Announced July 22nd, 2002 in Japan, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (GITS:SAC hereafter) is a new television serial adaptation of the original manga Ghost in the Shell by Shirow Masamune. While there already exists a very well-received film adaptation entitled simply Ghost in the Shell, the anime community is eager to see what can be done with the much extended time (air and production) available to a television series - the original manga was chopped and shortened fairly radically in order to allow its presentation in a high-quality film format. Due to its success and the lessening cost of high-grade computer animation, the television series should offer visuals of at least comparable quality, as well as much more information, storyline and character development from the manga that has heretofore not seen a screen adaptation.

GITS:SAC is being produced by the firm Production I.G., a well-known Japanese visual production company. There is a website for the series, with imagery, commentary and more information (albeit still a little thin on the info side) available at:

http://www.production-ig.com/Ghost_TV.html

...I, personally, cannot wait to see this, and have already begun wondering how long it will be before I am able to purchase the DVD.

In the meanwhile, the series, based on Masamune Shirow's manga has started it's run, airing bi-weekly as Pay-per-View (500 Yen a pop) on a Japanese Pay-TV satellite station. The series is also being published on DVD, each disc containing two episodes (sadly, no subtitles). The series was so successful that even before finishing it`s first run of 26 episodes, a second season called Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig has been commissioned which began broadcast in January 2004.

The series looks absolutely gorgeous, another job well done for Production I.G.. The series was still partly in production during broadcast, for example, the intro was changed after episode 2. The animation is beautiful, as are the character designs (although I'd like to have a word with the person who designed Major Kusanagi's costume), and the stories are nicely written as well, fitting the GitS microcosm perfectly.

The background is less gritty than the one presented in the movie, a more realistic approach, with suburban cities next to the urban sprawls. Set in a parallel universe from the movie version, where Kusanagi never met the Puppetmaster and using the same characters, the series details the adventures of Makoto Kusanagi and her collegues of Section 9, a special police force on the technological edge. The technical gizmos they so casually present are still on the "I want that!" level.

The music is another masterpiece by Yoko Kanno, with a title track in Russian, and many atmospheric and entertaining pieces throughout. The Soundtrack was released in January 2003 and is another sure buy.

Soundtrack Tracklist:

  • 01 - Run rabbit junk
  • 02 - Yakitori
  • 03 - Stamina rose
  • 04 - Surf
  • 05 - Where does the ocean go?
  • 06 - Train search
  • 07 - Cyberian doll house
  • 08 - Velveteen
  • 09 - Ending Theme - Lithium flower
  • 10 - Homestay
  • 11 - Opening theme - Inner universe
  • 12 - Fish ~ Silent cruise
  • 13 - Some other time
  • 14 - Beauty is within us
  • 15 - We're the great
  • 16 - Monochrome
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