Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG Volume 7

Matters have finally come to a head, and it has left Section Nine stuck between a rock and a hard place; on one side, there’s Kuze and his loyal refugees, on the other lurks Gouda, his allies- and with nuclear weapons at the centre of the conflict, there is every chance for this to quite literally turn into an explosive situation. Can Section Nine hope to defuse this conflict before the refugees’ home of Dejima is turned into a smoking ruin, and will Motoko finally get to the bottom of Kuze’s motives?

What began as the tale of a terrorist group called the Individual Eleven finally comes to a close in these last three episodes, which brings an end to the storylines of both the crafty Gouda and the enigmatic Kuze. As to be expected from the series, along the way there’s a degree of action and more than a little exposition- and unfortunately, the resulting mix is a little inconsistent. For every scene that hits the mark in terms of drama and emotion, there is another one that just seems a little too arbitrary or contrived. It’s certainly a solid enough ending, and one that’s in line with the quality of the main storyline of the series, but it just cannot reach the heights that the earlier character based episodes managed to scale.

Even with the main storyline to tie up, these final three episodes do spare a little time for character development, although all of it is handed over to Motoko. As she interacts with Kuze, it becomes clear that this is not just the conclusion of a series, but also the end of an important chapter in Motoko’s life. Where she will go next is not the province of this series, but luckily for those desperate to find out what happens next, there is the sequel Solid State Society OVA to look forward to.

Visually, this volume lives up to the rest of the series in terms of animation quality, with a decent smattering of explosions and action scenes to maintain the momentum of the finale. The background music does not have anything new to bring us by this point, but as always Yoko Kanno’s soundtrack never fails to offer a range of powerful themes.

In Summary

Although it is far from perfect, the seventh volume of 2nd Gig offers a solid conclusion to what has largely been a solid series. It may not be worthy of all the hype the franchise has managed to accrue, but this series is still a good choice for fans of animated science fiction.

7 / 10