Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2045

Has anyone else seen it yet? I just finished the twelve episodes that are up on Netflix so far (they’re doing the annoying thing of putting half the season up now and then waiting a few months to release the other half). It came up in passing on the podcast but I’m desperate to talk to someone about it. Stand Alone Complex is my favorite facet of GITS and the new show has inspired me to do a rewatch of season 1.

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I’ve seen out of context clips here and there and it looks either like a complete disaster or an accidental masterpiece. You can really tell they tried directly appealing to a western market because there is some wild nonsense in there that feels like they had only a vague idea of what western audiences wanted and went as far against their usual creative instincts as possible as a result.

I just finished the first three episodes and haven’t fully formed an opinion yet.

My impression of it so far is mixed. The ideas they’re playing with feel a lot less interesting than those in SAC. The Tatchikoma’s move and sound right. Some of the action sequences are brilliant. I’m thinking here of the infiltration sequence in episode one.

But I can’t shake the feeling of there being no subtext here. It is all exactly what it is says it is down to the use of the term 1%

SAC complex had a nuanced dialogue about class and bureaucracy within a police procedural cyber terrorism show that was somehow also about the body, surveillance, trauma, survival and connection. I don’t think it does all those things perfectly at least it tries.

There’s a grime and utility to the cyberware. All of section 9 is rugged and feel at the end of their youth. Or well past it.

In SAC_45 the characters look better for the passage of time not worse. This is a small gripe but I think it points to a wider set of stylistic choices being made that seem at odds with the full on war story that’s being told.

Going to watch more tomorrow and I hope that I come away feeling warmer. The Major is one of my all time favourite fictional characters so I’m still happy this exists.

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i just need to point out that not only are the character designs in this Really Fucking Bad but the big bad guy is a dude called Patrick Huge who looks exactly like the character designer

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I haven’t gotten to this yet because I still need to watch Second Gig (first season of OG SAC is most excellent, though) but I think that the Great Gundam Project folks referred to this as some variation of “nonsense.”

Do you think he originally wanted to name the character “Richard Huge” but got shot down?

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Alright so I know it’s popular to bag on SAC_2045 for various and justified reasons, but hear me out. Having finished the series, I think it’s being underrated.

First off, I acknowledge that the first six episodes are actively bad. The themes about class and capital (e.g. 1%ers, “sustainable” war, etc.) are extremely muddled and honestly make no damn sense. It’s just action sequence after action sequence but at the same time, it feels like nothing at all happens for the entire stretch. They’re on the same mission for like four episodes!

But then a switch happens in episode seven. The interminable mission is finally finished in episode six, they get the exposition dump over with, and all of a sudden we get a character focus episode on Batou that ranks among the best in either series. It’s genuinely surprising! From there, the show really gets into the investigation mode that season one perfected. It uses familiar building blocks (dueling bureaucrats, savant hackers, literary references, and Togusa as Only Sane Man) but it doesn’t feel like a retread. The cliffhanger at the end of episode twelve has me excited for the rest of the season.

Obviously, I would have liked it better if the whole show was like the last six episodes. It almost feels like two different shows pasted together. The latter half is clearly the show they wanted to make but the first half is the show they promised to Netflix to get funding. It’s full of action and “edgy” political buzzwords but it doesn’t really say anything. I hope the next cour isn’t compromised in the same way.

Some miscellaneous thoughts:

  • The CGI style grew on me and by the end, I barely noticed it at all. It’s functional and nowhere near as distracting as other anime CGI attempts.
  • This is one of the best and least sexualized designs of the Major yet.
  • There’s a new character that I assume got a very polarizing reaction. Purin Esaki is the most overtly anime-styled character in the show, to a distracting degree. It’s actually impressive how they managed to animate animesque emoting in a CGI character. As out of place as she initially feels, I think her relationship with the Major is fantastic and I hope they get more screen time together.
  • They got everyone back for both the English and Japanese voice cast. Not a single person was recast. After the Evangelion situation, this is actually quite impressive.

For someone who ranks SAC in my top 5 of all time, this series was first immensely disappointing and then shockingly enjoyable. I think it’s worth checking out, if only for the latter half and how well they recaptured the magic of SAC. They clearly remember how to do it if given the space. It’s been a while since my last rewatch of SAC so the stay-at-home is giving me a chance to revisit it again. I hope this is a good excuse for me to discuss one of my favorite shows with new people. :slight_smile:


It seems that the original Stand Alone Complex isn’t available for streaming anywhere. Is it somewhere I’m missing?

It’s on Adult Swim!


havent formed clear thoughts yet as I havent finished it but one thing i will say right away is

Borma in timbs

the fingerless gloves, the blue puffer jacket

my boy fresh to death

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Oh my god I thought that screenshot was from sort of eurojank game at first. It has that exact awkward style.


LVL1 Batou LVL 35 Boss Borma
That’s how Section 9 works.

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I just finished my rewatch of SAC season 1 and I think it holds up. I mean yeah, Section 9 is basically supercops but they read like whistleblowers. There’s a great balance of main plot and stand alone episodes in s1 and the worldbuilding throughout is fantastic. Heading into season 2 and then maybe a quick dive into 2045 again to see if the context changes it.

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That screenshot made my brain immediately:

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