NEW YORK CITY, NY — It had been a typical night when anime fan Robert Kerry gathered some of his closest friends at his small New York apartment to marathon the 2002 animated series, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, in honor of the series recent 25th anniversary. But when his friends had arrived, and everyone was settled with snacks and soda for the night’s festivities, one guest noticed something very odd about the occasion.
“When I asked who had brought the DVD to watch,” New York native Sarah Wright told Anime Maru. “No one seemed to know, not even Robert. We even searched his apartment for a good hour looking for his copy of Stand Alone Complex, but couldn’t find any trace it had ever existed. At first, we just assumed that Robert had lost it — he was always a pretty messy guy after all — but when we checked the internet to find it online afterwords, that is when things got weird…”
According to others present that night, while searching the internet they could find no trace that GITSAC, as the anime is commonly referred to in fandom circles, anywhere. No streaming video, no illegal torrent downloads, or anything of the sort. Episode listings and summaries could be found commonly on the net, but the series itself seemed like it had vanished from the face of the Earth entirely.
“For about twenty minutes after that, we all sat around and tried to remember the show. I mean we had all watched it right? But everything we came up with turned out to be a half-remembered summary they had read online, or the plot of the original Ghost in the Shell movie. No one could actually remember ever watching Stand Alone Complex! It was then that it hit Robert, who looked at me in horror for a good minute before finally telling me, ‘I don’t think they show ever existed,'” Sarah went on to recall. “We were all terrified, honestly. Partly due to the fact that something near and dear to our hearts might be a complete lie, but also because we might have to spend the rest of the night watching Ghost in the Shell: Arise”
In the wake of the discovery, reports from all across the world poured in Anime Maru’s offices of others who had felt as if they’d just woken up from a very long dream.
“After hearing the news, I couldn’t find any trace of GITSAC anywhere either.” A anonymous fan posted online. “It was like my whole reality had been turned on its head. I could remember every bad ass battle, poorly thought out philosophical discussion, and even that stupid thing with the apple at the end of Second Gig. But I couldn’t for the life of me remember where I had seen it or when. Its been bugging me for days now! Is anyone else having this issue?” the posting ended.
When Anime Maru reached out to GITSAC series writer Kenji Kamiyama for a response to the strange happening, we received the following statement:
“I did actually write the entirety of both season, and Yoko Kanno scored both of them as well. But after that, the higher ups at Production I.G. decided to go a different route, and produce the world’s first memetic anime. We’d release plot summaries, scripts, and music tracks online, and announce the anime’s airing after the fact. That way, people would have assumed they’d seen it, based on our marketing on information found online. It was genius, honestly. But its been a decade, and I think its time to come clean and say this: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex was never actually aired anywhere in the world. It is, in fact, a Stand Alone Complex.”
The statement then ended with several lines of spelled out laughter.
Fans of the series took the news hard, and are currently searching frenetically for another serious science-fiction series to like in an effort to prove they have good taste.