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Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Vol. 02 (2002)  link to Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Vol. 02 on IMDb

Number: 126

cover Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Vol. 02

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 5 "C: The Inviting Bird will Chant – DECOY"
Section 9 suspects that the Police Investigators handling the Laughing Man case are using their primary suspect, a former Serano Genomics programmer with a shady anti-corporate past named Nanao Ei, as a decoy to hide some form of higher-level corruption. Aramaki orders Section 9 to commence around the clock surveillance on Nanao in an attempt to catch him in the act. Elsewhere, Kusanagi meets with her friend Kurutan, a hospital nurse, to use her external memory device in an effort to learn more about The Laughing Man case. However, when the police Superintendent-General is set to give a speech about the Interceptor incident and the Laughing Man case, one of the officers present has his cyberbrain hacked by the Laughing Man. The Laughing Man demands that the Superintendent-General tell the truth, or he will be assassinated.

Episode 6 "C: The Copycat will Dance – MEME"
The Superintendent-General's press conference quickly descends into chaos after the Laughing Man's assassination threat. Kusanagi suspects that the Laughing Man has inserted a virus into the police units assigned to guard the event. As Section 9 members struggle to evacuate the Superintendent-General to safety, the anti-virus team at HQ races to develop a vaccine to protect against it. However, random civilians begin joining in the assassination attempt as well, without any sort of external influence. After escorting the Superintendent-General to safety and apprehending all of the assassins, the police are left wondering what caused dozens of completely unrelated people to attempt to murder a single man. After the immediate threat is averted, Aramaki orders Section 9 to open their own investigation into the Laughing Man case.

Episode 7 "SA: Idolatry – IDOLATOR"
It has come to the attention of the Minister of Home Affairs that Jenoma revolutionary leader Marcelo Jarti has been visiting Japan regularly every five months. Jarti is one of the world’s foremost wanted men, and has been targeted for assassination by commandos of the United States Delta Force and United Kingdom Special Air Service (SAS) a total of six times; miraculously, he has survived each of these attempts. When Jarti returns to Japan following the most recently failed assassination attempt, Section 9 is called in to trail him and determine why Jarti has been visiting their country. It turns out that Jarti is not just a single individual, but actually an army of cybernetic clones. Section 9 captures the facility the clones are being kept in, but purposely allow release of a Jarti clone in order to maintain the global status quo.

Episode 8 "SA: The Fortunate Ones – MISSING HEARTS"
Kurutan calls the Major to the hospital where she works to look into the source of a young girl's heart transplant. It seems that the heart she received was given without consent of the owner's parents. The girl's doctors feared she might have had to be given a full-cyborg conversion, a thought that stirs painful memories for Kusanagi. Aramaki, believing that the culprits may be tied to a mass kidnapping ring, orders Section 9 to look into the case for connections between the organs, the company that sold them, and a local refugee camp set up at an abandoned oil refinery. Finally, the culprits are revealed to be a gang of rich medical students. Before arresting them, Kusanagi decides to scare and humiliate the students by posing as a murderous Yakuza enforcer.

Comments: Manga Video, Bandai Entertainment;UPC669198252228;Vol. 2 - Episodes 5-8;Special Edition with Be Human CD;

Loaned: No

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