So.. I finally got time to watch it today, even though it meant skipping class.
You know how the line “things get better with age” is usually a lie? Well, in this case, it’s the God’s honest truth. SAC 2 is as incredible visually as the first season, but the story is.. absolutely incredible. There’s a subtle underlying arc that gets touched on in each of the first episodes in the first volume. It ended up being a very good thing for the show that the Laughing Man story arc is over, because at this phase, the series is so good that I think even people who didn’t enjoy the first season will enjoy the second.
For my viewing, I watched this with the English Dub. Since I first saw the original “Ghost in the Shell” film in English, the Major’s voice sounds wrong to me in Japanese. As usual with this series, the voice work is above par. In fact, in terms of the technical aspects of this series, I can say nothing but good things. The venerable Yoko Kanno is responsible for the soundtrack, and there’s a cameo from anime fan favorite, Steve Conte for the end titles. The openers and closers are gorgeous, appropriately animated to the series.. and if I haven’t said it before about the SAC franchise, I’ll say it now… the music is to die for.
What’s new here is the story. The series tends to stick to the stand alone theme, but rather than splitting it off into two parts of stand alone episodes and complex episodes, the new season is a network of “divided episodes”. Each episode has its own story that seems to play into an arc of politcal intrigue that surrounds the existence of Section 9. So while you watch the Major dive off of buildings and do all that cool stuff that has every kid I know wanting to grow up and be the Major… you’re also tugging at the underpinings of a very precarious political situation that’s got Aramaki in it up to his nose.
No matter which way you slice it, this volume is just plain good stuff. So good… that after it was over, I hit play a second time.