For those of you who did not know (like me), Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig (2nd Gig) is the second season of SAC—it is not a different show.
2nd Gig is a ton to unpack, but I’ll try to condense it without spoiling anything.
We begin in 2032, two long years after the first series ended. We begin when a terrorist group called the Individual Eleven takes control of the Chinese Embassy, demanding the closure of Chinese refugee centers on a Japanese island called Dejima. Chief Aramaki uses this opportunity to get Prime Minister Yoko Kayabuki to approve a budget allowing for Section 9 to be reinstated. (Riveting politics!)
Essentially, Chinese refugees were brought to Dejima after WW4 and were used for their cheap labor in the rebuilding process. In the postwar period, they are essentially useless to Japan. The Individual Eleven proceed to carry out a series of suicide bombings and assassinations, the refugee group building towards an uprising.
The Individual Eleven appear to be a part of a “Stand Alone Complex”—they appear to be individually motivated but moving towards the same goal. It is up to Section 9 to discover how the Individual Eleven originated and put a stop to them before a full-scale revolution occurs.
Of course, with Ghost in the Shell, that’s only surface level. The plot is insanely well constructed, as are its villains. Unlike the first season, there is a great deal of time spent on the villains. We learn their backstories and understand how their motivations came to be.
I’m not a big fan of giving ratings, but I will say without a doubt, 2nd Gig is far
superior to the first. Everything is better. The graphics, music, sounds, story, and pacing. The first season established this world, but the second season took us deep inside the social and political impact in Japan after World War IV. So many more episodes are devoted to the main plot, but it doesn’t feel bogged down. With every episode, you get a better sense of Japan in this postwar era. We also get a great look into how the Major and many of the members of Section 9 came to meet one another. We get more development for some of the smaller characters like Saito, Paz, and Ishikawa. 2nd Gig is a damn near perfect show that enhances the experience of the first series while building on its own world. I highly recommend finding a way to own this show.
…Also, the Tachikawa are back. Bleh.
Ghost in the Shell comes out on March 30, so get your tickets now!