You know time is flying by when fictional futuristic dates are starting to line up with current timelines of the world. Case in point, it is now officially February 2024. Fans of Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex might recognize this very iconic month and year combination as it marks the beginning of when “The Laughing Man” first appeared in the world of the anime on February 3, 2024. He later becomes a central plot point in the first season of the series. To commemorate this date and the 20th year anniversary of the Ghost in The Shell franchise, various digital and physical activations are taking place all themed around “The Laughing Man Incident.”

Relive The Laughing Man Incident

Several merchandise collaborations have already been announced on the official website, including a giveaway by Geeks Rule, T-shirts and sweaters by Subciety and a pop-up at Seekbase in Akihabara. Aside from that, starting today, the original omnibus Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is available for just three days on YouTube via the Emotion Label Channel and Full☆Anime TV. There is also a sold-out special event happening at the Human Trust Cinema Shibuya on February 3, the exact date that The Laughing Man appears on live television in the anime.

ghost in the shell the laughing man

Who is The Laughing Man?

The Laughing Man represents the main antagonist of season one of Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex and is a reoccurring character. He is the ultimate hacker, having hijacked video streams and cybernetic brains and is even capable of removing his image from an individual’s artificial eyes. The logo of The Laughing Man is an animated image of a smiling figure wearing a cap. Around it is a quote from J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. The character’s name is taken from Salinger’s short story, “The Laughing Man,” which was originally published in The New Yorker

About Ghost in the Shell

Written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow (born Masanori Ota), Ghost in the Shell is a Japanese cyberpunk manga series. Set in the mid-21st century in the fictional Niihama Prefecture, the series follows members of Public Security Section 9 who work to prevent crime, usually involving political instability and counterterrorism. In this world, technology has greatly advanced. Humans possess cyberbrains, which allow them to connect their biological brains to networks. This can also occur in conjunction with prosthetic body parts, enabling a person to become a cyborg. The main character, Motoko Kusanagi, is one such cyborg with a cyberbrain.

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