Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Episode 3: Android and I

Let's dive right back into Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex with episode three, Android and I. Click "Read More" for my full synopsis and review!

We're greeted with the sight of a city with heavy cloud/fog/smog cover, birds chirping in the distance. A woman stands alone over the edge of a building, dress fluttering in the breeze... Then she walks off said edge. Wind whips by as she plummets, crashing to the earth as birds scatter. Another woman is shown, messing about with wires in some building, electrocuting herself. Power lines flicker outside.Yet another woman walks into water... And doesn't come up. What the hell is going on?

A vehicle and a Tachikoma wiz by on a street and park. Out come Major Motoko and Aramaki, stepping out of the car to gaze upon the building before them- am android producing facility. "Here?" Major asks, "This is the factory still manufacturing those androids?" It's a little clearer now... Those women all looked extremely similar and now we know why, they were all androids. "It's smaller than I thought." Motoko adds.

They move to step inside, Motoko noting about the androids committing mass see will cause a media frenzy. Aramaki makes a plan. Motoko and the Tachikoma have ten minutes to cloak themselves and inspect the production line while he talks to the man in charge. Sound enough plan.

Aramaki speaks to Abe, the plant manager. Apparently, the androids were all the same model, model GA07-JL, though users of the model nicknamed it "Jeri". They sold fairly well but only 8000 of them are still active. It's not a best seller for them anymore and all they do now is make aftermarket care parts now. They consider the design outdated, and are debating even to continue making parts for it. Aramaki asks, "Can you think of a reason why the Jeri model in particular would be targeted?" While he can't exactly pinpoint a reason why, he notes that users made inappropriate retrofits yo the model. However, executives were happy if that helped them sell well.

The Major sneaks up to a computer and notes a virus on it. They leave the building as media swarm the factory. The discuss their findings, stating that the virus was probably slipped in with another Jeri due to a repair check and slowly infected others from there by getting into the factory's programming. They discuss if it's unrelated from the incident at the National Assembly Building, but they're unsure. The Major is off to check the users of the Jeri's.

Aramaki and Ishikawa (the bearded dude who I keep forgetting the name of) talk about the virus, noting now it's nothing like National Assembly Building incident, more amateurish in nature. One thing bothers Ishikawa however- he found something that looks like a security code. Whoever created the virus made sure that his own Jeri model wouldn't be affected by the virus. Interesting development. It's highly likely that this person's Jeri hasn't gone haywire. Probably. There's a lot of suspects, considering the fact that people were mad that they discontinued the model.

We're then treated to a well lit room with two potted plants, then to a man on a computer in a darker side room. "The police are on to us?" He notes, his face looking tired, "But we changed location so many times..." A Jeri stands in the glow of a projector on the other side of the room. He gets up from his seat, the glow of the projector illuminating them both as he stands before her. They debate, him stating he cannot live without her and he stating that he can. He says yes but that he doesn't want to. He wants them to go to Italy to run away. They leave the room and go to his vehicle. "Grief's a waste of time." He states, "Between grief and nothing, I'll take nothing."

It cuts to Togusa watching a news report as he is being driven by Batou, a news reporter talking to a doctor about the android "self-terminations" as the doctor calls it. There are apparently reports that robots are developing "Ghosts" which is considered the concept of human consciousness, a soul so to speak if I recall correctly. The doctor claims they should just think of this as a thrill seeking crime. Batou scoffs, "What a load of crap. Focus on the investigation." They discuss the rarity of the android and how it'll be easier to find the culprit now that they're becoming more rare. Togusa asks "But why are we handling something like this? We should just let local cops handle it." They talk about the National Assembly Building incident again, and how it caused a huge problem and how it was built by the same company who made the Jeri androids. They're still unrelated however but better safe than sorry.

The pair end up at the apartment of the man we saw earlier in the episode. The search his home, finding his side room, Togusa finds the virus on the man's computer. Jackpot. We cut to the Major at a bar/brothel, intimidating it's owner, and then two other Section 9 members roughing up some gangsters, but they quickly learn of the developments and are dispatched as such.

Major learns of the suspect in questions name as she drives- Marshall McLachlan, son of the Canadian ambassador. He's currently in Japan to avoid Canada's apparent draft of some kind. Batou is worried they won't be able to touch him but Aramaki says he'll make sure and see if they can get his diplomatic immunity removed. They're following him though his vehicle. The two of them are taking in weird cryptic conversation. They trick then into thinking that there's a traffic jam by the Major hacking his GPS.

He gets to a dead end and when Batou and Togusa corner him, he escapes into the woods with his android companion. They found out his immunity is removed and the are hot on his trail. Batou, Togusa, and the Major corner him. He cries that he's the son of the Canadian Ambassador... But that really doesn't matter much. He pulls a gun, but his android restrains him shockingly enough after stating that she's sane and doesn't love him anymore. "I'm sorry," she says, "I really did love you."

Batou and the Major sit at a bar, discussing the case. Batou is confused by the whole thing. They proved that in the end it wasn't related to the National Assembly Building incident. Major says he probably did it so his Jeri was unique to him alone. Batou pretty much says "Really? Are you kidding me?" They talk about how the Jeri pretty much saved the crazy Canadian from getting hurt, that she showed some sense of humanity. Batou reiterates that androids have no ghost, there's no way that she could have felt that way.

The episode ends with Togusa coming home from work to find his wife watching a movie while rocking their baby... With the actors on screen reiterating words that Jeri and Marshall said earlier in the episode... Except the part about loving him at one time. He asks her if there's more dialogue at then end. She states that no, this is the complete version. He ponders the Jeri's last words to Marshall as we roll to credits.

Final Thoughts: Yes, Marshall was trying to live out a movie. Yeah, I thought it was weird too. I like this episode a fair amount, especially the concept of him killing off other Jeri's so he could in a sense make his Jeri real to him. I give this episode a 3.5 outta ten. We're still not into the full meat of the series yet but we're definitely getting into good episode territory now.

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