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Anime: Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex DVD #7
Monday, November 14, 2005
Age Rating: 15+
Company: Manga Ent UK
Genre: Sci-Fi/Action
Running Time: 75mins
DVD Region 2

Section 9 become public enemy number 1

Picking up where disc 6 left off it becomes clear that Section 9's information about the scandal lurking in the government is un-wanted at this moment in time. Aramaki's force of cyborgs are faced with termination as special forces storm the building. Episodes 24 and 25 here follow Motoko, Batou and the others as they battle to stay one step ahead of the elite soldiers sent to track them down. Events happen thick and fast and with increasing brutality as the soldiers begin to stop at nothing to hunt their elusive opponents. Even with some help from the returning tachikoma's things don't look good for our hero's and heroine. These episodes are probably the most fast paced in the series with lots of heavy hitting action knocking the political side of things to the side, it's amazing how things fall apart so quickly here and the violence hits levels of gore previously only seen when the series began. I was on the edge of my seat all the way through these two episodes, hoping that Section 9 would make their escapes. We see a rather emotional side to Motoko and Batou here which almost breaks them away from their tough almost cold outlooks they have taken for most of the series. These two episodes while not my favourite's in the series, are where the real core of SAC comes into play, where the build up from all previous episodes comes to a head in spectacular style.

Episode 26 "Stand Alone Complex" is an episode I cannot delve into to much, otherwise the epic conclusion of this first series would be given away. Lets just say I found the entire thing a little to heavy on dialogue and overly confusing. This is not entirely unexpected of this series, but it was almost frustrating to have things wrapped up in a way it was difficult to get my head around. That said the general conclusion of the series does leave you wanting more, and the open-ended feeling of things will lead into the second series with ease. Those wanting a completist ending will feel cheated, there is no doubt, this episode feels like a damp squib compared to the two before it. But then to me this series has always been about ups and downs, heralded by some as the best series ever I am not convinced. While the quality of some parts of the series (particularly disc 2,3, and 6) has been outstanding some parts have severely lacked to the point of being mind-numbingly dull. SAC needs to tone down the more dialogue heavy sections to truly impress me, as I don't wish to sit feeling like I'm watching a political chat show or lesson in technology of the future.

Manga manage to put out a flawless release here (at least for the dub track, I didn't watch the sub) with no errors in picture or sound that plagued earlier releases. Outstanding animation here to as per previous releases, shown off in the spectacular action scenes. The dub is as outstanding as ever too, not my favourite English dub ever, but very close to it. The release is full of the usual interviews and extras for those interested in the series production, and there's a hidden easter egg preview for Series 2 (which hits the UK in the New Year). Packaging wise its the same high quality as ever with Motoko taking both the DVD cover and slipcase in two differing poses, with the usual insert and the like inside the 2 disc case. Bare in mind there is a limited edition of this disc also (which I chose to pass on) with a tin to hold the rest of the series.

Overall Scores

Episode Contents: 8/10
A fitting conclusion with outstanding action and decent story.

Animation: 9/10
It's stunning, truly stunning.

Audio: 9/10
As expected. Great audio.

Extras: 8/10
Interesting, as long as your interested in how the series was made.

Packaging: 8/10
As I have said before, best in the UK market at present. Take heed MVM.

Overall Series Score: 7/10
A thrilling ride through Section 9's world with a good plot, interesting characters and action. Some of the stand alone stories considerably let the show down with their weaknesses though.
posted by Mangaminx On Monday, November 14, 2005  
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