Review Date: 9/6/22
Directed By: Kenji Kamiyama, Shinji Aramaki
Cast: Atsuko Tanaka
Season 2: 12 episodes
Picking up right where season 1 left off, Togusa is missing and the Post-humans are amassing a staggering number of hacked/brainwashed supporters simply known as "N." Section 9 continues their attempts to bring down the Post-humans, but are woefully outclassed by their agility and advanced computational power. Purin starts out as annoying as she was previously, but her story arc takes a dark and tragic turn that left me sobbing and made me re-evaluate her character. It's nice to see Section 9 working as a tightly orchestrated unit and all of the regular characters seem much less abrasive this time. Major Motoko Kusanagi looks fantastic and Atsuko Tanaka gives her life with a totally bad-ass performance. The other characters also look and sound great.
While many of my criticisms about the first season still apply, the animation looks much better and the hard-hitting action scenes are superbly realized. However, the motion capture still tends to look a little awkward and unnatural. The show also indulges in some gratuitous fan service that had me rolling my eyes and shaking my head in disapproval. The episodes seem to flow a little better and the pacing is more energetic, which makes them easier to watch. Unfortunately, the last two episodes are overly surreal, metaphysical, and difficult to follow, and the show's ending is frustratingly vague and open-ended. It also plays the nostalgia card pretty heavily (which is also a theme in the story) and Kusanagi and Batou revisit the ending of the original movie before parting ways.
I feel like I enjoyed season 2 a lot more than season 1, but I literally don't remember ANYTHING about the story, so I was constantly lost while trying to piece the plot together. I'm still not sure what happened and what it was all about. It's probably best to binge-watch all 24 episodes in order to find some sort of meaning or closure.