- Episodes : 26
- Genre : Sci-fi, Futuristic, Police, Action, Military
- Airing Date : Jan 2004 – Jan 2005
- Producers : Production I.G., Bandai Visual
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG Preview / Plot (No Spoilers)
*”From here on out, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG” will be referred to as “2nd GIG”*
Ahhh, what a wonderful way to get a sequel. 2nd GIG hits the ground running with our ever classic Major. Motoko Kusanagi, and the rest of Section 9, along with Chief Aramaki, thrown into another sticky terrorist event. The story is set two years after the disbanding of Section 9 by force. Now they are back doing what they do best, however, they aren’t sanctioned by the government this time.
This means lots of red tape everywhere. With a hostage situation that is making the police look like idiots, Aramaki offers to let section 9 step in. If they succeed, then they are back and fully sanctioned by the government, and if they fail, then the government can blame everything on them. As expected the team succeeds and are back! The tachikomas even come back too!
2nd GIG takes a look at refugees in Japan, a post-world war 3 and 4 in Japan, as well as the issues that arise with an increasingly large portion of the population dependent on technology. In fact, they are so dependent on it, that just like in season 1, they explore the theme of humanity and technological lines being blurred again.
This season also delves into the pasts of characters to show more.
Who does Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG cater to?
Look high and low. After an explosive first season ending, it is really nice to be given seconds. 2nd GIG explores a corrupt government that has extreme nationalist ties, unfair treatment of foreigners in Japan, and of course the great backstories of our beloved main characters. I mean really, if you have seen season one and even remotely liked the story or characters, then you’re going to love season two without a doubt.
If by some freak chance you haven’t seen season one and you’re reading this, both 2nd GIG and the first season are all about the future of society. Things like cybercrime, hacking, robots, free will, AI, corruption, justice, action, and philosophy, are all part of this show.
What's so appealing about this piece of work.
It’s Ghost in the Shell. Not to be rude, but come on, if you’ve seen season one in its entirety, then you know you’re going to watch season two. It’s got more plot, more action, and more of the Major flipping around all over the place and the net!
Yoko Kanno, the genius producer, has also been brought back to breathe life into this series. It’s also great on the eyes. The art style is fantastic for its time considering art quality and style were taking steep hits. It’s not as well animated as the movies, but it’s also not the 1990s.
Also, don’t forget, this series celebrates futuristic society at a great point. I don’t think personally in under 20 years that we are all going to be walking around with cyborgs and cyber-brains, but hey, who am I to say what humanity can and cannot do in 20 years?
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG Trailer
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG Main Characters List
Voice Actor :Osamu Saka
Good old Chief Aramaki is the real brains behind section 9. He is the one who calls the shots and even gets the group reinstated in episode 1. While there are other main characters, “monkey man” is the one who makes things happen. Always speaking with a tight lip, it’s very rare to see him lose his cool. He almost never (hint hint) ever steps out on actual missions himself, but he does make sure that the major does as he wishes.
Aramaki is owed many favors by many people and as such, he does call them in from time to time.
Major Motoko Kusanagi
Voice Actor :Atsuko Tanaka
If Aramaki is the chief, then the Major is the dog on the leash. Loyal to a fault with Aramaki, the major is his right hand woman who carries out all missions and commands section 9 almost effortlessly.
Very little information is actually known about the major. There are a few things, but not much. The second season does take a look at her backstory a bit more. She is a Super Class A Wizard Hacker much like the Laughing man was in season one. She has been full cyborg since she was a child. She likes to dive often into the net and hack her way into things. Regardless of how old she actually is, as it is never implicitly stated, she does prefer to stay in the cyber body of a woman in her mid twenties.
Voice Actor :Akio Otsuka
God I love Batou. He’s the impulsive, short tempered, large, loud foreigner in section 9. He serves as second in command to the Major. Batou is almost a complete cyborg with the most obvious point being his eyes. He does, however, hold onto remnants of his humanity with his purchase of weight sets.
Sometimes he does let his ager flare up when it’s justified and he easily is angered by injustice or lies. He has a soft spot of the major, but it’s not romantic, but rather more loyal. Fun fact, Batou is American!
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG Review
So here it is! Season two! More guns! More espionage! More missions! More action! Yay!!!
So…. Let’s get into it! *cues music*
2nd GIG starts out with the introduction to a bit of the backstory of the world in the series. World War 3 which was nuclear, and non-nuclear World War 4 have finished. There are now a multitude of foreign workers in Japan. Japan has become more international? Yay!
Nope. Nice try. What actually happened, was Japan allowed refugees from countries afflicted by the war to come live in Japan. These refugees then worked throughout the war to keep Japan’s economy afloat and Japan got cheap labor out of it. Japan then had them live on a manmade island called Dejima. Unfortunately, when the wars were over, so was the labor. With no need for them, the areas that the refugees lived in suddenly became dangerous zones of poverty. With no rights and no passports, they were essentially prisoners within Japan unable to leave or go home to their own countries. This leads to unrest.
This whole scenario is what gives rise to Section 9 again as they start right off the bat fighting terrorists within the Chinese embassy demanding rights for the refugees.
2nd GIG has three styles of episodes similar to season one where it had two. There are individual episodes (IN) that deal with the Individual Eleven storyline which is essentially the main plot. Then there are dividual episodes (DI) that are stand alone episodes for the most part, and finally there are dual (DU) episodes that deal with Goda and his storyline.
This theme of struggling against a corrupt system is something that runs all season. The main player though is Kazundo Goda. With a horribly disfigured face due to an accident, his role within the government is to create as much chaos as possible while making it appear to be only the fault of the refugees. Eventually it is discovered that Goda is the one who has created the virus for the Individual Eleven and has been leaking it to create a new stand alone complex similar to the Laughing Man. The difference being that the Laughing Man existed to bring hidden truth to light.
His plan does backfire on him though with Hideo Kuze who is, albeit going about things the wrong way, a passionate so-called leader of the resistance movement helping out the refugees. At first he is shown on TV when the men attack each other and commit suicide, and then later when he tries to kill the prime minister. His backstory does come to light when it is revealed that he and the Major were in a plane accident together as children and were one of the first children ever to receive cybernetic bodies. It is then revealed that Kuze was Mokoto’s first love. Kuze is eventually killed though due to Goda’s meddling but not before Goda is killed trying to run away to America.
The great part about 2nd GIG is it starts to go into some more backstories. You get more of the Major which is always cool, but I really liked Saito’s backstory. Not to mention the animation in that episode is par none! Pazu’s backstory was total WTF, but it’s really neat to see that he’s a ladies man, or at least he used to be.
Now though, let’s talk about a bit more behind the series. This season is actually supposed to be a critique of how Japan participated in the Iraq war in the real world. The whole string of “individual eleven” episodes criticizes Japan and Japanese people by the staff for electing officials who voted to send the real Japanese Self-Defense Force to Iraq to fight in light of Japan’s pacifist constitution that doesn’t allow the JSDF to fight beyond Japanese soil.
All in all though, 2nd GIG does a great job is keeping styles and the story from season one alive, while delivering new plot, new backstories, and even more action!
1. The Tachikoma
Don’t even lie to me for a second and tell me that you wouldn’t want a think tank that can essentially think for itself and almost has its own unique personality? I was devastated when the Tachikoma where collected in season one to be “researched” more and then when they came back to save Batou and the Major, they were horribly destroyed.
The tachikoma are so fun and they even have their own mini-series at the end of each episode that is great because it gives more insight into their world. They kinda remind me of spiders.
2. The Character Backstories
This has to be the third or fourth time I have mentioned this, but as good as this series is, it only gets better when you understand more! The backstories are all well thought out and deep. Some more than others, point in case, the crazy lady from Pazu’s past versus Saito’s irritation with his own government so he became a mercenary.
3. The (Supposed) Future of the World
Com’on optical camouflage, smart tanks with personalities and individuality, the ability to hack into people via phone lines, cyber-organs, and just cool all around police forces! Let’s get futuristic! It’s really awesome to see how our future could, I’m not saying it can’t, look in 20 years. Wouldn’t it be awesome?
Being able to jump off a building and not die is pretty legit. Not to mention all those hacking skills too!!! It would be amazing if we could someday develop cyber-organs to help those in need where transplanting wouldn’t need to be an option.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG is something that isn’t soon forgotten. As a genre defining series of its time, it serves up an awesome second season that leaves you staring at the screen wanting more and more.
I should point out that if you haven’t seen the first season, you really should, you don’t have to, but you really should before you try to watch this. Solid State Society the movie also follows after this series. The newest series Arise, can be watched at any time since it is the full backstory for section 9. It’s not going to ruin any of the other seasons due to how far in the past it is.