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A Cyberpunk Anime Masterpiece

image by Veronica V. Jones

Ghost in the Shell: SAC Volume One

The shapely full-body cyborg Major Motoko Kusanagi from the series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Section Nine operatives Batou and Togusa from the series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. A blue bug-eyed AI tank -- called a tachikoma -- from the series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.

I got my grubby little hands on the first Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex DVD late last week. My wife had a brief scare where she thought that the entire series was rendered. Rest assured that the series itself is still cell-style anime, with supporting 3D elements blended well into the finished product.

The character design was mostly spot-on Shirow, but Veronica did grumble that the Majorspent all of her time in her battle teddy. It was true, but somehow I didn’t really mind all that much.

Actually, I don’t recall anyone changing clothes between the four installments, but I’ll chalk that up to the pressures of serial animation. Except for that one small gripe, these episodes were everything I could have hoped for from a Masamue Shirow production. The visuals, the story, the action, the dialog all came together for what is shaping up to be an awesome run.

One note of caution, however: the bizarre little mechanical tanks — tachikomas — are probably going to annoy you at first… unless you’re a parent.

New DVDs are scheduled for release every two months through July 2005 — that’s 7 in all. The Cartoon Network will begin playing the eps on November 6th in the [adult swim] block, but can you wait that long?

Written by in August of 2004. Last edited November 2009.

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