Monday, June 11, 2007

Solid State Society

Whoa! When did this happen? I was cruising past the SciFi channel tonight and spotted an ad for the anime movie Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society. Apparently, SciFi now has something called Ani-Monday. I watch SciFi somewhat irregularly (mostly for Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who and sometimes Enterprise) but I haven't seen anything about this.

Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society is a stand-alone movie that builds from the series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, which derives from the theatrical film Ghost in the Shell. The original GitS was a serious meditation about the line between man and machine when technology has blurred things to the point where fully cyborged humans are now possible. If a consciousness arises in their future Internet and claims sentience, who is to say it isn't human? The style of the animation and film was very much Blade Runner crossed with a touch of William Gibson's Neuromancer. It's as cyberpunk as cinema gets.

The Stand Alone Complex series shifted in nature to become a kind of police procedural with strong political thriller overtones. The focus is on the work of Section 9, a high-tech SWAT force for high-tech crimes, led by the hero of the film, Major Motoko Kusanagi, a fully cyborged "human." Only her brain remains from her former body.

The series delved deep into this world of the near future, very dystopian and still unequal. People with money or connections can get fully wired into a 'Net that interfaces directly with the optic and auditory systems, a 'Net that is to today's Internet as ours is to a telegraph system.

Political intrigues and strange new crimes are the subject of the show, and it's pretty darn good. It's not at all for kids -- Adult Swim was showing it after midnight. Blood and gruesome, sudden death were common, but the exploration of the political and power structures of this strange new world would bore the pants off most kids.

And now I get to watch the last of the series: Solid State Society! Thank you SciFi!

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