Title: Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society
Summary: In 2034, two years after the events of 2nd GIG, it is revealed that Major Motoko Kusanagi has left counter-terrorism task force Public Security Section 9. Togusa is leading a Section 9 field team to investigate several suicides by refugees from the Siak Republic. When they intercept Colonel Ka Gael, son of the exiled dictator General Ka Rum, who has taken a hostage to ensure safe passage out of Japan, he claims that the “Puppeteer” is coming for him, and he shoots himself in the head. Chief Daisuke Aramaki asks Prime Minister Yoko Kayabuki for permission to arrest Ka Rum for more information, but Kayabuki declines, stating it would harm her political position. Aramaki orders the raid regardless and Section 9 discovers that Ka Rum has been dead for some time, having been assassinated and staged to look like a suicide, with the word “Puppeteer” written in his blood. Section 9 also discovers that the Siak refugees plan to release a micromachine virus in a terrorist retaliation for Ka Rum’s death.
Review: Ghost in the Shell has always been one of my favorite (if not my favorite) sci-fi anime. Bringing in the world of cyborgs and cyber terrorist really seems like the future of the world. Though I might not agree it will happen in 2034, I’m sure that Ghost in the Shell is a great representation of where we are headed. Solid State Society continued to address such issues in the present day that affect the future. So in more ways than one, the movie has given us a sneak peak in the future of Japan and where it might be headed. Overall they did another fantastic job with characters, animation, sound, and story. However, there was one minor detail that struck me as a gimp to the overall plot of the movie. Sadly, this gimp kind of brought down the entire thrill of the movie and left me with an uninterested feeling.
Solid State Society was another visual masterpiece. I would say that the series has done a great job mixing CG and animation throughout its career. The movie was no different, and actually improved on a couple of areas. I loved watching the character use their stealth. The minor blur and lighting effects gave a more scientific feel. They also did a great job by having some of the anime in the first person view. Seeing what the characters view made it a little more interesting. It also cleared up a bit confusion when they would be holding multiple conversation through their cyberbrains and physically to the person in front of them. I actually thought it would be pretty neat to see a small screen while having a conversation with someone across the country. Kind of like an iPhone’s face talk but a million times better and more personal. Probably one of the things I noticed was the copy-paste scenes from the first movie, Puppetmaster. One of the things I did like was seeing the beautiful Major jumping off a building and falling into camo. When I saw that scene I thought to myself, “this is Ghost in the Shell” as it flooded me with a feeling of nostalgia. After that though the similar scenes were kind of disappointing. Two major scenes obviously came from the first movie. While I do believe in the saying “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” this sort of kills it. It’s kind of the same as releasing sequels to a video game franchise with very minor tweaks. Sure it may look prettier, have a different story, but in the end it is still the same thing. Other than a couple conflicts of interest here and there, I still enjoyed the animation quite a bit.
The entire story was revolved around cyber-terrorism as most Ghost in the Shell stories are, so nothing new there. However, there were of course some differences such as the overall plot and reasoning behind the terrorism. I was actually quite surprised to find out that the reason wasn’t as evil and twisted as other stories. While many of the Ghost in the Shell stories end up being something that could crash Japan’s economy or turn the world upside down, Solid State Society focused on a more real world issue. Or rather an issue that is seldom remembered. I don’t want to give away what that is exactly because it would ruin the whole movie. However, I feel that it is my responsibility to brace everyone for a rather anti-climactic impact. I want to believe that the story was very deep and meaningful, something that should be taken seriously, but I just couldn’t. After all the hardcore action, crazy hacking and life threatening subplots, it all seemed so bland. Despite the rather boring plot I still enjoyed the movie because they did a good job keeping a non-interesting subject interesting. To an extent at least. Nevertheless the movie satisfied me in a way the first movie and the series did; it showed me a glimpse of a possible future. As I said earlier, Ghost in the Shell does a great job bringing in a whole new world while still making it believable. Solid State Society was no exception and I absolutely loved what they did with it.
The soundtrack was just as amazing. Just as I loved the opening songs sung by Origa during the series, and the addictive background music during Puppetmaster, Solid State Society followed up nicely. I believe that some of the tracks were repeated, and if not they were probably just similar. Either way it added well to the atmosphere of the movie and did a great job keeping the long dialogue scenes watchable. And of course it added a bit of adrenaline to the action. I would say that Ghost in the Shell, not just Solid State Society has one of the better soundtracks of any series I have seen. Personally I would say check it out, give it a listen, and be amazed.
Final statements: Although the movie didn’t have the greatest plot, and it was a lot of the same thing, I still enjoyed it. Since it wasn’t one of the better movies I will only give a preferred watch and only suggest it to people who are a fan of the Ghost in the Shell series. It is filled with heavy dialogue and political games just as the series.