Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Episode 4: Intercepter

We're right back into Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex with episode four, Interceptor. Click "Read More" for my full synopsis and review!

It's a nighttime scene, ethereal light pouring out of the Nihama Prefectural Police building while the sounds of sirens blend with the downpour of rain. The wooden sign of the Laughing Man Incident Special Investigations Unit greets us inside the building with a cracked open door. The shadow of a man paints the floor. Cuts to his soaked frame in a rain jacket and to a shot of the inside of the office.

A man named Yamaguchi is printing pictures out and muttering to himself. "This one, too! What's going on on here?" He's startled by  a man he calls Chief Nibu. They talk about working for a moment, Nibu asking if Yamaguchi is still at it too and asks him if he wants to get a drink with him, reaching into his jacket. Yamaguchi tells him no thanks, turns his computer off, and looks rather suspicious at his superior. Something seems to be more at play here. He leaves, dropping an envelope into the drop box on his way out of the building.

Togusa is working on his computer when his cellphone rings. Yamaguchi is on the other end, asking Togusa if he remembers him. He does, and asks him how he is. Yamaguchi cuts to the chase and asks to see him because he needs his opinion on something. Togusa agrees and asks if something happened. 

"Do you remember the Laughing Man incident?" Yamaguchi asks. Togusa gives a very obvious recap of what that incident was. A corporate terrorist kidnapped the president of a micromachine manufacturer and held him for random six years ago, apparently. Yamaguchi is on the special investigations unit for the case now but is concerned with suspicious activity from his fellow colleagues. Togusa asks if it's a rivalry, but it's more than that and Yamaguchi tells him he'll tell him more in person

But he doesn't get that chance.

"They" have somehow hacked his eyes and he crashes his vehicle over the side of the highway, his car over the top exploding too. How dramatic. Togusa waited for him... But he never came. Togusa wakes up to see a newspaper worth Yamaguchi's death in it.

Now Aramaki, Togusa, and Major Motoko talk to one another, asking if Togusa is certain that the cop in the newspaper is the one who contacted him last night and his death is connected to what he talked about before he died. He's pretty certain of it even if he lacks evidence. Motoko is seemingly doubtful considering the crime lab ruled it an accident. Aramaki wants to hear him out and gives Togusa three days to find evidence of foul play. Motoko and Aramaki talk about the Laughing Man incident for minute, more exposition on it in general.

Togusa goes to Yamaguchi's funeral and is met by his wife, who gives him the envelope with the pictures in it from earlier. He's confused, but takes it. He goes through the pictures at his office later and can't seem to figure out what Yamaguchi wanted him to see in these photos. He calls his wife as Motoko stands in the doorway and watches him work, only to be gone by the time he goes to the restroom to freshen up... But while looking into the mirror, an epiphany hits the detective like a freight train. In the pictures, there's no camera so, who's taking the pictures?

He meets with a co-worker of Yamaguchi's to discuss things. They talk of a possible break through in the Laughing Man case in the form of witness material and how they're allegedly close to catching him with the help of Interceptors, audiovisual elements introduced three months ago as part of revisions to a thing called the Sensory Perception Wiretapping Act (aka, exposition). They're pretty much video cameras in your eyeballs in layman's terms that they can implant in a suspect if they show up at a medical facility.

They figure out that Yamaguchi and other detectives working on the Laughing Man case had been implanted with Interceptors. The pictures were from the point of view of detectives from the Special Investigations Unit. However, Interceptors aren't illegal, get the proper paperwork and any law enforcement can use them. However, no paperwork was ever submitted but there's no third party observer either. They were implanted into the detectives during a medical checkup. And because of the fact they have bugs implanted into them, they know of what Togusa has been doing. They gotta move fast before the coverups begin.

goes to a bar and meets up with a big softy bartender with piercings. She gives the bartender information to leak to the news media. A reporter gets his camera taken away by Captain Nibu, who gets his picture plastered all over the news as it spreads they put Interceptors into detectives eyes. The Superintendent-General is then seen on the phone talking to someone about the incident.

We now see that the Superintendent-General is now going on live TV to discuss the whole Interceptor thing with the Section 9 team watching on but..

The camera is hacked and the Laughing Man makes his appearance. The Laughing Man monologues about how they're failing horribly and how things are a farce. Things have finally gotten serious and our true story picks up.

Final Thoughts: This is where the true story of the series really begins and this episode is another one of my favorites due to being Togusa centric. I love the way he figures things out... Still gotta knock that heavy exposition they use though. That really gets grating as these episodes persist.

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