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Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Vol. 01 - SPECIAL EDITION (2002)  link to Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Vol. 01 on IMDb

Number: 24

cover Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Vol. 01

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 1 "SA: Public Security Section 9 – SECTION-9"
Section 9 is called in to resolve a hostage crisis at a geisha house staffed by android geisha. After the crisis is taken care of, Aramaki is approached by Kubota, who reveals that the Japanese Foreign Minister was being actively investigated by military intelligence after expressing interest in the Ichinose Report, a document detailing diplomatic and military actions to be taken in the event of a national crisis. Given the sensitive nature of the case, Kubota asks that Section 9 take over the investigation where the original team left off. While reviewing the details of the hostage crisis at the geisha house, Togusa figures out what really happened: the Foreign Minister had his cyberbrain switched with that of an unknown intelligence agent working for the American Empire. Section 9 springs into action, successfully preventing the American intelligence agent, who is using the Foreign Minister's body, from leaving the country with the sensitive report in his possession.

Episode 2 "SA: Runaway Evidence – TESTATION"
A heavy-assault multi-ped tank runs amok, under the control of an unknown hijacker using the "recognition code" of the tank's designer, Kago Takeshi, who died a week earlier. After going on a destructive spree at the testing facility, the tank heads towards the urban area of Niihama. Section 9 is called in to stop the tank, as no terrorist group has claimed responsibility, and the military refuses to involve itself unless terrorism is the clear motive. Saito attempts to snipe the tank, but is thwarted due to the tank's capability to link into the same satellite Saito is using to aim. Meanwhile, Togusa and Ishikawa interview the tank's co-designer, Ooba Toshio. After some questioning by Togusa, Ooba reveals the identity of the tank's hijacker: Kago Takeshi, the original designer. After Kago's death, Ooba linked Kago's brain to the tank's AI, effectively putting Kago in complete control of the tank. Ooba further reveals that Kago's possible motive may be to avenge himself upon his parents; he had serious medical problems, but his parents refused to allow him to get a cyberbody or even a cyberbrain due to their religious beliefs. Kago's destination is his parents home, and Section 9 must stop him before he gets there. They are unsuccessful, and Section 9 is forced to battle Kago; in the end, they disable the tank and Kusanagi short-circuits Kago's brain. However, the Major discovers a split second before she does so that all Kago was trying to do was show his parents his new steel body.

Episode 3 "SA: A Modest Rebellion – ANDROID AND I"
A series of android suicides prompts Section 9 to investigate the manufacturer. While Aramaki questions the plant manager, Kusanagi and a Tachikoma covertly hack into the plant's database to try to uncover any possible wrongdoings by the manufacturer. As it turns out, all the androids were of the same model, an obsolete product known as the GA07_JL android, dubbed the Jeri by its small but loyal fanbase. The Genesis Jeri-model android was popular because of the ease with which an end-user could modify it to their own specifications. While the plant manager half-jokingly comments that the Jeris have grown despondent because of their obsolete status, Kusanagi discovers that a virus has been inserted into the mainframe, probably by an end-user who had sent his Jeri back to Genesis for refurbishing. Section 9 eventually tracks down the culprit, and learn that he wanted to eliminate the other Jeris so that his would be unique.

Episode 4 "C: The Visual Device will Laugh – INTERCEPTER"
Yamaguchi, an old friend of Togusa's and a police detective working in the Laughing Man task force, is murdered after he calls Togusa, requesting to see him concerning what Yamaguchi terms "suspicious internal activity" by higher ups in the police department. At Yamaguchi's wake, Togusa is approached by Yamaguchi's wife, who delivers an envelope from him to Togusa that contain a series of strange photographs. Upon scrutinizing the photographs, Togusa realizes that none of them are taken using a camera. Continuing his investigation, Togusa interviews another detective in the Laughing Man task force, who coincidentally mentions that the task force is waiting to bug a primary suspect in the case with cybernetic surveillance devices called "interceptors". The interceptors allow constant audio and visual monitoring of the subject via their own senses. Togusa puts two and two together, concluding that the Laughing Man task force members were bugged with these devices illegally for monitoring, although the purpose of such illegal surveillance remains unknown. Shortly thereafter, the information about the illegal use of the interceptors is leaked by Section 9, prompting the police Commissioner to call a press conference regarding the growing scandal. The Commissioner publicly denies any responsibility, instead blaming the head of the "Laughing Man" task force, Nibu Kunihiko, and announcing Nibu's immediate resignation. News reporters press the Commissioner about the possible involvement of higher officials, as well as the Commissioner's own ties to nanomachine maker Serano Genomics, Inc., who manufactured the interceptors, but the Commissioner continues in his denials. At that point, the mysterious hacker known as The Laughing Man returns. Hijacking a police official's cyberbrain, the Laughing Man denounces what he refers to as the "previous farce", and announces that due to the police's efforts to cover up the truth, he will reluctantly challenge them again. Finally, he delivers a death threat to the commissioner, stating that he will "remove" him if the truth is not revealed in full.

Comments: Manga Video, Bandai Entertainment;UPC669198252204;Vol. 1 - Episodes 1-4;Special Edition with Stand Alone Complex O.S.T CD;

Loaned: No

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