(backdating this a bit – I ran out before publishing it on the original date)
So this’ll be the first of two posts about series I used to watch on Adult Swim, but never finished until recently, when Netflix was kind enough to help me fix that problem! And I’m really glad I went back and watched both.
The first series I enjoyed back when I first started watching on Adult Swim in…2005-2006…ish? It wasn’t one of those series that kept me glued to the screen or had me singing its praises in the university dining hall the morning after like Fullmetal Alchemist or Paranoia Agent did. But it was a nice, even-keeled pleasant watching experience. The animation and music were great. The voice acting and dialogue weren’t bad and the story was pretty decent and interesting enough.
But for whatever reason, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (and 2nd GIG) didn’t hold my attention enough to the point where I wasn’t above using it for background noise. Some nights I would watch it attentively, others I just kept it on while working on homework or surfing the net. (Yeah, I’m a night owl. I concentrate best late at night and so AS was often background noise in college.)
So when it popped up on Netflix this summer (with an August 1, 2011 expiration date that turned out not to be true), I decided to go ahead and watch both seasons over the course of a few weeks. I absolutely loved it. As I said before, the animation is fantastic (the first season’s CG opening alone is worth watching every episode!) and the music had me so transfixed that I ended up importing two of the soundtracks.
The story definitely requires your full attention while watching and was a lot more interesting the second time around. I like the way the series moves between episodes that are heavy in the over-arching plot and episodes that are “Stand Alone” or one-shot episodes. It really did make me feel like I was watching a crime drama, a genre of TV show that happens to be a guilty pleasure.
I also liked that the characters were reasonably well-developed adult characters (something you don’t see often in anime, especially as protagonists) and that they worked reasonably well as a team, though I would have liked to have seen more interaction between the Major and characters like Saito.
I thought the idea of a future relying so heavily on cybernetics was reasonably explored, even if there could have been more done with it. On top of that, the ending of season 2 felt extremely rushed and there were a few pacing problems here and there in both seasons. Oh well, maybe it’s all the more reason for a Season 3?
I enjoyed watching this series, and it’s definitely in my top ten favorite anime, but the biggest strike against Ghost in the Shell: SAC reaching a wider audience may just be its medium. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this show’s animation, but many of the people who may watch this series for its plot elements and themes will probably dismiss it because it’s an anime. And even with some of the higher tech and crazier battles, why couldn’t this be a live action? I’ve found that to be the biggest barrier to getting others into this series.
I’m interested in hearing others’ thoughts. Did you like this series? Why or why not? And what would Ghost in the Shell (in either TV series or its movie form) have to offer live-action? (I think there is a live-action film rumored to be in development…) Sound off in the comments!