What separates the Stand Alone Complex from normal copycat behavior is that there is no real originator of the copied action, but merely a rumor or an illusion that supposedly performed the copied action. There may be real people who are labeled as the originator, but in reality, no one started the original behavior. Furthermore, in Stand Alone Complex, the facade just has to exist in the minds of the public. In other words, a potential copycat just has to believe the copied behavior happened from an originator - when it really did not. The result is an epidemic of copied behavior having a net effect of purpose. One could say that the Stand Alone Complex is over nothing - yet causing an overall change in social structure.
This is not unlike the concepts of (refer to the conversation between the major and the Puppet Master in the manga) and . It also has ties to , as illustrated in the work of and . The phenomenon, in which the fictitious concept of a supernatural murderer went viral and has allegedly inspired real attacks, may be seen as an example of the Stand Alone Complex.
GHOST IN THE SHELL: STAND ALONE COMPLEX follows the characters of Public Security Section 9, a special task force determined to solve high crimes committed against the Japanese people. Most of the team members are human-machine hybrids, and each brings their own skill and history to the group. The year is 2030, and humanity has been redefined thanks to technology that can blend man and machine, but innovations like the cyberbrain -- which enables the hacking of a person's mind -- crime has become more sophisticated. Law enforcement must evolve, too, which leads to the creation of Section 9 -- an advanced team made up of former cops, military personnel, and criminals. Squad leader Major Motoko Kusanagi (voiced by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn) is a clever cyborg who's troubled by her past and (as mentioned) sports huge cleavage; other characters include second-in-command Buttetsu Batou (); Togusa (), who doesn't have any cybernetic advancement; and Daisuke Aramake (William Frederick Knight), the strict chief of police who's fiercely loyal to his team.