© 士郎正宗・Production I.G/講談社・攻殻機動隊2045製作委員会
© Shirow Masamune, Production I.G/KODANSHA/GITS2045

KODANSHA

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2024.02.09Event
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Official report of the “Ghost in the Shell: STAND ALONE COMPLEX The Laughing Man” screening and talk show on 3 Feb 2024 (Sat).

The TV series “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex”, written by Shirow Masamune and produced by Production I.G, began broadcasting in April 2002. Twenty years after the broadcast, the real world is now approaching February 2024, the month in which the “Laughing Man Incident”, the event at the heart of the story, occurred in the setting of the work, and the “Laughing Man” has now been revealed to the world. A special event featuring a screening and talk show was held at the Human Trust Cinema Shibuya (Tokyo) on Saturday 3 February 2024, the date on which the “Laughing Man” appeared on the live TV broadcast site.
The work screened was the compilation OVA “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex The Laughing Man” (2005), which is based on the TV series “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” and centred on the incident surrounding the “Laughing Man”. (produced in 2005).
The talk show featured the film’s director, Kenji Kamiyama, and science fiction and literary critic Naoya Fujita, who published the book “Ghost in the Shell Theory”. An official report from the talk show has now arrived.

 

Ghost in the Shell: STAND ALONE COMPLEX The Laughing Man” Screening & Talk Show Outline
Date & Time: 3 February (Sat), 2024, 16:00 – Start of screening (talk show after screening)
Screening film: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex The Laughing Man (159 mins)
Theatre: Human Trust Cinema Shibuya (Shibuya 1-23-16, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo)
Speakers:Kenji Kamiyama (Director), Naoya Fujita (Science Fiction and Literature Critic)

 

 

Twenty years have passed since the TV series “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex”, written by Shirow Masamune and produced by Production I.G, was broadcast, and February 2024, the time when the “Laughing Man Incident”, which is the core event of the story, occurred in the setting of the work, has finally arrived. The screening of “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex The Laughing Man”, an OVA compilation of all 26 episodes of the TV series with new cuts and new postrecordings added, focusing on the “Laughing Man Incident”, and a special event with a talk show will be held at the “Ghost in the Shell: STAND ALONE COMPLEX The Laughing Man”. A special event with a talk show was held at Human Trust Cinema Shibuya on 3 February 2024 (Sat). The talk show featured the film’s director, Kenji Kamiyama, and science fiction and literary critic Naoya Fujita, who published the book “Ghost in the Shell”. When Director Kamiyama greeted the audience with the words “Thank you for coming to the theatre on this memorable day”, he was greeted with loud applause from the audience.

 

As 3 February 2024, the screening date, is the date when the Laughing Man appeared on the live TV broadcast, talk developed on the theme of the “Laughing Man Incident”. Incidentally, people dressed as the Laughing Man were actually seen at the scramble crossing in Shibuya, where the programme took place, showing that the series is still very popular 20 years after its broadcast.

 

First of all, he discussed how he got the idea for the content of the film, which anticipated what has been happening in reality over the past 20 years, such as the proliferation of internet memes and social reforms using the internet. Director Kamiyama recalls how, at the time, mobile phones could finally send texts of around 140 characters, but photos could not yet be sent, and says: “When I heard manufacturers saying, ‘Why are we texting when we can talk [on the phone],’ I thought I would probably be used more for texting. would be used more”. It was clear that Director Kamiyama had a keen insight into the world, as he thought that making phone calls was surprisingly cumbersome and that people would be conversing via text because texting would allow them to communicate easily at a time of their choice.

 

 

The conversation delved deeper into the genesis of the Laughing Man. Regarding the less diplomatic character of Holden, the protagonist of the novel “The Catcher in the Rye” (written by J.D. Salinger), which was the subject of this film, Director Kamiyama commented: ‘I think it’s what we now call PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), but when that novel was written, the protagonist was simply called a delinquent. I think it’s what we call PTSD now. But I don’t think I am that kind of character at all, and I thought that the more people who are not good at interacting with society, the more affinity they have with text-based conversations”, he said, adding that he thought a character like Holden was the type of person who would become the main character in the coming online society and the strongest enemy for Public Security Section 9. He revealed that he thought the character must be the strongest enemy for Public Security Section 9.

 

The story of “Laughing Man” was inspired by the fact that the man in “Laughing Man”, a story from the author’s short story collection “Nine Stories”, who has trouble dealing with society, fits the image of a person who would be the protagonist of the internet society. Director Kamiyama says that the starting point of the idea was that “the internet was not as developed as it is today, so it would be easier to understand if this subject matter was woven into the logic of visualising the world of ‘Ghost in the Shell'”.

 

When asked if he was aware of the fact that the film was being discussed on anonymous forums such as 2channel at the time of its broadcast, Director Kamiyama replied that he felt that the timeline of faceless people talking about various things based on a common topic was like an easy-to-understand map of the spread of the internet. He recalled that “sometimes there are people who become heroes by talking about topics on 2chan, and I remember that I had adopted such an existence as a concept of the internet in making “Ghost in the Shell”.

 

 

Next, after 20 years of transition in the internet society, Director Kamiyama said that “my position as a portrayer has also changed”. When I was making this film, I was on the side of the people who were trying to overthrow a great evil, and I was depicting it from the perspective of using the internet as a weapon to achieve justice, but before I knew it, my position had changed to the opposite. He added that the view of justice or evil changes depending on one’s position, and that this is one of the advantages of the Net, but added: “The Net is constantly changing generations, and I feel that new people’s view of the Net will probably be different from when I made S.A.C. (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex). However, I can only depict the view from my own position,” he said, analysing that this kind of understanding may have changed with the transition of his work.

 

In “Hirune Hime” (released in 2017), the story was about three generations, and when asked how he felt about the generational differences, Director Kamiyama said, “At the time, I thought that someone like Holden should be the protagonist of the online society, so I guess I happened to see the future a little further in my mind.” On the other hand, there were moments when he felt that what the newcomers to the internet were feeling and the language they wanted to use were out of sync with his own, and he said, “I think a generational change will come in about 10 years”.

 

The position of the Public Security Section 9 has also changed over time. Until around the early 2000s, they existed as heroes of justice, but in the 2010s, people started to call them ‘Netoyo’ and the left and right switched places.I think the experience was about the same. There was a sense that the raison d’être of the Public Security Section 9 was turned upside down, as if it was impossible for those on the side of the regime to achieve justice. The word ‘justice’ is now sometimes used in a bad way to justify things,” he pointed out, speaking of the changing times.

 

 

Changing the subject, when asked about the similarities between Shimamura Takashi, who appears in the latest film Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045, and the laughing man Aoi, Director Kamiyama replied, “Around the 2010s, it was said that the age of the yankee (physical) would come, but as it turns out, the internet people have more influence in today’s society. Twenty years later, when I visualised the people who are dominating the internet society as the greatest common denominator, I came to resemble Ao-kun,” he revealed, and the audience laughed when he said, “The age of the Yankee did not come after all.

 

When asked as a final question about his message to people in their teens and twenties who are new to the work, he replied: ‘On the contrary, I would like to know how you felt when you saw this film. ‘Does it seem old-fashioned and not at all relevant, or is there something that links to it? I’d like to ask them myself.

 

In his final message to fans, he said: ‘I was touched that so many people remember an episode (the Laughing Man incident) from a work that has been 20 years in the making. I came to Shibuya with a sense of excitement, wondering what kind of audience we would have today. (I saw the Starbucks where the film was set (the model for the film), but it wasn’t what I expected (laughs). I am grateful that we were able to share this day together. Thank you all for coming to this event”, he concluded, and the event ended on a high note, with the audience applauding loudly.

 

In addition, “The Laughing Man Incident 0th Anniversary: ​​February 2024” is currently being developed, a collaboration project linked to WEB, SNS, and merchandising, in which “Laughing Man Incidents” occur simultaneously in real life. Hacking activities by Laughing Man on the web, implementation of various SNS projects, various merchandising developments that imitate the spread of the Laughing Man incident, etc. are occurring all at the same time. A special portal site to track these events will also be opened for a limited time. A new logo for this collaboration project has also been created.