Monday, September 14, 2009

Finally watched the end of Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex 2nd GiG - I watched about half of that season when the fansubs were coming out, and bounced *hard* off of the Full Metal Jacket knockoff episode. (Incidentally, it wasn't the obnoxious anti-Americanism of that episode that riled me - it was the preposterous poker hands that the writer used as a framing device. I never, ever want to see a straight flush take a four-of-a-kind in a no-wilds five-card game in fiction ever again.)

Question for anybody who remembers the ending: who the heck did Prime Minister Kayabuki appeal to, off-screen, to resolve the "secret coup d'etat" part of the crisis? She's been cut off from control over the military by her Cabinet Secretary, and she does *something* which he thinks is unwarranted and foolish which checkmates him, but I couldn't figure out what it was. Did she somehow appeal to the populace? Unlikely - the series is deeply contemptuous of Japanese popular sovereignty. The General Staff? The Emperor?

*Is* there an Emperor in the GitS:SAC future? It's hard to tell in almost all anime if the Imperial apparatus "exists", because of the clutch of taboos which would leave someone who only knew Japan from its popular culture to assume that it was a bureaucratic republic without any trace of monarchy. The wall is so high and strong and sturdy that I often forget about that aspect of things political, and the only reason I'm even thinking about this now is because that last episode of GitS:SAC was named "the Return of Patriotism", and the High Modern definition of Japanese patriotism is, after all, State Shinto & Emperor-worship.

All that business about Silvestre and his taxonomy of revolutions and whether to count the original "Individual Eleven" as revolutionaries is kind of bizarre divorced of any mention of the actual ideology of the prewar militarist terrorists - namely, the classic Appeal to the Emperor, and the liquidation of his erring ministers. Assassination attempts against figurehead prime ministers like Kayabuki don't make real-world sense without that ideological structure providing the explanation. It's like talking about twentieth century terrorism without discussing Marxism, or twenty-first century terrorism without mentioning Islam.

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