Oct 8, 2006
I have to say that Masamune Shirow's work does nothing for me.
His manga work comes across too compressed and wordy for my tastes. Full of dense info dumps. And the adaptation into anime tends to suffer even more. Just look at the latest Appleseed adaptation for instance. His work to me is pretty much everything that turns me off science fiction – priority to complicated world building and plot over nuanced characters and dialogue.
I've seen a little of the first 2002 series of Stand Alone Complex. It's Production IG so the standard of animation is pretty slick. However it just seemed really dull and somewhat out of date. Cyborgs and hacking seem almost like retro sci-fi nowadays. Like director Kenji Kamiyama's other works (Blood:The Last Vampire and WXIII: Patlabor) it seems the work of a skilled craftsman rather than talented artist. In fact I'd say his MiniPato shorts were the most charismatic work he's done.
Shirow's work has historically been very popular in the west. His manga proved an early success for Dark Horse as it's density is similar to the way US comics were written then. And of course Manga Entertainment were involved in the production of the GitS film. And both Manga and Bandai are still involved with the current iteration of the franchise – the latest being the TV movie – Solid State Society.