- Dec 9, 2010
I like the way the movie handled the "hacking people" aspect better. In the movie hacking someone require creating fake memory and convincing the person to do something, but they're still themselves.Chimpzy watches Ghost in the Shell - Stand Alone Complex (Part 5)
Season 1, Episode 5: DECOY & 6: MEME
Episode 5 directly leads into 6, so I’m just gonna do them both together. After Section 9 caused the story of illegal police surveillance to break in the previous episode, and the Laughing Man ,in an impressive display of hacking, subsequently handed his ultimatum to bring out the full truth or the bigwig superintendent dies. The hunt is now on to find whoever issued the threat before they can act on it. The cops are investigating a man named Nanao, but Section 9 suspect he’s just a stool pigeon. So Batou and Togusa stake out both Nanao and the cops already surveilling him. The Major visits some friends and recounts the events of the original Laughing Man incident. I very much like this scene even though it is largely just exposition of info we’ve kind of already gotten in the last episode. It’s not explicitly stated, but perhaps in a nod the manga Major’s bisexuality, these women are friends with benefits. Or at least in my headcanon they are.
Well, Nanao is indeed a decoy, a hacker convinced to play the role of Laughing Man because he wants to be famous. I’d call that dumb, but I’ve been on the internet long enough to know about way dumber people doing way more pathetic stuff for their 15 minutes of fleeting fame. Nanao uploads a virus, causing one of the police bigwigs bodyguards to go haywire and attack him. Honestly, that’s probably the most frightening aspect of the setting: that someone can just reprogram you against your will, and while seemingly fully conscious of it too, you just can’t do anything about it. At least Nanao got rewarded for his efforts. Boom, headshot, you glory seeking simpleton.
Meanwhile, suddenly a regular cop tries to kill the superintendent. And some random other people. All in all, dozens of people, completely unrelated to either Nanao, the virus or Laughing Man try to get at the superintendent. All inspired by the Laughing Man’s threat, imitating his style and behavior. Guess he struck a nerve, becoming a cultural phenomenon, a meme, in the true original meaning of the word. Section 9 wonders why, and they’re going to find out, starting an independent investigation, musically accompanied by “Velveteen”, my favorite track on the already seriously good soundtrack.
Thus ends a solid two-parter. Despite the two episode length, not that much actually happens, but a lot of important information is divulged and a number of hooks are set up like who killed Nanao, and exactly why. To shut him up? But he was already so keen and willing to play the decoy role, and didn’t strike me as enough in the loop to actually be dangerous. Or who was keeping tabs on Section 9 during the assassination attempts. Laughing Man? Someone else. And of course, what’s up with the meme situation. And a few more subplots. I mean, I actually sort of know the answers, but on rewatching the series I’m a bit impressed by how early some breadcrumbs are being laid out, some of which won’t pay off until near the very end.