Kôkaku kidôtai: Stand Alone Complex (Mobile Armored Riot Police)
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, 2nd GIG, Solid State Society
52 episodes, two seasons (26 each), upcoming film
Opening theme: "Inner Universe," Yoko Kanno (Japanese) & Origa (Russian)
Russian music currently popular in Japan: t.A.T.u., Russian lesbian group, has their own manga (Japanese comic). Shoujo-ai (girl love) also popular in Japan.
First line to opening theme: "Angely i demony kruzhili nado mnoj"; in English, "Angels and demons circling above me"
In ancient times, an Indian prince named Sidartha Gautama left the state to become an aesthetic, achieved enlightenment and became known as the Buddha (awakened one).
Buddhism spread from Indian into China, where it mixed a bit with Taoism and moved into Japan to become Zen. (Zen moved back through China and mixed further with Taoism to become Chan.)
Early Indian Buddhist sculpture depicts the Buddha surrounded by angels and demons (he claimed he was neither, nor a god, merely "awake).
Japanese man named Yagihashi Tsukasa uncovered geometric patterns in this artwork.
The pattern is a series of circles forming horizontal lines, central triangles and outer pentagons, which he called "Shape of the Flower."
The flower, particularly the lotus, is an important symbol in Buddhist beliefs and practices.
Stand Alone Complex ending theme: "Lithium Flower," Yoko Kanno & Scott Mathew.
Lithium is an element with a large heat capacity and high electrochemical potential used for heat transfer and as a power source. It's also used as a mood stabilizer and antidepressant, and to treat migraines.
Buddhist philosophy involves reaching an "enlightened" state where emotional and mental states are stabilized and one can function with clarity and ease.
Cyborgs, of course, would need a great amount of power to operate as well as proper heat transference.
A tenshi is the Japanese equivalent of an angel, its name made of the words ten, meaning "sky or "heaven", and shi, meaning "death."
These figures come from Japanese Buddhism and are sometimes also called tennin or tennyo which come from Chinese Buddhism.
In modern Japanese art it is common to associate angels with created beings, and in fiction, characters that are genetically engineered or artificially intelligent are often associated with or considered angels.
In ancient tradition, angels are beings considered to act as hosts to the heavenly spirit, and while they are individual to varying degrees, they are also part of a collective.
In 2nd GIG there is an episode called "Natural Enemy" wherein a jigabachi helicopter pilot dies, the AI takes over, 11 unmanned jigabachi gather to circle a refugee tower, against their programming.
In the end, a suspicious character named Gouda appears to have had some influence in the incident, trying to goad the refugees into a revolution.
The 11 helicopters flying in two adjacent circles represent a terrorist group called the Individual Eleven, who used the infinity symbol as their logo. However, no members were involved in this incident.
Studies have been done comparing how Americans and Japanese look at a picture.
It was found that Americans typically look directly at the main focus of the composition.
Japanese subjects, however, tend to take in every other aspect of the painting first before looking at the central focus of the picture.
This is a cultural difference between Americans and the Japanese; in Japan, they prefer to learn of the environment that a subject is involved in rather than making assumptions based on the subject itself.
Japanese culture is high-context. American culture is very direct and low-context.
The overall premise of both seasons of Stand Alone Complex is in the name itself; the themes largely revolve around the dichotomy of humans both as individuals and in groups.
We have both separatist and collective natures within us than can either work together or be at odds with each other.
In Buddhism, one masters the self in order to live better with or without the collective.
In systems theory, am common thread woven through this series, any individual is also part of a collective.
Any individual, no matter how much of an outlier, how individual they are, is a part of something greater.