Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is a Japanese anime series based on Masamune Shirow's manga Ghost in the Shell. It was written and directed by Kenji Kamiyama, with original character design by Hajime Shimomura and a soundtrack by Yoko Kanno. Masamune Shirow provided plot for several episodes, sketches of characters and mechanical designs (including the Tachikoma), and gave his approval to the scripts before production.
Stand Alone Complex was animated by Production I.G, and produced by Bandai Visual, Bandai Entertainment, Dentsu, Nippon Television Network, Tokuma Shoten, Victor Entertainment, and Manga Entertainment. The series received a record breaking 800 million yen investment to begin production. Kenji Kamiyama decided to make the series as a "relative" to the manga and film, serving as a separate parallel world from both. The first season, sometimes referred to as 1st GIG, aired on Animax from October 1, 2002 to March 25, 2003 and was positively received by critics. Due to the success of the first season, a second season was produced titled Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG.
The series was broadcast in the United States on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block, and was part of the programming rotation from November 6, 2004 to August 12, 2017, including runs on the Adult Swim Action and Toonami programming blocks. The series is rated TV-MA-V on Adult Swim.
The series takes place in the year 2030, where many people can become cyborgs with prosthetic bodies. Primarily set in the fictional Japanese city of New Port, the series follows the members of Section 9, a special-operations task-force made up of former military officers and police detectives. The series presents individual cases that Section 9 investigates, along with an ongoing, more serious investigation into the complex Laughing Man incidents. A detective investigating a series of corporate terrorism and blackmail events called The Laughing Man Incident discovers the injection of specialized micro-machines into the task force to spy on them illegally. The detective sends evidence to Togusa just before his own murder. Once Section 9 exposed the government officials to the media, a mysterious hacker called the Laughing Man hacks into one of the government officials and states he will be returning to defraud them. Section 9 then begins to investigate the Laughing Man incidents.
Major Motoko Kusanagi — A cyborg in the employ of "Public Security Section 9", a fictional division of the real Japanese National Public Safety Commission, as the squad leader. Little is known of Kusanagi's early history, though the series hints at some of her background, usually through flashbacks; commonly from the points of view of others, rarely from Kusanagi's.
Motoko Kusanagi's various incarnations in the different manga, movies, or TV series all portray her differently. Since each of these have independent storylines, the physical and mental characteristics of Motoko Kusanagi has been modified in different ways to reflect the focus of the story; these changes are reflected in the different ways that artists draw her.
Batou — A main male character in the Ghost in the Shell series, recruited from the Rangers, he is the second best melee fighter in Section 9 and is the second in command under Major Motoko Kusanagi. Batou keeps his life away from work mostly unknown. He also gave his favorite Tachikoma an unapproved, non-synthetic oil until the Major caught him. In the first Stand Alone Complex series, the Laughing Man hacked into his eyes so that Batou could not see him.
According with Tachikomatic Days of episode 21 (Season 1), he has a can of beer after his bath and he takes out his eyes before going to sleep. Also, he often uses up his paycheck buying muscle training equipment for the upper body, which others find useless, considering his extensive number of cyborg parts (mainly torso and arms). In the first season of Stand Alone Complex, it is inferred that he uses it to remind himself of who he is, despite his cyberization, much like the watch the Major wears. Batou is also a chain smoker.
Daisuke Aramaki — Chief of Public Security Section 9. In Stand Alone Complex, Lt. Col. Aramaki is a strict chief, and is referred to by others in Section 9 as the "old ape". Even so, he is fiercely loyal to the members of Section 9, and often puts his own career on the line to ensure the survival of the rest of his team.
Togusa — The second most prominently featured male character in the Ghost in the Shell manga & anime series. In Stand Alone Complex it is stated that he is the only member of Section 9 who has not undergone cybernetic replacement in some manner as he had been referred to as 'natural'. In the movie it is claimed that it is precisely because of his lack of cybernetic enhancements that he was chosen for Kusanagi's team. In the manga, it is unclear as to what extent he has undergone cybernization, although in both the manga, anime and movies he has a cyberbrain like all other members. Togusa is 27 years old and is 5' 10 inches in height.
Ishikawa — The information warfare/technology specialist in Public Security Section 9. It has not been stated in the series thus far as to the degree that he has been cybernetically augmented, though character dialogue (and his long recovery time from an injury) suggests that he is one of the least augmented members of Section 9. His appearance is characterized by a large beard and perpetually unkept hair, and he is the oldest of Section 9's field operatives. Ishikawa is especially well known for his frequent, long-winded and often rather complicated expository speeches to the other characters, in order to inform them (and the show's audience) of new story developments. Despite being a member of Section 9, Ishikawa appears to be relatively physically weak in comparison to the other members. He is almost never shown in combat (though in one episode he fires a shoulder-mounted cannon to disable a heavily-armored vehicle) and takes a support role during most missions in which he is dispatched.
He formerly served with Kusanagi and Batou in South America when they were with the Ground Self-Defense Forces in the Japanese UN contingent. He was one of the earliest members recruited to be in Section 9 and seems to know the Major and her dislikes quite well. He is shown as being in charge of a pachinko parlor called Parlor Ishikawa, and on occasion uses the cyberbrains of the old men who play there to complete particularly heavy data gathering (though it seems the men suffer no ill effects or are even aware of their situation, and are in fact 'paid' with wins at pachinko for use of their 'processor' time). Ishikawa is the most seemingly laid-back member of the unit.
Saito — Among the members of Section 9, Saito is regarded as one of the least cyberized. He can handle any automatic firearm with deadly accuracy and precision, but his primary role is as the unit's tactical sniper. Saito's left arm is cybernetic, allowing him to support and steady extremely large sniper weapons with superhuman skill. His left eye was replaced with the "Hawkeye", a prosthetic eye that interfaces with satellites to allow for shots of incredible accuracy. The Hawkeye, however, can be hacked, as it is in Episode 2 of SAC. It is impossible for Saito to escape hacking by going into autistic mode because he needs to maintain his Hawkeye's satellite uplink. Saito is also valued for his ability to think like enemy snipers; on two separate occasions his ability at determining sniping locations impacted Section 9's actions. Like Ishikawa, Batou and Pazu, Saito is a cigarette smoker.
Paz — An investigator in Section 9. Before joining Public Security Section 9, Paz was rumored by various police circles to have been a gangster in several yakuza groups in Japan. Paz is the backup "jack-of-all-trades" for the field agents and is also a known chain smoker within the unit. Upon his first encounter with the Major, he remarked, "I never sleep with the same woman twice." He uses a folding knife in combat. His name is often pronounced as its Japanese counterpart, Pazu in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex series.
Borma — Section 9's resident explosives specialist, as shown several times during 2nd GIG. He is the only Section 9 operative with similar height and enhanced strength to Batou. He also has optical implant eyes of a similar general design to Batou's, though his optics are a different color and might be another model with different capabilities. Both his eyes and his baldness are his trademark features. In addition to his role as Section 9's explosives specialist, Borma often handles the task of rear support. In most assignments, he's the only member to carry heavy weaponry. He also works as the team's resident cyberviral warfare expert, often developing vaccines for viruses within minutes of their creation. He is usually teamed with either Saito for sniping duties, Paz for general operations, or Ishikawa for cyberweb research and viral warfare.
Of his past, little is known though some can be guessed from speculation and comments made in the series. At one point, Borma was in the JSDF as a demolitions expert, possibly hinting that he was either a combat engineer or a special forces operative. This character's name is often pronounced as its Japanese counterpart as Boma.
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Stand Alone Complex consists of 14 "Stand Alone" (SA) episodes and 12 "Complex" (C) episodes. "Stand Alone" episodes take place independently of the main plot and focus on Public Security Section 9's investigation of isolated cases. "Complex" episodes advance the main plot, which follows Section 9's investigation of the Laughing Man incident: the kidnapping and subsequent release of a Japanese CEO by a sophisticated hacker.
A series of associated short comic animations, titled "Tachikomatic Days," aired immediately after each episode of the series. These shorts star the Tachikoma "think-tanks" from the main series, and typically relate directly to the story of the preceding Stand Alone Complex episode.
The English adaptation of the anime was released in seven DVD compilations, each containing four episodes, by Manga Entertainment and Anchor Bay Entertainment between July 27, 2004 and July 26, 2005. Complete DVD collection boxes were released by Bandai Visual as a Limited Edition on July 27, 2007 in Japan, and by Manga Entertainment on October 31, 2006 in the United States.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex premiered on Animax in Japan from October 1, 2002 to March 25, 2003. It then aired on Animax across most of Asia in 2004. It was frequently broadcast in the United States on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim from November 6, 2004 to August 12, 2017. On Adult Swim, the episode "Jungle Cruise" previously aired with a content warning before each screening. In 2017, Starz began offering episodes of the series on the Starz app.
In Canada, the series aired on YTV from September 10, 2005 to March 18, 2006. YTV initially skipped episode 10 (Jungle Cruise), without notice, due to the graphic content of the episode, but later aired the episode during a late night marathon. In the United Kingdom, the series was broadcast by Anime Central beginning in September 2007. The series was also broadcast in Australia by Sci Fi beginning on November 12, 2008.
- Japan (Animax) — October 1, 2002 - March 25, 2003
- Southeast Asia (Animax Asia) — January 2004 - 2004
- United States (Adult Swim) — November 6, 2004 - July 6, 2005; October 24, 2005 - December 29, 2005; June 10, 2006 - October 24, 2006; February 19, 2007 - April 5, 2007; December 31, 2007 - February 13, 2008; July 26, 2008 - August 2, 2008; November 8, 2008 - May 2, 2009; November 7, 2009 - December 12, 2009; January 16, 2010 - May 1, 2010; July 31, 2010 - November 6, 2010; February 5, 2011 - May 7, 2011; August 6, 2011 - December 17, 2011; January 7, 2012 - January 21, 2012; August 4, 2012 - November 3, 2012; October 26, 2013 - May 3, 2014; February 4, 2017 - August 12, 2017
- Canada (YTV) — September 10, 2005 - 2006
- United Kingdom (Anime Central) — September 2007 - 2008
- Australia (Sci Fi) — November 12, 2008 - 2009
Toonami Broadcast History
Stand Alone Complex made its Toonami premiere on August 18, 2012, after 2nd GIG (the 2nd season of the series) had already completed an entire run on the block. However, the first season did not get a complete run, as it was pulled from the block after the November 3, 2012 broadcast. The series returned for a second run on Toonami from October 26, 2013 to May 3, 2014 and completed a full run of all 26 episodes. The series returned to the block on February 4, 2017, at 3:00 AM, replacing One Punch Man and completed its run on August 12, 2017.
- Toonami (United States) — August 4, 2012 - November 3, 2012; October 26, 2013 - May 3, 2014; February 4, 2017 - August 12, 2017
- "One-Punch Man is finishing up it’s run on Toonami, but we’ve got another ass kicking anime for you ". facebook.com/Toonami. December 19, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/Toonami/photos/a.1442483259375850.1073741828.1440408039583372/1687454414878732/?type=3&theater. Retrieved on December 19, 2016.
- "October Anime Premieres: Day One ". animenewsnetwork.com. October 2, 2002. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2002-10-02/october-anime-premieres-day-one. Retrieved on July 18, 2016.
- "Anime on Cartoon Network ". animenewsnetwork.com. June 30, 2004. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2004-06-30/anime-on-cartoon-network. Retrieved on July 18, 2016.
- "Stand Alone Complex Premieres Tomorrow Night ". animenewsnetwork.com. November 5, 2004. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2004-11-05/stand-alone-complex-premieres-tomorrow-night. Retrieved on July 18, 2016.
- "Starz App May 2017 Movies and TV Titles announced ". ComingSoon.net. April 19, 2017. http://www.comingsoon.net/tv/news/839615-starz-app-may-2017-movies-and-tv-titles-announced. Retrieved on July 14, 2018.
- "YTV Skips Ghost in the Shell Episode ". animenewsnetwork.com. November 14, 2005. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2005-11-14/ytv-skips-ghost-in-the-shell-episode. Retrieved on July 18, 2016.
- "YTV Responds Regarding Ghost in the Shell Episode ". animenewsnetwork.com. November 18, 2005. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2005-11-18/ytv-responds-regarding-ghost-in-the-shell-episode. Retrieved on July 18, 2016.
- "YTV Backpedals on Stand Alone Complex ". animenewsnetwork.com. November 30, 2005. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2005-11-30/ytv-backpedals-on-stand-alone-complex. Retrieved on July 18, 2016.
- "UK's AnimeCentral Channel Launches on Sky Digital ". animenewsnetwork.com. September 13, 2007. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2007-09-13/uk's-animecentral-channel-launches-on-sky-digital. Retrieved on July 18, 2016.
- "Animax block to start on SciFi Channel ". animenewsnetwork.com. November 11, 2008. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-11-02/madman-gets-anime-on-scifi-channel. Retrieved on July 18, 2016.
- "Animax Asia to broadcast Anime to all Asia ". animenewsnetwork.com. October 31, 2003. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2003-10-31/animax-asia-to-broadcast-anime-to-all-asia. Retrieved on July 18, 2016.
- "Stand Alone Complex Schedule on Cartoon Network ". animenewsnetwork.com. October 27, 2004. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2004-10-27/stand-alone-complex-schedule-on-cartoon-network. Retrieved on July 18, 2016.
- "New Anime on YTV ". animenewsnetwork.com. July 6, 2005. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2005-07-06/new-anime-on-ytv. Retrieved on July 18, 2016.
- "YTV unveils fall programming highlights ". Channel Canada. July 5, 2005. http://www.webcitation.org/5w6tenSLC. Retrieved on July 18, 2016.
- "New YTV Friday Lineup This Fall ". animenewsnetwork.com. September 7, 2006. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2006-09-07/new-ytv-friday-lineup-this-fall. Retrieved on July 18, 2016.
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