Stand-In [1937]

The broadcast series based on Mamoru Oshii's influential film Ghost in the Shell (1995) has been eagerly awaited on both sides of the Pacific. Although its production values are lower, and director Kenji Kamiyama never equals Oshii's inspired camerawork, Stand Alone Complex does an impressive job of re-creating the setting and characters. Major Motoko Kusanagi moves through a deadly city of mecha, cyborgs, humans, and human-prosthetic hybrids. (The series takes place in a parallel world, where Kusanagi never encountered the Puppet Master.) With the help of Batou, Togusa, and other officers from Public Security Section 9, she battles terrorists, hackers, and rogue machinery. An insect-like tank with a grating, babyish voice is a dubious addition to the cast, but fans of both Oshii's film and Shirow Masamune's original manga will find the program delivers plenty of hard-hitting action. (Rated 13 and older: considerable violence, grotesque imagery, nudity, alcohol use) --Charles Solomon

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