The agents of Japan’s elite counterterrorism police unit Section 9 are assembled to defuse a politically charged hostage crisis, although absent from the team at hand are the hulking Batou, a maverick within his department, and Major Kusanagi, who two years prior resigned her post for uncertain reasons. The kidnapper in this case is a colonel from the now defunct Seok Republic in the Korean Peninsula, demanding safe passage from Japan –- except that he promptly commits suicide when cornered, babbling about his fear of someone, or something, called “The Puppeteer.” He’s not the only one, either. Other Seok operatives, each with the symbol for “true believer” tattooed on his hand, have killed themselves. Section 9, including Batou, are drawn into an increasingly complex mystery involving kidnapped children, the hacking and manipulating of cybernetic brains, a horrific terrorist plot using bio-technological germ warfare, high-ranking government officials, a network of senior citizens on high-tech life support and the enigmatic “Solid State Society.” It’s a cat-and-mouse game that puts their lives and those of their loved ones at terrible risk, and at the centre of the storm, quite possibly, is their former colleague Kusanagi.
Building on the success, both commercial and artistic, of the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex television series (a spin-off from the two momentous anime films of Mamoru Oshii, themselves built on the original mangas by Masamune Shirow), Solid State Society fleshes out and allows to breathe the distinctive qualities of the TV show. Unlike Shirow’s playful and unpredictable comic book, or Oshii’s highly detached and philosophical films, the Stand Alone Complex series accents the technical specifics of both the technology and the politics that these supercops must deal with in the complicated, accelerated and highly uncertain world of the year 2034. Of course, it’s not all protocol and paranoia –- if you’re hungry for intense anime action and breathtaking design work on weapons and vehicles, Solid State Society delivers that as well, never to mention a grand score by one of anime’s leading composers, Yoko Kanno, and a nuanced new look at the now-mythic figure of Major Kusanagi.
Director: Kenji Kamiyama
Screenplay: Kenji Kamiyama, Shotaro Suga, Yoshiki Sakurai
Cast: Atsuko Tanaka
Producers: Production I.G.