Cyberpunk Review » Initial Impressions Review of Solid State Society

September 12, 2006

Initial Impressions Review of Solid State Society

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


Introduction: I recently saw Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Society in its original Japanese without Subtitles. At a cost of over $3.2 million, this lavish continuation of the Ghost In The Shell saga is a feature length movie of the successful Stand Alone Complex TV series. Because I haven’t seen it with subtitles, this will be a different type review than is normally posted here. I don’t speak Japanese, but thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It’s hard to get across just how different this feature-length film is compared to what’s come before it. There’s a lot more atmosphere and quiet calm about it, with less emphasis on action.

~Ste McNay


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


Overview: Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society premiered on Japanese pay-per-view television on September 1st 2006. Eagerly anticipated by fans, it is exclusive to its native country. It is not scheduled to reach America and Europe until sometime in 2007! The DVD in Japan is set to be released on November 24th. There’s been no indication of DVD specs. but sales to other countries will sky-rocket, depending if there are English subs or English dub that predates other regions’ releases by up to six months.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The Story: The story takes place two years after the events in Stand Alone Complex 2nd GiG, after Kusanagi left Section 9. Section 9 has expanded to a team of 20 field operatives with Togusa acting as the field lead. They are confronted by a number of mysterious cases that lead them to the main culprit, a super wizard class hacker - The Puppeteer - but all is not what it seems…


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


Into The Shell: As an English viewer with no grasp of Japanese, watching Solid State Society was quite a satisfying experience. Good filmmaking and storytelling is supposed to be about images, and this illustrates that you don’t need to know the language to understand what’s going on. We are shown and we see, and we are part of the whole viewing experience. I’m an avid fan of all things Ghost In The Shell and I was keen to set my sights on seeing Solid State Society. This is what I think of it after seeing it twice. It’s a film that gets inside your head and will leave you thinking about it, pondering the meanings for days to come with its advanced visuals.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The Sound: Amazing layered soundscapes with movie-style FX that sound really cool. It gives more than a few Hollywood blockbusters a run for it’s aural senses. I’d say that DTS is definitely the order of the day for the DVD. We have digital sound effects that add to the realism, but it’s the little atmospheric details that really blew me away.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The driving scenes are a perfect example of the impressive sound design that has gone into Solid State Society. It may not have had a theatrical run, but the theatrical nature of the film is evident in the sight and sound of every shot. The confrontation of characters in the middle of the film is a perfect example of the use of direct sound, when, at one point, two bullets go head-to-head, in-shot, in-flight – a moment of suspended time that will send shivers down your spine, heightened with standout sound design.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The Visuals: Beautiful backgrounds. Light reflections on the characters bring this animated film alive and in a league of its own. Think Blade Runner style upped a few notches, transferred to anime, and you have the “look” of the film. It’s beautiful! It’s clear a lot of effort has gone into making Solid State Society.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The cinematography has a green look to it, very reminiscent of The Matrix, but used more expressionistically with more skill. Gone is the yellow-amber look from the series, and the grungy look from the previous Ghost In The Shell films has been replaced with economic realism of a modern Japan. Prominent throughout is the theme of identity, emphasised symbolically with duality shots through most of the film. We have characters reflected in windows and glass, and there is the stark contrast of characters on their own contemplating their fate.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


There are a ton of computer user-displays throughout and each one has been hand-animated and these are a sight to be seen. They clearly rival any of the transition scenes in The Matrix sequels and look a whole lot better than their CGI counterparts. Some of the angles used are very impressive and we get lots of different perspectives and point of view shots. This is a more immersive experience than the Stand Alone Complex TV series, with more movement and attention to detail that a hefty budget brings.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The Style: We get a couple of Nissan’s concept cars thrown in for product placement, and they look very stylish and not over-the-top as you’d expect them to be if it were made anywhere but Japan. The last scene of the film features, I suspect, a product placement for a well-known Japanese soda, but I haven’t a clue what it is!


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


There are a couple of freeway scenes that are simply stunning and I forgot I was watching an animated film! It’s hard to tell whether these are digitally cell-shaded, but I suspect they are, as the movement is very natural and realistic, and the reflections on the cars have a photorealistic dimension to them. That being said, this amounts to about 1% of digital art, the rest is pure traditional animation, and it is perfect!


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


Many of the shots look like paintings and there are lots of dark hues in the background. The attention to detail is paramount here and a lot of care and attention has gone into each and every scene. This, for me, is where Anime excels over live-action. Films just don’t look as good as this. Quality is what Solid State Society has in spades.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


There are over a dozen action scenes and set pieces, each one vastly different than the last adds to an adrenaline-fuelled experience. There is lots of shooting, which is to be expected, and a lot of running around and race against time moments. It’s suspenseful and very, very stylish.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The Cyberpunk: Well it’s all going on here and we are served up a host of subjective cyberpunk antics. We have ghost dives a plenty that rival any of The Matrix hijinks with their internal interface unit that is nothing short of a digital trip.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The visual aesthetic of cyberpunk is put to good use with more than a few scenes coming into their own with a more contemporary cyberpunk look, rather than an impossible future. It’s reminiscent of Blade Runner’s native film noir style and would be totally acceptable in present-day living.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The corporate world is emphasised with the conglomerate companies’ domain in the WTC Twin Towers style buildings, or the Tax Tower, depending on your cultural standpoint. Politically, this shows Japan’s strength in social and political terms. The power of a corporate group over the will of individuals, at times unsettling, but emphasised as the less of two evils in the modern way of Japanese life.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The pursuit of information is the key to Solid State Society. Each character holds information that is necessary to the balance of the future, and Section 9 is after the information to keep a stable balance on their Solid State Society. The Puppeteer serves as a great example of this as the action hots up and we go into techno. overdrive.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


Fans v. Fansubs: I.G. Entertainment, the producers of Ghost In The Shell: Solid State Society have made their film in Japanese, unlike the first Ghost In The Shell film. Bandai Entertainment are taking care of US distribution in 2007, but have already made it clear that they will take legal action over any fansubbers subbing the film on the internet.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


This is quite bizarre, as fansubs don’t make a profit from subbing a film and putting it on the Internet. They only serve, as fans, to spread and promote Anime to English-speaking people; much like a screener is promoted to film bodies for approval. It increases interest in Anime and is nothing more than free promotion. Solid State Society does not yet have English subs, but it’s only a matter of time until a fansub is done. Two days after Solid State Society premiered, it appeared on the Internet. If Bandai hadn’t made an issue of it, it probably would have taken a lot longer for it to hit the net., but now it’s out there for people to see. The subtitles are probably being gloriously translated with devious glee as I speak.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


East v. West: If the original idea of the first Ghost In The Shell movie was to introduce Anime to a wider, Western audience backfired - at the time - it has grown in popularity and influence, due partly to its level of style as well as achievements in storytelling; mainly the contrasts between East and West cultures, and how Japan sees technology in relation to human development. Notably the synthesis between man and machine. There’s maturity in the themes of Solid State Society that I’ve not seen in any Western cyberpunk films, or indeed, most Anime films to date.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


A Post-Matrix World: In part, Solid State Society is an answer, and an antidote to the three Matrix films. We’ve all seen how Hollywood used the first Ghost In The Shell movie as a template/influence/borderline rip-off, and I’m sure Japan was impressed, but they’re not one to let Hollywood outdo themselves.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


Instead of letting themselves be influenced by The Matrix’s, they’ve gone in a completely different direction: a logical extension of progress and science fiction - the human element of what it means to have an identity as an individual, rather than as a whole. Instead of “The One”, there is everyone as a team. Very much Japanese efficiency and all it has achieved.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


This Is Not The End: Solid State Society is is not meant to be the end of Ghost In The Shell and it’s very much a movie of understated style that is a new beginning rather than a means to the end. Yes, the slam-bang action and visual splendour and spectacular set pieces are still here, and is set to impress, but it feels different to the movies and the TV series, and in parts comes across in areas that we don’t see in the Stand Alone Complex episodes. This has pushed Ghost In The Shell into a new direction that is very exciting and is fresh and invigorating to behold.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


Anime v. Live-Action: When most live-action films - of any country - are all starting to look the same, with blurred CGI sequences, it’s a pleasure to see traditional Anime like Solid State Society stand out from the crowd. No live-action film could replicate this film. It’s not a film that will influence Hollywood, because they won’t “get it”. It’s one, I think that will largely be ignored until it gets the critical attention and acclaim it deserves.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


Something Old, Something New: As a Stand Alone Complex, it does exactly that. If you’re new to Ghost In The Shell, this movie may perplex you more than entertain you, so I suggest you at least watch the series before watching the movie; to get an idea of what it’s all about before seeing the continuation of ideas and ideals. This is very much a higher level of storytelling in relation to the characters than previous episodes of S.A.C. and the GITS movies.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


A High Level of Art: The style of animation in Solid State Society is a world apart from the first Ghost In The Shell film, and more a fusion of understated effect than excess, compared to Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence. We get a perfect blend of the Stand Alone Complex style of Anime in a feature-length form that is nothing less than a revelation in every scene. I cannot emphasise enough how different this Anime is from what has preceded it. I’ve given it 10 stars as it deserves it for the sheer audacity of what it accomplishes in the Anime art form and the world of cyberpunk entertainment.


Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture


The Bottom Line: If you like the Ghost In The Shell movies, the Stand Alone Complex series, Japanese cyberpunk, or Japanese anime in general, then there are lots to take away from this feature-length spectacular. Solid State Society is a solid piece of entertainment that works on many different emotional and spiritual levels, and I think each viewer can appreciate the many different aspects of human endeavour and emotion that the characters go through. It is a genuine masterpiece that deserves repeated viewings just to take it all in and appreciate its inner-workings. It doesn’t get any better than this, and I doubt it ever will.


This post has been filed under Upcoming Movies by Ste McNay.


September 12, 2006

SFAM said:

Awesome job Ste McNay! Sorry it took so long for me to get this online. Thanks for waiting.

September 13, 2006

Raijin said:

It appeared on the net the same day it aired on tv, 1st September :P

SteMcNay said:

SFAM, thanks! It looks great.

Raijin, it took me two days to get it ;)

Time Imposter said:

Great review, contains everything I wanted to hear, definitely can’t wait to experience it ;)

September 14, 2006

Ein said:

I am a big fan of the GiTS: SAC series, but somehow, I didnt really like the two previous movies. Probably, because I dont quite understand it at that time. I got the movie. I was waiting for the subs to come out before I watch it, but after reading your review, I cant hold it anymore. I have to watch it :P

Great site by the way. I just have one suggestion. Cowboy Bebop. Have you seen the series and the movie? I think its awesome. In my opinion, its a cyberpunk themed anime.
Great job guys

Kozuka said:

SSS was great. I’m dying to understand the plot, though. Need…SUB! Does anyone have any idea of what happened to Motoko near the end?

SFAM said:

Hi Ein, Yeah, I think Cowboy Bebob qualifies (barely though). It will be up here sometime soon. Unfortunatley I’ve gotten a bit behind on my reviews lately.

SteMcNay said:

Time Imposter, glad you liked the review. It’s definitely an experience! I just hope the Japanese DVD has english subs.

Ein, I know exactly what you mean about the films. I prefer the Stand Alone Complex series to either of the films. Hope you enjoy Solid State Society. It’s a trip!

Kozuka, after Motoko saved one of the main characters, she got a virus. She then hooked herself up to the guy that committed suicide (not that bit confused me), and rooted out the virus as she switched bodies with the dead guy, finding out what it was all about, whilst nearly dying in the process. Really need subs for that bit. I think the plot is all about death and duality, hence the symbolism of the dual skyscrapers, getting “in” the buildings, as well as the Puppet master getting into the heads of other people, and the constant reflections in glass throughout the film - especially Motoko’s reflection at the beginning and end of the film I think Solid State Society ends on a cliff-hanger with what Motoko says, intending to set-up what we can expect for the future of Stand Alone Complex, but I don’t know what she says!

Ein said:

You should try playing the game too. Its awesome, but difficult at times. I got the game long time ago, got stuck and cant be bothered playing till today, the day I itch for more Gits Action. One pointer for the game: Keep your eyes peeled and you will find it :P

As for Cowboy Bebop, I watch the wholse series twice and planning to watch it again sometime soon :) I like the theme and setting for the anime.

September 16, 2006

SteMcNay said:

Ein, I’ve so got to play the game. I’ll probably end up addicited to it, but that’s not a bad thing. :)

Torienzi said:

I saw a screening of the movie at Dragon*con. I’m still a bit confused about exactly what the plot ending was. Who was to blame for the incident? I still don’t get that part.

September 18, 2006

londin said:

Sounds like a good movie. You understood it well enough visually but the GITS franchise has always been strong in plot but weak in delivery of that plot. I’ll have to wait until an actual sub is released. Learning japanese would probably aid in full understanding of the series. Reading the comics helps too. What’s your deal with American cinema? Just say Ghost in the Shell is good. You sound so pretencious. Japanese anime writers are most influenced by Western writers anyway so what’s all this about Americans ripping GITS off? Everyone rips each other off. Go to japan and you’ll see English everywhere, they love the shit.

SteMcNay said:

londin, I like the subtlety of the way the plot is delivered in GITS, and think it’s the logical antitode to say, the western way of hammering home every plot point to the point of overstating the obviousness of the visual aesthetic. I particularly like how the sub-plots are weaved in the background of each episode, essentially making the narrative a Stand Alone Complex. This is what I love about it so much. And the whole Matrix thing, you can go through scene-by-scene of that film and spot the bits they lifted, almost verbatim, from GITS. It’s no accident that the first scene in Stand Alone Complex is like the start of The Matrix. I think they were taking the piss. :)

September 21, 2006

ETM said:

I have obtained the opening and ending credits songs from the film, and I must say that the Yoko Kanno + Origa combo still rules… hard. Recommended, and can’t wait for the OST.

Nandroid said:

I really really can’t wait to see this. GITS is a fantastic concept that is very rewarding to those willing to get to grips with the complexities of the world portrayed in the anime. I still haven’t seen 2nd Gig so that will tide me over once the boxset arrives…

September 22, 2006

Zuluone said:


Nice review, having got the 1st series of Gig on DVD I can appreciate what your saying here and wholehaertedly agree, one thing I noticed though I will be delibertaly vague here for those who have not yet seen the film, some of the story elements are lifted from the orignal comic series [not saying which one or how woven into the film]. If you have the series give it a re-read to refresh your memory and enjoy as I did.


SteMcNay said:

ETM, I’ve often thought what Stand Alone Complex would be without Kanno’s music. Would it be as good? I don’t think it would, she really knows how to drum up a catchy beat. Which OST’s have you got? I love the singing Tachikoma track ‘AI Sensha Tachikomas’.

Nandroid, I just started watching 2nd gig last week, and it’s a bit different to the first series. The episodes are a little more emotionally complex, but some of the action is much more violent than the first series. So far it’s great, but I have a hunch it’s going to get better.

Zuluone, I’m reading the two Manga’s of Ghost In The Shell now. Very cool.

October 1, 2006

SSS said:

is there any way i can get a copy of the ghost in the shell: SSS movie in its japanese form, does anybody have the site or something i can buy it off? cause i don’t wanna wait for the american release in like 2007 or something

dpjef said:

at your local torrent site ;-)

October 2, 2006

SSS said:

what’s a good torrent site

October 5, 2006

spilt_milk said:

/notice ghost in the shell solid state society Soft subs

fair warning its direct translation from chinese meaning you have to think what the hell they are trying to say but its better than nothing

October 11, 2006

akg said:

> but its better than nothing
actually, not much

[…] I watched all 12 episodes of Genshiken, eight episodes of Haruhi Suzumiya’s Melacholy and the chinese-subbed version of Ghost in the Shell - S.A.C Solid State Society. I am eagerly waiting for the release of the licenced english-subbed version. It’s a damn solid sequal to the last season of Stand Alone Complex - in terms of theme, plot and characterisation - and even the cinematography. For those who’d been following the manga and the movies - this installment of Stand Alone Complex combines elements of the first manga collection (from “Chapter 02 - Super Spartan”), the second manga - Man-Machine Interface (the multiple-android interface Motoko Aramaki) plus the movie “Innocence” (the scene where Motoko battles the army of Geisha-androids). Cyberpunk Review has a rather good write-up on the movie. […]

RE@L said:

There’s a good ENG softsub on Koofy’s!!! I’ve watched with that and was aeons better than the chinese….

October 18, 2006

leslie said:

great review.. gave a good sense of the movie without even a hint of a spoiler

October 19, 2006

Danny said:

Great review… I can’t describe this movie better. Its a must watch for everyone.
No series in Anime is as realistic and as relevant as GiTS. Who’s the Puppeteer? That’s for the viewer to figure out. That’s the whole point of the movie anyway. Will there be future installments of GiTS? From what I can gather from the movie, you bet.

October 24, 2006

Gits fr34k said:

I was pretty dissapointed with this movie. I saw the film in Japanese, and then with english fan subs, and i was rather annoyed by it. I have every publication of a Gits Manga, and all the DVDs in their special edition forms from both SAC, 2nd Gig and the 2 movies. This film though. I dont’ know. It’s story didn’t seem good enough for a film. I like the introduction of the puppetmaster and leaving it open ended so that it can come back in future stories, but their use of the character, which i’m assuming is their interpretation of Project 2501, seemed lacking and less cool. By cool, i mean that it didn’t have a very interesting element as to where it came from or what it is. Project IG already said that this isn’t the last time we’d see the Gits SAC characters on the screen, and i’m glad because it felt like something was missing.

Now if they had actually taken a 2 year leave from the show, the story, everything, i think the idea of the 2 year gap would be better served. But i could have been 1 month later for all i care. There wasn’t enough switched around to make those 2 years seem important. Togusa is in charge now? ok… that’s cool… but what was he doing for those 2 years, who else was in charge besides him, cuz his position seems pretty new, I don’t know.

I just expected more for a budget of 3.2 million dollars. It looked like any other episode, Where’d the money go? How much does a regular episode cost? Unless they tell me a regular episode is a million alone, the budget was wasted. Much like the cowboy bebop movie, this didn’t feel any different than anything we’d seen before. This really could have benen the first 3 episodes of next season, and probably should have been.

October 29, 2006

Stridex said:

Gits fr34k–

Wrong on both counts. GITS: SAC SSS rocked. And holy cow so did the Cowboy Bebop movie– the plot, animation, and general production of that film is one of the more impressive anime undertakings in the past decade. While SSS didn’t have many “above and beyond” shots from the GITS: SAC norm, it did have them. And let’s not forget how high the GITS: SAC standard is.

Anyone who has held the Ghost in the Shell franchise in high regard; read the manga, seen the movies, and watched Stand Alone Complex, should be highly satisfied with this incarnation. It’s not as “pop” as the manga, but no version since has been. Instead we are given a perfectly muted tale, with interesting and developing charaters thrust into a HIGHLY detailed and INSANELY clever little punch of a plot. I’m still reeling from just how much of a plot they were able to jam into the running time. And… by the way… it has been just about two years since GITS: SAC 2 ended in Japan… so to say this was rushed or jumping the shark is just… odd?

My only complaint is that I would have loved more. I really wish we could have gotten some more time with each character. As it stands, though, this is a HIGHLY entertaining mini-arc– it reminds me very much of the last five episode arc to season 2, but intentionally not as “epic”– that is to say, the stakes are more internalized for the characters, instead of being so desperate for the nation.

This was way more than “the first three episodes” of a next season. This was a stand-alone entry, which could very well have some interesting repercussions later. We may or may not see more of the Puppeteer, but for certain the dealings with this Solid State System are done. Damn that flick rocked.


October 30, 2006

Man-Machine-Mind at said (pingback):

[…] If you don’t mind a few spoilers check out some neat screencaps and semi-reviews here, here and here. […]

November 7, 2006

Memories, Dreams, Reflections « blue berth said (pingback):

[…] Kick Ass Babe is back! The net indeed is vast and infinite. —Major Motoko Kusanagi, Section 9, Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. Solid State Society. […]

November 9, 2006

Hi_Im_Kuze said:

GITS SAC SSS (whoa!) rocks, I’ve watched the two previous seasons of SAC and let me tell you, if you liked them both, you’ll love the movie and you will ask for MORE!.

As in the series, and probably as me, you will need not just to watch the animation and enjoy the sound effects, but also to understand every single piece of info the characters are saying. Sometimes I had to stop the movie and go rewind back some seconds before and read again (I don’t speak Japaneese) what they were saying, cause you know it’s important to understand the context and the ending.

*************WARNING SPOILERS**********************

Did I got it right?. I turns out that, in SAC 2nd GIG we were left with the idea of Kuze “living in the universe, or entity, or limbo, or new-evolutionary state of the NET”. Pretty much at the same time Motoko quit her job, and also start surfing the net. It looks like Kuze’s selfish and heroic personality made him discover what was going on with one of the government’s program, and saw an opportunity to help people, in this case, children that were badly treated by their families and also abandoned old people. To achieve this he took an inconclusive job from a bright engineer, took his body and served as a “medium” to help people. Am I right till here more or less?
Later, Motoko also found this thing about the kidnaping and abduction going on in the SSS, and use her brightness to find the one behind the problem (she also involved Section 9 into this, but they never realized this till very last moment).

My biggest question is (PLEASE ANSWER), what you guys think about what really happen in the end:
1.- Did Kuze (was Kuse right? the guy behind the puppeteer..)merge his consciousness with Motoko? (he made her fall in his trap), did she knew or felt that right before the end of the movie?.
2.- But then…one of the very last images and phrases of Motoko’s altered memory (altered by Kuze) his the one of Kuze’s (or puppeteer) leaving out, passing throughout a door and saying that his job was done (establishing Solid State as a permanent entity), and he, the “vanishing mediator” now move into the society beyond. So did he left motoko’s consciousness (without merging) or not?

Hope everyone enjoyed the movie, and hope we got more or less the same clues.

November 11, 2006

Anon said:

*************SPOILER WARNING*************
*************SPOILER WARNING*************
*************SPOILER WARNING*************
*************SPOILER WARNING*************
I believe that scene wans’t meant to show that the Puppeteer was Kuze, but that he was acting much in the way that Motoko, Aramaki, and Kuze do. For “his” opinion of what is the best for people. In his mind, stealing children away from dangerous and abusive homes and placing them as the heirs to the mounting elderly population was the ideal solution. It removes the children from danger and the later trauma of their memories, places them with an old and lonely person for a short time, and then passes that person’s belongings onto them as a meaningful member of society.

The “vanishing mediator” scene from what I interpreted was that the solid state society was now fully functioning, and the Puppeteer (the combined unconcious of those bed-ridden elderly) was now moving on to some other goal they hope for him to help to benefit their troubled nation.

November 13, 2006

Hi_Im_Kuze said:

You are right Anon, I’m so dumb…..probably I was in suggestion cause I wanted to believe it was Kuze. Anyway what you said makes absolutely sense, that’s why the Puppeteer (funny name, I dunno if it’s the right translation but what’s the conceptual difference between a “puppet master” and a “puppeteer”?…thinking about the original GITS) showed us so many faces in that scene. Although SSS didn’t exist before the puppeteer, the puppeteer was first (it came to help and upgrade an existing program), who was the puppeteer?, will we find it in the future?.

Thanks for your comments, see you on the NET, I’m always there…….

November 17, 2006

Tobu said:

I believe the vanishing mediator could be a «fork» of Motoko. The morphing visage seems to imply this, and there is a «do you think I know that you know» moment later on between Batou and Motoko.
That’s an idea that appears in the manga, GitS MMI, anyway.

November 22, 2006

Nephrite said:

i personally think that its possible that kuze left motoko’s conscience without without merging..but its possible some trace or residue of his “understanding” or consciousness was left behind with her..i mean i could be totally off…but thats something i picked up from it..

AS for SSS..i totally cant wait to see it when it comes officially to north america..i mean i could see it right now….but im hoping the american voice actors will be involved when it comes to the states

heres to hearing this flick rOCKS..


November 24, 2006

WarBaby2 said:

Ok, as a huge Shirow Sensai and GitS fan for almost 10 years now (wow, is it that long already?) I was just dying to watch this movie and actually understand it. Well, I did so just a few houres ago and a was ave struck! ;-) What else?


As for the movie: In short, I LOVE this movie. Just seeing how they implemented Saitos’ sniperduell from GitS 1.5 or Motokos AIs Conan, Loki, Max and the others as the revieved AIs of the orginal Tachikomas, wonderful!

The story had nothing to do with the original Puppetmaster plot by MS, and the japanese words for Puppetmaster and Puppeteer are completly different. The meaning my be similar, but no connection there.

So? We are back to Motoko and Kuze again? Yes and No. For me it comes appearent that the whole series has a common red thread. And this common theme is, in fact, the essence of what was Ghost in the Shell from the beginning though all books, movies, mangas and so on. “The net is vast and infinite” this signeture sentence means everything behind it - Means: Everything peolple where striving for, working for, hoping for, all of it found it’s way into the net. Forming itself and evolving into countles specialised entities. Such an entity became Kuze, not as him self, but as a farcture of his ideas, believes and ideals. What became of his Cyberbrain hub after his death? Nobody knows, but I doubt that all that was he simply vanished when he was assassinated. And for Motoko, she too is one of these entities, once human, but by experiencing and computing the lifes data of 1000 of individuals she became far more. It’s all about evolution of humanity and data.

Ok ok, enough of the philosophy. *g* I just find it astonishing how wonderful IG picked up the main essence of the series and is now weaving a long and truly EPIC story around it without repeating itself. I just wished they would implement more of Motokos original personality from the mangas, she was really funny at times. ;-)

Now to the Ending: I think it was very clever. You do know that the Pupeteer knows Motoko. It knows her through every bit of data it gathered about herself, Kuze, Aramaki, and so to a point where it BECAME them all, partially at least. Question is: Were all this people not bound by their “tidiouse restrictions” (as Motoko calls it herself in the end sequence by the pool), wouldn’t they have acted the same if they would have had the same perspective and possibilities? Yes? No? Ask youself, would you?

So it is really irellevant WHO the Puppeteer was, if Kuzes cyberbrain hub, the collected minds of all the oldtimes in their cyberbeds, or, maybe, a AI that found it’s own conciosness…. or maybe all three?

Personally I think it is a remnant of Kuzes ghost, binding all this elements together. Why I think so? Because I am an old romantic and I like the idea of Kuze still beeing around and working for HIS kind of a greater good, while checking on Motoko once in a while wich he sees as the only “special soul” in his whole live since they both survived that planechrash 30 something years ago… but thats my opinion. ;-)

The only people who know for sure are Motoko, Batou and one of the Tachies, though. ;-)

I don’t think this story will end someday, it is not ment to end, I think. It was never ended by MS himself. Just like the concept of evolution it will simple go on and on and on… a good thing, if you ask me! ;-)

So, that’s it from my side. Great review, great movie!

The net is… you know the rest. ;-)


WarBaby2 said:

PS: @Nephrite: Yes, thats what I made of this “merging scene” too. It seams plausible enough that they exchanged their entities with one another for a brief periode of time, leaving traces of it in one enothers conciosnesses.

December 2, 2006

Zyro said:

Hello there.

If you like Ghost in the Shell go

Give suggestions.


January 15, 2007

Beatnik said:

What an interesting, if irreverent, review of the Matrix trilogy. Why did the reviewer keep referring to Solid State Society though?

January 19, 2007

elricik said:

the website Youtube has the whole movie broken up into diffrent parts with english subs

January 26, 2007

GITS: S.A.C. Solid State Society « Tume taevas said (pingback):

[…] January 27th, 2007 at 0:48 (filmid) Lõpuks ometi! Nähtud! «Kôkaku kidôtai: Stand Alone Complex Solid State Society» (2006). Muljed? Mõni ime, et animega koos ka alati selle eelarvet mainitakse − see $3,2 miljonit särab ikka ekraanilt kogu oma hiilguses vastu. Minu pandud pildid on küll üsna häguse taustaga, kuid lihtsalt seetõttu, et ma tahtsin sobilikke portreesid saada. Kuigi sarjaga võrreldes mingit täiesti uut taset ei saavutata, on anime detailirikkus siiski kohutavalt mõnus. Keda huvitab, siis suuremaid pilte harrastav ülevaade on siin. Nii oodatud teosel on muidugi ka Wikipedia kirje. […]

February 5, 2007

x-tee-yawn said:

Well this reviw does an excellent job of summing Solid State Society up in a nutshell.

I’m only praying that when this movie is released this July for US audiences, they actually give us a fully DUBBED video, and not a subbed version. I personally had trouble following Innocence with only english subs. Fortunately, Youtube has the whole English version of Inocence broken up in parts. Apparently Innocence was only released in English for Ausrtalian audiences (God only know why).

SFAM said:

Hi x-tee-yawn, Innocence, while absolutely awesome, isn’t the easiest movie to digest in English or dubs. I definitely had to watch it a few times to really get what was going on, and more importantly, Oshii’s philosophical shift from the original GITS move. Although I must say, I’ve developed a certain fondness for the Japanese GITS cast. I don’t think I’ve watched Innocence in English.

February 14, 2007

Prasiddha said:

After reading Warbaby2’s comments, I still think that the Puppeteer is most likely Kuze. The way the camera angles show AND the dialog that goes along with it points that way.

It’s simple:

(Camera on Motoko)
Motoko: …and one who actually knows me. Who are you?

Puppeteer: Haven’t you figured it out yet, Kusanagi Motoko?

(Camera on Puppeteer)
Puppeteer: How many arrogant, self-righteous a$$es do you know?

(Face change from: Batou; Togusa; Laughing Man; Gouda; Aramaki; Kuze……..LOONG PAUSE; Motoko)

(Camera angle change to Motoko. LOOK OF SHOCK!)

The movie’s literally telling us that it IS Kuze. If it weren’t Kuze, then there wouldn’t be that long pause. Why should there be? If it weren’t Kuze, then the long pause would be pointless and tedious (and a waste of the studio’s money)

Now IF the movie was trying to tell us that Kuze WAS JUST a self-righteous A$$, then the face transformation to Kuze would just be a second, just like the others.

February 23, 2007

Rei said:

=== a bit spoiler===

The conversation between Motoko and Koshiki at the last scene of SSS can be understand like this way, I mean, many Japanese fans believe that the real Puppeteer is Motoko, not Kuze.

Motoko: …and one who actually knows me. Who are you?
Puppeteer: Haven’t you figured it out yet, Kusanagi Motoko?

If you listen this dialog in Japanese, there is a short space of breath between “…figured it out yet.” and “Kusanagi Motoko?” Also, the voice tone of Koshiki is slightly different from the normal “asking” voice when he said “Motoko Kusanagi?”
This is creating double meanings in this dialog.
Another way to say, Koshiki is trying to insist her that Puppeteer is Motoko, instead of calling her name to make sure that she is listening his question.

Puppeteer was born through the process of merging (or making parallel) the ghosts. After the many of those processes, the different character was born from Motoko’s unconsciousness part. Koshiki is also telling Motoko like “Don’t you think that the new character (ghost) can be born from the group of unconsciousness, and it start to aim to be a stand alone?” Since Koshiki said that his purpose of suicide is to connect with Motoko directly, “Puppeteer = Motoko” makes scense.

Well…IT’S SO HARD to write in English! I hope my English does make sense to you.

March 17, 2007

Qirien said:

Also, the whole reason Motoko left Section 9 was for a journey of self-discovery (or something like that). And then she ends up investigating the Puppeteer, and her self-discovery is over . . . in addition, there are many times where a scene is viewed from a security camera — who is watching all these cameras? Motoko is watching at least some of them in her safe house. Also, at the end, a shell that looks just like Koshiki exits her safe house. Why does she have a shell that looks just like his?

Many interesting questions to think about!

March 19, 2007

Nico M said:

I liked this ‘quite a lot’ - for me the main problem is that the Major is always sexy as hell, yet there is never any sex or even romantic interest. Shirow certainly did not mean for her to be abstinent (the infamous page 56 in original manga shows torrif virtual sex - just great).

Why doesn’t she fall in love with an AI or f..k someone ever. Pathetic.

Mind you there have been hints - an excellent sequence in SAC2 where she overs to show a young boy whether cyborgs have sex - the idiot turns her down.

My rant - SSS was great otherwise, always visually compelling & thenatically complex as per usual.

April 5, 2007

Makii said:

Ok for those that do not like any one part of this ongoing interpretation of popular culture and psychology, here are some things for you to read up about before going into a rant.

Catchers in the Rye,anything J. D. Salinger really
Paradigm Shift
Simulacra and Simulation
and anything dealing with “the looking glass”, “mirror world”, “adventures of alice in wonderland”, and so much more is brought to light and need to be researched dealing with all the aforementioned references. and when your done in about 15 years researching the intricacies of these you will have a right to rant on about what was done wrong within this series.

“i am what i need to be, just me.” MVW06

April 11, 2007

Joey said:

April 28, 2007

randomrob said:

just picked up complete season 2 of GITS SAC today. love it immensely. one of the only shows Ive ever watched where I find myself re-watching an episode immediately because I didn’t catch all the details. The best! Can’t wait for the movie

May 18, 2007

Anonymous said:

For me the GITS SSS movie was a little disappointing compared to the offerings of GTS Innocence. For me the SAC series worked so well as they had a long timeframe to spin out a story and really give it depth. Here they have a much reduced medium and it seems that the story doesnt quite have the punch or the twists that I saw in the series. As compared with philosophical discussions from innocence which really delves into the social consequences of this technology for society, GTS SSS seems to play out much more like a traditional action movie/thriller. The animation, while definately good is not always on-par with that of the innocence movie. There is not such a seemless blend of CG and animation and the SAC style still suffers (as it did in the series) when it is not augmented with digital lighting and glow effects.

It also seems to make MOtoko’s departure from Section 9 seem much less profound than in the original two movies. SSS seems to make it seem like it was just a break, to find “who she really was” or “what she really wanted” whereas innocence makes her journey into the net as a whole new reality in itself much more interesting.

In short Im not sure that SSS really captured the spirit of what I personally like to see from the franchise. Its not just about technology and how they use it to bust criminals, that is just a miniscule part of it. At the heart of it GTS is examining the long term impacts of technology on human society and truely these are extraordinary. IF a body can be changed at will, physical appearance altered on a whim then the basis for racial, sexist discrimination will end. What are the consequences for law and order if identity can be changed on a whim? and has man transcended its organic begginings into a truly higher technological plane?(the birth of a technological being in the opening credits of Innocence is a good example)

These are all themes that innocence dealt with but unfortunately not SSS. I still enjoyed it though :)

May 25, 2007

LDR said:

I think that the puppeteer is project 2501.

Motoko had isolated herself for a long time, and this had probably affected her in a negative way. I think that her world started to brighten up, when she came together with her friends again.

May 28, 2007

randomrob said:

I’m secretly wishing that they re-dub the original movie at this point w/Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as Motoko and the rest of the folks from the show… at the rate they’re expanding the characters, they may need to re-write some of the dialogue…

(and throw in some Fuchikomas, too) :D

Can’t wait for SSS! I’m addicted!

June 12, 2007

2k said:

After watching it for like the 50th time I just realized in the beginning right after Motoko Comes home she walks BY THE PUPPETEER LEAVING her APARTMENT.

IT is definitely Motoko.

June 15, 2007

wiredcoma said:

They played this on the scifi channel sunday or monday night. (I cant remember…) I didn’t watch it though because I still haven’t seen the end of 2nd gig. Knowing the scifi channel, it will probably be ages till they show it again. :(

July 31, 2007

project_2501 said:

It’s almost here… DVD release in the UK! I’ll have to watch 2nd gig first though

January 4, 2008

Togusa said:

I agree with all of you its a great movie maybe not as filosofical as the Ghost in the shell arc(movies 1 & 2) but it has the pure essence of the Gigs. I really don’t get it very clear, because by seeing the SSS i thought the puppeteer was Kuze, what you’re trying to say is that it was really the Major? making use of her subconsciousness?

P.S: people who like talking about GITS please add me

March 17, 2008

Wintermute said:

Just watched it for the first time. Interesting.
I’ve been an avid fan since the original GITS came out on DVD, dunno much about the manga, though all sources say the manga is vastly different…
The character progression of Motoko is very interesting GITS being the completion of her concious ghost, Innocence being her understanding and controlling of her free form concious self on the nets, and SSS being the culmination of her conciousness online to the point her Id manifest’s it’s self.
Interesting also the fact that the Id is represented as the puppeteer, when we all know that the puppet master is motoko’s other self, does that make motoko’s physical self the puppet?
Got to love GITS, possible the only anime that forces you to think.

Wintermute said:

Also, i don’t approve of ‘the matrix’ inferences made in relation to GITS, the matrix movies are far inferior in comparison to GITS.
Its like making a comparison between Marilyn Munroe and Lindsay Lohan, GITS is the older more mature munroe, to the matrix’s over sex/hyped/commercial Lohan.
Sorry but it’s the truth.
Shirow Masamune should make Neuromancer.

March 1, 2009

Karmakaze said:

hmm it was my belief that the puppeteer was really the gestalt Motoko mentioned/collective assimilation with other consciousness’es that formed the solid state and it operated completely autonomously after its inception by ______ whomever. and didnt Koshiki/whomever was remotely controlling his body, shoot himself in the head precisely because he COULDN’T infiltrate the Major’s cyberbrain otherwise, thus luring her into linking with him and providing the opportunity to infiltrate? that’s what I surmised from it all. in the end I enjoyed it … though it felt more like an extended episode from the show rather than a complete film.

August 18, 2010

dlf said:

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. Solid State Society gives us everything we expect in a GitS story: a sci-fi universe that draws you in but never overwhelms, continuity in character development, rich and intelligent dialogue and plot that almost seems plausible down the road, and of course, some light philosophy and shades of grey. Even if you aren’t an anime’ or a strict sci-fi fan, you might just enjoy this one.

April 6, 2011

Rei said:

I just saw GITS SSS 3D, which just start to show in Japan from March 26th. I saw it on the 2nd day (3/27). The theater was fully occupied with adult fans (I really couldn’t find any low teens!).

This movie has been modified for 3D, but the story was not changed at all. Only OP movie has been fully created for 3D version. The designing technique to modify into 3D is just amazing. When I saw the OP, my breath was taken away…. You can experience what you will see when you dive into the net. Actually, I returned to the theater couple of days later because I was caved to experience it one more time! (It costs $22.20 to see, but it worth for me.)

Now this story is almost 5 years old. The situation of society in Japan has been changed from when it was released in 2006. The problem of birth ratio, DV, lonely death of elderly, etc…Mr. Kamiyama’s (director) commented that his mind has been changed to confront for those problems. The “problems” should not find the best way to end it but keep continue to “think” and “review” to search for the better way. Actually, the promo word is “Do not solve the problems.” You might have a different opinion from when you see GITS first time. The story still not faded away.

BTW, It was very interesting experience to see the movement of Revolution 2.0 in Middle East. The possibility of movement has already told in GITS SAC 2nd GIG. The network by many small opinions (tweeting) can be a trigger to create a big movement…

At this moment, we don’t know when this 3D version is going to be on show in the US. But when it comes, you really should go to the theater to experience the near coming future. Sound is also amazing, too! (Thanks for Yoko Kanno’s great works!)

(McNay, sorry for my long comment!)

April 11, 2012

a guy from Hungary said:

Ah, I like you guys. So much emotion and passion over a comic/movie. That’s nice :-) I feel at home here.

For me GiS is all about the reflection of Japanese culture. I don’t know much about the Japanese people and their society, obviosuly, as a foreigner, I only get the strong attributes, that make it to the west (or the east, depending from the location you are at, I am from EU ;)) So surley I will be raw and rough, maybe not judging the Japanese rightfully. If so, I hope, they may forgive me.

First (and this is the “worldly” part):
To me, the Japanese seem *very* collective. Judging by the fact, that Japanese soldiers would die for their nation without hiss (Kamikaze), that Samurai, who have deeply failed, would commit suicide (Harakiri, Sepuku), which is also a form of “dying for the authority”, that they are capable of marrying in masses in the company, they belong to, are all signs of the loss of individuality for sake of collective. We find several, strong, references to this in the SAC. So, there is that melancholy of a Japanese spirit, who meditates about typical Japanese things like: discipline, order, authority. System. Machine. The ghost wants to get out of this. What higher discipline could there be, than having your body replaced by a machine. “No-Body is perfect.” Yes, the *must* be *very* perfect! Everywhere there is the strong system in Japan. The diagnosis. The analysis. We talk about one of those nations, where engineering plays a very high role. It’s also interesting to see, that traditional Japanese culture is close to non-existant. It comes to view, seldomly, as a detail of a scenery, but then is mostly just an unimportant attribute to that scene. So, to sum it up: Most people in GiS are nobodies. One of the biggest nobodies being the Major, who, by becoming a nobody, is perfect. Or Kuze, who has a stoic face, and, additionally, a perfect face, that does not get disturbed anymore, he has found complete focus.

Second (the “spiritual” part):
The root of this way of life may be found in Buddhism and its roots, Brahmanism. There we find “atman” and “Brahman”. “Atman” means, loosely translated, “soul” or “individual soul.” In the case of GiS this would be the “Ghost” (in the shell). “Brahman” is the “world soul” or “all sould” or “cosmic sould”. That would be the net which is vast and infinite. So, nothing new here. It is the old-school asian philosophy, having Brahmanism (from which we find Jainism, Hinduism ad Buddhism emerging, for sure, there will be even more) at its roots. It’s also interesting to see, that those, who are (maybe) capable of becoming One with the net are the high-profile characters, which could be considered as masters. Kuze is really like a guru. The refugees are connecting to him, they come in swarms to him and ask him for advice. He has become unimportant as a person. What counts is his spirit, the contents of his cyberbrain. What is his goal? That everybody leaves the body and its Ghost becomes one with the net. Pretty much Nirvana, if you ask me.

Wikipedia has some good articles on atman and Brahman. Worth a read.

a guy from Hungary said:

Lol, nice one ;-) I too think, that the visuals of the Matrix can not be put to rest, this way. Also, the Matrix was about something completely else: Escape the machine. Not getting into it. Completely different philosophy!

a guy from Hungary said:

Yes, it does make sense. :-)

a guy from Hungary said:

Hmmm, sorry for last two comments being out of thread. I hit “Reply to this”, but they ended up in root-sequence. My 2nd comment is a reply to:
>January 15, 2007
>Beatnik said:
>What an interesting, if irreverent, review of the Matrix trilogy. Why >did the reviewer keep referring to Solid State Society though?

And the third of my comments was a reply to Rei on February 23, 2007

May 6, 2012

Joe said:

In reply to a guy from Hungary,

Interesting breakdown of the key concepts of the film.

Personally I would rate the film an 8/10, purely because, in my opinion, it lacked the realism of the first two film iterations. Characters for instance, namely the faces seemed very gaunt & sharp, the bone structures of each individuals faces seemed cloned leaving only facial hair & speech tonality to denote the individuality of the personalities. Character dialogue was quite bland & spoken in an almost monotone fashion with no real indication of emotion in their voices, most obvious was that of Togusa, who for the most part of the later films was emotive in his speech. It was, however nice to see fewer philosophical exchanges occur between characters of which was most prevalent in the Innocent saga, whereby the characters, Togusa & Batau often citied philosophical quotes via their external memory, which imho became a little tedious towards the end.

Regarding the statement that most people in GiS are nobodies, I whole heartedly agree, namely as hardly, if any, non plot connected characters exchange any dialogue aka Taxi drivers, citizens, workers e.t.c, even the guards in charge of defending the Mayors rehabilitation tower(s) seldom spoke, even when having been shot & or dying. I think this is supposed to represent how the majority of people just drift through life, conforming to expectations & not challenging or questioning the way in which their society or moreover, the world is evolving. As you can see, the film shows the consequences of allowing people in high positions of power a free hand to do as they please, even when they themselves believe their actions are morally just.

Overall great film, as was the original & sequel, Innocence.



Joe said:

I must add however, I do like the fact that the dialogue isnt as emotionally distributed as it could be as this forces the viewer to really read between the lines & concentrate on what is being said & not how it is being said - I just find the characters & world in general a little lacking in feelings, almost too robotic, but I guess that is the theme of the film so I shouldnt let this fact detract from the quality of the piece.


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