Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 premiered in 2020 to middling reviews (including our own), and after some delays, Netflix has finally released a trailer for the second season of the anime. It does not, unfortunately, look that much more interesting than the lacklustre season one.
Kenji Kamiyama and Shinji Aramaki return to direct Stand Alone Complex, which is based on the highly acclaimed near-future science fiction manga by Masamune Shirow, Ghost in the Shell. The anime movie adapted from the manga was also well-received (unlike the ScarJo live-action version), but the newest adaption, SAC_2045, fell flat for fans for a variety of reasons.
This trailer doesn’t seem to improve on the critiques leveled at the show two years ago. Many of the empty sci-fi terms used in the previous season make a comeback (“sustainable war,” “cyberbrain”), but so do references to stalwarts of the genre. 1984 gets a shout out with a character who states that “War is peace. Freedom is slavery,” with zero follow-up. No context. Just a lone man staring at… something, I suppose, saying whatever comes to their AI-fuelled mind.
I wish that I understood what the fully prosthetic cop-turned-mercenary Motoko Kusanagi is going to be up to in season two that’s different from the first, but there are so few emotional cues in this trailer that it’s nearly impossible to parse who I’m supposed to care about, much less who’s on Kusanagi’s side. The highlight of the trailer is the song choice; Japanese band Millennium Parade (of recent Belle acclaim) has its song “Secret Ceremony” featured in the preview.
Between the art and editing, this trailer feels frustratingly empty. It’s clear the emotional catharsis is meant to be conveyed through big explosions and various characters opening their eyes really wide very quickly. After the kind of worldbuilding established in season one, this trailer feels more like a by-the-book extension of the universe rather than an expansion.
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 arrives on Netflix in May.