List of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex episodes
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (攻殻機動隊 STAND ALONE COMPLEX Kōkaku Kidōtai Sutando Arōn Konpurekkusu?, "Mobile Armoured Riot Police: Stand Alone Complex") is a Japanese animated television series, based on Masamune Shirow's manga Ghost in the Shell. The episodes were directed by Kenji Kamiyama, animated by Production I.G, and produced by Bandai Visual, Bandai Entertainment, Dentsu, Nippon Television Network, Tokuma Shoten, Victor Entertainment, and Manga Entertainment. Stand Alone Complex was first licensed and broadcast in 2002 by anime television network Animax across most of Asia, as well as Latin America. It was subsequently licensed in the United States and Canada by Bandai Entertainment and Manga Entertainment, in the United Kingdom by Manga Entertainment, and in Australia by Madman Entertainment. It continues to be broadcast in the United States as of May 2012 on Adult Swim, and was broadcast in Canada and the United Kingdom by YTV and AnimeCentral, respectively.
In the original pay-per-view broadcasts, the opening theme for each episode is "inner universe" (lyrics: Origa, Shanti Snyder; music: Yoko Kanno; vocals: Origa) and the ending theme for each episode is "lithium flower" (lyrics: Tim Jensen; music: Yoko Kanno; vocals: Scott Matthew). For the subsequent terrestrial television broadcasts, the opening theme for each episode is "GET9" (lyrics: Tim Jensen; music: Yoko Kanno, vocals: jillmax) and the ending theme is "I do" (lyrics & vocals: Ilaria Graziano; music Yoko Kanno). The original soundtrack, containing the original opening and closing themes in addition to other tracks from the series, was released by Victor Entertainment on January 22, 2002 in Japan, and by Bandai Visual on November 7, 2004 in the United States.
Thirteen DVD compilations, each containing two episodes, were released by Bandai Visual between December 21, 2002 and December 21, 2003. The English adaptation of the anime was released in seven DVD compilations, each containing four episodes, by Manga Entertainment and Anchor Bay Entertainment between July 27, 2004 and July 26, 2005. Complete DVD collection boxes were released by Bandai Visual as a Limited Edition on July 27, 2007 in Japan, and by Manga Entertainment on October 31, 2006 in the United States.
Stand Alone Complex contains 14 "Stand Alone" (SA) episodes and 12 "Complex" (C) episodes. Stand Alone episodes take place independently of the main plot and focus on Public Security Section 9's investigation of isolated cases. Complex episodes advance the main plot, which follows Section 9's investigation of the Laughing Man incident: the kidnapping and subsequent release of a Japanese CEO by a sophisticated hacker.
|Season No.||Series No.||Title||Original airdate||English airdate|
|1||1||"SA: Public Security Section 9 – SECTION-9"
"Kōan Kyūka SECTION-9" (公安9課 SECTION-9)
|October 1, 2002||November 7, 2004|
|Section 9 is called in to resolve a hostage crisis at a geisha house staffed by android geisha. After the crisis is taken care of, Aramaki is approached by Kubota, who reveals that the Japanese Foreign Minister was being actively investigated by military intelligence after expressing interest in the Ichinose Report, a document detailing diplomatic and military actions to be taken in the event of a national crisis. Given the sensitive nature of the case, Kubota asks that Section 9 take over the investigation where the original team left off. While reviewing the details of the hostage crisis at the geisha house, Togusa figures out that the Foreign Minister had his cyberbrain switched with that of an unknown intelligence agent working for the American Empire. Section 9 then successfully prevents the American intelligence agent, who is using the Foreign Minister's body, from leaving the country with the sensitive report in his possession.|
|2||2||"SA: Runaway Evidence – TESTATION"
"Bōsō no Shōmei TESTATION" (暴走の証明 TESTATION)
|October 1, 2002||November 14, 2004|
|A heavy-assault multi-ped tank runs amok, under the control of an unknown hijacker using the "recognition code" of the tank's designer, Takeshi Kago, who died a week earlier. After going on a destructive spree at the testing facility, the tank heads towards the urban area of Niihama. Section 9 is called in to stop the tank, as no terrorist group has claimed responsibility, and the JSDF refuses to involve itself unless terrorism is the clear motive. Saito attempts to snipe the tank, but is thwarted due to the tank's capability to link into the same satellite Saito is using to aim. Meanwhile, Togusa and Ishikawa interview the tank's co-designer, Toshio Ooba. After some questioning by Togusa, Ooba reveals the identity of the tank's hijacker: Takeshi Kago, the original designer. After Kago's death, Ooba linked Kago's brain to the tank's AI, effectively putting Kago in complete control of the tank. Ooba further reveals that Kago's possible motive may be to avenge himself upon his parents; he had serious medical problems, but his parents refused to allow him to get a cyberbody or even a cyberbrain due to their religious beliefs. Kago's destination is his parents home, and Section 9 tries to stop him before he gets there. They are unsuccessful, and Section 9 is forced to battle Kago; in the end, they disable the tank and Kusanagi short-circuits Kago's brain. However, the Major discovers a split second before she does so that all Kago was trying to do was show his parents his new steel body.|
|3||3||"SA: A Modest Rebellion – ANDROID AND I"
"Sasayaka na Hanran ANDROID AND I" (ささやかな反乱 ANDROID AND I)
|November 1, 2002||November 21, 2004|
A series of android suicides prompts Section 9 to investigate the manufacturer, Genesis Androids. While Aramaki questions the plant manager, Kusanagi and a Tachikoma covertly hack into the plant's database to try to uncover any possible wrongdoings by the manufacturer. As it turns out, all the androids were of the same model, an obsolete product known as the GA07-JL android, dubbed the Jeri by its small but loyal fanbase. The Genesis Jeri-model android was popular because of the ease with which an end-user could modify it to their own specifications. While the plant manager half-jokingly comments that the Jeris have grown despondent because of their obsolete status, Kusanagi discovers that a virus has been inserted into the mainframe, probably by an end-user who had sent his Jeri back to Genesis for refurbishing, which infected other Jeris sent in for maintenance and compelled them to destroy themselves. Section 9 eventually discover that the culprit is Marshall McLachlan, the son of the Canadian ambassador to Japan. After the embassy revokes McLachlan's diplomatic immunity, the team confront and arrest him, and learn that he had fallen so much in love with his Jeri that he considered her an actual person instead of an android, and wanted to eliminate the other Jeris so that she would be unique.The episode includes an extended homage to the French New Wave film Breathless.
|4||4||"C: The Visual Device will Laugh – INTERCEPTER"
"Shikaku Soshi wa Warau INTERCEPTER" (視覚素子は笑う INTERCEPTER)
|November 1, 2002||November 28, 2004|
|Yamaguchi, an old friend of Togusa's and a police detective working in the Laughing Man task force, is murdered after he calls Togusa, requesting to see him concerning what Yamaguchi terms "suspicious internal activity" by superiors in the police department. At Yamaguchi's wake, Togusa is approached by Yamaguchi's wife, who delivers an envelope from him to Togusa that contain a series of strange photographs. Upon scrutinizing the photographs, Togusa realizes that none of them are taken using a camera. Continuing his investigation, Togusa interviews another detective in the Laughing Man task force, who coincidentally mentions that the task force is waiting to bug a primary suspect in the case with cybernetic surveillance devices called "interceptors". The interceptors allow constant audio and visual monitoring of the subject via their own senses. Togusa concludes that the Laughing Man task force members were bugged with these devices illegally for monitoring. Shortly thereafter, the information about the illegal use of the interceptors is leaked by Section 9, prompting the police Commissioner to call a press conference regarding the growing scandal. The Commissioner publicly denies any responsibility, instead blaming the head of the "Laughing Man" task force, Kunihiko Nibu, and announcing Nibu's immediate resignation. News reporters press the Commissioner about the possible involvement of higher officials, as well as the Commissioner's own ties to nanomachine maker Serano Genomics, Inc., who manufactured the interceptors, but the Commissioner continues in his denials. At that point, the hacker known as The Laughing Man returns. Hijacking a police official's cyberbrain, the Laughing Man denounces what he refers to as the "previous farce", and announces that due to the police's efforts to cover up the truth, he will reluctantly challenge them again. Finally, he delivers a death threat to the commissioner, stating that he will "remove" him if the truth is not revealed in full. This episode has a small tribute to the movie Blade Runner.|
|5||5||"C: The Inviting Bird will Chant – DECOY"
"Manekidori wa Utau DECOY" (マネキドリは謡う DECOY)
|December 1, 2002||December 5, 2004|
|Section 9 suspects that the police investigators handling the Laughing Man case are using their primary suspect, a former Serano Genomics programmer with a shady anti-corporate past named Ei Nanao, as a decoy to hide some form of higher-level corruption. Aramaki orders Section 9 to commence around the clock surveillance on Nanao in an attempt to catch him in the act, but the hacker is killed before he can be brought in for questioning. Elsewhere, Kusanagi meets with her friend Kurutan, a hospital nurse, to use her external memory device in an effort to learn more about The Laughing Man case. However, when the police Superintendent-General is set to give a speech about the Interceptor incident and the Laughing Man case, one of the officers present has his cyberbrain hacked by the Laughing Man. The Laughing Man demands that the Superintendent-General tell the truth, or he will be assassinated.|
|6||6||"C: The Copycat will Dance – MEME"
"Mohōsha wa Odoru MEME" (模倣者は踊る MEME)
|December 1, 2002||December 12, 2004|
|The Superintendent-General's press conference quickly descends into chaos after the Laughing Man's assassination threat. Kusanagi suspects that the Laughing Man has inserted a virus into the police units assigned to guard the event. As Section 9 members struggle to evacuate the Superintendent-General to safety, the anti-virus team at HQ races to develop a vaccine to protect against it. However, random civilians begin joining in the assassination attempt as well, without any sort of external influence. After escorting the Superintendent-General to safety and apprehending all of the assassins, the police are left wondering about what caused dozens of completely unrelated people to attempt to murder a single man. After the immediate threat is averted, Aramaki orders Section 9 to open their own investigation into the Laughing Man case.|
|7||7||"SA: Idolatry – IDOLATOR"
"Gūzō Sūhai IDOLATER" (偶像崇拝 IDOLATER)
|January 1, 2003||December 19, 2004|
|The Ministry of Home Affairs learns that Jenoma revolutionary leader Marcelo Jarti has been visiting Japan regularly every five months. Jarti is a drug trafficker and one of the world’s most wanted men, and has been targeted for assassination by commandos of the United States Delta Force and United Kingdom Special Air Service (SAS) a total of six times and has survived each of these attempts. When Jarti returns to Japan following the most recently failed assassination attempt, Section 9 is called in to follow him and determine why Jarti has been visiting their country. They discover that the real Jarti had died several months ago after using a ghost-dubbing device to create dozens of cybernetic clones of himself, and the Yakuza running the cloning facility had kept releasing duplicates to prevent the Jenoma government from learning of their national hero's death. Section 9 captures the facility, but purposely allow the release of a new Jarti clone in order to maintain the global status quo.|
|8||8||"SA: The Fortunate Ones – MISSING HEARTS"
"Megumareshi Monotachi MISSING HEARTS" (恵まれし者たち MISSING HEARTS)
|January 1, 2003||January 2, 2005|
Kurutan calls the Major to the hospital where she works to look into the source of a young girl's heart transplant. The heart she received was given without consent of the owner's parents. The girl's doctors feared she might have had to be given a full-cyborg conversion, a thought that stirs painful memories for Kusanagi. Aramaki, believing that the culprits may be tied to a mass kidnapping ring, orders Section 9 to look into the case for connections between the organs, the company that sold them, and a local refugee camp set up at an abandoned oil refinery. Finally, the culprits are revealed to be a gang of rich medical students. Before arresting them, Kusanagi decides to scare and humiliate the students by posing as a murderous Yakuza enforcer.The Jameson character who appears in this episode also appears regularly in the Tachikoma Days omake.
|9||9||"C: The Man Who Dwells in the Shadows of the Net – CHAT! CHAT! CHAT!"
"Net no Yami ni Sumu Otoko CHAT! CHAT! CHAT!" (ネットの闇に棲む男 CHAT! CHAT! CHAT!)
|February 1, 2003||January 9, 2005|
|Using her net avatar, Kusanagi enters a chat room dedicated to the Laughing Man. Various theories are passed around the chat room as the members view various bits of evidence from the Laughing Man case. While in the chat room, Kusanagi homes in on an older man sitting at the table who seems to have more knowledge about the Laughing Man incidents than anyone else. After confronting the man and exchanging information with him, Kusanagi and one of the other guests are suddenly transferred out of the chat room and she briefly sees the Laughing Man.|
|10||10||"SA: A Perfect Day for a Jungle Cruise – JUNGLE CRUISE"
"Mitsurin Kōro ni Uttetsuke no Hi JUNGLE CRUISE" (密林航路にうってつけの日 JUNGLE CRUISE)
|February 1, 2003||January 16, 2005|
Marco Amoretti, a former American Imperial Navy Petty Officer turned serial killer, has arrived in Japan and for the last two months has murdered several women by slicing the skin off their torsos in the form of a T-shirt. American CIA officers have been dispatched to Japan, ostensibly to assist Section 9 in their effort to track down and apprehend Amoretti before he can strike again. When the CIA officers show no surprise at the developments in the case, Ishikawa hacks into the CIA database and learns that Amoretti was part of an American Empire commando team sent into the jungles of South America to conduct a covert operation aimed at breaking an enemy’s will to fight by using terror tactics, such as flaying civilians alive. Elsewhere, Batou — an ex-JGSDF Ranger who has seen first-hand the horrors of the CIA operation — resolves to stop Amoretti by any means necessary, but his behaviour during the case leads to suspicion that Batou may attempt to kill Amoretti, rather than arrest him. However, this is exactly what the CIA wishes, since Amoretti is the only loose end that can tie them to the jungle operation. Amoretti's hideout in the sewers is discovered, and Batou gives chase in a running gun battle. Batou experiences vivid flashbacks during the chase, with the dank sewers intercutting with the steaming jungle where he first battled Amoretti years ago. Batou finally manages to corner Amoretti, who begs Batou to kill him. However, Batou remembers that he is a law enforcement officer first, and arrests Amoretti instead. The CIA agents, unhappy that things didn't go as planned, are forced to return home with Amoretti in tow.This episode was initially skipped in the YTV broadcast in Canada because of the graphic content. It was later aired uncut on December 30, 2005 at 1:30 AM and ran at the regular 12AM time slot during the series' second run. The Adult Swim broadcast in the US included a disclaimer before the episode aired warning viewers about the content.
|11||11||"C: In The Forest of the Imagoes – PORTRAITZ"
"Aseichū no Mori de PORTRAITZ" (亜成虫の森で PORTRAITZ)
|March 1, 2003||January 23, 2005|
|The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare's database has been hacked into, and classified material has been stolen. Section 9 traces the hack and determines that the hack job originated from a facility that helps people with Cyberbrain Closed Shell Syndrome. Togusa goes undercover to investigate the social welfare facility, and immediately encounters suspicious behaviour from the facility's supervisors. Togusa manages to learn that a person called "the Chief" visited the center during the week that the MHLW was hacked, but before he can determine the significance of this information Togusa is discovered; simultaneously, the facility's security system unexpectedly goes online, and Section 9’s databases are subsequently hacked, leading Kusanagi and Batou to make an emergency insertion to evacuate Togusa. The Chief is revealed to be the alter-ego of a boy named Aoi, who seems to have vanished after the incident, with no evidence remaining that he was ever a patient at the center, save for Togusa's testimony. But when Togusa draws Aoi's face from memory, the others are surprised to find that Togusa has drawn the infamous Laughing Man logo.|
|12||12||"SA: Tachikoma Runs Away; The Movie Director's Dream – ESCAPE FROM"
"Tachikoma no Iede, Eiga Kantoku no Yume ESCAPE FROM" (タチコマの家出 映画監督の夢 ESCAPE FROM)
|March 1, 2003||January 30, 2005|
|Early in the morning Batou's Tachikoma self-activates and leaves the Tachikoma storage bay to explore the outside world. While roaming the streets of Niihama, the Tachikoma encounters a young girl named Miki who is searching for her lost dog. The Tachikoma decides to help the girl, and together they manage to find the dog. While on their journey, the Tachikoma stumbles upon a cyberbrain being sold in a market that contains a ghost, and brings it back to the storage bay. When the Tachikoma returns to Section 9, technicians begin extensive tests to determine why the tank went AWOL in the first place, while Section 9 members turn their attention to the cyberbrain in an effort to determine what the brain contains. When one of the lab technicians investigating the brain links with it and becomes "lost," Kusanagi volunteers to go after the missing man, leading her find the technician watching a movie that lacks a beginning or ending which brings her to tears. She then has a philosophical discussion with the man showing the movies. When she leaves, the team discovers that it was the brain of a stubborn film maker with a cult following.|
|13||13||"SA: Unequal Terrorist – NOT EQUAL"
"Unequal Terrorist NOT EQUAL" (≠テロリスト NOT EQUAL)
|April 1, 2003||February 6, 2005|
|Sixteen years ago, Eka Tokura, the daughter of a pioneering cybernetics company's CEO, was kidnapped by the New World Brigade, a terrorist group opposed to cyberization. The girl's whereabouts remained a mystery until she was spotted by members of the Maritime Safety Team aboard an abandoned radiation scrubbing station off the coast of Okinawa. Four Special Security Team operators of the Japan Coast Guard were sent to find the girl and rescue her, but the team vanished without a trace. Section 9 is covertly dispatched to the island with two objectives: locate any remaining SST members and evacuate them, and find and rescue the missing girl. Section 9 is inserted by submarine, and after a time manages to find the girl, but when they do they realize that something is wrong: the girl is the same age she was when she was kidnapped all those years ago. The terrorists soon discover that Section 9 has rescued their hostages, and a massive firefight ensues. The Section 9 team manages to escape and makes the discoveries that one of the hostages they rescued, an elderly woman, is the actual Eka Tokura, rapidly aged by the stress of life as a hostage, and that the girl leading the terrorists is actually her daughter.|
|14||14||"SA: Automated Capitalism – ¥€$"
"Zenjidō Shihonshugi ¥€$" (全自動資本主義 ¥€$)
|April 1, 2003||February 13, 2005|
Acting on a tip, Section 9 breaks up a cabal of thieves planning to rob a Japanese financial institution. Shortly after the raid, a Chinese intelligence official contacts Section 9 and informs them of suspicious activity that he believes may indicate an assassination attempt by Chinese Socialists on Kanemoto Yokose, a prominent, yet reclusive, Japanese billionaire. Section 9 is therefore tasked with protecting Yokose, a 56-year-old ex-mathematician who has amassed a fortune by playing the stock market. Section 9 and the assassin arrive within minutes of each other, but after reaching Yokose’s bedroom, both sides discover that Yokose died from a medical condition several months ago, and an advanced computer program had been managing his investments the whole time.
|15||15||"SA: Time of the Machines – MACHINES DÉSIRANTES"
"Kikaitachi no Jikan MACHINES DESIRANTES" (機械たちの時間 MACHINES DESIRANTES)
|May 1, 2003||February 20, 2005|
|Kusanagi's reservations regarding Section 9's Tachikoma units comes to a head. She becomes disturbed by their behaviour, as their artificial intelligence agents appear to be developing too fast; she has additional concerns about the safety of retaining them in the unit for use in a battle situation. The Tachikomas become vaguely aware of Kusanagi's concerns, and attempt to avoid deactivation by hatching a bizarre scheme to appeal to Kusanagi and prevent their removal. When Batou is summoned to a conference by Kusanagi, he learns of the situation with the Tachikomas and is told that they will be disarmed and shipped back to the lab for analysis. Although unhappy with the decision, Batou has no choice but to comply with the order.|
|16||16||"SA: Chinks in the Armor of the Heart – Ag2O"
"Kokoro no Sukima Ag2O" (心の隙間 Ag2O)
|May 1, 2003||February 27, 2005|
|Sensitive information has been stolen from a U.S. Naval base, and the primary suspect is a former Paralympic silver medalist boxer named Pavlo Zaitsev, who works on the base as a hand-to-hand combat instructor. The Public Security office has instructed Batou to go undercover to spy on Zaitsev, a man whom he admires, to see if Zaitsev is somehow related to the missing information. Batou wants his suspicions to be wrong and for Zaitsev to be innocent. The assignment calls into question Batou's attitude on his duty towards Section 9 and the decisions it forces him to make. However, Batou discovers that Zaitsev is indeed the spy and reluctantly turns him in.|
|17||17||"SA: The True Reason For The Unfinished Love Affair – ANGELS' SHARE"
"Mikansei Love Romance no Shinsō ANGELS' SHARE" (未完成ラブロマンスの真相 ANGELS' SHARE)
|June 1, 2003||March 6, 2005|
|Kusanagi and Aramaki are visiting London for an anti-terrorism conference. While there, Aramaki stops at a wine bank to visit an old friend of his, who asks for his help in breaking up a Mafia money laundering scheme involving the bank and an unknown third party. Before Aramaki can leave, two thieves break in and a hostage situation ensues. In an effort to separate themselves from the incident, the Mafia attempts to have Aramaki and the bank staff killed during a police raid, while Kusanagi makes her own plans to rescue the chief and the others from certain death. Aramaki manages to convince the two amateur thieves to surrender, and the entire group takes shelter in a secret basement underneath the wine vault as the corrupt police officers raid the bank. Kusanagi manages to infiltrate the building and extract Aramaki, as well as the evidence needed to implicate the Mafia and their corrupt associates within the police department.|
|18||18||"SA: Assassination Duet – LOST HERITAGE"
"Ansatsu no Nijūsō LOST HERITAGE" (暗殺の二重奏 LOST HERITAGE)
|June 1, 2003||March 13, 2005|
|After a five-year wait, Chinese vice foreign minister Jin has been allowed access to the Kagoshima War Memorial in Japan. Jin is the first Chinese dignitary to be granted access to the site, but not everyone is happy with the decision, and before long a death threat is made against Jin. Elsewhere, Aramaki visits the grave of one of his deceased comrades, a Colonel in the GSDF. While at the cemetery, Aramaki encounters the Colonel’s daughter, who voices her concern over her brother Yu’s sudden behavioural changes. When Section 9 determines Yu to be the prime suspect in the assassination attempt, Kusanagi and Togusa are sent to apprehend him, but arrive too late to arrest Yu. Soon after, Aramaki receives a disturbing phone call from his dead friend, who has cheated death by merging his own ghost with his son's, and intends to avenge his wife's death during the war by assassinating Jin. Out of respect for the Chief, Section 9 resolves to do everything in their power to take Yu in alive, but there is concern among the team members that Yu may not give them that chance. They manage to stop Yu by hacking his cyberbrain and fooling him into thinking his mission was successful. However, he has been permanently traumatized after merging his ghost with his father's.|
|19||19||"SA: Embraced by a Disguised Net – CAPTIVATED"
"Gisōmō ni Dakarete CAPTIVATED" (偽装網に抱かれて CAPTIVATED)
|July 1, 2003||March 20, 2005|
|Former Prime Minister Kanzaki’s daughter has been abducted, and Section 9 is called in to investigate her disappearance. The prime suspect in the case is Blindfold Ivan, the pseudonym for the North Territories Russian Mafia. Blindfold Ivan uses the same modus operandi in its abductions: over a three-day period, multiple underage women are kidnapped and then shipped to chop shops where they are killed, and all organs and cybernetic pieces are taken to be sold on the black market. Kanzaki had previously downplayed these mass kidnappings and denied the existence of Blindfold Ivan in an effort to strengthen ties between Russia and Japan; however, he publicly reveals the kidnapping of his daughter at Aramaki’s request in order to save his daughter. The news abruptly changes the situation by thrusting the kidnapping ring's leader, an ex-SVR officer named Cruzkowa Bosyeltnov, into the center of a scandalous, nationwide media event. Bosyeltnov attempts to seek shelter at the Russian Embassy, but they are unwilling to give her asylum due to the political firestorm, resulting in her capture and the rescue of the kidnapped women.|
|20||20||"C: Vanished Medication – RE-VIEW"
"Kesareta Kusuri RE-VIEW" (消された薬 RE-VIEW)
|July 1, 2003||March 27, 2005|
|After the events of PORTRAITZ, Togusa uses J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye as a starting point and develops a theory that the Laughing Man is after something published on paper. Togusa receives permission to check out a Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW) records building and stumbles upon a key piece of evidence: a list of Cyberbrain Sclerosis patients treated with a secret medication, known as the Murai Vaccine, has disappeared from the MHLW. Togusa traces the missing list to a group called the Sunflower Society, where he learns that several prominent Japanese citizens have been secretly treated with the experimental medication, and that the current nanomachine-based treatments for the disease are actually completely ineffective. Elsewhere, the head of the Japanese DEA unit dispatches the Narcotics Suppression Squad to eliminate the members of the Sunflower Society and recover the missing list. When the squad storms the Sunflower Society’s building, Togusa ends up getting caught in the massacre. He manages to escape, but receives a serious gunshot wound in the process, and collapses on the street a few blocks away.|
|21||21||"C: Left-Behind Trace – ERASER"
"Okizari no Kiseki ERASER" (置き去りの軌跡 ERASER)
|August 3, 2003||April 3, 2005|
|Togusa finds himself in the hospital after being shot, but is desperate to impart what he has learned to the rest of the group. By diving into Togusa’s memories, Section 9 experiences the DEA raid against the Sunflower Society firsthand, prompting anger and rage. The Chief takes it upon himself to notify the head of the DEA of Togusa’s presence at the Sunflower Society building during the raid, prompting the DEA chief to order the Narcotics Suppression Squad (NSS) to the house of Dr. Hisashi Imakurusu. Dr. Imakurusu had overseen the board that denied the Murai Vaccine; after being diagnosed with Cyberbrain Sclerosis, he began using the vaccine in secret and subsequently went into hiding. Section 9 believes Dr. Imakurusu may hold a clue to unraveling the entire Laughing Man case, and undertake a desperate search to locate him. With the aid of the American Empire and their unique surveillance satellites, Section 9 manages to find the doctor, and Batou volunteers to go after him. Elsewhere, high ranking elements of the Japanese government have launched their own campaign against Section 9 in an effort to bury the truth of the Laughing Man case, backing the NSS against Section 9. When both parties arrive at Dr. Imakurusu's location, a massive gunfight breaks out between the NSS and Section 9. Though they are unable to prevent Dr. Imakurusu's assassination, Section 9 manages to get the evidence they need to take action against the DEA.|
|22||22||"C: Corporate Graft – SCANDAL"
"Gigoku SCANDAL" (疑獄 SCANDAL)
|August 3, 2003||April 10, 2005|
|The Head of the DEA is arrested for murder in connection with the raid at the Sunflower Society building. Aramaki orders Section 9 to go through all of the facility's records to determine who is pulling the strings behind the attacks against Section 9, and whether that person or group is responsible for orchestrating the Laughing Man incidents. As Aramaki leaves the building he shares an elevator ride with former prime minister Kanzaki, who privately discloses that the prime suspect in the Laughing Man case has a lot of friends in high places and strong connections to the navy. Elsewhere, the remaining members of the Narcotic Suppression Squad attempt to frame Aramaki with drug trafficking, concocting a story about his homeless brother to lure him to the refugee district and arrest him, but their plan fails when Batou rescues the chief before the police arrive on the scene. Meanwhile, Kusanagi seeks to repair her prosthetic body after incurring severe damage in a battle against the government's latest prototype power armor. Her plan is to perform a simple body swap, but the doctor in charge of the procedure is in reality an NSS agent intent on killing her by erasing her ghost. However, before Kusanagi is killed, the Laughing Man arrives, ghost-hacking the assassin and completing the Major's body swap, allowing her to subdue the assassin herself after he leaves.|
|23||23||"C: The Other Side of Good and Evil – EQUINOX"
"Zen'aku no Higan EQUINOX" (善悪の彼岸 EQUINOX)
|September 1, 2003||April 17, 2005|
|The Laughing Man returns to kidnap Ernest Serano, the CEO of Serano Genomics, just as he did six years before. Returning to the café where Serano was first kidnapped, he and the Laughing Man share the story of the events leading up to the kidnapping and the events following it. During the conversation, the Laughing Man asks Serano why he never fulfilled his promise to tell the truth about the Murai Vaccine, and in response Serano informs the Laughing Man that the whole time, the Secretary General had him under house arrest. Meanwhile, Section 9 determines the Secretary General to be the man pulling the strings behind the Laughing Man scandal, and resolve to take Serano into protective custody to obtain his testimony. When the team discovers that Serano has been kidnapped by the Laughing Man again, they mount a frantic search to find and secure him. At the end of the episode, it is revealed that the Laughing Man was actually the Major in disguise using the memories that the real Laughing Man had given her, and that the entire operation, combined with Serano's conversation with "the Laughing Man", was Section 9's plot to confirm Serano Genomics' dealings with Secretary General Yakushima.|
|24||24||"C: Sunset in the Lonely City – ANNIHILATION"
"Kojō Rakujitsu ANNIHILATION" (孤城落日 ANNIHILATION)
|September 1, 2003||April 24, 2005|
|Having learned the entire truth behind the Laughing Man Incident from the Laughing Man himself, and confirming the information with Serano, Section 9 is finally ready to make their move against the man behind the corporate terrorism: standing Secretary General Yakushima. However, Yakushima has learned of Section 9’s planned move, and has leaked the existence of the group to the press in an effort to cast the organization in a bad light. When Aramaki arrives to speak with the Prime Minister, he presents the incriminating evidence against Yakushima, expecting the Prime Minister to take action and remove Yakushima from office. However, the Lower House elections are entering a crucial stage, and without the support of his party in that House, the Prime Minister is uncertain of his ability to have Yakushima removed from office and arrested for his crimes. To counter this, the Prime Minister decides to use the Special Forces Restriction Bill against Section 9 in an effort to improve his party’s image, with the promise that he will take action after the elections have been completed. An alarmed Aramaki reluctantly agrees to the plan, and informs the Major of the impending raid on their headquarters, instructing her and the team to survive no matter what. Shortly after his departure from the Prime Minister's office, Aramaki and Togusa become the first two members of Section 9 to be captured by the government. Elsewhere, a JMSDF carrier and three escorts arrive in the waters off Niihama City. Aboard the carrier the Umibozu, an elite JMSDF Black Ops unit adept at paramilitary operations, prepares to storm Section 9 with armoured combat suits and assault choppers. After exchanging fire with the Umibozu, the assembled members of Section 9 feign a suicide attempt before escaping to the basement. Kusanagi briefs them on the Chief's last instructions before officially disbanding Section 9.|
|25||25||"C: Smoke of Gunpowder, Hail of Bullets – BARRAGE"
"Shōendan'u BARRAGE" (硝煙弾雨 BARRAGE)
|October 1, 2003||May 1, 2005|
|Aramaki has been released under his own recognizance, and meets with the head of the Ministry of Justice to explain the situation and ask for help in ensuring his team's safety, but the Minister of Justice is powerless to affect the situation beyond the prosecution of Yakushima. Elsewhere, Saito and Ishikawa are caught in separate traps set by Umibozu teams, but not before successfully dispersing information seeds given to them by the Major. With Batou and Kusanagi as the only uncaptured members of Section 9, Batou undertakes a risky sortie to the Major's apartment to recover her sentimentally-valued watch. Before he can escape, Umibozu commandos arrive and a firefight ensues. Batou successfully fends off the first wave of attacks, but is unexpectedly confronted with two armoured combat suits, the second of which proves to be more than he can handle. Just when it seems that Batou will be killed, help arrives from the Tachikomas. Having witnessed the attack on Section 9, the three remaining Tachikomas rendezvous at the remains of Section 9's headquarters, and after a time manage to find Batou at Kusanagi's apartment. The Tachikoma tanks resolve to protect Batou at any cost, ultimately sacrificing themselves to save his life. Meanwhile, Kusanagi arrives to evacuate a badly injured Batou, taking him to her hideout where she stores her remote bodies. Batou returns Kusanagi's watch and she puts it on her wrist. After seeing to his wounds, both make plans to leave the country, but the Umibozu, acting on orders from the Cabinet, attempt to assassinate Kusanagi at the airport. Though the assassination appears to be successful, it is revealed that the Major's decapitated body wasn't wearing her watch, indicating that she was piloting one of her spare bodies remotely from her safehouse.|
|26||26||"C: Public Security Section 9, Once Again – STAND ALONE COMPLEX"
"Kōan Kyūka, Futatabi STAND ALONE COMPLEX" (公安9課,再び STAND ALONE COMPLEX)
|October 1, 2003||May 8, 2005|
|After 15 days of fierce fighting, the Umibozu complete their operation to take down Section 9 by capturing Batou and assassinating Kusanagi, though they remain unaware that the Major is actually still alive. The dismantling of Section 9, spun by the media as a JSDF preemptive strike against a radical security unit planning a coup, provides the Prime Minister with the public support his party needs to win the Lower House elections. Immediately after the election, in keeping with his promise, the Prime Minister discloses the information regarding The Laughing Man case, fingering Yakushima as the ringleader. Three months pass, during which Togusa tries to come to terms with all that has happened with Section 9. In his attempts to find information on the rest of the team, he learns that the Major was killed and the remaining members of Section 9 are serving time in a state prison for high treason. The news upsets Togusa, and he resolves to assassinate the man responsible for Section 9's dissolution. Togusa intends to catch Yakushima as he arrives at the ruling party’s headquarters, but before Togusa can follow through with his plan he is stopped by Batou, who brings Togusa to Section 9’s temporary headquarters. Here, Togusa is informed that Kusanagi is alive and Section 9's disbandment and destruction was merely a ploy. Elsewhere, Kusanagi and Aramaki meet with Aoi, the young man Togusa encountered at the MHLW facility, who turns out to be the true identity of the Laughing Man. Aramaki offers Aoi a job at Section 9 for his outstanding hacking skills, but Aoi politely refuses, claiming he is not a team player and wishing to remain at his current job with the public library to sort through and read its collection of books. Public Security Section 9 once more becomes an active security unit of the Japanese government, and its members settle back into the routines they had at the beginning of the series.|
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