Ghost in the Shell: The Laughing Man [Blu-ray]
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The OAV Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex--The Laughing Man (2005) consists of footage from the 26-episode Stand Alone Complex TV series (2002), recut to tell the story of a police battle with an �ber-hacker. Writer-director Kenji Kamiyama oversaw the re-editing and rewrote some of the dialogue for greater clarity. The main arc of the first season of S.A.C., The Laughing Man is a complicated tale of cyber-espionage and government corruption. Major Kusanagi, Batou, Chief Aramaki, and the other officers of Public Security Section 9 must untangle an intricate web of deception to discover a hidden scandal involving a bogus cure for the debilitating disease of "cyberbrain sclerosis." In the original series, this story was interwoven with brief adventures involving the black-market sale of human organs, the growing consciousness of the Tachikoma robots, and Chief Aramaki's colorful past. The Laughing Man, a title borrowed from J.D. Salinger, is interesting enough to stand on its own, but at 2 hours and 40 minutes, it feels very long. Bandai has rerecorded the dialogue with a new cast, which sounds jarring to audiences familiar with the series. The Laughing Man may appeal to viewers who didn't see S.A.C. in its initial release: otaku who know the original may find the reworking feels like a gimmick. (Rated 13 and older: violence, violence against women, grotesque imagery, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon
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Top Customer Reviews
Especially with the ending, since I either did not see the ending or that the one presented in this collection was added or differed from what the original was. Still great, just different that left me with a nagging voice in the back of my head that something did not quite seem right. The Matrix had me and I had no idea what the Matrix was. Definitely recommend this to fans of Ghost in the Shell.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If you want to watch the Laughing Man story from beginning to to end without any interruptions or unnecessary segues or "filler episodes", you could buy the GITS Laughing Man movie....
For the most part, though...you'll honestly be more satisfied just buying the entire first season of GITS.
You see, to make sure that the whole story would fit into a feature-length format, the studio edited out allot of content and small details that detracted from the overall story once they were gone....content and small details that you WILL miss out on when you watch the "movie", and there are quite a few inconsistencies that a true fan will find annoying after watching every episode of the TV show beginning to end numerous times.
There were quite a few moments that I actually said out loud "wait...something's missing" when I first watched the Laughing Man movie.
Trust me on this....you're better off buying the complete first season of GITS and skip through all the "filler" episodes. It'll be a much more satisfying experience for you.
The TV show gets a rock-solid 5-star rating from me....the "movie"?
2 stars....and I'm being generous
Now I'm a firm believer in watching a movie (or series) with the original language so that's what I did here, watching it with the Japanese dialogue and English subtitles. Just to see, I did briefly switch over to the English dubbing and wasn't impressed and quickly switched back over. I would highly recommend that if you can read subtitles while watching, definitely watch it with the original language.
In terms of the Blu-ray, the audio is quite good especially with the score and certain action sequences which gives the audio depth while the dialogue levels were also loud enough. This comes with a Dolby TrueHD track (for both the Japanese and English tracks). The picture (1080i) meanwhile was good, though when it comes to anime and animation, it generally looks looks great in high-def, there's always exceptions but here it does look alright, although I did notice some interlacing.
The features as expected are a bit lacking but for the feature on the disc, I'm not overly disappointed and if you can have it at a decent price, then it's worth picking up. If you already own it, I think it'd make for a modest upgrade though again the price needs to be right.
I will confess, I am not a big Ghost in the Shell fan. I have seen the series and enjoyed it, but I know some fans did not like the change in voice acting (edit: I guess the complaints is for the English dubs? If so, then I agree). For me, I didn't notice it and was able to watch the feature with no trouble. So, take it for what you will, I as more of a casual fan didn't feel much was missing with this. However, I will say that you couldn't go wrong watching the series as there's so much more...