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Ghost in the Shell MMO FPS

Ghost in the Shell MMO FPS based on Standalone Complex… Mmmm

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex


Game Title: Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex
Date Launched: 03/04/04 (Japan), 11/08/04 (North America), 04/22/05 (Europe)
No. of Players: Single Mode and a Multi Player mode up to 4 players
Console: Playstation 2
Amount of Memory needed: 68 Kb
Difficulty: ALL (There is a mode for each: Easy, Normal, Hard)
Genre: Action (Shooter)
Extras: Multitap for the Playstation 2
Publisher: Bandai
Developer: Cavia Inc.
Rating: 17up

Game Play
80/100
It’s GiTS people, they could have had Motoko running on a shopping errand I would have bough it. Ok seriously now, the game is solid. If you are familiar with GiTS then the game doesn’t stray from it. You get to play with three characters: The Major, Batou, and in one mission the Takichoma. The stages certainly reflect the character, for example the Major’s stages tend to be more complex and require a bit of thinking to reach to a certain point, where as Batou’s stages are usually smash and fire. They isn’t very long to play, you might only find yourself figuring out what to be the hard part. The stages are pretty simple, but require a bit of thinking to figuring out what to do because although the chief will cybercommunicate with you all the time–resulting in you being shot because you’re trying to hear what he is saying and not concentrate of the enemy behind you–he won’t give you any hints. While up front that might seem annoying I enjoyed it, it might take you a few minutes to figure out how to get on the top of the building but when you do, you’ll say to your self saying “I shouldn’t seen that.” Each stage consist of certain points that you are suppose to reach, and when you reach those points another point will appear. You might wonder now long a stage could be–some are pretty long. I’ll tell you up front you’re going to die a few times before you figure how to do something but that’s the way it goes: trial and error.

There aren’t too many weapons available to use, and if you run out of ammo it’s going to be your bare hands. Which is good and bad, because when you use your arms as weapons your player goes into a cool cut-scene where the enemy is KO (Dead) in the coolest fashion. However, certain situation demands certain weapons and it sucks when you run out of ammo, it just helps to teach you to conserve.

There are very few boss battles; usually a stage just requires you to reach a certain point, and the bosses that there aren’t tough at all–at least in easy mode, which was the mode I did it in.

I was let down by the fact that ability to ghost hack was very present in the game. You could have done it about 6 or 7 times through the entire game, and even when you did it wasn’t for very long. I wanted to ghost hack everyone and just watch them kill themselves, but then again I’m weird so I guess it was a good thing–although those that I did ghost hack fell to their dooms.

Graphics
80/100
Usually for actions game you don’t expect much in terms of Graphics but like all things GiTS, Stand Alone Complex for the PS2 goes beyond the boundaries. The graphics are perfect but they sure aren’t a pain on the eyes.
The cut-scenes are really well done, not perfect, but good. And the stages themselves are well put together. Both enemies and players are given enough detail to be sufficient and content.

Control
75/100
I personally had a bit of trouble dealing with the camera positioning. There is no way to zoom out or in, and I could not tell you how much that would have helped.
Firing wasn’t pretty good, although they would have add a “lock on” feature which would have made it much easier (for me).
There is a dodge feature which works pretty well in those sticky situations.
The jump button (R2) is a bit tricky because of the fact that’s (R2) and sometimes you not click it at the right moment–which is very crucial at certain times–but you’ll eventually handle it.
The game play screen isn’t crowed with a bunch of stuff and so you can have your eye on the battle field at all times.

Story
85/100
Section 9 is currently investigating a mystery area known as the Autonomous Region, an area that was under military control but now seems to be the HQ of terrorist group that wants to fit for its independence. What was to be a simple collection of information turns into a rush against time to stop an organization and their plan that could harm thousands?

The military seems to have played a part in this and is now trying to cover up the case. Section 9 is now stuck in the middle of something that started years ago, will Motoko and Batuo be able to stop the terrorist group in time.

Sounds & Music
75/100
No Inner Universe here. The in-game music is ok, it isn’t boring or anything. When you get into a tough situation the music shifts to up temp beat to reflect that. Players are also lucky enough to get the real actors voices for the dialogs, which only makes even more realistic.

Replayablilty
80/100
The game is pretty short; however, you do have the option to complete three modes (easy, normal, hard). After complete the game in each you unlock certain bonuses (unlimited ammo–which you can turn off if you want, new weapons, or customs for your character) you also unlock things for the multiplayer mode (up to 4 player, with the multitap for PS2, like new characters, fields) in that regard the game does have a sufficient amount of replayablity appeal. There is also the collection of fans which are for expert player of the game, since if you die once you loose it, which unlocks the best of the best of weapons. It’s going to take you a good couple of hours, if you are good at it, to finish everything.

Overall
80/100
The game is good, it’s some what short but I enjoyed. It’s definitely aimed towards fans than regular players though. I think the game kind off assumes that when you play that know something about GiTS. You’ll go through it fairly quickly if you are good gamer, it might take you a while to figure out what to, but never to the extent that you’d want to drop the controller and give up on it. The game as a good story that follows you at every step of the way. It’s very much like watching an episode of GiTS: SAC on TV.
If you are a die hard fan of GiTS I strongly recommend renting this, if you only want to see what it’s like, or buying it if you want you unlock everything and have a kick ass time in Multiplayer.

By Cherubim

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex


My first OST review….I just know I’m going to come back and re-edit this someday. Ohwell…for now-

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex OST I
Composer: Yoko Kanno

1 Run Rabbit Junk (vocal: HIDE) (4:32)
– At first I didnt’ even know there were lyrics to this song…but turns out there is. And after listening to it for a few times…it’s pretty cool, really, and even musical. The ending of the bridge is totally kickarse as is the entire song, really….
Verdict: repeat

02 YAKITORI (7:09)– If you ever thought that ’80s rock guitars screaming away could never ever sound musical, you need to hear this. It’s creative but the thing is too long as well as mostly repetitive with many of the same progressions played over and over again and so all the creativity wears off after a bit.
Verdict: play

03 STAMINA ROSE (vocal: Gabriela Robin) (2:51)
– Gabriela Robin/Yoko Kanno collaboration at some of its best. The harmonies used are delightful and the beats sound “earth-y”, but fast paced and heart-racing. It doesn’t get better than this.
Verdict: repeat…over and over and over

04 Surf (3:00)– This piece feels like you’ve just walked into a rainforest. Earth-y sounding over an ostinato bass…tribal…nature…waterfalls…*falls asleep*
Verdict: play

05 Where Does the Ocean Go? (vocal: Ilaria Graziano)
(4:44)
– Unlike Graziano’s later performance, this one, though her voice is still just so unbearably pretty, comes off a rather childish. Either that or it’s the increasingly weird lyrics. There’s no progression to the song and stays rather flat. Nonetheless, this song is calming and makes me want to hug a kitty.
Verdict: play

06 Train Search (1:58 )
– Very rockish and fast paced. I can almost swear I’vee heard the guitar chord progressions before somewhere before (I think prolly from “The Real Man” off one of the Cowboy Bebop OSTs…). Gives an image of a person running through some long hallway in pursuit of something (Thus, train search? Maybe?). But it doesn’t get much further than that.
Verdict: play

07 CYBERIAN DOLL HOUSE (vocal: Gabriela Robin) (3:50)
– A New Age echo-y guitar that suddenly becomes some weird, weird echo-y…somethings that play over Gabriela Robin unintelligible vocals and strings. Eerie and I don’t get all this randomness.
Verdict: skip

08 Velveteen (vocal: Ilaria Graziano) (5:05)
– One of Kanno’s most unique songs to date. Graziano’s voice is absolutely gorgeous and it floats over the tech beeps/string mix effortlessly. The lyrics are strange but the overall effect is mesmerizing and it haunts you well past the end of the song.
Verdict: repeat

09 Lithium Flower (vocal: Scott Matthew) (3:25)
– I had never heard of or heard Scott Matthew sing before I heard this song. He has an interesting voice that definitely contributes to the overall mood of this song. I can’t help but think of Naoto from Dogs when I listen to this piece (though, of course, the title and lyrics are referring to Kusanagi…)…the lyrics are beyond perfect, though undoubtably weird…as usual. The rhythm is catchy and it moves – grooves, and is as mellow as mellow gets. Though the chorus still bothers me…
Verdict: repeat

10 Home Stay (3:57)
– Repetitive bop-bass over guitar riffs that becomes even more boppy guitars and bass over strings. The beginning gets boring but when the strings join in, the piece begins to take on variety, colourful lines, and some very nicely written rhythms for both the strings and guitars. Exciting and fast paced, though the opening bore brings the overall mood of the piece down quite a bit.
Verdict: play

11 Inner Universe (vocal: Origa) (4:54)
– Very unique and rather rough opening that smoothly morphs into a sort of chant-like line that continues to play throughout the piece behind Origa’s floaty vocals. It’s a beautiful piece, though the changes between the rockish lines and the smoother, more choral-like ones tend to be a little rough and empty feeling.
Verdict: repeat

12 Fish ~ Silent Cruise (7:30)
– This piece is the epitome of gorgeous/mixed writing. The opening vocal gives a feeling of a church and frightful creepiness but fades into a flurry of tech noises that are joined by a full symphony orchestra playing some of the most haunting lines and harmonies that I have ever been blessed to hear. (I have an amusing story about this one. When I was vising my relatives in Maryland, I had this habit of going to sleep later than everyone else because I’d sit in the guest room w. my headphones on and reading. Well I was listening to the GITS: SAC OST (I had just gotten it and had no idea what track was what or what) and not really paying attention to tracks or anything, but suddenly I heard something over my headphones that was just so gorgeous and wonderful that enchanted me so much that I forgot to hit repeat or check the track number.

This was about 2 days before I left MD to return home and for those 2 days kept trying to find out which track it was by listening to the beginning of each track. The melody played by the low brass at the end of the second section just refused to leave me alone. It haunted me, as it is quite a haunting theme in itself. Anyways, me being the silly I am didn’t realize that the vocal part was the first part of this track and the pause in between totally threw me off. I forgot how I figured out what track it was, but it obviously involved listening to the whole thing w.o touching any buttons but the volume…and I obviously killed myself over how dumb I was that I didn’t realize that it was all the same piece. )
Verdict: repeat over and over…if you can stand listening to the same 7minute piece forever heh

13 Some Other Time (vocal: Gabriela Robin) (4:07)
– The perfect piece to accompany you as you sit and look outside at a sunshower coming down – or when you’re in the sunshower yourself…thinking about days long gone. Downright angelic…it makes me want to cry sometimes.
Verdict: repeat

14 Beauty is Within Us (vocal: Scott Matthew) (6:08 )
– Scott Matthew’s voice again sets the tone for this gorgeous song (How can one OST have so many great compositions?!). It’s so comforting, especially the harmonies, and it fits perfectly with the lyrics. There’s no other way to describe this song other than wonderful.
Verdict: repeat

15 We’re the Great (1:33)
– Very reminiscent of “Elm” from Cowboy Bebop: A melancholy voice over guitar riffs. It’s quite beautiful, really, but in the short time that it’s given, it fails to really catch my attention.
Verdict:play

16 MONOCHROME (vocal: Ilaria Graziano) (5:10)
– Graziano outdoes herself again. I can’t get over how beautifully she sings. Her voice contrasts beautifully with the tech stuff going on in the back like feathers on machinery. Sadly, the piece doesn’t go anywhere, roots itself in one spot, and gets a little boring.
Verdict: play

17 GET9 [TV size] (vocal: Jillmax) (1:16)
– Upbeat and fun rap/dance track. Whoever JillMAX is certainly does a good job vocalizing and keeping the listener into the song. There are intermittent bursts of English that don’t make too much sense, but that’s Japanese rap for you. Nonetheless, it’s a very listenable song.
Verdict: repeat

18 Rise [TV size] (vocal: Origa) (1:30)
– Again, Origa shocks, rocks, stuns and goes all out amazing. I find this track more appealing than Inner Universe, and it moves more. Origa is again using the Russian/English singing format, but these lyrics are striking and so bluntly sincere. Everything in this song just comes together to form a work of absolute perfection.
Verdict: repeat

FINAL VERDICT:
very well composed and very much recommended. Some of Kanno’s best work to date and she’s getting better and better with no signs of slowing down. Is this lady a genius or what? Much credit, thanks, and hats off to her….again.

By kiyo-chan

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (Ani-Manga)

Movie
Directed by: Mamoru Oshii
Produced by: Mitsuhisa Ishikawa and Toshio Sukui
Original Creator: Shirow Masamune
Art Director: Suichi Hirata
Character Design: Hiroyuki Okiura

Ani-Manga

Dialog Based on English Subtitles translated by: Linda Hoaglund with Judith Aley
Miscellaneous Translation: Yuji Oniki
Lettering: Rina Mapa
Design: Isumi Evers
Editor: Carl Gustav Horn
Published by: VIZ
Tankoubon: 4

The review might include some spoilers…so you have been warned.

Review:

After the events of 3 years prior with the Puppet Master and the Major disappearance into the cyber world, Batou and Togusa (his new partner) find themselves on another case involving rogue Gynoids, that murder their master then self-destruct.

Some of the victims include a politician and a former Public Security officer, on top of that non of the victims relatives have filled a law suit against the Locus Solus Corporation, the company the manufactures the Gynoids robots. These factors combined gives Section 9’s leader, Daisuke Aramaki, reason to believe that these incidents might be linked to terrorist acts, making it the job of Section 9 to investigate. Aramaki assigns Togusa as Batou’s new partner; together the two of them head out to find whatever information they might get on any leads.

They discover that the new line of Gynoids called “Hadaly”, were with one specific purpose, as state of the art sex robots, while not illegal this fact might lead to possible embarrassment, which might be the reasoning behind why any lawsuits weren’t filed on behalf of the victims. However, this is still doesn’t explain why the Gynoids murdered their masters and then self-destruct.

Time is running out, and another murder has taken place; however, this Batou and Togusa have a lead connecting the victim, consignment inspector of Locus Solus, Volkerson, and the Yakuza crime syndicate, the Kojinkai. After nearly wiping out the Kojinkai Batou and Togusa only come away with the evidence that Locus Solos requested that consignment inspector be killed. All the signs are now pointing to Locus Solos as the mastermind behind all of this. Batou and Togusa decide to take a trip to Locus Solos’ HQ in Etorofu. Batou and Togusa encounters, a former military officer now turned professional criminal Hacker, Kim; who decides to play with Batou and Togusa, putting them through an elaborate cyber maze. Luckily they are saved by who else but the Motoko, who appears only in the cyber world under the access code she gave Batou 3 years ago: 2501. Motoko gives batou a series of clues allowing him to escape Kim’s twisted maze. Now that Kim has no where to run Batou gets the information he needs to get into Locus Solos’ transport ship in Etorofu.

The final showdown is about to take place, the Hadaly Gynoids are amassing a front against the guards. Batou is running out of time. Luckily for him he gets a little assistance from the Major who has downloaded a fragment of herself into one of the Gynoids. It seems the old team is back–in one form or another. They’ve got to find a way to stop the Gynoids. After a good hacking on the part of the major the Gyniods are stopped in their tracks, and the entire ship is now under their control, to use against Locus Solos. However, they still have to figure out how Locus Solos were able to fuse “souls” with the Gynoids, causing the Gynoids to malfunction.
Here’s the major spoiler: It turns that Kojinkai would kidnapped girls and duplicated their “souls” and implant them into the Hadalys. However, the girls tried to get help by making the Gynoids malfunction, with their last words being “Help me”, which both Batou and the coroner believed to be at first of robots rebelling against their human masters. The idea was that if the robots made enough of a problem that the police would get involved and eventually find them.
Before the Major leaves she reminds Batou that whenever he logs into the net, she’ll be there by his side. It doesn’t look as if the Major will be making a physical come back now. The case of the Hadaly robots is solved and now both Batou and Togusa can return to the homes. It’s still uncertain if Togusa will continue to be Batou partner, but we can wait to see that in Ghost in the Shell 3. LOL

Characters:
Batou
-Still Batou, shoot first ask questions later. Of all the Section 9 members he’s the only one still “grieving” over the Major’s disappearance. Most of his time now is consumed with taking care of his dog. While he cannot physical see the Major he refers to her as his Guardian Angel in the cyber world.
Togusa
-Togusa has been assigned has Batou new partner, despite the fact that he is no where compared to Batou in terms of cybernetic ability–I know that’s probably a new phrase right there, but I can’t help it. Assigned to assist Batou mainly because Aramaki thinks he’ll be a useful partner seeing as how Batou and Major were very close and that Batou still lingers on that. Togusa is primarily focused on his daughter and wife.
Aramaki
-Still running Section 9. Still as emotional less as ever, concerned with only with the public safety, he sends Section 9 into investigate the murders when everyone thought it was a case for the police. He assigns Togusa as Botou new partner fearing that Batou might be emotional unstable to take on this mission on his own.
Ishikawa
-Still working for Section 9, Ishikawa is dedicated to his job and loyal to his comrades. He keeps a close eye on Batou, only because he knows the Major disappearance still has an effect on him.
Motoko Kusanagi “Major”
-After the incident with the Puppet Master 3 years ago, Motoko Kusanagi was believed to have vanished. However, it seems that the Major is still there. Now she seems to acting as Batou “Guardian Angel” whenever he logs on to the net.
Kim
-God! This guy is one creepy little prick. A former military officer and electronic specialist, he and Batou has a past together. However, Kim began working with the Black Market and eventually were disbanded from the military. He’s now a criminal hacker who’s physical location is in Etorofu. Kim’s physical body is no where to be found, instead he’s fused his memories with robot. He happens to be the connection between the rogue Gyniods and Locus Solos that Batou and Tougua have been looking for.
The Basset Hound
-Batou’s cloned dog. While cyborgs have become the norm, Batou still keeps this dog, consuming most of his off time taking care of it.

The Ani-Manga:
Ok this is my first Ani-Manga, it cost a lot, I believe more than the DVD of Ghost in the Shell 2, but it’s worth it if you love manga. It isn’t so much manga, as it resembles American comics more in my opinion. Still the format is manga acceptable. The entire movie has been compressed down to four volume, using over more that 2000 stills from the movie–no I didn’t count, it says so on the back of the box. Japanese sound effects added with a bonus glossary for your enjoyment. There are few empty frame where nothing happens, except a head turn. I guess it helps the transition from one frame to the next. Overall I found the transition from frame to frame wasn’t bad, and no you can’t turn it into a flip book and “watch” the movie. It’s all in color, so that’s pretty good. I think they choose pretty good stills to use, and the dialog fit the facial expression well-which is something you’d want to look out for when your reading Ani-Manga. At the beginning of each Tankoubon you get a grief summary of the book before, so if you were confused a little, it might help to clear it up for you. If you’re willing to fork up the dough (I paid $40.00 for mine, I could have bought GiTS and GiTS 2 with that, but I’m content) it’s worth it, if you really love reading ani-manga, or if you’re trying for the first time, or if you lust love manga–which I do.

Score:
8.8/9.0

Grading:
Story 8.8/9.0
Characters 9.0/9.0
Animation/Artwork(Stills) 9.0/9.0

Opinion:
Let me explain why I gave it a 8.8 in story, while I thought the story was really good. Like all things GiTS, it’s over thinks things, making you start to ponder about all of human existence, and what it means to be human, and overall it really blew me away how everything fit together. In that way I think the story is excellent, 9.0/9.0, but I couldn’t help getting the feeling that the entire point of the movie was to find a way to reunite Batou and the Major. I just had the feeling that the entire was just to show that, “oh wait the Major isn’t really gone forever, she’s just chillin in cyberspace,” and I totally understand that it’s was to clear the loose ends in Ghost in The Shell: when Motoko gave Batou the access code, and it makes sense. I don’t know if I would’ve liked it more if Motoko–although I really love her–didn’t show up in the movie/ani-manga at all. Whatever…
The story was still fuckin amazing, and the part where Kim had Batou and Togusa in the cyber maze was pretty awesome and even got scared when they where about to self-destruct. Especially when it happened to Togusa that took me way by surprise, because I knew he didn’t have any prosthetics. I really didn’t expect the ending the way it turned out, but that’s just how GiTS works, you should expect the unexpected. They weren’t really any low points, and I was pretty interested through all of it. I actually read each book right after another. Besides the reference to the Major it pretty much was separate from the Ghost in The Shell. Fans of Batou might enjoy it more because the story really focuses on him. Overall it was good, and actually reading the ani-manga convinced me to buy the DVD. It’s Ghost in The Shell, it’s going to blow you away, make you think, and leaving wanting more–just get use to it.

By Cherubim

GitS: Stand Alone Complex – 'Velveteen'

(Romaji Lyrics)

seeing you in my tears
in my own reflection
I hear you in the wind that passes through me

feel you in my hunger
you’re haunting my ambition
beautifully destructive attraction

climbed to zero G’s
now falling like a rock
drugged and digitized you inside a dream

Tu sei per me…iaria che respiro
il mio cibo, cioche osservo
magico sei tu! e sento che
Sono inamorata di emozioni
smisurate e infinite ormai!
vivi, nei miei pensieri.

a velveteen equation

I find you in my fears
and in my fascination
I taste you in safe water and it drowns me

paranoid and peaceful
inside a sweet addiction
velvety electrical reaction

soft insanity
and I can’t make it stop
live hallucination within a dream

Tu sei per me…iaria che respiro
il mio cibo, cioche osservo
magico sei tu! e sento che
Sono inamorata di emozioni
smisurate e infinite ormai!
vivi, nei miei pensieri.

a velveteen equation

magico, questo eun grande amore
magico, questo eun grande amore

(English Translation)

seeing you in my tears
in my own reflection
I hear you in the wind that passes through me
feel you in my hunger
you’re haunting my ambition
beautifully destructive attraction

climbed to zero G’s
now falling like a rock
drugged and digitized you inside a dream

You are for me… the air that I breathe
My food, the eyes I see with
You’re the magic! And I feel
Than I’m in love
Immeasurably and almost infinitely
Live, in my thoughts

a velveteen equation

I find you in my fears
and in my fascination
I taste you in safe water and it drowns me

paranoid and peaceful
inside a sweet addiction
velvety electrical reaction

soft insanity
and I can’t make it stop
live hallucination within a dream

You are for me… the air that I breathe
My food, the eyes I see with
You’re the magic! And I feel
Than I’m in love
Immeasurably and almost infinitely
Live, in my thoughts

a velveteen equation

magic, this is the great love
magic, this is the great love

By yokeda

GitS: Stand Alone Complex – 'Lithium Flower'

she’s so cold and human
it’s something humans do
she stays so golden solo
she’s so number nine
she’s incredible math
just incredible math

and is she really human?
she’s just so something new
a waking lithium flower
just about to bloom
I smell lithium now
smelling lithium now

how is she when she doesn’t surf?
how is she when she doesn’t surf?
how is she when she doesn’t surf?
I wonder what she does when she wakes up?
when she wakes up

so matador
so calm
so oil on a fire
she’s so good
she’s so goddess lithium flower
so sonic wave
yeah, she’s so groove, yeah
she’s so groove
yeah

wow, where did she learn how to surf?
wow, where did she learn how to surf?
wow, where did she learn how to surf?
you know I’ve never seen the girl wipe out

how does she so perfectly surf?
how does she so perfectly surf?
how does she so perfectly surf?
I wonder what she does when she wakes up?

I wanna go surfing with her
I wanna go surfing with her
I wanna go surfing with her
I wanna go surfing with her

By yokeda

GitS: Stand Alone Complex – 'Inner Universe'

(Romaji Lyrics)

Angely i demony kruzhili nado mnoj
Razbivali ternii i zvyozdnye puti*
Ne znaet schast’ya tol’ko tot,
Kto ego zova ponyat’ ne smog…

I am Calling Calling now, Spirits rise and falling
Soboj ostat’sya dol’she…
Calling Calling, in the depth of longing
Soboj ostat’sya dol’she…

Stand alone… Where was life when it had a meaning…
Stand alone… Nothing’s real anymore and…

…Beskonechnyj beg…
Poka zhiva ya mogu starat’sya na letu ne upast’,
Ne razuchit’sya mechtat’…lyubit’…
…Beskonechnyj beg…

Calling Calling, For the place of knowing
There’s more that what can be linked
Calling Calling, Never will I look away
For what life has left for me
Yearning Yearning, for what’s left of loving

Soboj ostat’sya dol’she…
Calling Calling now, Spirits rise and falling
Soboj ostat’sya dol’she…
Calling Calling, in the depth of longing
Soboj ostat’sya dol’she…

(English Translation)

Angels and demons were circling above me
Breaking the hardships and starry ways*
The only one who doesn’t know the happiness
is the one who couldn’t understand his call

I am Calling Calling now, Spirits rise and falling
To stay myself longer…
Calling Calling, in the depth of longing
To stay myself longer…

Stand alone… Where was life when it had a meaning…
Stand alone… Nothing’s real anymore and…

…Endless run…
While I’m alive, I can try not to fall while flying,
Not to forget how to dream… how to love
…Endless run…

Calling Calling, For the place of knowing
There’s more that what can be linked
Calling Calling, Never will I look away
For what life has left for me
Yearning Yearning, for what’s left of loving

To stay myself longer…
Calling Calling now, Spirits rise and falling
To stay myself longer…
Calling Calling, in the depth of longing
To stay myself longer…

By yokeda

GitS: Stand Alone Complex – 'Where Does the Ocean go?'

all day the city’s selling something
always, the busy people spinning ’round
busier
dizzier

’til they go back home to somewhere

and taxies stop to say “hello”
“want a ride? I’ll take you there”
“to anywhere, just tell my driver”

the sun is casting shadows
an afternoon is fading
I ask, but no one knows
the answer to the question
my life is like an island
where does this ocean go?

shyly, a wino sips his wine
slowly, cause to him that is all that matters
he sees a cat he knows so well
now sleeping on a bench together

a woman waiting by herself, selling flowers
“please buy some, so I can help my daughter, will you?”

the man with spider eyebrows
is standing on a corner
“who wants to see a show?”
his head looks like a melon
he turns into an alley
then stops to blow his nose
sky is filled with neon
the buildings stand electric
and almost seem to glow
want answers to the question
my life is like an island
where does the ocean go?
I really want to know
my life is like an island
it’s time for me now to fly
where does the ocean go?

By yokeda

Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell. A name synonymous with introspection, robots, hot chicks and of course…Anime. But just how much do you really know about this series? Did you miss the Fuchikoma’s in the film version? Do you even know what a Fuchikoma is? Want to know the technical specs of one? This review will go through everything Ghost in the Shell. The movie, the series, the manga, and the myth. Is that a whispering in my ghost I hear?

Publisher: Kodansha / Bandai Visual / Production IG/ THQ/ Manga Entertainment
Genre: Action/ Drama/ Sci-fi
Episodes: One Movie, 26 episodes, One manga collection, one video game and a whole new complex to worry about.

To cover the series better I have divided this into various sections, as well as provide a short set of terms for the techno-confused.

Ghost in the Shell:

In the near future the line between man and machine has become blurred. With the onset of advancing technology the boundaries of the world are crumbling to an age of “limitless” connectivity. However in this era of Global connectivity new threats and new problems have arisen. To counter this, Special forces and organizations have been formed to help enforce the boundrys of information. Motoko Kusanagi and her team is one of the elites. Section 9, a tactical force centered in Japan and dealing with informational terrorism and other acts of the age. Even they however soon find themselves drawn into all manner of conflicts, as they begin to raise questions on themselves and the world around them…

~The Movie~

Story:
Section 9 is called in to deal with growing threats of Informational terrorism and other acts against the state of Japan. Soon however they find themselves pulled into a new web of conspiracys and terror, when they are called onto the case of the “Puppet Master”. A highly sought after and terribly efficient information terrorist, who has never been caught or even seen before. Who is he, and why is he so important. Who is trying to keep his secrets? What is “life” and who delineates it and the rights it deserves. Motoko and her team will soon be searching for these answers themselves.

How is it Related?:
The movie is a very excellent conversion of the original manga work. It is almost a direct retelling with some changes to story, mostly due to time constraints. Emphasis is not changed so much as it is highlighted more effectively on the main story of the Puppet Master. Details are not readily changed, so much as moved around and replaced, again to more efficiently highlight the main story.

How does it Compare?:
A direct retelling can only translate so much over to the bigscreen. As much detail as is kept, not everything can remain in the conversion. One major change is the direct removal of “Fuchikomas”. This removal works well with the movie, as it retains a very realistic feel to it. The art style and the cutting edge technology make it a softer more real life movie tone to the whole thing. Side storys and plotlines are dropped from the manga, but the core story and its message remains the same. The movie boasts some of the best CG from its time, becoming a staple and idol for future anime. This could be considered the movie that started the trend of modern anime movie making as we know it.

~Ghost in the Shell:Stand Alone Complex~

Story:
The same world, the same problems, new storys. Stand Alone Complex offers us some wonderful new stories and some older “remixes” in this new “offshoot” tv series. Like its name implys, the series stands apart from its brethren as a new story device. Similar yet different storys appear(rampaging Fuchikoma’s, love dolls going strange), and new twists and situations are all glimpsed through the eyes of familiar yet unique characters. Each story pulls you along for a trip in this familiar yet new world. And it’s a welcome ride.

How is it related?:
The same time, the same world. Another dimension of storys and adventures. Everything is similar yet different. The same organizations and people, just dealing with whole new situations, this is the key focus of Stand Alone. Not really related directly to the manga or Movie, except as a direct spin off of the universe and its characters.

How does it compare?:
A fresh new approach to everything Ghost in the Shell, and it succeeds brilliantly. Not that ghost in the shell needed such a revamp, but an approach like this certainly only helps to broaden its work of love. Moves away from the feel of the movie, to go back towards a fast paced sci-fi approach, similar to the manga. It is well done, a result of Production IG work and a more direct working from Masamune Shirow(the Mangaka of Ghost in the Shell). Continuing with the tradition it began on the movie, it combines beautifully rendered cg with cells to produce some high quality animation. The characters themselves have changed slightly, mostly in cosmetic appearances. Motoko has dropped somewhat that 80’s mop of a hair style so it looks more natural, and Baitou has grown himself a fashionable lil ponytail. The Fuchikomas return but are called Tachikoma’s and some new characters are thrown into the team. Paz, Borma and Saito join section 9 along with the familiar faces of Aramaki, Togusa, and Ishikawa. It is a new Ghost, but with all the familiar traits of the old.

~The Manga: The Original Ghost~
Publisher: Kodansha/Dark Horse
Mangaka: Masamune Shirow
Visuals: Excellent visuals, representative of Shirow’s early work and technique.

Story: To prevent a repeated er…repeat of the basic story lets just assume you know the general layout by now. However the change(or the original one should say) in the manga is different from the others that sprung from it in sidestory and subtlety context. There are far more unrelated but interesting side storys to the main story of the Puppett Master. From the creation of a cyborg body, to love dolls going beserk. Each shot is another glance into a new aspect of the world that would have been missed in the movies. From Dolls, to “interesting” relationships, to backstory on characters, it has all the foundations as to explain why so many hit items have been produced from this story and world.

How is it related?: The original and progenitor of everything to come in the Ghost world. The manga is the collection of work on the foray into Tokyo’s crime in the information age, and is wonderfully done. The movie takes the main story line and uses it, the series takes the characters and world details from the manga to show new storys and situations, and the game takes the action of Section 9 and the characters to a new series of Tokyo crimes. Everything has its seed in the manga.

How does it compare?: Well being the Genesis, it has a certain flair to it that is hard to ignore and difficult to separate for a fair evaluation. It is good work, but rough at some times. Shirow however has a killer eye for technical details and sheer power. Be it sexiness, strength or a flow of calm, he captures it brilliantly. It has his original manga stylings, so isn’t as smooth as Stand Alone or realistic looking as the movie. However the video game uses this styling in its cutscenes so that remains familiar.

Easter Eggs: Well I cant reveal all of them, or else reading and finding them yourself wont be as amusing or challenging. I’ll mention the most blatant but enjoyable, where a certain pair of characters from another of Shirow’s popular works*cough cough Appleseed cough cough* makes a rather tidy lil appearance.

~Ghost in the Shell: The Video Games~

One at a time lets cover this. The Orginal game for the PSX is a direct play from the movie/manga. It was an action game focusing on Section 9’s work with a new rookie, your fuchikomas and trying to stop a terrorist from doing nasty things. There is a new game in development based off Stand Alone Complex as well now. Another action game, this time it focuses on two main characters, Motoko and Baitou. Action seems to focus around stealth and intense combat, as you can blow them to bits with your guns or some martial arts mayhem. Let start with the first game.

Ghost in the Shell – Playstation
Developer: THQ
Genre: Action
Rating: 8 of 10

General Overview: We open with a VERY excellent scene of Fuchikoma combat, making you realize just how badass those oil drinking lil think machines are when used properly. This goes to show you how the game will go, because from here on out its all about the Fuchikoma’s baby.(a welcome but not neccesary apology perhaps for the loss of them in the original movie?). The main idea is that you the player, are the newest inductee into Section 9 and its activitys. This certainly pleases Togusa who is no longer the “rookie” of the team.After going through some standard training with your new Koma, your thrown into action as various terrorists activitys and threats pop up over the city. Each mission is a nice full world full of baddies who are trying to shoot you, and you trying to shoot them and achive your various mission goals.(which is usually killing something. Welcome to Section 9 baby, you know how we roll) One of the biggest attractions to the game is the various animated cut scenes. Most of them are story or fanservice, but there are a number that you have to unlock by accomplishing certain times and scores on levels in training and such. Memorable scenes include the Fuchikoma’s all rejoicing in unison after some tough training covered in band-aids as well as some random appearances by a very scantily clad Motoko to the chagrin of Togusa. A fun game, nothing you have to think about, and easily beaten. However the rewards as a fan of the series are far more than the sum of its meager gaming parts, thus making it a excellent addition to your gaming library.

Ghost in the Shell:Stand Alone Complex- Playstation 2
Developer: Production IG
Genre: Action/Shooter
Rating: Wish i knew i cant play it on my as of yet unmodded ps2..er i mean my fiancees ps2…^_^0

General Overview: Grooving off the success of Stand Alone IG pulls out this lil gem. Unlike the first you are not limited to a Fuchi or Tachikoma as the case may be here. The two main characters seem to be Motoko and Batou and the emphasis is on stealth and covert action as you track down an illicit arms trade group. There appears to be much more than your standard shoot em/bond type action here. With martial arts action, and some other stealthy tricks like hacking and so forth, this promises to bring the immersion of the Ghost in the Shell world even farther. Already out in Japan, lord only knows when anyone else will see it. More info as i steal it, track it down.

~The Future and more~

The manga that will prolly never be for us silly non japaneseerpeople….yes. Ghost in the Shell 2:Man Machine interface was released June 28th, 2001. In japan of course. Aside from that i am in the dark on its story, etc. There was a rumor or idea that Darkhorse was translating it in english, but last i heard on that was over a year ago and ive long since stopped holding my breath. Grab a copy from a import shop if ya can. Speaking of running high off success…Production IG is in the process of putting out the 2nd season of Stand Alone Complex. It promises more of the same, and the level of detail and work has not seemed to change one bit. And riding its coattails is the universally anticipated release of the second and DIRECT sequal(dont shoot me on this part, its what ive gathered and heard but until i see more than the 5 trailers i will not retain that as 100% true) Ghost in the Shell Movie.
Innocence seems to focus heavily into Batou and the style of the animation is moving back towards the original movie. Its more softer, a lil less like Stand Alone Complex of which it is jumping out of. Both these announcements certainly makes IG look very pleasing in the coming times, as well as the close link and working relationship to the mangaka and the new stories is promising. Throw in a lil thing like a completely new rendition of Appleseed and you damn near make it impossible to not love being a sci-fi/mecha/ Shirow fan at the moment. The future…is so bright.

~Characters, Technical stuff, and all the things that didn’t fit~

What more could i possibly add you ask? Well i will tell you of course, oh loyal reader and dare i say…*gulp* fan. It’s all in the details as we know, and here i will cram you with more details than you could possibly need, or ask for, nor even want perhaps. In any case you can skip all this, you know. Just ignore all the hardwork i put in, gathering scraps of info and experience together to make this feast for your eyes…*sniff*
Onto the characters.

“Major” Motoko Kusunagi- The leader of Section 9(in combat, essential number one to Aramaki’s Picard), and the heroine of the series. Almost all background info about Kusanagi is unknown. She is an expert on unlawful activity, secret intelligence, and demolitions. She is nearly 95% cyborg, with a small retaining of her original brain all that keeps her from being a machine. She has an early 20’s cyborg body, but actual age is estimated at being in her late 30’s. Her sub-brain can hack into computer networks easily. Her own connections with her “ghost” and her unique situation make her a irresistable force. Very little stops her in combat when she puts her mind to it.

Batou- The easy going joker to Motoko’s straight game. His connections with Motoko run deep, but are not entirely clear or detailed. Needless to say he is her backup and a solid member of the team. He has adjusted cyborgnetic vision which he has kept to look more robotic and less human, as well as his right forearm entirely cyborgnetic. He like Motoko is an expert in many fields of combat, and surviellance as well as many other “shady” activitys. Has a tendency to “pick” out his fuchi/tachikoma from the others and treat it with natural oil(much to the maintenance crews “joy”) as well as other odd quirks. The closest member of the team to Motoko he is perhaps the only one to truly call her friend.

Togusa- The rookie and oddman out of the group. Togusa has just enough cybernetci implants to allow him to work and interact with the team but no more. This extends to basically some brain alterations, which allow him to keep into contact with whisperings, as well as access networks, etc wirelessly. He is the only one with a real personal life, and has a children and wife. He transferred in from the Police Department handpicked by Motoko herself, and he wonders what exactly he had that brought this about. Has a quirk about carrying and using a old outdated firearm from his policeforce work but is otherwise completely normal.

Ishikawa- The second oldest member of the team(only behind Chief Arimaki) and cool headed tech specialist. Unlike the others he doesnt get down and into the dirty of it, unless you count sneaking into places hes not supposed to be and hacking info for the team. He spends his time gathering info and tech for the team, and is also a cyborg like most of the others.

Paz and Borma- Agents from the Stand Alone complex series only. This pair from sectino 9 work well together to put much of the foot and groundwork of the cases into action.

Saito- Also a Stand Alone Complex only. Saito is a cyborgnetic member like the rest, but with a unique specialty. He can uplink his rght eye to an orbiting satelite allowing him to snipe with unnerving accuracy and damage if needed.

Aramaki- The boss man, Chief of Section 9. It is his genuis and skill that brought Sectino 9 together and keeps them that way. He fights in battles both internal and external, over all affiars of Section 9. He loathes to muck himself in the politics and intrigues of his country but when needed is a competant manipulator as well. Looks somewhat like a monkey…leading to some interesting nicknames. It is often his behind the scenes work which makes or breaks the teams cases.

The Puppet Master- Standard to the original storyline and all that follows that. A well known and highly succesful terrorist. He has never been seen or caught before and is responsible for a myriad of crimes. Ghost-hacking for his own goals, and acts such as adjusting the stockmarket and political maneuvering. In reality he was a one of a kind program created by American scientists as the perfect weapon in the new age. However he broke from his confinement and gained “conciousness” and in so doing his life, which he was adamant about protecting. Codenamed ‘Project 2501’ he raises questions on the existence of life and conciousness that society is ill faced to answer and he pays for it.

Nakamura- Nakamura is the chief official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the head of Section 6. At section 6 he investigates various mysterious cases. In the course of solving the case of “Project 2501” he frequently locks horns with Section 9 and especially Arimaki. Nakamura’s territory is different from Section 9, however he still launched a secret operation, trying to out-maneuver Aramaki and Section 9. He is a by the book man, who views Arimaki’s methods as outright wrong, and is extremely distrustful of Section 9 as a whole.

Fuchi/Tachikoma- Ok not a character persay, but an entity nonetheless. Koma’s are actually a “collective” as it were, a group of individual robotics linked to a single system. In theory they should all hold a single attitude, etc. In practice some instances have arisen where Fuchikoma’s seem more and more like lil children attending to their favorites or their feared(Motoko has threatened to strip them all down for junk a few times). In the case of Batou his special treatment with a single fuchikoma allowed it to develop a quasi sense of self. In the end they are vital peices of the team and damaging weapons in the hands of capable users. Though they are just as easily busted for trying to sneak some Natural oil(which is tasty but not good for them as it gunks them up) as they are for kicking ass.

Tech stuff– A list of a few definitions to make the lingo of the anime a bit easier to grasp and some odd peices of equipment used by 9 and others.(in no particular order)

Cyborg- A human who has undergone some sort of varying machine modifications. In the new era of technology, such concepts as grafting a new arm in place of your old one is as common as earrings or nose peircings. From modifications as simple as brain interface, to complete body overhauls the new era offers no limit to the process.

Hacking- The process of “breaking” into a program through less utilized methods. Often illegal hacking has become high on the new ages list of information crimes. Technology has both helped and hindered on both sides the law in this matter.

Ghost- A Ghost is the idea thrown around in this new age of ones “soul”. With so much machine and so lil human, the idea of ones “ghost” becomes a prevelant idea and a way to enforce your own humanity. It is also a generic term used to identify peoples brains in certain actions, like with whispers and Ghosthacks.

Ghosthacks- A ghost hack is the ultimate in information terror. It is the process by which a hacker literally takes control of an another human being to use him to his own benefit. It is very difficult for both sides, and has proven fatal at times. It is a process by which another gains acess to your mind and has been used in many acts such as assasination and political intrigues. It also makes for implanted memories, wiped minds, and the like.

Doll- A complete “machine” or robot made for varying levels of interaction. The most popular forms of dolls are Love dolls, which are created and modeled for sexual interaction. The degree of intelligence and emotional workings of these dolls is so complex that it constnatly pushes the limits of man and machine.

Whispering- A common slang term for the mental communication people use across a mutual network. Section 9 keeps in contact with Whispers as well as many other people. Motoko mentions many times feeling anothers whisper in her ghost of all places. A idea that her humanity keeps calling to her.

Dive- The process of entering anothers ghost or electronic brain to retrieve information, etc. Similar to Ghosthacking but requires physical contact and is more perilous and direct than hacking.

Optocam- A light reactive material that renders the wearer invisible. Highly illegal and hard to get, used often by Section 9 to accomplish its goals. While it renders the user invisible to most spectrums of light, it does not make them vanish. Things like pressure sensors and the like will give one away regardless of sight.

Fuchikoma- An all terrain vehicle capable of gripping to any surface like a spider. Can fire super strength high tensile ultra thin wires from its rear for added mobility and extra action. Comes with mandibles to handle objects as well as integrated machine guns and grenade launcher(if needed). In essence is a personal tank, as the pilot rests in the enclosed body of the Fuchikoma and manipulates it through both physical and mental interaction.

HA-3- An old fashioned virus used to extract and manipulate information from electronic brains.Very much outdated.

FN P90- The P90 is a blowback operated, selective fire weapon. It is fed from 50-rounds box magazines, made from transluscent polymer. The magazine is being located above the barrel, with the cartridges being aligned at 90 degrees to the barrel axis. Each magazine has built-in ramp that rotates cartridge to align it with the barrel prior to chambering it. P90 is built in bull-pup configuration, with polymer stock, and features built-in reflex collimator sight with 1X magnification and reticle automaticaly ajustable to the light level, as well as a set of the backup open sights. P90 may be equipped with special silencer, that should be used with special, sub-sonic variant of the 5.7x28mm cartridge. It is this versatility that makes it a standby for most actions of section 9.

Miscellaneous

  • In the english version of the manga, we see Batou punch himself in the eye for interupting Motoko’s virtual vacation with some friends. In the original version its far worse and explains the pained eye he receives. Motoko’s virtual vacation is essentially a lesbian threesome with her two lovely friends(no names), and she doesnt take lightly to Batou for watching her for a lil bit when he trys to get in contact with her.
  • Also before those edited/removed pages, we have the jumping motoko over her two friends sunbathign in swimsuits. In the original the girls are naked and having lesbian sex.
  • Motoko’s new body at the end of the manga, which she recieves from the ill fated theives who attempted to bust into Batous safehouse makes a mention of being a woman…but not being a woman. A sort of shocking lil joke in the end on the female cyrborg body being more…”equipped” than neccesary.
  • Togusa is fond of his oudated firearm, but it proves disastrous on many occasions. Misfiring and the like when a more reliable weapon would have done. Motoko never lets him live this down, despite his impressive firearms skill with weapons.
  • Motoko’s cyborg body is immensely heavy. As a result she can not swim, and for special missions with water (as we see in the manga) she is outfitted with special “bladders” on her suit to allow her to compensate for the immense weight of her body.
  • Batou’s cybernetic arm is functionally in use limited to his forearm down, but extends fully to reach his shoulder and joints. This is done for a simple reason. His cybernetic arm allows him to easily lift great weight, however this weight while being easily handled by the forearm would not work with the human joints holding the cybornetic parts. In essence he may rip his arm off. Much of the cybernetics of the world have to be handled and customized to fit each person that way.
  • Stand Alone Complex has MANY MANY easter eggs from all parts of life. Too many to list, but watch carefully through each episode and you will see something each time.
  • Masamune Shirow has never been photographed. In fact thats not even his real name.Masamune Shirow (as we know him) was born in Japan on November 23, 1961. On press conferences and such cameras are prohibited. He has never allowed himself to be photographed. He lives in Hyogo, Japan and he enjoys reading and keeps a numerous spiders as pets. Or so he would like us to believe, he also always draws himself as very ugly and such in his author comments in his books. It has been rumored, theorized that he is or was a teacher. But that like much about him is unknown.
  • The anime cost 6 million US dollars to produce and had a simultaneous theathrical premiere in Japan, US and Europe winter 1995.

GitS Laughing Man

Work in progress... not home!
Trying to get all/most of the new code working before I start on the eyecandy.