Ghost in the Shell has become the standard for anime and complex, intricate plots. From the original movie to The Stand Alone Complex universe, Ghost in the Shell (GitS) has become known for its complex plot structure and incredible attention to detail. Solid State Society (SSS), the latest in the GitS universe is no different. SSS takes place two years from the end of GiTS Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig, with an expanded Section 9 led by Togusa and Major Motoko Kusanagi having left the team.

In the two years since the end of 2nd Gig we find that the Major has left Section 9 for personal reasons and Togusa has assumed command with Batou passing on the opportunity. We still see the Section 9 stalwarts like Aramaki, Boma, Saito, Ishikawa and Pazu yet we’re also introduced to a number of new recruits. While the movie is engrossing enough to make you forget most fans will be left wondering as to why exactly she left in the first place and what else happened in those two years. Hopefully this will be explained in another movie or a comic series.

The cyberpunk theme continues in full force with numerous futuristic devices fully integrated into society, with cyber brains playing a major role once again. Optical camouflage, security androids, light battle think tanks and numerous other devices litter the screen, but don’t overwhelm the setting. With a production budget of over $3 million, the beauty in the animation is on full display. The scenery is beautifully crafted and the color schemes chosen in a given scene make this one of the best looking animes I’ve ever seen. From the fiery colors seen when diving into the net to the rich darkness of a night time cityscape littered with neon lights to the rain soaked scenes, it’s clear that attention to detail was a prime objective.

I don’t want to spoil the story, but I will say that Japans current issues with immigration and a dwindling population are put in the spotlight in this chapter. The story revolves around abducted children and suicides and their link to a pure Japan. In what’s become a classic GitS style, everything comes together perfectly in the end and as always a few twists are thrown in along the way.

Overall, Solid State Society is an excellent addition to the Ghost in the Shell universe, adding another feather into it’s already impressive cap. It’s gorgeous visuals and thought-provoking plot should provide for a great movie experience.