Batou may have caught up with Kuze, but when taking him into custody proves to be impossible, it seems to be the trigger for the situation to get much worse. With the refugees in possession of nuclear weapons, and the government almost ready to declare war on them, Section Nine must find a way to defuse the situation before all hell breaks loose. Could the answer lie within Kuze’s mysterious past?
With the end of the series fast approaching, it would not be unreasonable to expect 2nd Gig to make a no holds barred descent into an action-packed finale, but as it turns out, that is not quite the case here. The volume certainly begins with a bang, showcasing a fast-paced fight between Batou and Kuze, followed up by a tense chase when Section Nine’s target eludes them once again; however, instead of maintaining the momentum built up here, the series is quick to lapse back into exposition for the rest of the volume. Tensions may be increasing in the SAC world, but it is hard for the viewer to appreciate this when all the protagonists are simply standing around having the lengthy and overly pretentious conversations that the series is so fond of.
That being said, there is at least a sense that all the talk is for a reason; this isn’t just exposition for the sake of it, but rather an effort to put the final pieces in place before the last three episodes. In between some of the more dull sequences, we gain some additional insights into Kuze, a man who has slowly transformed from a nameless antagonist into a more developed character over the course of the series.
As to be expected by this point in the series, there isn’t much time left for any additional development for the leads; with the focus now on the main storyline, the character pieces that appeared in earlier volumes are long over. Only Motoko gets a portion of the spotlight; for reasons that haven’t yet been revealed (but can easily be guessed), she isn’t acting quite like her usual self- a fact that could have consequences for the functioning of Section Nine as a whole.
Visually, 2nd Gig remains on solid ground for this penultimate instalment, delivering the series’ trademark high quality of animation. By this point, the background music has little new to offer, but there are some interesting remixes that improve on their original themes.
Although it contains a little too much exposition for its own good, the penultimate volume of 2nd Gig devotes itself to getting everything into place for what will hopefully be an exciting finale. All that remains is for all this set up to be paid off in the last three episodes.