Join 3,430 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (mlyt)
July 3, 2013 4:47 PM   Subscribe

Season 1 Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is an anime TV series from 2002. The series takes place in 2030 in Japan after World Wars 2 & 3. The story centers on the activities of Section 9, an anti-cyber cribe and anti-terrorist group. The continuing bad guy of the series is the cyber terrorist known as the Laughing Man. Here is Season 1 on YouTube:

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

Episode 01: Section 09
Episode 02: Testation
Episode 03: Android and I
Episode 04: Intercepter
Episode 05: Decoy
Episode 06: Meme
Episode 07: Idolater
Episode 08: Missing Hearts
Episode 09: Chat! Chat! Chat!
Episode 10: Jungle Cruise
Episode 11: Portraitz
Episode 12: Escape From
Episode 13: Not Equal
Episode 14: Automated Capitalism
Episode 15: Machine Desirants
Episode 16: Ag2O
Episode 17: Angel's Share
Episode 18: Lost Heritage
Episode 19: Captivated
Episode 20: Re-View
Episode 21: Eraser
Episode 22: Scandal
Episode 23: Equinox
Episode 24: Annihilation
Episode 25: Barrage
Episode 25: Stand Alone Complex
posted by RussHy (80 comments total) 75 users marked this as a favorite

 
I just watched the movie the other day. It was pretty good. People tell me the series is even better, and I was going to try to track down a copy—so, thanks for doing that for me.
posted by robcorr at 5:03 PM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


But they're all showing up as "not available. Sorry about that." :-/
posted by robcorr at 5:05 PM on July 3, 2013


They all work for me. Are you outside the US?
posted by RussHy at 5:06 PM on July 3, 2013


At least episode 17 plays here (USA) after a toothless age-check dialog.
posted by jepler at 5:07 PM on July 3, 2013


Whoa, this is an official upload of MANGAentertainment. I thought it might be somebody's soon to disappear bootlegs, but apparently not.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:07 PM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


There seems to be a new prequel / related anime out this season (which is pretty good so far), so maybe they're releasing this to promote it.
posted by LucretiusJones at 5:09 PM on July 3, 2013


I am delighted to see this post, but it has neglected to mention the most (precious adorable) fun part of Stand Alone Complex: the TACHIKOMAS!

now available in plushikoma and bunikoma
posted by nicebookrack at 5:12 PM on July 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


What does "Stand Alone Complex" mean?
posted by fatbird at 5:16 PM on July 3, 2013


Yes, there is usually a short short at the end of each episode starring the Tachikomas. Sorry, I never thought of them.
posted by RussHy at 5:16 PM on July 3, 2013


This is much better than the terrible bootleg copy I have. The grammar in that is totally incomprehensible.
posted by maryr at 5:17 PM on July 3, 2013


The TV series is a "Stand Alone Complex" because it takes place in a separate continuity from the movies.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:18 PM on July 3, 2013


I find the quality varies wildly in the storytelling from episode to episode. The bad ones have terrible pacing, and they tend to have these long dialogue scenes with next to no animation outside of mouths moving. But the episode where they storm the ocean platform is one of the best OVA episodes you'll ever see. Not sure which one it is...
posted by Brocktoon at 5:20 PM on July 3, 2013


Not available outside the US, unfortunately.
posted by HFSH at 5:20 PM on July 3, 2013


jDownloader is your friend.
posted by vhsiv at 5:22 PM on July 3, 2013


I was hoping the bunikoma would be a delicious steamed bun shaped like a tachikoma, but, alas, no.

You have dashed my hopes again, internet!
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:22 PM on July 3, 2013


I can see them here, but maybe it's a North American rights thing.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:23 PM on July 3, 2013


What does "Stand Alone Complex" mean?

It's been years since I saw the series, but IIRC it had dual (at least) meanings: that the Section 9 unit worked independently of most other law enforcement (standing alone), and that mostly each episode contained one complete story (standalone episodes). The second meaning got a little less relevant over time; there are definitely ongoing story arcs.
posted by nicebookrack at 5:24 PM on July 3, 2013


I was looking for these on blu-ray the other day, and feeling kinda bummed that they hadn't been released in that format. This totally makes up for that!
posted by themadthinker at 5:25 PM on July 3, 2013


Try Tunnel Bear: for $4.99 you get a VPN that gives you a UK or US IP address.
posted by RussHy at 5:25 PM on July 3, 2013


In addition, since there was an overarching story arc, things that seemed unrelated to that arc ended up in some way contributing to it - for example, something they learned to do for one particular case that was unrelated to the arc became a useful tool later. There were stand alone events that led to the resolution of a complex issue.
posted by mephron at 5:26 PM on July 3, 2013


It's been years since I saw the series, but IIRC it had dual (at least) meanings: that the Section 9 unit worked independently of most other law enforcement (standing alone), and that mostly each episode contained one complete story (standalone episodes). The second meaning got a little less relevant over time; there are definitely ongoing story arcs.

IIRC, in the series, they were discussing a series of similar crimes, which at the surface looked like they were coordinated by some central organization. The alternative explanation was that some doofus did the first crime, and then a bunch of other independent doofuses heard about it and thought it was cool and did copycat crimes. They used the term "standalone complex" to describe that second pattern.
posted by aubilenon at 5:28 PM on July 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Right you are - turning on Hola solved the problem. (Usually YouTube gives a "not available in your location" message; not this time. Weird.)
posted by robcorr at 5:28 PM on July 3, 2013


What does "Stand Alone Complex" mean?

Here's a relatively non-spoily summary of what it means inside the show.

Like nicebookrack said the first season episode title cards contain either "stand alone" or "complex", denoting whether the episode was part of the overall arc. The second season of the show was similar but had three different categories, the stand alone episodes and then the two main story arcs.
posted by edeezy at 5:28 PM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


What does "Stand Alone Complex" mean?

Actually, it had nothing to do with Section 9 operating independently. In-universe, it's treated as a wasei-eigo term for simulacral social phenomena: the Laughing Man sets off a wave of copy-cat crimes, but it gradually becomes apparent that the original "kidnapping" wasn't exactly what it seemed to be. Ergo, a "complex" of "standalone" crimes that are copies without an original.
posted by fifthrider at 5:30 PM on July 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


Stand Alone Complex: A phenomenon when a collection of similar, but unrelated, behavior by unconnected individuals creates a seemingly concerted effort.
posted by charred husk at 5:30 PM on July 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


What does "Stand Alone Complex" mean?

It kind of has a triple meaning:

1. It's a separate continuity from the movie, as mentioned. (Notably, the main characters are a bit less reserved and grimdark than they are in the movie.)
2. Episodes (in the first series at least) are labeled either "Complex" (stories that tie into the overall plot) or "Stand Alone".
3. The Laughing Man (IIRC) offers another definition in the series itself. Something about the result of emergent complexity (so, you know, typical Ghost in the Shell type stuff). It's been awhile since I've seen the series. (On preview, yeah what aubilenon said.)

The first SAC series is a little hit or miss for me, but overall it's pretty satisfying. The music (not counting the incredible theme song) is pretty terrible and repetitive, but hey, it's OAV. What Brocktoon said.

The second series (SAC 2nd Gig) pits Section 8 against a standard-issue white-haired anime villain mastermind. Diminishing returns, but still some fun stuff. "Solid State Society" (the SAC movie) I found pretty dull, I do not recommend it...
posted by neckro23 at 5:31 PM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Stand Alone Complex aired more than a decade ago?! Man, I'm getting old...
posted by Aznable at 5:33 PM on July 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


GenjiAndProust, will you accept Legokoma? Amigurumikoma? Coffeekoma?
posted by nicebookrack at 5:34 PM on July 3, 2013


GenjiAndProust, will you accept Legokoma? Amigurumikoma? Coffeekoma?

Sure, thanks! But I am also holding out for a delicious steamed bun. Because, hey, it could happen!
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:45 PM on July 3, 2013


This series is also notable for Shirow's involvement with it; he was tied up in the broom closet, yelling "C'mon, please just let me draw the boobies!" That's why the series is as good as it is.
posted by happyroach at 5:55 PM on July 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


IIRC, in the series, they were discussing a series of similar crimes, which at the surface looked like they were coordinated by some central organization. The alternative explanation was that some doofus did the first crime, and then a bunch of other independent doofuses heard about it and thought it was cool and did copycat crimes. They used the term "standalone complex" to describe that second pattern.

IIRC it went one more step beyond that.

MINOR SPOILERS BELOW




The Laughing Man reveals in the 26th episode that he was inspired to do his crime from an e-mail/urban legend that he had received that he thought was real at the time. However that original catalyst was never real (hence the Major's continuing refrain of "copy with no original"). The idea being the simulacra, or illusory parts of society, are determining actual reality now, instead of the reverse. The map has replaced the territory etc. etc. At least that's how I understood it.
posted by john-a-dreams at 5:59 PM on July 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


The Tachikomas are my favorite. I think they are everyone's favorite.

I really liked season 1 despite a few "miss" episodes (the Complex episodes tended to be way better than the Standalones). I agree that Season 2 was disappointingly more "standard issue", as neckro23 put it a few posts up. More consistent production, missing some personality. Still fun, though.
posted by a birds at 6:01 PM on July 3, 2013


Ghost in the Shell: Arise is the new four part OVA series. Basically another reboot of the franchise. The first part just came out about ten days ago and the next installment doesn't look like it's going to be out until November.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 6:11 PM on July 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Here's the Laughing Man gif, which is more correct per canon than the still.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 6:17 PM on July 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Laughing Man is not really the 'bad guy' though? Serrano Genomics definitely plays the villain. The Laughing Man does take center stage from Serrano, but he's definitely more of a chaotic good antagonist to our heroes.

Also his introduction at the end of episode 4 is one of my favorite introductions to a character.
posted by john-a-dreams at 6:26 PM on July 3, 2013


Well, yes. But you don't really figure that out till the last episode of the season, which I decided was too much detail for an opening paragraph. Viewers will find that out, though. Also, I think that is all explained in the Wikipedia link for Laughing Man.
posted by RussHy at 6:31 PM on July 3, 2013


Did somebody say Tachikomas?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:02 PM on July 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also his introduction at the end of episode 4 yt is one of my favorite introductions to a character.

Why is the heroine wearing a bathing suit under her leather jacket?
posted by Nomyte at 8:48 PM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Stand Alone Complex: A phenomenon when a collection of similar, but unrelated, behavior by unconnected individuals creates a seemingly concerted effort.

We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.
posted by radwolf76 at 9:04 PM on July 3, 2013


Why is the heroine wearing a bathing suit under her leather jacket?

Full-body replacement cyborgs only care about the weather when they need to.
posted by mephron at 9:30 PM on July 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


I watched the movie and was not overly impressed, after all the build-up it was given. I'd be willing to give the series a try, but it isn't available in Canada, and I've yet to find a free way to watch such things that didn't insert ads or cost money.
posted by Canageek at 10:11 PM on July 3, 2013


I think they have both seasons on hulu

http://www.hulu.com/ghost-in-the-shell-stand-alone-complex
posted by 630 at 10:11 PM on July 3, 2013


How did I only hear that there was a new series *now*?? Arise is hella good!
posted by pmv at 10:12 PM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


People tell me the series is even better

People are wrong. I enjoyed the show (especially season 2), but it's fairly good television while the movie is Mamoru Oshii doing his thing. Oshii is actually probably my favorite living director, but even without that bias, he's one of the major auteurs in Japanese film and someone who's done more than most to legitimize animation as a medium for mature art. I guess if you're looking for good-but-standard cyberpunk, the TV show is going to sate your appetite better, but you won't find anything even approaching this.

I really love the slow, dreamy subtlety of Oshii's style. It took me a few viewings to really get the plot of the movie: a robot gradually comes to the understanding that she's an artificial person made to believe she was a human who "upgraded" her body, and escapes from her handlers. It's Blade Runner backwards, with a similar mood and a pinch of Neuromancer. In dreaming Hong Kong.

Not to diminish the TV show. I liked it! But they're not only different in style; they're in completely separate classes. You can see the difference in the Major's appearance, actually. TV show. Movie.
posted by byanyothername at 10:14 PM on July 3, 2013


"...but it isn't available in Canada"

I think I get it now. You can see the shows in Canada, but you have to be signed in to Youtube first, and your Youtube account has to be set for "Worldwide" (at the bottom of the screen). At least that's how I have it, and the videos play fine.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:40 PM on July 3, 2013


10 years?! I used to be really into anime and this was the last anime series I watched. Kind of ruined the rest of them for me, like the Wire with TV.
posted by Joe Chip at 11:23 PM on July 3, 2013


Ugh it's dubbed, barf
posted by Joe Chip at 11:27 PM on July 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Psyched to see this. That being said, the gorgeous hand-painted backgrounds from the movie were the real attraction for me, the plot was secondary.
posted by sp160n at 11:41 PM on July 3, 2013


Kevin Street : Most of them seem to work, but not ep21 and a few others. Doesn't seem to matter if I set it to Canada or Worldwide.
posted by Canageek at 11:45 PM on July 3, 2013


What does "Stand Alone Complex" mean?

A stand-alone complex is a social movement that arises all at once and without any apparent source or leaders. The two primary examples in Japanese history are the Meiji Restoration and the May 15th incident.

i love ghost in the shell, srsly
posted by kadonoishi at 11:53 PM on July 3, 2013


I LOVE GiTS and will rewatch whenever I can. Thanks

(Currently has Major Motoko Kusanagi haircut, including with blue.)
posted by _paegan_ at 12:00 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love both seasons of this show and I am fascinated by the theory of a stand-alone complex (best explanation: it's a spontaneous leaderless co-ordinated sequence of inter-locking social actions, a pattern that has the effects of a conspiracy without having the communication that a conspiracy requires).

I would argue that the Occupy movement constituted a failed stand-alone complex. It's a political phenomenon that I'd love to understand better.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 12:22 AM on July 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


See also other posts tagged with GitS
posted by gen at 12:51 AM on July 4, 2013


To second byanyothername's point, this scene from the film is just brilliant.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 1:14 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Has it really been ten years since GiTS:SAC was released? Good heaven where did all that time go ...

That being said, there are only a few anime series that have rewatch value for me and this is one of them. Thanks for linking the videos!
posted by AlienGrace at 1:18 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm outside the US also and this is not available to me either. There are a lot of us out here, seems like a pretty bad post.
posted by shelleycat at 1:54 AM on July 4, 2013


I see what you mean, Canageek. That's very weird.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:54 AM on July 4, 2013


What's crazy about SAC is that it basically predicted the whole Anonymous/Guy Fawkes Mask thing.

I watched it a year or so and I thought it was really good, but at least to me the pacing seemed really slow. So slow, in fact that I actually watched it at between 1.2-1.5x speed using VLC.
What does "Stand Alone Complex" mean?
A self-sustaining meme complex. That answers your question, right?
posted by delmoi at 4:10 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Huh, I had no idea about this, apparently there's a new series out - I guess of four 2 hour OVAs? The first one is already out.
posted by delmoi at 4:51 AM on July 4, 2013


Ugh it's dubbed, barf

The dub is really good, and I say that as someone who would only buy videotapes if they were subtitled original Japanese.

Cowboy Bebop is another example of a series in which the English dub is excellent and a perfectly reasonable option.
posted by Gelatin at 7:10 AM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not available outside the US, unfortunately.

Media Hint may help.
posted by juiceCake at 8:22 AM on July 4, 2013


The dub is really good, and I say that as someone who would only buy videotapes if they were subtitled original Japanese

I agree. When I start a new season I usually watch at least one episode dubbed to see how the voice acting is. This is one of the few where I would do the dubbed version if I was too tired to bother with subtitles. The Last Exile also has pretty good subtitles.

If a minor derail on related matters isn't a problem, has anyone seen the Appleseed reboots?
posted by fiercekitten at 9:12 AM on July 4, 2013


Tachikomas! In LEGO!
posted by qcubed at 9:33 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Tachikomas are my favorite. I think they are everyone's favorite.

They are the reason I stopped watching the show.
posted by ODiV at 10:08 AM on July 4, 2013


Episode 14 is in a different language. The episode video in the same YouTube channel has been taken down. You can watch it on Hulu here.
posted by zenja72 at 10:49 AM on July 4, 2013


One of the best soundtracks ever... watching this series for me was like... a big experience, in retrospect. Perhaps it was life events at the time... but this is a fantastically produced bit of animation. Even if you aren't into this style in general, it's worth checking out - it stands on it's own.
posted by TravellingDen at 11:12 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did some of you miss my Ghost in the Shell Arise in 2013 post from January?
posted by gen at 11:59 AM on July 4, 2013


People tell me the series is even better

People are wrong.


Well, I really loved the series, and the movie left me quite cold. I'm sure people could level exactly this complaint at the series, but I felt like the movie was mostly almost narrative-free collection of anime SF tropes at the time, whereas the show had a plot and stuff.
posted by smoke at 12:03 PM on July 4, 2013


The first of the four new prequels is being released in the US in late July afaik.

I saw it in the theater in Tokyo recently. I won't spoil it but for fans of the series, it's a must-see.
posted by gen at 12:18 PM on July 4, 2013


They are the reason I stopped watching the show.

Maybe you'd like them better if they acted more robotic?
posted by heathkit at 12:27 PM on July 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I like the series because it is not 50% about the Major's breasts.
posted by maryr at 12:38 PM on July 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I reread the original manga a few months back and was surprised I had never noticed there was a crotch shot of Kusanagi on almost every page.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 12:57 PM on July 4, 2013


This series is also notable for Shirow's involvement with it; he was tied up in the broom closet, yelling "C'mon, please just let me draw the boobies!" That's why the series is as good as it is.

Well, he's been putting his talents to good use.

(Actually this is a Shirow project salvaged by Rikudo Koshi.)
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:58 PM on July 4, 2013


Huh, that's quite surprising and pretty awesome of MANGAentertainment to just put it all up like this.

It is such an amazing series and soundtrack - I especially love the opening song. The mad ending song is great too. Just incredible math.

There's something about series where the world building and characters, art and music come together just right that makes me feel an intense sort of in-the-moment, alternate-universe nostalgia.
posted by lucidium at 1:00 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gelatin: Are you sure? My friends and I watched the Cowboy Bebop movie with both turned on for a bit, and the dub and subtitles didn't match up at all: Spike and Jet have this whole conversation about the philosophy of Chinese Chess, which was cut down to a single line in the dub.
posted by Canageek at 1:05 PM on July 4, 2013


I think that was in reference to the Cowboy Bebop series. Nonetheless it's a terrible, terrible dub. I'm not sure why people like the totally affectless dubbed Spike. I think it's popularity is due to the impression it left through its late night introduction on people.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 1:41 PM on July 4, 2013


Nonetheless it's a terrible, terrible dub. I'm not sure why people like the totally affectless dubbed Spike.

Dubbed Spike has somehow always struck me as a Bobby's World-era Howie Mandel who for some reason knows kung fu.
posted by Nomyte at 1:10 AM on July 5, 2013


I can't watch this dubbed. Atsuko Tanaka's (deep) voice is such a part of the character for me. I've yet to see a non-theatricrically released anime whose english-language cast didn't kind of suck.
posted by unmake at 6:38 AM on July 6, 2013


I'm partial to fansubs myself though the dub of GitS was indeed not bad (the series, the films were awful for dubbing) whereas the dub for Death Note completely destroyed the characters.

I'm with those who would recommend the series over the films though if you can watch them all that is best.

Arise wasn't bad. Fairly interesting for the most part.
posted by juiceCake at 3:45 PM on July 7, 2013


There's some sort of rights b.s. going on with episode 14, so I was forced to go to 'alternative sources' for it.
posted by mikelieman at 3:44 AM on July 10, 2013


« Older Kit Cameo is an artist whose themed paper snowflak...  |  Christina Stephens, the woman ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments