serious Ghost in the Shell fan.