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Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Vol. 03 (2002)  link to Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Vol. 03 on IMDb

Number: 123

cover Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Vol. 03

IMDB Rating: star star star star star star star star star star

Also known as:: "Kôkaku kidôtai: Stand Alone Complex" (original title)

Country: Japan, 110 minutes

Spoken Languages: English, Japanese

Genre(s): Action, Thriller, Sci-Fi, Crime, Animation

Director: Kenji Kamiyama

Cast: Dino Andrade, Kevin Brief, Loy Edge, Barbara Goodson, Michael Gregory

Medium: Original DVD

Plot Outline: A detective investigating the Laughing Man incidents - a series of corporate terrorism and blackmail events - discovers that the task force has been injected with specialized micro-machines to spy on them illegally. The detective sends evidence of this spying to Togusa right before he is murdered. Once Section 9 exposed the government officials to the media, a mysterious hacker called the Laughing Man hacks onto one of the government officials and states he will be returning to defraud them. Section 9 then begins to investigate the Laughing Man incidents.

Throughout the course of their investigation, Section 9 discovers the background behind the original Laughing Man incident. The Laughing Man is revealed to be a computer hacker named Aoi, who discovered an internal memo revealing that a tuberculosis vaccine was more effective than micro-machine therapy at treating a form of sclerosis called cyberbrain sclerosis. Members of the micro-machine industry in Japan and the Japanese government suppressed the memo in order to profit from the costly but less effective micro-machine therapy being developed. Outraged, the hacker kidnapped the CEO of micro-machine corporation Serrano Genomics and tried to convince him, at gunpoint, to disclose the ineffectiveness of the therapy on live TV. The CEO refused, and the Laughing Man fled the scene. To protect his identity, he simultaneously hacked every electronic device viewing him and replaced his face with a stylized laughing face instead. The kidnapping and the hacking skill required to make his getaway turned the Laughing Man into a folk hero.

Section 9 also inadvertently discovers evidence that suggests top micro-machine corporations and politicians staged fake corporate terrorism attacks for profit, and used the Laughing Man's trademark stylized face to place the blame on him. Because of these discoveries, Section 9 becomes the target of a public misinformation campaign to discredit it. In addition, extensive efforts are made to eliminate Section 9 members at all costs. Near the end of the series, Section 9 is declared a rogue organization by the Japanese government. To survive, Section 9 members carry out an elaborate deception, leading the Japanese government and military forces to believe Section 9 members have all been killed. Section 9 itself is temporarily disbanded by Chief Aramaki.

The members of Section 9, safely in hiding, disseminate information on the internal memo concerning cyberbrain sclerosis and the truth about the fake Laughing Man incidents. This causes a public scandal, leading to the downfall of the Japanese Prime Minister and his administration, as well as several micro-machine corporations and their CEOs. In the aftermath of the scandal, Section 9 is reinstated to its former position in secret. The Laughing Man himself is offered a position at Section 9 but refuses. The series ends with the members of Section 9 once again settling into their accustomed routines.

Episode 9 "C: The Man Who Dwells in the Shadows of the Net – CHAT! CHAT! CHAT!"
Kusanagi enters a chat room dedicated to the Laughing Man. Various theories are passed around as the chat room as the members view various bits of evidence from the Laughing Man case. While in the chat room, Kusanagi homes in on an older man sitting at the table who seems to have more knowledge about the Laughing Man incidents than anyone else. After confronting the man and exchanging information with him, Kusanagi and one of the other guests are suddenly transferred out of the chat room, with unexpected results.

Episode 10 "SA: A Perfect Day for a Jungle Cruise – JUNGLE CRUISE"
Marco Amoretti, a former American Imperial Navy Petty Officer turned serial killer, has arrived in Japan and for the last two months has murdered several women by slicing the skin off their torsos in the form of a T-shirt. American CIA officers have been dispatched to Japan, ostensibly to assist Section 9 in their effort to track down and apprehend Amoretti before he can strike again. When the CIA officers show no surprise at the developments in the case, Ishikawa hacks into the CIA database to find out why, and learns that Amoretti was part of an American Empire commando team sent into the jungles of South America to conduct a covert operation aimed at breaking an enemy’s will to fight by using terror tactics, such as flaying civilians alive. Elsewhere, Batou — an ex-JGSDF Ranger who has seen first hand the horrors of the CIA operation — resolves to stop Amoretti by any means necessary, but his behaviour during the case leads to suspicion that Batou may attempt to kill Amoretti, rather than arrest him. However, this is exactly what the CIA wants, since Amoretti is the only loose end that can tie them to the jungle op. Amoretti's hideout in the sewers is discovered, and Batou gives chase in a running gun battle. Batou experiences vivid flashbacks during the chase, with the dank sewers intercutting with the steaming jungle where he first battled Amoretti years ago. Batou finally manages to corner Amoretti, who begs Batou to kill him. However, Batou remembers that he is a law enforcement officer first, and arrests Amoretti instead. The CIA agents, unhappy that things didn't go as planned, are forced to return home with Amoretti in tow.

Episode 11 "C: In the Forest of Pupae – PORTRAITZ"
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare's database has been hacked into, and classified material has been stolen. Section 9 traces the hack and determines that the hack job originated from a facility that helps people with Cyberbrain Closed Shell Syndrome. Togusa goes undercover to investigate the social welfare facility, and immediately encounters suspicious behaviour from the facility's supervisors. Togusa manages to learn that a person called "the Chief" visited the center during the week that the MHLW was hacked, but before he can determine the significance of this information Togusa is discovered; simultaneously, the facility's security system unexpectedly goes online, and Section 9’s databases are subsequently hacked, leading Kusanagi and Batou to make an emergency insertion to evacuate Togusa. The Chief is revealed to be the alter ego of a boy named Aoi, who seems to have vanished after the incident, with no evidence remaining that he was ever a patient at the center, save for Togusa's testimony. But when Togusa draws Aoi's face from memory, the others are surprised to find that Togusa has drawn the infamous Laughing Man logo.

Episode 12 "SA: Tachikoma Runs Away; The Movie Director's Dream – ESCAPE FROM"
Early in the morning Batou's Tachikoma self-activates and leaves the Tachikoma storage bay to explore the outside world. While roaming the streets of Niihama, the Tachikoma encounters a young girl searching for her lost dog. The Tachikoma decides to help the girl, and together they manage to find the dog. While on their journey, the Tachikoma stumbles upon a cyberbrain being sold in a market that contains a ghost, and brings it back to the storage bay. When the Tachikoma returns to Section 9, technicians begin extensive tests to determine why the tank went AWOL in the first place, while Section 9 members turn their attention to the cyberbrain in an effort to determine what the brain contains. When one of the lab technicians investigating the brain links with it and becomes "lost," Kusanagi volunteers to go after the missing man, leading her on a soul-searching ghost dive.

Comments: Manga Video, Bandai Entertainment;UPC669198252228;Vol. 3 - Episodes 9-12;Special Edition with Shirt;

Loaned: No

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