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Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. Solid State Society

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Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. Solid State Society

Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. Solid State Society攻殻機動隊 STAND ALONE COMPLEX Solid State Society,Kōkaku Kidōtai: Sutando Arōn Konpurekkusu Soriddo Sutēto Sosaieti

Directed by

Kenji Kamiyama

Produced by

Production I.G

Writer
  • Masamune Shirow (creator),
  • Kenji Kamiyama,
  • Shotaro Suga,
  • Yoshiki Sakurai

Music
  • Yoko Kanno



Release date
  • Flag of Japan September 1, 2006
  • Flag of United States Flag of Canada July 3, 2007
  • Flag of United Kingdom August 20, 2007

Duration

105 min.

Country

Flag of Japan

Language

Japanese

Budget

US$ 3.6 million


Prequel

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG





Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. Solid State Society (攻殻機動隊 STAND ALONE COMPLEX Solid State Society, Kōkaku Kidōtai: Sutando Arōn Konpurekkusu Soriddo Sutēto Sosaieti?) is a 2006 television anime film. It is part of the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex series, which is based on Masamune Shirow's manga Ghost in the Shell. It was produced by Production I.G and directed by Kenji Kamiyama.

In order to provide theatrical quality, the film premiered on the Japanese satellite PPV platform SKY PerfecTV! Perfect Choice ch160, on September 1, 2006. It also aired in Japan on the anime satellite TV network Animax starting May 27, 2007. The film was also released on DVD in Japan on November 24, 2006, and was released in the U.S. by Bandai Entertainment and Manga Entertainment, in a normal and limited edition on July 3, 2007.

The Sci Fi Channel aired Solid State Society to inaugurate its Ani-Monday programming block on June 11, 2007, at 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The channel also chose to air the original adult footage with nudity blurred rather than using an alternative 'drawn in' version.


PlotEdit

The story takes place in the year 2034, two years after the events in Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG. Female cyborg Major Motoko Kusanagi has left Public Security Section 9, an elite counter-terrorist and anti-crime unit specializing in cyber-warfare, which has expanded to a team of 20 field operatives with Togusa acting as the field lead. Section 9 is confronted by the mysterious suicides of thirteen operatives of the disbanded Siak Republic in Indonesia, remnants of which found asylum in Japan. At the airport, they manage to catch up to Ka Gael (a former Siak colonel and son of Ka Rum, the exiled dictator of the Siak Republic) who has taken a hostage in the hope of gaining safe passage out of the country. Ka Gael says fearfully that "Kugutsu Mawashi", or "Puppeteer"[1], is coming before shooting himself in the head.

Due to the numerous suicides, Chief Aramaki asks the Prime Minister for permission to arrest Ka Rum, but she declines stating that it would weaken her position if it is revealed. Aramaki decides to disobey her and conducts an unauthorized raid on Ka Rum's home. They find that he has been dead for some time, due to an apparent assassination disguised as a suicide. In addition, before he died, Ka Rum wrote "Puppeteer" on the floor in his own blood. They also discover plans for Siak operatives to deploy a micromachine virus in a terrorist attack as revenge in the event of Ka Rum's death.

Batou is sent to intercept the Ma Shaba, the operative who received the micromachine virus, when he unexpectedly runs into the Major, who claims to be making an independent inquiry. Ma Shaba, who fears that she is the Puppeteer, attacks the Major from inside an armored vehicle that he believes protects his cyberbrain from being hacked. However, before either Batou or the Major can apprehend him, he dies inside the vehicle as a result of an apparent cyberbrain attack. The Major takes a case of virus ampules and warns Batou to stay away from the Solid State Society before driving away. Batou does not immediately reveal to Section 9 that he encountered the Major, claiming instead that Ma Shaba attacked him, with no apparent provocation. Section 9 develops a theory that the Puppeteer is a hacker surpassing wizard class who hacked into the Siak agents' cyberbrains and forced them to commit suicide.

Togusa also discovers sixteen kidnapped children in Ma Shaba's facility. The conclusion is that Ka Rum's revenge plot was to disseminate the micromachine virus into the public using the children as carriers. While trying to determine their identities in order to return them to their families, Section 9 discovers their cyberbrains had been replaced and their memories partially erased with their personal IDs assigned to fake parents. In each case, the fake parents were "Noble Rot Senior Citizens", bedridden elderly connected to the health care monitoring network, which takes care of their basic needs but results in its users becoming nearly comatose. Investigating the source of the children held by the Siaks, Section 9 discovers a discrepancy in the records of various government agencies that suggests that over 20,000 unreported child kidnappings had taken place over the last two years. Their investigation is halted by a sophisticated attack on their computer systems, which confirmed that someone was trying to cover up the massive number of missing children and suggested a much larger conspiracy than they were initially investigating, as the number of abductions exceeded what Ka Rum's organization could plausibly accomplish. Meanwhile, a case of virus ampules taken from Ma Shaba are left at a government building, leading Section 9 to believe that the Puppeteer was attempting to lead them into an investigation of the kidnappings. In fact, the ampules were left by the Major.

The Puppeteer hacks into Proto and the operators tending to the sixteen children rescued from the Siak operatives, and all of the children go missing. Because of this development, Batou tells Togusa about his encounter with the Major, and voices his suspicion that the Major may be the Puppeteer.

Raj Puhto, a Siak operative and elite sniper who was the head of Ka Rum's bodyguard, surfaces in Japan. Batou and Saito are dispatched to intercept him. They locate him but are spotted before they can apprehend him, forcing Puhto and Saito to engage in a sniper duel in which Puhto is incapacitated. In response to Batou's questioning, Puhto reveals that he had received intelligence from a mole within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a representative named Munei Ito, that fingered his target as the mastermind of the assassination of Ka Rum. However, it is revealed that Munei Ito himself was Puhto's target. Batou suggests that Puhto may have been set up by the Puppeteer. Puhto agrees that this may have been the case, and says he would kill the Puppeteer, "were he only human". He claims that the Puppeteer is a child abduction infrastructure built into the Solid State, which he identifies as the health care monitoring network, and implies that the Japanese government is involved in its operation. Batou speculates that Ka Rum was killed and his organization targeted because they discovered the infrastructure and attempted to use the abducted children for their own ends.

Meanwhile, Togusa tracks one of the sixteen children to the apartment of a Noble Rot Senior Citizen connected to the health monitoring system. The man was the one named as the boy's guardian in the boy's altered personal ID. When Togusa picks the boy up, the man emerges from his seemingly comatose state to demand the return of the child, saying that he had named the child as his sole heir as he would rather leave his assets to the child than to the government after his death, and claiming that the child would have been abused if he were not placed in his care. He says that this is the will of the Solid State, and warns that if Togusa interferes with their enterprise he will become 'another suicide'. The man dies immediately afterward. Togusa gives the boy over to the authorities, pointing out the ID error. Afterward, he comes to the realization that if he hadn't interfered the boy would have been passed on to social services and adopted after the death of his Noble Rot Senior Citizen guardian. This, he realizes, was the plan of the Solid State all along.

Unexpectedly, Togusa receives a phone call from his wife saying that his daughter has gone missing. He rushes home, but is cut off by someone from the GPS system. He assumes this is a retaliation from the Solid State Society, but is confused, because his daughter doesn't have a cyberbrain, making her invulnerable to the Puppeteer's hacking. When he reaches home it turns out to be a false alarm, as his daughter was only at the neighbors' house. However, as he drives her to school, he receives a phone call from the Puppeteer stating that the Solid State will take his daughter away from him because he ignored their warning, after which his cyberbrain is hacked over the phone.

Togusa, now controlled by the Puppeteer, drives his daughter to a cyberbrain implant hospital, trailed all the way by the Major. He is also tracked down by Batou and Section 9, who realized that he had been hacked. During the hacking, Togusa converses with the Puppeteer, who claims that members of the Solid Society "only wish to utilize resources that have slipped through the net of society". Togusa realizes that this was how all of the children were abducted: the parents' cyberbrains were hacked, and the parents were made to personally escort their children for a cyberbrain transplant operation, since the procedure would not raise suspicion if the parents themselves took the children in and approved it. Afterward, the parents' memories were altered to make them believe that they had lost the children. The Puppeteer offers Togusa the alternative of committing suicide rather than having his child abducted. Togusa accepts the alternative and attempts to kill himself just as Batou arrives, but the Major stops Togusa before he can carry it out.

The Major explains that she stumbled across the case of the missing children while wandering alone through the net in the years since she left Section 9, and set up Togusa as bait to unmask the identity of the Puppeteer. She explains that there is a rhizome formed by the collective consciousness of the Noble Rot Senior Citizen when they connected together over a hub cyberbrain in the healthcare monitoring system. The hub cyberbrain itself is in constant flux within the rhizome. Several tachikoma AIs, which the Major restored after dredging their memory unit in cyberspace, assist her in locating the current location of the hub cyberbrain: the Seishomin Welfare Center, where the health care monitoring system is managed.

The Major temporarily rejoins Section 9 to help the investigation. They focus on the target of the Raj Puhto's assassination attempt, Munei Ito (an ultra conservative member of the House of Representatives who advocates a racially pure Japan). The Major reveals that Munei Ito was part of the plan to assassinate Ka Rum: she explains that she had a contract with the Treaties Bureau, an organization that Munei had close ties with, to carry out Ka Rum's assassination. However, by the time she got there, the Puppeteer had already killed Ka Rum. Munei also wields de facto control over the Seishomin Welfare Center, which he and other politicians arranged as a front for an "elite training facility" - a brainwashing facility to develop new members of the "elite cadre". The Major speculates that Munei was targeted for elimination by the Puppeteer because his brainwashing facility at Seishoman was interfering with the goals of the Solid State Society, which housed kidnapped children at the same facility.

After analyzing the building's systems and layout, Section 9 determines that Seishomin must have been designed and built with the abduction infrastructure included from the beginning, which means that the Puppeteer must have been one of Seishomin's system designers. They decide to conduct a raid of the facility, despite the political consequences that such an unauthorized action would have, to prevent the Puppeteer from slipping away.

Section 9 penetrates Seishomin's significant defenses, with the help of the tachikomas, who are returned to their physical bodies. Chief Aramaki confronts Munei Ito, who admits to taking money from the Noble Rot Senior Citizen to fund his "education" program. He justifies it by arguing that they provide nothing for society but are exempt from taxation, so they must be made to pay back into the system in some way. However, he was unaware of the Solid State abduction system, believing the children in his program were orphans. A designer, Takāki Koshiki, steps forward and claims responsibility for the Solid State system. He shoots himself in the head immediately afterward. The Major attempts to dive into his cyberbrain before his memories are lost, and enters a conversation with him.

Koshiki explains that his actions were motivated by several problems: The more than six million Noble Rot Senior Citizens, the rising unemployment rate and shrinking working population, the low birth rate, and the fact that thousands of children die needlessly each year as a result of abuse. The Solid State Society was his attempt to utilize the lost resources of the Noble Rot Senior Citizen and abused children. He altered the household registrations of children in high-risk homes to place them in the care of the Noble Rot Senior Citizen, giving the children new opportunities and giving the Noble Rot Senior Citizen a purpose in life, as well as the ability to leave a successor despite their lack of children, and to prevent their assets from being seized by the state upon their death. The Noble Rot Senior Citizens readily agreed to participate. Koshiki further elaborates that he attempted to eliminate Munei because he intended to brainwash the children to become part of the elite cadre, which was counterintuitive to the goals of the Solid State Society, which wanted the children to have free will.

Koshiki then reveals his trap. He shot himself in the head only to entice the Major to connect to his cyberbrain, whereby he could hack into her mind. With his new control over the Major's cyberbrain, he causes her to perceive his face reforming to its original shape, the damage from the bullet wound reversing. The Major calls him an "arrogant, self-righteous ass", and asks him who he really is. He responds, "How many arrogant, self-righteous asses do you know?" He transforms his face through images of Batou, Togusa, the Laughing Man, Kazundo Gouda, Chief Aramaki, Hideo Kuze, and finally the Major herself. The scene then moves to Koshiki's body in a storage case alongside various "puppet" bodies used by the Major throughout the film. He says that he was initially spread across many egos. However, the emergence of a collective consciousness acting autonomously resulted in a Solid State, which allowed him to move into the society beyond as "the vanishing mediator".

The film's denouement sees Chief Aramaki and Togusa discussing the future of the abducted children, whose fates will likely be left in the hands of the justice system. The Seishomin building is being emptied. The Major is at Section 9's headquarters, recovering from the effects of merging so deeply with Kugutsu Mawashi's mind. Batou explains the story of the real Koshiki to the Major when she regains consciousness. Koshiki had gained special permission to work entirely from home via a cybernetic body, due to his skill. When he was brought into Munei's project, he built the Solid State Society into the system. However, his physical body died of illness soon after, and had actually been dead for two years before anyone noticed his death, because he never dealt personally with anyone. In this time, his cybernetic body continued to act under his control. Batou ruminates on the possibilities that either Koshiki uploaded his actual consciousness onto the network formed by the Noble Rot Senior Citizen, or his cybernetic body was controlled by the subconscious will of their collective consciousness. Thus, the actual identity of the Puppeteer remains a mystery. Batou says that the Tachikoma should have kept a record of the Major's conversation with the Puppeteer, but claims that, after Koshiki's death, they had deemed it of no further meaning. Batou is intentionally vague about his own memory of the conversation, claiming that it makes no difference whether the real identity/identities of the Puppetmaster are known, as the situations of the Noble Rot Senior Citizens and abused children are being resolved.

The film ends with a direct allusion to the first movie, as the Major ruminates on her inability to bring herself to break free of the restraints placed upon her. As the shot pulls out to show the city, she repeats the famous line, "The net is truly vast and infinite".[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Kugutsu Mawashi can be roughly translated to "Puppeteer". This is a different character from the Puppet Master of the original movie, whose consciousness merged with Motoko's. For the rest of the article, "Puppeteer" will be used in reference to "Kugutsu Mawashi".
  2. Ghost in the Shell

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