Ghost in the Shell: Individual Eleven [Blu-ray]
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Individual Eleven (2006) is a feature-length OAV, recut from Stand Alone Complex: 2nd Gig, the second season of the Ghost in the Shell broadcast series. This adventure for Major Kusanagi, Batou, and the other agents of Public Security Section 9 has more pronounced political overtones than the previous story about the arch-hacker, the Laughing Man. Terrorist incidents tied to an underclass of Asian refugees from World War IV threaten to ignite a political powder keg inside Japan. Kusanagi, Batou, and even Chief Aramaki complain about being conscripted to protect Prime Minister Kayabuki from assassination attempts--until they uncover a link between the murderers and the terrorism campaign. The threats lead to the Individual Eleven, a cell headed by the charismatic Hideo Kuze. The actions of the Eleven recall the May 15th Incident. (On May 15, 1932, a group of junior naval officers and army cadets assassinated Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi, ensuring that power would remain in the hands of the militarists.) Their bloody mass suicide echoes the theatrical death of writer Yukio Mishima, who committed seppuku when he failed to rouse the Japanese Self Defense Forces to revive emperor worship in 1970. In his efforts to improve the status of the refugees, Kuze employs suicide bombers and Russian mobsters selling stolen plutonium: an escalating drama played against the strained relations between Japan and an Imperial America that is trying to reassert its military dominance in the face of economic weakness. An interesting secondary plot involves the Tachikoma robots speculating that as they abandon collective consciousness and develop individuality, a dependence on the Net is leading humans in the opposite direction. Individual Eleven and Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C.--2nd Gig are both entertaining: it becomes a question of whether the viewer prefers the original episodes or a more tightly edited feature. (Rated 13 and older: violence, violence against women, brief nudity, alcohol, drug and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon