Ryu’s Musings – Ghost in the Shell : Stand Alone complex – The Lost Memory

9781595820723ISBN-13: 9781595820723
Language: English
Direction: Left to Right
Pages: 213
By: Junichi Fujisaku
Publisher: Dark Horse
Type: Series, Novel
Genre: Seinen, Action, Post-apocalyptic


Since being formed as a shadow peacekeeping organization, Section 9 has faced almost countless adversaries both in the real world and in cyberspace, but none like "The Awakened," a group of terrorists who seem to have the ability to take over the minds and bodies of almost anyone and use them to commit crimes against the state, leaving their pawns unaware of who was controlling them. When Major Motoko Kusanagi is able to capture one of the boys used as a pawn she hacks into his cyberbrain to find out who the ringleader is, but what she discovers will take her and the operatives of Section 9 on a journey deep into the heart of cyberspace, and the answers she finds will shake Section 9 to its core.

The Lost Memory is the first in a trilogy of novels written by Junichi Fujisaku, one of the script writers for the SAC TV series.

Personally i think this is a very key thing to note, since he worked on the TV series he’s intrinsically tied with the lore of the series. As such he’s able to draw on things an outsider wouldn’t necessarily know. This clearly shows as the story he creates for this novel could have slipped into the TV series really well.

However this attachment to the established lore has it’s problems. Rigidity in the way things flow is clear throughout  the novel, with the way it progresses following pre-determined flows much like those of the TV series. This May be considered negative, since it does stifle creativity a bit, since it follows an established route, and can’t really expand.

The big question of course is: How does it hold up to the TV series?

Frankly it’s just as good as the TV series, though in truth it’s an off-shoot of the second movie, Innocence, I do think it more closely resembles the TV series however.

The one problem it does have however is that it follows a story similar to one already used in the TV series, in season one there’s an episode called ‘Lost Heritage’ which deals in something very similar to this novel. Memories taking over someone, causing them to act out an act of terrorism, all for the greater good of revealing a hidden truth. As i read this volume the episode came fresh to my mind, which is a great shame. It’s not the fact that he used the same plot as the TV episode, but rather that it flows almost exactly the same as the episode. I would have preferred some variance, rather than it feeling like a carbon copy of the episode.

Yet i have to admit that even despite this i really got into the volume, but for me that’s a no-brainer as I’m a huge fan of the GitS universe.

Another thing i noticed reading the novel is that Junichi can at times get a bit wordy with his descriptions, and yet at others give almost no descriptions at all. What’s more is he does this for the weirdest things. He’ll spend ages detailing a character’s design and personality, but then gloss over the tanks, which given their roll in the series i found a bit odd.

The cover is a bit weird, we have what I’m guessing is Makoto on the cover, but it doesn’t really look like her. This is then contrasted by the Makoto on the back cover from the anime. There’s one other image in the volume, that if the Part 2 of the novel. That’s the single image within the story, and wouldn’t matter if it was there or not.

There is one other thing worth noting about the novel, it draws heavily on the Laughing Man incident of the first season, however it changes certain bits of the lore surrounding that incident. I don’t have an issue with this, since the core lore remains unchanged, however when you change any lore small or large, it changes the perspective of the entirety. This was very much the case for this novel, it changes how you understand the Laughing Man incident.

This for me is the issue, you have two medium telling the same story, but in different ways. so which one is the accepted lore. Given that this novel was written by a script writer for the TV series, the waters are all the more muddied.

This, and the subsequent two volumes, were released by Dark Horse, and from what I’ve read they did a good job with the novels. Keeping certain epitaphs from the TV series, and the way that the characters talk and relate to each other. There were no errors at all in this novel, something I’m grateful for after my recent Haikasoru reads.

On the downside, this is now an out of print book. as such it’s no longer supported by Dark Horse, but at the time of writing is still fairly available from the likes of Amazon for a very fair price.

If you’re a fan of the GitS series, then i highly recommend this novel. For me these volumes will hopefully be the stop gap between re-watching the movies and series, and the new series, Arise, comes out

Author: Ryu Sheng