In Society [1944]

The television movie Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society (2006) continues the adventures of the cast of Stand Alone Complex, the TV series based on Mamoru Oshii's watershed feature. It's been two years since Major Kusanagi left Public Security Section 9 and struck out on her own. Batou pursues only investigations that interest him. Togusa is in charge of the Section, largely by default. All three characters, plus Chief Aramaki and the Tachikoma robots, join in the investigation of a string of suicides by agents of a foreign general. The trail leads them to a terrorist plot involving micro-machines created to release a deadly virus, and to the master-hacker known as the Puppeteer. The depiction of a corrupt politician using resources earmarked for the care of an aging population for his own ends reflects recent scandals in Japan. But Solid State Society feels derivative. The plot borrows heavily from the "Laughing Man" storyline, and the general lack of inspiration is evident in the failure to resolve the mystery satisfactorily. The Limited Edition includes a music CD and a second DVD of extras, among them notes on designing the futuristic vehicles in the film, and an interview with Mitsuhisa Ishikawa of Production I.G., all packaged in a metal box. (Rated 13 and older: violence, grotesque imagery) --Charles Solomon

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