Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig: Individual 11 (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Release Date: Tuesday, December 18, 2007
What They Say
The year is 2030, and an influx of refuges have effortlessly transformed themselves into a terrorist organization known as the "Individual Eleven." With a sadistic intent of mass destruction, will they triumph in victory or discover the gloomy pitfalls of defeat?
The Individual Eleven tells the story of the entire second season of Stand Alone Complex as a 2-hour film.
Individual Eleven is an action packed romp through the major events of the Ghost in the Shell 2nd Gig series.
I primarily watched the 5.1 DTS English audio for this review. The audio track is really fantastic. This is an action packed movie and makes excellent use of the surround speakers with dynamic and engaging sound. Once again Yoko Kanno delivers excellent music, though there is nothing new from the 2nd Gig series.
For fans of the English dub on the series, it is important to note that there is a new English voice cast for this movie, though the cast is the same as the Laughing Man movie. With an original cast as fantastic as the original series had, the new actors have big shoes to fill. The new actors once again do their best to recreate the tone of the original cast and are more successful this time. Although in general the new cast doesn’t have the same fierce intensity as the original cast, they do a good job of bringing the story to life.
The transfer here is really incredible. The show uses a wide range of lighting, from very bright to very dark scenes. There were some minor issues with color banding in one or two scenes with tricky lighting. Aside from that, the colors, including the blacks, are all very solid. There is a fair amount of computer animation used throughout the movie, which blends in fairly seamlessly with the overall style. The animation is really good looking and is very well presented here.
The case comes with a red slipcase that features the Individual Eleven logo as well as the movie’s rather long title. The backside of the slipcase features the movie title, though here it uses the series logo, as well as brief technical specifications for the disc. The style of the packaging is similar to that of the Laughing Man movie, but themed to the 2nd Gig series.
The keepcase cover art features Major Kusanagi, Kuze, Togusa, Batou and a sinister looking Gouda arranged over a blue toned cyber brain interface. The Individual Eleven logo appears as a watermark near Gouda’s head. The back of the disc uses a contrasting golden tone and packs a lot of information into a small space. Not only is there a synopsis, feature listing, quite a few images from the movie, and the disc technical specs, there is also a rather lengthy staff credit list.
The menu is designed using the cyber brain interfaces seen within the show and, though simple, are very appealing looking. The menu transitions are very smooth and use a neat mechanical whirring sound as the interfaces change. Interestingly, only the main menu on each disc features music. The menu navigation is all very clear and easy to use.
A new Tachikomatic Days, which is as hilarious as the originals that were featured at the end of each episode of the series, is a nice addition. This short features the Tachikomas attempting to solve a murder mystery.
The Stand Alone Complex Archive is a good makings that covers some of the ideas and processes behind creating the movie. The makings is primarily done as an interview between Atsuko Tanaka, the Japanese voice for Kusanagi, and Kenji Kamiyama, the director of the series and this film. There are also a few neat peeks at the Japanese voice over sessions, as well as some interesting discussion on the relationships Kusanagi has with Batou and Kuze.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The Individual Eleven movie follows in the steps of the previous Ghost in the Shell movie, The Laughing Man, condensing the second series of the show into a nearly three hour movie. However, many of the issues with The Laughing Man movie have been corrected in this movie. The movie is more focused and the more straightforward story relies less on the viewer coming in with an understanding of the world. Though there are definitely subtleties from the full series that would be missed by a first time viewer, as a stand alone movie, this works well.
For those unfamiliar with the Ghost in the Shell world, it is set in the future where nearly everyone has been cyberized to some extent. Some people, such as Section 9 agent Togusa, are all natural aside from a cyber brain, which allows direct connections to the world of the net. Others have more substantial cyberization, such as Batou, another Section 9 member who has cyberized the majority of his body, including his eyes. And then there are those, such as Major Kusanagi, who are fully cyberized, with the only remaining natural part being their brain.
Major Kusanagi is the squad leader of Section 9, an elite special operations unit who focuses on investigating and bringing to justice cyber terrorists. Kusanagi and the members of Section 9 are called in when a military training mission goes wrong and begins to terrorize a nearby refugee camp. The refugees have been given asylum in Japan during the aftermath of World War IV, but are growing restless due to their poor conditions. Soon the situation escalates with the help of Gouda, who is behind the scenes pulling the strings, to the point of a starting another war. Section 9 does their best to keep the situation under control, but the conniving Gouda is always a step ahead.
To make the volatile situation even more complicated, the enigmatic leader of the refugees, Kuze, is a former solider who is somehow tied to Kusanagi’s past. She cyber-dives his brain to gather information and ends up feeling a strong connection to him. This feeling of connection throws Kusanagi, and Batou begins to notice a difference in her behavior. Eventually Kusanagi and Kuze meet one on one, in a scene that is one of the highlights of the movie.
While Kusanagi is confronting Kuze, the rest of Section 9 are busy doing their best to diffuse the volatile situation that Gouda has created between the government and the refugees. The team is broken into several groups, with Batou leads a mission into the heart of the refugee camp; Aramaki, Togusa and newcomer Proto work with the new Prime Minister to stop a political coup; Ishikawa and a Tachikoma attempt to make a rendezvous with the United Nations; and the Tachikomas do some unplanned strategizing of their own. As everything finally comes together, the climax is really fantastic.
Individual Eleven does a good job of representing not only the Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd Gig season, but the idea of the series in its entirety. This movie works well as a stand alone film, and is a welcome addition to the list of Ghost in the Shell titles. For Ghost in the Shell fans who missed the full 2nd Gig series, this is a great way to see what Section 9 has been up to.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,Japanese 5.1 Language,English 5.1 DTS Language,English Subtitles,English Screen Text,Tachikomatic Days,Stand Alone Complex Archive
Samsung HLT6187S 61” DLP HDTV, Sony PlayStation 3 Blu-ray player via HDMI, Pioneer Elite VSX-81TXV DD/DTS receiver, JBL Multi-Channel Speaker System with 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 161
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex