‘…Kusanagi experienced an uncomfortable sensation, as if insects were swarming over the surface of her consciousness.’
The last in a trilogy of Stand Alone Complex tie-in novels. It’s based on the TV series but there’s some interesting info about cyberbrains that’s reminiscent of Shirow’s original, meaning it manages to be referential and respectful to both.
There’s something malevolent lurking in the new tech. Its transmission leaves a victim with two puncture wounds in their neck. Is it a new virus or is it something very old? And what have the anti-China faction got to do with anything? The answer lies in the past.
Major Motoko Kusanagi investigates. As expected, she meets opposition and is forced to rely on her Section 9 training and her wits to survive.
The story focuses primarily on her but when the others do appear they’re faithful to their TV counterparts. And Fujisaku places them in situations that play to their strengths. If you love the Tachikomas as much as I do, there are a couple of scenes that’ll make you literally grin with glee.
The translation is functional but not always enjoyable. The Japanese language may rely heavily on proper nouns but a more liberal and efficient use of pronouns in the translation would've helped it feel less like it was handled by a machine while the real translator slept. Yes, I'm suggesting small changes could've been made but in this instance it would've been beneficial, not heretical. It's a fine line for people who care about such things but a compromise can be found.
Fujisaku mentions in the afterword that he planned to work on another SAC novel but it didn’t appear, and the chances that it ever will are diminished even more now that the Arise anime has replaced the SAC series. Someone ought to tell Production I.G that light novels like this would be the perfect way to continue the SAC franchise as it was. I’d buy them.
3 QRS Plugs out of 5