In short, this is the weakest installment of the Ghost in the Shell Anime Franchise, perhaps even weaker and having the same issues as the Hollywood Movie.
Directed by Shinji Aramaki (Appleseed, Harlock: Space Pirate), and Kenji Kamiyama (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Eden of the East & Moribito).
The 3d Animation was just awful. I'm not against 3d, I actually love the work director Shinji Aramaki has done in the past:
The story is set in the Stand Alone Complex (SAC) sub-continuity in the year 2045 (For reference, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Solid State Society was set in 2034, which was set two years after the events of 2nd GIG; so SAC_2045 picks up the story in 2045, 11 years later).
In regard to the story, that may be the best part of this show, but doesn't even come close to the stories in other installments of the series. At least for this first season of SAC_2045, the philosophical & sociological themes that have made this franchise stand out as a "different & intelligent series", as well as any references to "real-life"; are almost non-existent or not given enough focus. Questions like "What makes us human?", "the pitfalls of technology advancement", and sociology concepts like the "Stand Alone Complex (SAC)" (from which this installment takes its name) are nowhere to be found. Instead, we get references to the 10% of people that control the wealth (which is now 1% in 2045) and the economy of war; but these are merely references as nothing is really explored in depth. There are other minor ideas at the end that were not fully explored either.
All the philosophy that makes this series stand out from the crowd was removed in lieu of dialog to try really hard to make the characters sound "cool" and the focus is on the action. The plot seems too convenient with the characters being at the right place & time all the time. I wouldn't say that the plot is predictable, but it's not engaging either. There is some political intrigue, but it doesn't bring anything new that we haven't seen before. It doesn't help that the plot ends in a cliffhanger for a 2nd season, maybe the creators will make the plot more interesting by then, but I'm not holding my breath, nor I'm that interested or excited to see the 2nd season.
I'm someone who doesn't really care about the animation if the story is good enough. To be honest, this is not the worst animation that I have seen. I think Berserk 2016 & Kingdom Season 1 are far worst than this type of 3d, but at some point, I stopped focusing on the bad animation of those shows because their story was very engaging and they still rank among my favorite animes. This is not the case for SAC_2045, I only finish this series because I wanted to write this review, otherwise, I would have dropped it on the first episodes as it was not engaging enough to let me forgot the bad animation and make it worth my time.
Regarding Sound & Music, the GitS franchise has always brought us strange but awesome music in the intros/outros of each show. Now we get a more commercial rap as the intro for SAC_2045, letting us know that this installment will be very different from the past. The Outro is more in tune with what the franchise has done in the past. The sound effects are average. The dub has not been released at the time of this review.
The Characters' personalities overall are pretty much the same as in SAC, except for Togusa who seems to have had a regression compared to what we seen before as the leader of Section 9 in Solid State Society. It seems the creators of SAC_2045 wanted to reset the team dynamics as it was at the beginning of SAC. They added new characters for comic relief perhaps, that have the type of personalities we often see in Hollywood action movies.
Overall, given that this new installment is being created by the same team that brings us the masterpieces of the past, even minimal expectations were realistically high, that even if the 3d animation will not work, the story was going to be something good to watch, but it doesn't help the story ended up in a cliffhanger for this season and it ended up removing the philosophy that sets this franchise apart in lieu for a Hollywood type of approach. At least for myself, I move away from Hollywood movies and into anime exactly because they offer a more intelligent & different plot, in fact, it was Ghost in the Shell 1995, which made me an anime addict, a masterpiece that has served as inspiration for some of the best Hollywood movies. So I have to ask myself, am I ok with Ghost in the Shell being just average? Should the franchise be ok with producing a mediocre installment for a new generation? NO, every fan wants more Ghost in the Shell, but something equal or that even attempt surpass what has already been done in the past and that contains the philosophy and soul of the original Masamune Shirow's story. This new installment comes to me as a failure that will quickly be forgotten.
I hope to see something new in the future that will challenge what has done in the past. "And where does the newborn go from here? The net is vast and infinite." -Major Motoko Kusanagi/Puppet Master (Ghost in the Shell 1995)
I guess Netflix has done wonders again..They took a beloved franchise and turned it into the most hideous mess that brings me memories of another beloved franchise that got the "fuckitintheass" treatment...Namely Berserk.
Netflix it seems wants badly a piece of the anime money and decided it would be nice to get some exclusives..That's all nice and dandy but if you think about it..There are already way too many options for legal streaming..But it's ok cause more competition means more options, right?
As it turns out no..Cause Netflix as it seems has the habit of taking already established titles and fucking them. And that is also true for new titles as well. In fact i think there are only 2 titles worth watching..The rest of them? Holy fucking balls of Satan...Speaking of whom Devilman Crybaby which was as impressive as it could get for a manga and anime adaptation as it could get for the time it was released. Now go forward some 30 odd years or so and Netflix bought the rights and produced what passes these days as "reimagination"...What that means of course is "we'll take a beloved series and turn it into shit just to anger the fans".
Don't believe me..Just go to Google and search the words He-Man and Kevin Smith..That's the whole mindset of these morons..But that's not where it all ends, is it? Cause being American morons means that politics HAVE to be inserted into this medium as well..Of course we had to endure SJW political agendas shoved down our throats in anime as well..
What does all that have to do with GITS?We'll come to that in a sec.
Firstly, we need to address the relentless attack on our pupils..The god damn animation whici i wish i could say gets better as the series progresses but that's not the case at all. Remember those demo games of old on PS3? Well this feels like a longer version of a demo with lifeless eyes, head movements similar to that of stiff corpses and lip syncing so lazy it beggars belief..Which of course in turn takes its' toll on the voice acting department cause when you have some damn good VA and the lips are working in geological time zones..Well let's say it's not gonna be a nice, comfy ride. And iff you add the difference between the backgrounds and the characters the result is as appaling as swimming in a pool of shit and sulfuric acid.
Speaking of shit, guess where GITS takes place...NOPE, you're quite wrong..It takes place iiiiiiiinnnn.......America! So low speed limits, huge burgers and even larger styrofoam cups full of Coke and people so fat you mistake them for interstate buses.
The very first things to hit the screen are images of America’s palm trees and blue skies which is a far cry from the cyberpunk streets we all know and love. But hey, at least you get Agent Smith clones and muscle cars and villains straight outta the football pitch.
As for the soundtracks...Lord deliver me from songs with "money make the world go round" lyrics in them..It's bad on another level.
As for the story itself..Nothing noteworthy here as well..What we get for our money is the investigation of robotics entrepreneur Patrick Huge and his connection to “post-human” engineering,which sounds interesting but it isn't..This economic dystopia is presented with the finesse and depth of...An American actually..This also being American and Bernie Sanders friendly we are presented with terms such as “1-percenter” and “global reset” and the worst offender of them all....Episodes like "EDGELORD-Revolution of the 14-Year-Olds"...Which is the direct result of SJW's marching into every medium and ruining everything for the normal people..It would be no surprise at all if in the next installment we see pink haired lesbians with pussy hats fighting patriarchy and targeting people on twitter for having the "wrong opinion".
So...Streched thin story with sjw politics, animation that can cause violent vomiting, characters i can no longer care about..Yeah..Don't you think it's time to stop beating the old horse and bury it? We have so many good entries let's leave it at that and let this franchise rest in peace already. As for the SJW crowd, don't you think it's time to think of something new rather than picking up already established names and fucking them up for all of the rest of the world?
Warning: I kind of hate this and there are going to be some out of context spoilers.
Another warning: If you're not comfortable with blood and gunshots, skip this. It's far more violent than GitS has been in a way.
With that out of the way, let me say that I didn't hate it enough to drop it. As a huge fan of the movie and both SAC seasons, this one has left a bittersweet taste for me.
The dogshit CG ruins what I consider to be a good plot. It's offensively full of trash Hollywood tier fight scenes with equally trash fight sound effects that actually hurt the show more than the CG does. The lip syncing is so terrible, pretty sure GTA VC did a better job. If you're a fan of the OG movie and the main SAC installments but were indifferent to the Arise franchise, this will surely feel like more than a slap in the face.
My other gripe is the anti one-percenter commie Larping bullshit they showed in episodes 2 and 3. You couldn't make a more obvious and weaker straw man criticism of leftists even if you tried. The show also utterly destroys the franchise's reputation of exploring philosophical and political themes with surface level action aimed for quick consumption. 1984 by George Orwell being one of the main factors in the story is actually so cringe. I'm thinking this show is aimed more towards teenagers who have newly discovered the horrors of what a "State" is, than the core fan base or the general audience for that matter. Oh, and "that" death in the last episode was utterly predictable and also felt very forced at the same time.
Now about the somewhat "good" stuff, I guess. The plot seems to be actually going somewhere. The series ends on a cliffhanger so waiting for S2 is going to suck. The subplots that bring together the whole picture were decent. Togusa dealing with the two spies was excellent. John Smith's entire character was bullshit. Takashi's back-story was good but you can't help but feel that this is just going to rehash the Laughing Man Arc, only this time, there are going to be some superhuman/computers who have been stripped of their humanity taking matters into their hands. Despite all these stupid flaws in this very obvious cash grab of a project, it still makes you want to look forward to what happens next. At the end of the day I think a good story, above all, matters the most for most of us. I really hope the CG in S2 gets better.
Oh wait, that was supposed to highlight the good stuff. Guess that's all the good there is to say about SAC_2045.
Reasons to watch the show: Badass characters, visual fighting, tactical combat, Sci-FI and unique world setting.
Reasons not to watch the show: Dull atmosphere, hollow personality, lack of character progression, slow story progression and worst of all... it has no ending yet!!!
I generally do not recommend this show even though I liked it. It is exactly my taste, but the show has its flaws. Beneath, I will be focusing on the pros and the cons. My advice is to watch the show if you're specifically looking for this genre and its traits. Otherwise, I've heard the old anime is a lot better.
+ Cool Concept and Setting.
- Too realistic story structure: One episode we're diving into mystery, finding a lot of answers and questions. Next episode, all we get is something vaguely relevant for the main story.
+ Fighting animation: visual and visually pleasing + tactical.
General animation: At times it is great! Other times it is okay.
- Face animation: doesn't show a whole lot of emotions
- Lip Sync: Not quite there
Generally good and good usage.
- A lack of music and ambiance.
+ Badass personality, look and skillset.
- Lack of personality: what are their goals and wishes? What do they like? What ticks them off?
- Lack of variety: They have different skillsets, but the characters aren't especially unique.
- Distinctive lack of character progression.
Badass mercenaries, good visual fight scenes and Sci-Fi - hell yeah! And usually i like slow story progression and "distractions" from the story, but the dull atmosphere manufactured by a lack of music/ambiance, emotions and character progression kind of ruined it. I'm not too upset by how the show ended, even though it felt like the end of an episode rather than a season. I don't regret watching this show, but I'm not especially glad I did so either. I take this show as an introduction to go check out the old anime.