Movie review: Solid State Society
Taking place 2 years after the end of the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG TV show, Section 9 – now without Major Motoko Kusanagi – is investigating suicides by members of a radical refugee group. What they uncover, with the secret help of a freelance Kusanagi, is that a shadow character known as the Puppeteer is behind the suicides and perhaps a bigger plot involving micro machine terrorism, child abductions and an inheritance scheme. Yes, you read that right.
It’s far more complicated than that, and took two viewings to sort of figure it all out, but at its core, the plot of this film centers around taxation and bureaucracy.
This film attempts to bridge the gap between the Stand Alone Complex TV shows and the first Ghost in the Shell movie. Unfortunately, this comes off a little too deliberate and the film suffers as a result.
But before I get any deeper into this I want to state that I am a huge fan of the whole Ghost world – although I admit I’ve never read any of the manga (too many pink bodysuits for my taste). The 1995 film started my current obsession with anime and I have watched it many, many times. I also love both seasons of Stand Alone Complex and my model Tachikoma. But this series has also faltered. I found the recent Innocence film to be one long Mamoru Oshii essay on morality, technology and god knows what else.
However, I wouldn’t say that Solid State Society is a misstep. The film is stunning to experience with fluid animation, gripping action, human drama and every kind of Tachikoma there is. But since it is so focussed on bridging two other stories, this one comes off feeling hollow.
The saving grace for me was the “Uchikoma Days” extra on the DVD – a fantastic short in which the somewhat dimwitted replacements for the Tachikoma stand up for themselves… with a musical number! They even declare their love for Batou. Kawaii!