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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Ghost in the Shell - Stand Alone Complex Volume 3
Ghost in the Shell - Stand Alone Complex Volume 3
Manga // Unrated // November 23, 2004
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted December 13, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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The Show:

The third volume of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex continues with the same high quality shows that the previous volumes contained.  Section 9 is still tracking down the Laughing Man, but whether they are getting closer or not is anyone's guess.  There are also some eerie stand alone shows that give this disc some punch.

The volume starts off with a complex episode that takes place mainly in a chat room in cyber-space.  After the Laughing Man's last attack, the conspiracy freaks and amateur detectives are all trying to figure out what the attacks mean, and how they fit together with the other Laughing Man crimes.  It gave a good synopsis to what has gone on before, and several theories as to who or what the Laughing Man actually is.

The first stand alone episode brings the last war back to Batou.  In a rather chilling episode Section 9 joins forces with the CIA.  It seems that one of their men that was used for psychological warfare in the last war has gone rouge.  This guy is a trained killer, who was used to kill and mutilate entire villages in an effort to make the enemy loose their will to fight.  He's gone to Japan and has started a killing spree, tying people up, skinning them alive, and then leaving them to die.  Batou ran across this man and his handy work while serving in the military and has regretted not stopping him when he had the chance.  Now he's determined to track this killer down at any cost.  But the CIA know more than they are letting on.

Next up is another eerie episode.  Togusa goes undercover and enters a hospital that treats kids with cyberbrain closed shell syndrome.  These are autistic-like children that get too involved with cyberspace and can't shut themselves off.  Many of them are very gifted programers, and the institute is using the children to create defense mazes and then sell the intricate programs to the military.

The children get excited when one of them mentions that "The Chief" is coming for a visit.  None of the adults know who "The Chief" is, or what his coming means, but Togusa is on his track.

The final episode is another stand alone show that's quite entertaining.  A battle tank gets some strange oil and decided to go out for a walk.  It meets a little girl who is looking at her lost dog, and the two take a trip across the city.  On their journey, the tank finds an interesting box that has no viruses or defense programs, but anyone who jacks into it doesn't come back out.

This was another great volume.  The creators hit upon a great format for telling their story with this show.  The 'complex' episodes have a very interesting story line that's getting better and better as the series progresses.  They are broken up by stand alone shows that flesh out the current world and culture while also giving the illusion of a passage of time.

The high production values and excellent animation also add to this show, making it one of the best drama to be released all year.

The DVD:


This DVD comes in two versions.  A regular version, which is the version that is reviewed here, and a deluxe version.  The deluxe version has an extra disc that includes the same four episodes as the first, but with a DTS soundtrack.

Audio:

The viewer has the choice of viewing this program with either an English dub (5.1 and 2.0) or in the original Japanese (also 5.1 and 2.0.)  There is good use of the full sound stage on the 5.1 tracks, giving the show a very encompassing feeling.  Music and incidental effects come from all angles surrounding the viewer, but these never become overpowering.  There isn't a trace of hiss or distortion, and everything is very clear and crisp.  I viewed the show in both English and Japanese, and I had a preference for the original language, but the English dub sounded great as well, with the voice talent doing a good job.  There are optional full English subtitles or just subtitles for the signs and song lyrics.

Video:

The video on this show is absolutely stellar.  The anamorphic widescreen video was encoded from a high definition master and is just about flawless.  The colors were excellent, blending gracefully from shade to shade without any signs of banding.  The picture was sharp and the definition was first-rate.  This is a great looking show.

Extras:

This DVD sports an 11-minute interview with actor Akio Otsuka (Batou) and an second 11-minute interview with audio director Kazuhiro Wakabayashi. There is also a series of trailers.

Final Thoughts:

Another great volume.  This series started out very strong and hasn't let up.  The four episodes on this volume are all excellent shows.  Though one of them is a little hard to watch, and not for children, the series continues to amaze me.   Highly Recommended.
 

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