Ok, I think the secret is out. When I write an OWLS post, it is most likely going to be about one of my favorite anime series. Children of the Whales aside, every series that I’ve written an OWLS post for is somewhere on my anime favorites list. There are some new comers like March Comes in like a Lion and Yamato 2199 that came in recently, but Stand Alone Complex is different for me. I’ve loved Stand Alone Complex for a very, very long time for a lot of reasons. I don’t know about you all, but I consider it almost perfection in anime quality on all fronts. It’s my personal yard stick that a newer anime series needs to pass for me to consider it a favorite. The rewatch value of that show in infinitesimally high for me. Especially the dub that I think is in the ball park or better than Cowboy Bebops, yet nobody ever talks about it.
You might find that a little strange, because I’ve only talked about Ghost in the Shell anime on my blog twice before this post. Maybe that is something that is going to change soon. At least it is today, because Stand Alone Complex was the first thing I thought of when it came to this Month’s OWLs prompt.
For those of you who haven’t heard of it before, what is OWLS you might ask. Well, that’s an easy question to answer. OWLS, also known as Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect, is a group of otaku bloggers who promote the acceptance of all individuals. This is all regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religions, race, and disability. All about humanity for humanities sake. Each Month, our members are given a topic to write about and each of us approaches that through our own personal views. If you want to know more, please click here and look at the OWL’S Blog Page.
This month’s prompt you and us OWLS members by our Chief Creative Officer LynLyn Says is “Self-Care”.
To cover this in more specific terms:
“In favor of positivity and good mental health, we will be exploring the importance of self-care. Sometimes, we are lost in our thoughts and emotions that it can cause a negative impact on our lifestyle and our relationships. For this month’s topic, the OWLS bloggers will be exploring the mental health of pop culture characters and how their mental health affects their environments. We will explore the dangers of mental health illnesses and how it might lead to self-destruction and/or how one has the power to overcome their demons. In addition, we will share our personal stories and struggles about mental health and discuss positive ways in handling mental health issues.
My own mental health
I feel like this topic is wasted on me, because I don’t have a lot of mental health issues besides working too hard and not knowing what relaxation is. That’s why I used the most literal route when writing this prompt about Stand Alone Complex. I’m not exactly going to filled with good advice here, sorry. I have lost a lot of important family members (like my older brother) in my life, which has affected me mentally, but that has never pushed me over the edge in anyway. I’m kind of a ditz as well which is a fact that might be a surprise to some people who know that fact about me.
The best but also lousiest advice I can give anyone is to talk about your problem with other people that know what you are going through plus lived through it themselves and watch media that talks about what you are going through to have a good cry. Having an emotional release and seeing these things discussed somewhere else will show you that you are not alone in the world with what you are dealing. Don’t shelter yourself, find other people to shelter with.
The World of GitS:SAC
Stand Alone Complex takes places in the beautiful, fictional city of Niihaama, Japan during the year 2030 A.D. The setting takes place after a nuclear world war three which involved another nuclear bomb going off on Japanese soil around Tokyo and a bloody and a not nuclear world war four. A world where the United States has split off into three with each nation having a different political identity behind them. While all of that is important world building elements regarding this series, they aren’t important to this post.
The important part is our protagonist crew Section Nine. A crew lead by former Lt. Col. Aramaki whose crew is lead by a certain famous character in the anime world, Major Motoko Kusanagi, that leads a group of ex-military cyborgs and Togusa that goes around solving all sorts of cybercrime around Niihama and Japan at large. Stand Alone Complex’s major villains are hackers and conspiracies that can only be solved by digging deeper into the internet.
Stand Alone Complex’s Technology
The fact that Stand Alone Complex only takes place a short hop, skip, and a jump from our time should be weighing down on you right now. Especially from a technological stand point, once you realize how close our technology is in concept and reality compared to what is shown in the anime series itself, that’s completely nuts. Stand Alone Complex has a future filled in with virtual reality internet usage and hacking, cyber brains that allow people to be connected to the internet all the time, and should we mention all the advanced technology centered around the internet, satellite technology, nanomachines, virtual computer intelligence that we are beginning to see these days?
I mean, we have our virtual intelligence devices from google and amazon that are becoming a larger mainstay technology in our lives and my smart phone and laptop are also virtual reality capable. I don’t think that attaching the internet straight into one’s brain is that far away from a teenager that is always on their smart phone. Cyber brains. Boom. We only have eleven years and some change left before we get there, but I’m sure we will be getting to this future soon.
So with this concept, I know that I am taking this month’s prompt a little too literally, but I will make the case that the internet being attached to people’s brains can do bad things for their mental health too. The first case is when the technology attached to a person’s brain hardens. That’s not good. It’s called Cyber Brain Sclerosis and there is no medically approved cure for that yet. There is a cure, but it would be very black market and very expensive. Even if the chance of getting it is low, it’s still a 100% deadly disease once it happens unless you know the right channels.
There is an even bigger issue here to consider. You guys know how stealing people’s I.D.’s, credit card information, social security numbers, and so many other things are a big deal in our world? Imagine if YOU got hacked or stolen. Yes, your brain is now connected to the internet which can result in your memory getting hacked. This is called Ghost Hacking. You see, everything that constitutes your personality is considered a Ghost in the series. Ghost in the Shell’s title and what the show wants to discuss is not subtle once you understand the lingo that the show is putting down. The term “Stand Alone Complex” is the same way.
The result of Ghost Hacking is that a person’s mental capacities could be destroyed and/or deleted with a few key strokes on a computer. Section Nine has dealt with many cases where a victim was hacked to do something illegal and they don’t remember it at all OR the victim’s personality and everything else that defines them was completely deleted from their body in the first place. Mental health? What mental health? Given the fact that civilians have plenty of mental health problems to solve, having this problem on top of them doesn’t help anyone. Ghost in the Shell’s world is very technological advanced and everything, but it’s scary. Everything that adds to society also adds more dangers to it.
Thank you for reading this post. If you want to read more, Jack posted about The Great Passage yesterday and Mel has a post about Psycho Pass tomorrow. Two cyberpunk series in a row means you are all getting a good treat. If you need more then that, please look at our blog schedule here.