I would rate the show as 5 stars, this is a review of the extras and features of the Special Edition issue.
I recently bought all the Special Edition releases of "Stand Alone Complex" after trying to research what I was going to get as extras not included in the regular edition. I found the listings on Amazon's product details to be a little confusing and incomplete on some of the volumes so I decided to write this guide for others trying to decide. I'm not going to review the "Ghost in the Shell" episodes or the series in general because there are so many excellent reviews already on this site, and most of you probably know about this great anime TV series already. There are various other reviews that say that some of the DVD's and CD's have errors on them and Bandai will replace them with corrected discs if you send them in for exchange. I have not ran into problems yet, although I haven't gone through the whole series either. And I will also state that I love the TV series as well as both movies, but I would recommend the Imported Region 2 version of GITS2:Innocence if you have a region free DVD player. Dreamworks really messed up that release omiting the English dub and putting Hard of Hearing subtitles instead of regular ones on the early issues of that movie. Most people find them very distracting and annoying.
First off the discs themselves, you get two DVD discs in each volume with the same episodes on both discs. Volumes 1-5 have 4 episodes each, 6 and 7 have 3 episodes each making 26 episodes total in the series. Both discs are Anamorphic wide screen encoded directly from the High-Definition Masters. Both Discs also have English subtitles. Each set also has two interviews with voice cast or someone associated with the production of the anime, and a printed DVD insert pamphlet or booklet with different interviews and such for each volume. All discs are Region 1.
Disc one has Dolby Digital 5.1 in Japanese and English, and Dolby Digital 2.0 in English and Japanese.
Disc two has DTS 5.1 in English and Japanese and a Dolby Digital 2.0 English track.
Volumes 1 and 2 include soundtrack CD's of the music of Yoko Kanno, the most excellent and versatile composer of the music in the TV series. Anime lovers know her work from the many fine soundtracks that she's done for countless other anime movies and TV series.
Volume 3 has a Black XL Fruit of the Loom Tee-Shirt with the section 9 logo on the front and a Major Kusanagi graphic on the back. Nice shirt!
Volumes 4 and 5 have a collectable I.D. cards for a section 9 member.
Volume 6 has a Black XL Fruit of the Loom Tee-Shirt with the section 9 logo on the front and a Batou graphic on the back, and another I.D. card. Nice shirt again!
Volume 7 has another Tee-Shirt! This time it's a White XL with the section 9 logo on the front, and the Laughing Man logo on the back! Once again nice shirt! It also comes with a tin box that's supposed to hold all 7 volumes of the DVD set. I was excited about getting the box but when it arrived I was disappointed with the design. It's kind of like the rectangular lunch box that you used to take to school as a kid, without the handle and latch. Its also of a thinner metal that dents easily. It has marketing type of printing on the backside that pertains to vol. 7 only, and the DVD cases stack inside one on top of the other. The spines of the cases are not visible when you open the box, only the front of the last case you put in. So you have to take all the cases out of the tin to get to a specific volume. There's also not room for the cardboard sleves that the DVD's were in when you got the individual volumes, and no room for the soundtrack CD's either. All said, I was disappointed with the box. Because of it's odd dimensions it doesn't stack in well with my DVD library. I would have much preferred the normal five sided box that usually comes with DVD sets.
Overall I'd say it's worth it to buy volumes 3, 6 and 7 new to get the shirts if they interest you and pick up the others used if you can to save some money on the series. That is if you're interested in the DTS soundtrack options. I much prefer the DTS mixes to Dolby Digital and wanted the soundtrack CD's as well. Also the cardboard boxes that come with volumes 3 and 6 are better than the tin box to store your set in when you complete the series, if you stack them on shelves one row of DVD's on top of another row, and you can fit the movies into those boxes as well to fill them the rest of the way.