The Official Log is a book + dvd combo that offers a deeper insight into the expansive Ghost in the Shell world. Or does it?
The Book: It gives a history of the franchise, beginning with Masamune Shirow’s original manga (1989) and ending with Season 1 of the S.A.C TV Series. It even covers the video games, which was a nice addition.
Then there are some character profiles. Have you ever wanted to know how tall Motoko was? Now you can. The excitement never ends.
Next up are plot summaries of each episode -- watch the series instead.
It then delves into background info, design, and the technology featured in each episode, up to ep 19. A second log was released that milks your wallet for the remaining 7 episodes. Within that section are concept drawings that show the evolution from Shirow’s unique style to the style settled on for the TV show. I found that part fascinating.
The DVD: The disc lasts 90 mins. Content is split into 3 parts.
1. A 37 min overview of the series that offers nothing new.
2. 33 minutes of interviews with staff. There are some words from Dir. Kenji Kamiyama but mostly it’s drivel from voice actors. I mean, voice actors?! They turn up, they read some lines, and they get paid. What can they tell you about the deeper intricacies of plot development? Nothing.
3. A 20 minutes look into the work of Production I.G. This is the only part that didn’t have me nodding off. It could have the opposite effect on many people.
The packaging is interesting. The dvd is embedded in a cut-out section of the book (See Here). It’s exciting until you decide to take it out. You have to remove the wraparound plastic dust jacket to get near the disc, then carefully pop it out and hope to Jebus you don’t pop out the thing that holds it in place too. It’s maybe a good thing that it's only worth watching once.
2½ incomplete volumes out of 5
Note: A link to a review of the Stand Alone Complex TV Series is included above but you can also find spoiler-free, mini-reviews of some of the Ghost in the Shell feature films at our sister site, In a Nutshell.