The Complex story arc of Stand Alone Complex focuses on the Laughing Man case, and on a medical/governmental conspiracy tied in to the fate of the Laughing Man. The Laughing Man is an expert hacker, able to hide his physical presence by editing himself out of video feeds and cybernetic eyes, concealing his identity by superimposing an animated logo over his face, and hijacking cybernetic brains altogether, all in real-time.
The character’s name is taken from the title of J. D. Salinger‘s short story, The Laughing Man. The Laughing Man logo is an animated image of a smiling figure wearing a cap, with circling text quoting a line from Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye (see below). The Laughing Man’s actual name, as far as can be ascertained, is Aoi (アオイ), meaning Blue in Japanese. In the last episode of the first season, his red hat has Aoi patched on the inside; while in episode 11, “Portraitz”, the director of the vocational aid center calls him by this name when introducing him to Togusa.