Author: Masamune Shirow | Illustrator: Masamune Shirow | Page Count: 176
"I took this job partly because I wanted some cool new high-tech toys…"
This slim volume was released after GitS: Vol 2: Man-Machine Interface (2001), but the "lost" stories that it contains were written prior to that, in 1991, '92, '95 and '96, which explains the 1.5 in the title. I didn't enjoy it as much as what came before, but only because it lacks one of the major players, meaning the original team dynamic was disrupted. Instead, it introduces a new regular character in what feels like a move made simply to make up the numbers.
Togusa and the new team member get most of the action. They bicker and bond like most buddy cop pairings. It's a beneficial pairing for Togusa, he gets to stop being the rookie, but the new addition isn't really all that interesting.
The Fuchikomas get quite a bit to do, which pleased me. However, when illuminated with the cold light of truth, about 50% of the book felt like filler and with only 176 pages in total that's a problem. It deserves credit for the other 50%, though. Some parts of the stories that work well were later plundered for the SAC TV Series, and we all know how good that was.
My biggest gripe is that Shirow goes overboard with the marginal explanations: some pages have more text squeezed onto the bottom or up the side than there is dialogue in the panels. You're free to ignore it, of course, but I'm incapable of doing that; my brain won't let me.
3 bumble bees out of 5