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Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C — Solid State Society Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
  • Subtitles: English (Full Text), English (Dialogue Only)
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Manga
  • Blu-ray Release Date: June 21, 2011
  • List Price: $34.98

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Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society - Widescreen Dubbed

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society is an OVA from the GitS franchise that continues the thought provoking and revolutionary series of films and OVAs. I don’t know that any of the Ghost in the Shells ever reached the same level of the original film, its innovative anime style and philosophical ideas. That was the film that influenced such blockbusters as The Matrix, after all. Still, every release that followed has always been of a very high quality, beautiful to look at, and very entertaining.

For anyone who may still be unaware at this point, Ghost in the Shell takes a place in a world in the near future that has been ravaged by two more world wars, one of them non-nuclear. It is a society where humankind has now evolved technologically to a point where biology and technology are merging into one, where people are opting to take on prosthetic body parts and cybernetic implants in their brains allowing them to directly tap into the world’s powerful networking system. But this now leaves people’s innermost thoughts at risk of hacking. One of the series’ central characters, Major Kusanagi, is completely prosthetic except for her brain, which also has a chip implanted.

Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society, directed by Kenji Kamiyama, originally debuted on Japanese pay-per-view television in 2006. The story is set 2 years after the events of Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG. Public Safety Section 9 has encountered several suicides by refugees from the Siak Republic. Interception of Colonel Ka Gae, son of the exiled dictator General Ka Rum, who has taken a hostage to ensure safe passage out of Japan, leads to his claim that the “Puppeteer” is after him. But, who is the Puppeteer? Further investigation by Batou and Togusa uncovers a plot by refugees to release a micromachine virus in retaliation for the death of Ka Rum. When Batou comes across the now rogue Major Kusanagi during one of his investigations, suspicion quickly falls on her being the puppeteer, but it doesn’t pan out. It seems since leaving Section 9, she has been conducting her own parallel investigations. Soon, she is back with her former partners trying to track down the mysterious terrorist who threatens to release a technological maelstrom that could bring down an already teetering civilization.

Solid State Society isn’t quite as philosophically deep as the original Ghost in the Shell, but it is still a technological marvel and a beautiful piece of cyberpunk that raises the curtain on where humankind could ultimately end up with our never ending drive towards technological innovation. It looks and sounds great and is a strong stop in the GitS universe.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Solid State Society is given a 1080p/24 AVC/MPEG-4 encodement. Its image is purposely veiled so the animation doesn’t present a vey detailed appearance and often shows some color banding as well. Other than that, the beautiful imagery and world that is Ghost in the Shell looks quite pleasant in this release without any other artifacts such as aliasing or compression noise.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Solid State Society arrives with a typically aggressive Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack for the Ghost in the Shell franchise in both English and Japanese. The sound world engulfs you completely in atmospherics and discrete sounds that come from everywhere. Low frequencies are thunderous and dialogue is clean, but the high frequencies become very fatiguing after a while and trail-offs do not sound quite natural.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

There are a good bit of production featurettes offered on the disc, all in standard definition, the best of which is the Work Word File that gives a summary of the story along with interviews of the crew. Additionally, there’s a brief animated short Uchikomatic Days in 1080i featuring the Takchikoma robots from Solid State Society.

The supplements provided on this release are:

  • Work World File (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:30.30) – This brief, thirty-minute featurette summarizes the Solid State Society film while interspersing commentary and interview segments from the creators.
  • Making of Takchikoma Robot (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:17.05)
  • Anime + Car Design – Designing the Future Car (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:24.09)
  • English Production Interview (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:09.32)
  • Mitsuhisa Ishikawa (Production I. G) Interview (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:08.43)
  • Uchikomatic Days (1.78:1; 1080i/60; Dolby Digital 5.1; 0:04.38)
  • English Trailer (1.78:1; 480i/60)
  • Japanese Trailer (1.33:1; 480i/60)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

It’s about time this came to Blu-ray. I have always been a fan of this franchise, even if none of the S.A.C.s ever excited me as much as the original theatrical film. Still, every time I begin watching, I am once again transported into a cyberpunk landscape worthy of William Gibson and Philip K. Dick. My recommendation? Get it, it’s good. Period.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B004VDL826[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society - Widescreen Dubbed

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

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