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Anime: Ghost In The Shell Stand Alone Complex DVD #6
Monday, October 17, 2005
Age Rating: 12+
Company: Manga Ent UK
Genre: Sci-Fi / Action
Running Time: 75mins approx
DVD Region 2

Its time to meet the laughing man

Three new episodes as we reach the penultimate volume of Stand Alone Complex, and its 3 "complex" episodes too, entitled "Eraser", "Scandal" and "Equinox". We see Section 9 discover many things here as Motoko and company finally have their own face to face encounters with what appears to be the laughing man. Up until this point I had been losing faith in the series volume 4 and 5 both bored me to tears as it was just lots of technical jargon and little action for the most part. However things really change pace here as Section 9 tackles some of its deadliest opponents so far. Indeed its perhaps the action here that makes things the most appealing, Motoko going absolutely psychotic against a guy in an armoured suit that's ripped her arm off is perhaps the best part. It's pure anger in her eyes as she blows holes in the poor guy with a massive gun, standing over him with a mad glint in her eye as she delights in torturing him. It's certainly the darkest side of Motoko we have seen so far in the series. Plenty of other good action sequences too though as a group of deadly ex-SAS individuals hired by what appears to be the main enemy also try and eliminate Section 9, Motoko, Aramaki and Batou have some fairly close calls here (Togusa is still in hospital from the previous disc's injuries).

While this disc doesn't shirk from action the storyline here is something that also begins to really take shape. The Laughing Man reveals himself to actually be more of a help than a hindrance as he actually saves Motoko's life and his agenda of actually helping reveal the big government scandal brewing in the background is revealed. The person who appeared to be the "bad-guy" from disc 1 could well be the saviour of Section 9 in exposing the true villains. Motoko certainly knows how to use what little knowledge she gains of The Laughing Man to her advantage. It's certainly a clever twist to have the main baddie certainly while having his (or perhaps her I suppose) own agenda to also be in support of the "good-guys". For the first time I am seeing how cleverly written Stand Alone Complex is.

I am sitting here surprised in the fact that I can't really fault this volume, in both story and action it comes out far ahead of all previous volumes and many other series out there. Motoko and Co. Certainly seem to have a lot more life to them than I previously thought and their dialogue and actions had me liking them more (there's even a little amusing banter between Motoko and a "friend" of hers which was quite fun to watch).

Low episode count due to the end of the series aside, Manga Ent certainly have put a lot of effort in here. Dub and Sub (baring in mind I've only heard the sub track on previous discs) are fantastic (dub being my preference, I just love Motoko's voice SO much ;) ). The transfer onto the disc is (for once) flawless with excellent video quality (at least on the disc I watched). Animation in this series has so far only been rivaled in my eyes by the recent Blood+, so it is really some of the best out there. The packaging is stunning with Motoko in two very cool poses adorning the cardboard slipcase and DVD cover itself, the reverse sides giving the usual information and a few screenshots are a little crowded however. The release contains 2 DVD's with different sound support, and are both packed so full of extras you may fear they are going to burst. It may be the impossible but for once Manga Entertainment have released a good Stand Alone Complex DVD. Huzzah.

Overall Scores

Episode Contents: 9/10
I really can't fault it, even the dialogue heavy Episode 23 is stunning.

Animation: 9/10
It's a Production I.G big budget title. Enough said.

Audio: 9/10
Again, perfect I am impressed.

Video: 9/10
Great transfer for the first time in the series.

Extras: 8/10
Interviews, Artwork, Trailers. Great if your interested.

Packaging: 8/10
Best in the UK Market right now.
posted by Mangaminx On Monday, October 17, 2005  
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