With the announcement of the movie, I figured it was about time to check this series out. A show I heard so much about, and has been on my watch list since almost year one. I never got around to it. Although I had no rush, and even stopping for a month, watching episodes over six months sporadically. Yet, I finished the first season with just enough time to hope to finish the second season before the film airs. So, instead of focusing on my hopes and fears of the new American film, let’s just focus on the first season of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.

Alright, so a quick few key facts about the show. It aired back all the way in 2002 running for 26 episodes. It is also an original series that is only based on the manga of the same name. It shares the characters, concepts, and a few other things, but, joking aside, it is a Stand Alone series.  It spawned both a second season of 26 episodes and a movie to conclude the series. It also has a summary movie, but I won’t be covering that.

Stand Alone Complex takes place in the year 2030, where cybernetic advanced to the point where people can become artificial replacing any part of their body. A criminal hacker known as the Laughing Man from an incident is on the rise. Public Security Section 9 is in place to stop hackers and other cyber involved crimes.

ghost in the shell sac pic

Throughout the 26 episodes of the series, in most cases, are episodic. The Laughing Man episodes are spread out and only account for six maybe seven episodes. Although there is information that does pop up, it stays consistent in keeping cases self-contained, with only one or two going onto the next episode. This is what I found rather nice, seeing sometimes I did not see an episode after a few weeks or months.

Each episode still focuses on the same characters, and after you know who they are, it makes it a bit easier to be able to go weeks without seeing an episode. At the same time, not all the characters get the same amount of focus as others. Mostly of the time when the character is focused, well it relates to the case in some way. While the series does give more attention to the always mysterious lead, Major, even her full backstory is not known to her peers.


Although how the characters are treated, in terms of knowing their backstory, it does not take away from who they are. The backstory only gives insight on who they were, while as the show progresses, the backstory does not seem as important since most days they have more screen time then Major. You get more of a sense through that on the characters.

For almost a 15-year-old series the animation holds up pretty well compared to some shows of today’s standards. There is little to no CGI outside of the opening theme, so that may fool you, and may concern you, since it got a lot better since then.

At the time of writing this, I still have not seen the original movie. It is hard to compare it to the other series in its franchise. But if you enjoy a mystery show, or an action science fiction, this would be a good show to check out. The dub is fairly solid, I did not watch the sub, but I did give it a try only to like the dub a bit more, that may have been due to being used to the dub.

Regardless, the show maintains that sense of praise that I constantly have heard about it. I do not know if my thoughts of the series may change once I see the original film, but regardless, it is decent when it stands alone.

Story: A/B/B- (Mostly Episode dependent)

Art: B

Characters: C+

Enjoyment: A

Overall Score: B


Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex is licensed by Manga US in at least US. It is re-airing on Toonami, and can be found for streaming on Manga US site, Viewster (S1 dub only), Adultswim, and a few other places for legal free streaming.

As always I hope you enjoyed.

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Again, I hope you enjoyed and see you next time.

– Joe