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G&G readers (and anyone else who knows me) are aware of my feelings on Ghost in the Shell. Some years ago I remember reading that there was a Stand Alone Complex manga coming out in Japan. But in the years since I’d completely forgotten this exciting fact. Until, a couple weeks ago, my husband called from the local comic shop to tell me he was holding in his hands the Stand Alone Complex manga, volume 4. Did I want it? Well, yes. A little research told me that each manga volume was a self-contained story, so I could read volume 4 with no fear of being lost.

I was disappointed to find that volume 4 is just a paper version of the season one episode, YES (the actual title is spelled with a yen symbol, a pound sterling symbol and a dollar sign, but…silly keyboard). It’s pretty much a shot-for shot adaptation, with a couple minor changes. I won’t summarize the story since most of you have probably seen the episode, but it involves a bad rich man, a female assassin with a good reason to want to kill him, and amusingly, Section 9 pretending to be trash collectors.

The story includes a little more background on Fem, the assassin, but otherwise there is nothing new here. The kinetic action that is such a big part of the TV series doesn’t translate well to the page. Besides this, the art is solid- the cover made me a little nervous, but the interior art is very similar to the show, and is serviceable if not spectacular (and really, why is it that shameless crotch shots seem more obscene in manga than they do in anime?). The eye-catch pages between chapters provide a little new art for the mega-fan as well.

The volume concludes with two bonus stories, one from the Tachikomatic Days manga, which was only released in Japan. It shows the cutesy spider-tanks watching Paz and Borma eating lunch together, and quickly segues into a (boring) history of the introduction of curry to the world palate. In the second bonus tale, one of the pony-tailed Section 9 service androids laments her lack of individuality, but after a (boring) lesson from the Tachikoma on the history of failed tank designs, she changes her mind.

In the end, the Stand Alone Complex manga is nothing new, and only essential for fanboys/girls who want to collect it for completeness’ sake. It’s available from Kodansha Comics for $10.99.

And finally, here’s a picture of some Tachikoma shoes. Because, you know, whatever. ghost-in-the-shell-stand-alone-complex-x-reebok-insta-pump-fury-tachikoma