Hey, Ghost in the Shell fans, did Stand Alone Complex’s 2nd GIG, leave you with a slightly bitter aftertaste? Fear not! Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society is not for anime fans looking for scantily dressed little girls, giant robots or magical swordplay. The storylines and multiple overlapping themes are the thinking man’s anime. A huge plus of the movie is that instead of feeling like an overstretched episode, it feels more like a long arc of quality episodes stringed together while still feeling cinematic in its presentation. The core premise is a well-reasoned conjecture on the impact of an aging and shrinking home-grown “natural” demographic on a service-oriented economy and extraordinarily high-tech society. My only complaint about Solid State Society is that it borrows ideas from both of the feature-length movies. If you liked GITS: SAC, and most specially 2nd GIG, you will enjoy this movie. Major Kusanagi is still absent from the ‘Section 9’ set up as she continues her vigilante exploits through the net, solving crimes when and where she can.
Alot of things have changed, alot of feelings are different, but it’s all very good. Although I personally enjoyed the first season’s classic detective yarn slightly more, the monologues were heavy and the action sparse. Having established Solid State Society as a undeniable continuation of the Stand Alone Complex universe it must also be noted that in this particular installment there is a notable absence of philosophy. Lack of philosophy does tend to make the premise a bit on the fantasy side. I’m not convinced by the idea of downloading a personality into a computer, but most of Shirow’s work makes interesting observations of the social problems which would accompany such a move.
Sci-fi anime fans will have lots of fun deciphering what all of the technobabble refers to, but don’t count on any deep meanings. That said, For the average viewer, Solid State Society might pose far too much of a puzzle to be enjoyable. I strongly recommend this film to anybody who enjoyed the series, while it isn’t essential to watch them first I’m sure it will be a better experience if you have as you’ll know and care about the characters more. The team that created this film is the same team that generates the series.
I have always wondered how prophetic the GITS universe is given our changing times, and this movie evokes those same kinds of questions. This also continues the series’ style of not quite telling the whole story, which if done well acts as a hook for further viewing as well as thinking. Too much anime suffers from a lack of seamless pacing, realistic animation, or well-developed characters in a richly complex world. The stories are interesting, exciting, and some of them even deeply moving. This series goes a lot deeper into the character’s back stories as well for fans of Ghost in the Shell. The only problem I had with this one is that it takes itself way too seriously and the socio-political-techno babble is over done and gets really old. Some of it is good, some of it tries to hard. At the end of the day, this is a solid piece of sci-fi Anime, and you would be a fool not to add this to your collection.