The BEST Episodes of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: May 7, 2021
In the future when technological enhancements and robotics are a way of life, Major Motoko Kusanagi and Section 9 take care of the jobs that are too difficult for the police. Section 9 employs hackers, sharpshooters, detectives and cyborgs all in an effort to thwart cyber criminals and their plans to attack the innocent.
#1 - Endless Gig
Season 2 - Episode 26 - Aired Jan 8, 2005
Kuze and the Major come up with a plan to save the refugees, but the chances of its success are slim. Realizing this, the Tachikomas disobey the Major's orders and come up with a plan of their own. Batou has also disobeyed the Major's orders to go to the bridge and is desperately searching for her in the ruins of Dejima. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister is frustrated with being spurned by the Chief Cabinet Secretary. Determined to be remembered as more than a mere figurehead, she takes matters into her own hands.
#2 - Portraitz
Season 1 - Episode 11 - Aired Dec 10, 2002
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.
#3 - Poker Face
Season 2 - Episode 14 - Aired Jul 3, 2004
While on an assignment guarding the Prime Minister, Saitou and the Tachikomas pass the time playing poker with a few policemen who are also assigned to the case. Much to the chagrin of the other men, Saitou wins hand after hand. The Tachikomas take notice of Saitou's uncanny accuracy and start to comment. Their constant chattering quickly gets on the other player's nerves, so to smooth things over Saitou recounts his time working as a sniper for mercenaries in Mexico.
#4 - Intercepter
Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 22, 2002
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.
#5 - Nuclear Power
Season 2 - Episode 24 - Aired Dec 4, 2004
With the felling of Dejima Bridge by the refugees, a rumor circulates around the Cabinet that the refugees plan a mass suicide bombing using nuclear bombs. Fearing this, the Cabinet steps up the attack against the city. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Kayabuki has been secretly arrested and taken to an unknown location. Aramaki, Togusa and Proto, in trying to help the P.M. are also taken into custody and secured in her office. With Section 9 having entered the non-communication zone and Aramaki being cut off from communication, Ishikawa and a Tachikoma make their way to Spring-8 on their own. Meanwhile, Gouda has sent an unwitting Section 4 after Section 9 to retrieve the plutonium.
#6 - Red Data
Season 2 - Episode 17 - Aired Sep 4, 2004
Following a tip, the Major conducts an undercover investigation of Kuze in Taiwan. While there, she saves a boy running from the Mafia. After being saved, the boy follows her, making sure that she finishes what she started. The mafia will continue to pursue the boy and the Major has to protect him.
#7 - Meme
Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Nov 5, 2002
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
#8 - Not Equal
Season 1 - Episode 13 - Aired Dec 24, 2002
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.
#9 - This Side of Justice
Season 2 - Episode 25 - Aired Jan 8, 2005
As the attack on Dejima escalates, the Major catches up with Kuze. She explains the whole situation to him and he agrees to follow her. They are about to leave when both are attacked by the Self-Defense forces and in the confusion are trapped under the rubble. Togusa rescues the Prime Minister and brings her back to her office. There, Aramaki hopes her influence will stop the launching of the ultimate weapon. Meanwhile, Batou reasons with Section 4.
#10 - Embarrassment
Season 2 - Episode 21 - Aired Nov 6, 2004
Much to the chagrin of Batou, Motoko, and the rest of the team, Kuze and the refugees manage to escape in one of the camouflaged boats. They are further hampered when an explosion causes heavy losses, leaving them unable to follow the fleeing boat. Regrouping, the team decides to refocus the investigation to the events surrounding Kuze. They start a secret investigation into Sagawa Electronics, the company responsible for the nuclear material transaction, and find that Gouda was involved. Meanwhile, as the boat heads for Dejima, Kuze makes his own unsettling discovery.
#11 - Selecon
Season 2 - Episode 12 - Aired Jun 5, 2004
Section 9 has uncovered Shō Kawashima's ("FAKE FOOD") external memory device on the net. Hidden in a route to the Asian matrix only accessible through the European array, Section 9 concludes that the device was hidden by Gouda. Unfortunately, Gouda has left no trace of his movements in the device. The Major prepares to dive into the device with Bōma and Ishikawa watching her closely. However, before she can dive, Aramaki notifies her that someone even more important than the external memory device has just surfaced...
#12 - Fabricate Fog
Season 2 - Episode 20 - Aired Oct 2, 2004
Section 9 heads to Etorofu in search of Kuze. During their investigations, the Major finds an interesting floppy disk on the body of a dead addict. The floppy proves to be a goldmine of information, as it contains records of plutonium transactions. The last buyer to purchase the material was a group of Asian refugees. Realizing the transaction is about to take place, the team rushes to the location and is surprised by what they find.
#13 - Jungle Cruise
Season 1 - Episode 10 - Aired Dec 3, 2002
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.
#14 - Barrage
Season 1 - Episode 25 - Aired Mar 18, 2003
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.
#15 - DISCLOSURE - Quantized Gospel
Season 3 - Episode 6 - Aired Apr 23, 2020
Following the Section 9 reunion, Kusanagi and her colleagues learn about the "post-humans," a previously unknown threat to humanity.
#16 - Affection
Season 2 - Episode 11 - Aired Jun 5, 2004
Training has commenced to find new recruits for Section 9. With Motoko acting as the target, Batou and Togusa watch as the recruits try to keep up with the Major. After ditching some of the recruits, Motoko has to lose just one more pair. She ascends some stairs in an alley and the recruits follow her. Moving out into the street above, the recruits see that they have lost the target. However, Batou and Togusa have lost contact with the Major as well.
#17 - Escape From
Season 1 - Episode 12 - Aired Dec 17, 2002
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.
#18 - Martial Law
Season 2 - Episode 23 - Aired Dec 4, 2004
The Chief Cabinet Secretary uses the excuse of the refugees possessing 10kg of plutonium to mobilize the military against Dejima. With the available evidence against the refugees, Prime Minister Kayabuki reluctantly agrees. However, she soon learns from the Chief Cabinet Secretary that he's aligned himself with Imperial America and is now after her job. Knowing her days as P.M. are numbered, she agrees with Aramaki's plan and calls the U.N. in for a nuclear inspection of Dejima. The move buys them some time to defuse the situation, and Section 9 heads to Dejima to meet up with the U.N in two days. However, with tensions running high it is only a matter of time before someone fires the first shot.
#19 - Chain Reaction
Season 2 - Episode 19 - Aired Oct 2, 2004
Despite close scrutiny by the authorities, the Dejima refugees declare their independence. Kuze is suspected to be the mastermind behind this new resistance and Section 9 is sent to detain him. The Major hacks into the refugee cyberbrain hub and easily locates Kuze. When the team rushes to capture him, however, they find themselves in the middle of a trap.
#20 - Stand Alone Complex
Season 1 - Episode 26 - Aired Mar 25, 2003
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.
#21 - Ag2O
Season 1 - Episode 16 - Aired Jan 14, 2003
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.
#22 - NOSTALGIA - All Will Become N
Season 3 - Episode 12 - Aired Apr 23, 2020
Togusa has a strange episode while analyzing the data confiscated from Shimamura. When he wakes up, he and Batou head out to investigate.
#23 - Decoy
Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 29, 2002
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.
#24 - Idolator
Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 12, 2002
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.
#25 - Machines Désirantes
Season 1 - Episode 15 - Aired Jan 7, 2003
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.