The Major and her team face a tough fight thanks to the sophisticated AI drone helping the Nomads attack the Gated City.
ep 02 – “AT YOUR OWN RISK – Divided by a Wall”
The first episode of SAC_2045 made it clear that the main topic of the show would be Artificial Intelligence used as weapons. Stand Alone Complex has always used the Think Tanks, the Tachikoma, as part of Section 9. Batou took a long time to warm up to them, so I was glad to see him patting one’s head last time. These cute guys have AI, obviously, but it was great to see them contrasted with the AI in the guard dog drone and the armed flying one. The main difference is that the Tachikoma has distinct personalities.
I recall from SAC 2nd Gig that the Tachikoma developed their personalities because they chatted among themselves in their own private network. That’s organic machine learning. However, they also formed socialization skills by partnering with humans on their missions. It was a fun thing to see Ghost in the Shell’s theme of blurring the definition of humanity in the context of technology in how the humans taught the Tachikoma to care for them.
Here in SAC_2045, we can see how the idiosyncratic AI of the Tachikoma is more creative and more effective against the technologically advanced AI in the flying drone. Not only were the Tachikoma’s AI able to predict the enemy’s movements, but they also anticipated the needs of their human teammates. I’m a big fan of the Tachikoma in Ghost in the Shell, mainly because they act like intelligent magical partners that you might see in another genre of action-oriented anime.
Speaking of the action in SAC_2045’s episode, the extended firefight took a lot of time and had a thrilling ebb and flow. Unfortunately, it was set at night. It’s too dark and I can’t tell what’s going on! I’ve seen this happen in so many adaptations from manga to anime, where we can clearly make out events in a black and white panel, but when it comes to putting that scene in full-color, all those colors are dark and the lights are dim. Perhaps the director could have relied more on night-vision or less realistic atmospheric effects. The collaborative arts always need to make compromises to bring the product before the public, so I understand the difficulties in portraying a firefight at night. I just wanted a better look at those Tachikoma in action.
For those still worried about how the 3D CGI looks, I’ll just put this one scene from SAC_2045’s opening credits right here. Quick recap to that AI guard dog. It has a sniffer, so optical camouflage doesn’t work. Those jocks have a big tank. And they’re still dressed like football players? Like they’re in a gang, or something? I like how the pros don’t like fighting against amateurs because they don’t follow trained commando actions.
Huh. It doesn’t look like the football players are booting up the tank. What are they waiting for? Another drone? Oh good. That dog ate some bullets the wrong way. How do the specific Tachikoma know which one the team is calling for? Are they partnered up? The sniper has that camo guy with him all the time. Drinking game proposal for SAC_2045 — take a shot every time a Tachikoma says, “Roger!” Some episodes might be worse for your liver than others.
That is a big military UAV. It has the same design highlights as the guard dog. This thing is smarter too. Strap in for a long fight, people. No! It hurt a Tachikoma! Unforgivable! This isn’t good. It’s too dark. I can only tell something is happening through the characters’ AR HUDs (Augmented Reality Heads Up Display). Nuts. I’m going to have to rely on the dialog to pay attention too. Ouch! It’s too early in the SAC_2045 season for Team Motoko to take any casualties, so we’ll have to wait for the dramatic reveal on how Saito and his partner survived a missile attack. I just realized the action is happening at the Staples Center… We’re in DTLA alright.
That’s cool! That big tank has articulated legs too. Maybe a Tachikoma will get a new body at some point in SAC_2045 this season. The jocks are using their football jargon. Lazy writing. Like they belong to an American comic book gang of villains. Motoko is like Ironman, I suppose.
Man! I wish SAC_2045 lit this scene better. The Tachikoma are acting like transforming motorcycles for their partners. I want to see it! Sassy Spider versus Hercules Beetle! Who you got? I don’t think Tachikoma’s bullets are going to hurt that tank at all. Aw. Tachikoma is frustrated its missiles have no effect. There we go. Get up close and personal!
SAC_2045 keeps it real. Tachikoma ran out of ammo against that tank. Time to tag out. That UAV can’t handle optical camouflage. Change of tactics for Motoko’s team.
Oh, right. SAC_2045 is supposed to be about Japan. Aramaki wants Togusa to get the band back together. Something about the new Japanese prime minister growing up in America, so he’s aligning their country with them. Was Japan really going to ally with China, Russia, or the EU? Come on, now. Aramaki wants the original Section 9 members back. Where does that leave the new guy Stan?
Enough of that. Let SAC_2045 finish this battle in downtown Los Angeles. Can Saito’s Tachikoma not tell if someone climbed inside of him? Maybe he hasn’t checked yet because he’s too worried about the sniper. The mission is still the same: prevent an attack on the Gated City. That drone will prove difficult. Saito is fine. But how about his sniper rifle? I love these Tachikoma! He’s so proud he protected Saito.
That is a military-grade tactical UAV, alright. It has defensive flares. Here we go. Let’s see that drone deal with an overgrown spider dragging it down. Tachikoma, go! It’s still disappointing how SAC_2045 lit these great action scenes so poorly. Whoa. That AI drone is smart enough to compensate for the swinging weight of the Tachikoma. Are you kidding me? The lighted Gated City is where the Hollywood sign used to be? This social commentary on America is quite barbed.
Motoko will have to do her thing. Dual-wielding handguns to take out rotors and missiles. That’s the Major I remember. And the three-point hero landing! Stuck it! Mission accomplished? Uh, why would you leave the Tachikoma with no ammo to watch over that thing? Pfft. Some random guy is looking at a well-lit skyline. Thanks for letting us know who the Big Bad Guy is, SAC_2045.
Argh. That drone had one more missile. Mission failed. Tachikoma said, “this drone really seems to hate one-percenters!” Did they talk? I’d like to hear that conversation.
Uh, why is Agent Smith from the Matrix giving Motoko a hard time? Cliffhanger!
SAC_2045 Tachikoma “Roger!” count — 3.
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 is currently streaming on Netflix.