Ghost in the shell 2nd gig's story is presented infinitely better than the first gig. I say that because, where the first was littered with absolutey horendous filler the eats up half the anime, 2nd gig has fewer filler, much more appropriately placed, most tying in and not breaking up the seasons flow, and just much better in terms of enjoyability. For example in season one where we would have a random out of place story interupting and poorly executed standalone episode about a random villain we could not care less about, here we are treated to funny and well executed shorts like if a member of section 9 ended up in court.
However since there are only a few fillers luckily we have a nice meaty plot to focus on. In contrast to the smaller scale laughing man arc that first gig brought us, there are some big differences. First, the concept of war is heavily touched upon, which of course leads to more serious terrorism than we saw in the prequel. Second there are more defined antagonists which is a good thing, but of course gives it a much different feel from it's predecessor.
There is a lot of politics, philosophy, and conflict sprawled across the series and I must say it is implemented very well. SAC 2 definetley is the overall best thing out for Ghost in the Shell right now, and touches on many new themes not in the first installment.
Really good. Some of the best animation I have seen in an actual series thus far. Characters are very distinct, and there is never a moment of "huh who is that?" You know, and you know it well. There is not any repetition in action scenes and they are all fluid and fresh. Some characters have been redone in some ways, and they look even more suitable and fresh.
Really REALLY good. The opening is one of my favorite of all time and the soundtrack is one of the best as well. Voice actors are well cast, and sound effects in all regard are on key.
Characters are not Ghost in the shell's strong point. However this season a few things redeem them. The first is having more antagonists and protgonists to identify with. More importantly however, main characters are much more fleshed out, we get some backstory segments, and more connections between new and old characters. The points off come from still neglecting a few primary characters wholly. They all lack extreme depth, that can be found in all top animes(Berserk, Monster ect.) but this season is definetley steps in the right direction.
I just can't bring myself to bring this anime into the 8 category for whatever reason. It has so many good pieces, but the characters are just missing a little something, and the story isn't quite good enough without truly compelling characters to give it the boost I feel is needed to get into the top tier of anime legends. It is still an extremely worthwhile anime, even to those not obsessed with scifi(though if you are you've already seen this!). A fitting sequel in the GIS franchise.