Ghost in the Shell: SAC, 2nd Gig (spoilers, but with forwarning)

Been watching the second series of Ghost in the Shell (fansubs, it’s not out in the US yet, though Cartoon Network is likely to bring it here after they finish airing the first series), and I have to say: I’m very impressed. I’ve only seen a few of the American episodes from the first series, and I haven’t seen the second movie (which isn’t in the same continuity anyway) but this is clearly not your average anime action series. The animation is a soft blend of computer and painted cell. For a series about a paramilitary organization full of cyborgs, heavily armed AI tanks and lots of guns, it seems surprisingly far more art and story driven rather than action, which is relatively rare (though still awesome). I’m currently up to 19 in what I believe is a 26 episode arc.

Perhaps it’s just the confusion of reading it in translation, but the plot of this series is one of the most complicated, intricate, and intellectual of anything I’ve seen in an anime. There have been some pretty compelling meditations on the nature of political revolution, society, and the intertwining of mind and body. And while I’ve heard people complain that the characters in these series lack depth, and there I have to disagree. While the characters are indeed rarely seen outside of their hardass-military setting which makes them all seem rather cold, I think this coldness is what’s distinctive about the Ghost in the Shell: a personal bleakness that is a lens on the subject matter and the future society. And that said, this 2nd series definately shows a lot more background and emotion around the edges, even from the enigmatic poker-faced Pazu.

So if you haven’t been watching the first series on Cartoon Network, I highly suggest it, and be ready for the second series.

I’ll be back to discuss increasingly spoilery stuff for the second series and discuss some of the episodes: though remember that I do not want to be spoiled for the first series, so though you can discuss it in general, please don’t give anything about the “laughing man” away unless it’s boxed with a prior disclaimer!!!

There’s a question which has been nagging me since I heard there was a second series. I haven’t watched it because, frankly, I didn’t believe there were any good subs around (the only version of the last four eps of the first series I found had the worst sub job I’ve ever seen by far). I don’t want anything to be given away for me plotwise, since I plan to get it all on DVD eventually anyways, but I have to ask…

Do they bring back the Tachikomas? And does the Laughing Man storyline continue into the second series, or do they move on to something different?

The answer to your first question is conclusively resolved in the very first episode. As to your second question, they mention the “laughing man” case once or twice, as well as the concept of “standalone complex” which apparently references that case somehow (I wouldn’t know, not having seen the entire first series). However, the storyline, as far as I can tell, is indepedant and does not rely on you knowing the plot of the first series.

The basic plot, (spoiler only in the sense of what the back of a DVD would say), revolves around the sudden appearance of a mysterious group of people that call themselves the “Particularist Eleven,” a sinister new government agency with unclear designs for Section 9, and a rapidly worsening refugee crisis. Things can get a little confusing: the second episode, for instance, only tangentially includes the Section 9 personnel, and I’m still a little lost as to what the heck was going on. But one of my favorites with a sad, dreamlike ending.

I’ll explain the “stand-alone complex” thing as best I can, as well as a bit about the laughing man (The first spoiler box comes from episodes 4-6, and probably won’t ruin anything for you, the second is from the end of the first series and how the case ends)

The Laughing Man was a hacker who committed a kidnapping in broad daylight during a daily news report, but managed to hack the TV cameras and everyone’s cyber brains while doing so to obscure his face with a logo which eventually became known as the ‘Laughing Man’ logo. No one has ever seen his face except a couple of homeless men with no cyber brains. He also black-mailed several tech companies. The ‘standalone complex’ part comes from a theory that there never was a real Laughing Man, but something which just kind of spontaneoulsy erupted from the depths of the 'net. There’s a few people, with no connection to each other, who claim to be the Laughing Man, and it’s suspected that something caused them each to act, each on their own and connected only by whatever that was. A complex made of singular entities would probably be the best short explanation.

There is a man acting as the laughing man, and Motoko eventually tracks him down. However, although he is an accomplished hacker, he is not the original Laughing Man. He found something in the 'net, and decided to continue the Laughing Man’s work, but has no idea where he/she/it originally came from

I hope we do get the 2nd Gig over here. I also hope I get more money soon to buy more GitS DVDs.

I won’t be reading the second spoiler of course :slight_smile: (I’ve seen the first couple of laughing man bits so I know the basic premise as to the confusion of whether there is a real laughing man)

Has anyone else here actually seen any 2nd gig eps and want to discuss them? There’s a heck of a lot of questions I have, even 19 episodes in. And of course some more specific praise…

Sorry about being unable to discuss the Second Gig with you. But I’m starting to wonder if the two series are more linked than you realise. With what you’ve said here, I’m starting to see how that might be the case, but it probably won’t become clear until the last few episodes, or until one of us has seen all of both series. But as you said, it’s a very intellectual and intricate storyline, and it’s never obvious how things will develop. Of course, that’s why I love it.

I doubt it, since the new characters in 2nd gig seem to be truly new (as in, new to the Section 9 characters) and the situation unprecedented. The events in the 2nd series definately seem to come right out of the first:

(non-critical (i.e. back-of-the-DVD style) spoilers from the Second Gig that refer to the events at the end of the first series)

There are references to the government having been purged, of Section 9 having to be recreated and re-certified. And the people involved and the basic issues all seem to be new and mysterious to the Section 9 people. One of the new characters is a Prime Minister who has been put in place to replace the old government, and another is leading an organization that has been created in the wake of… whatever happened in the first series.

Yeah, that’s a good non-descript summation of some of the events in the last few episodes. And I have one more question–do they still have shorts after the show? I realise whatever sub you’re watching may not include them if they’re there, but do you know for sure either way?

Day-um, now I really can’t wait to see it here.

I don’t know: the eps I have have no shorts, but I’ve seen reference to Japanese DVDs which claim to include shorts.