Posted by psgels on 27 April 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Short Synopsis: Kuniko and Momoko head to Akihabara. Or what’s left of it.
Episode Rating: 7,5/10 (Good)
At first I thought that it would be best for me to simply follow the subs from this series, but after last week’s disaster with Tranquil Fansubs I’m just going to continue with the raws like I’m doing for most of the other shows I’m blogging. I’d rather miss a few details here and there than to sit through their “It’s so huge! It’s so huge!” It’s of course one thing to make slight translation errors, but it becomes a problem when a subtitle creates an extra flaw for a series. Shangri-la has its own problems, and it doesn’t need any more.

In any case, the animation of this series is a strange beast: during the first half of this episode, it actually looked quite capable… only to descend into the previous inconsistent quality in the second half. It’s the clear sign of a badly managed animation budget and outsourcing. I can’t seem to find anywhere who is supposed to be the chief animation director, but I think that this is the guy we need to blame for this.

Still, I’m not ready to give up on this show yet by far. While the show indeed isn’t anything amazing yet, it’s doing exactly what it should be doing right now: flesh out the setting and characters. This episode was a great way to show a bit more of the setting by showing how Akihabara has turned into some sort of black market paradise, and how these vastly different cities emerged when Tokyo got turned into a jungle. This series is in no way like Dragonaut, which even in its first episodes was one big heap of dullness, stock characters and predictability. I mean, who cares if it’s not amazing right now: there’s enough chance left for that. It’s clear that this isn’t a show that can be awesome right from the first minute, but there have been plenty of series with an average first half and an amazing second half. That’s what I’m hoping Shangri-la will turn into.

On a more negative side, there have been quite a few coincidences in this episode. The most unlikely ones:
– Kuniko’s mother is most likely confirmed to be Sayoko
– Miiko becomes instantly liked by Mikuni
– Momoko is Mikuni’s mother (?!?)
– Someone Kuniko knows lives in Akihabara. My guess would be either her father or brother.
– For some reason Karin can’t find any data about Kuniko.

Standalone those coincidences are obviously too much, but when you think about the causality between them, things start to get interesting. If Momoko indeed is Mikuni’s mother or father (depending on when exactly she got her sex change), it would make sense of Mikuni to like transvestites like Miiko. We now see that Kinuko is someone special, and perhaps the reason why Momoko left her ‘daughter’ had something to do with Kinuko, and somewhere along the way Miiko got involved. Now the question remains who that guy at the end of the episode was. There are still a few too coincidences, but provided that they’re well handled they shouldn’t prove to be that much of an annoyance. And besides, it’s good that these revelations come this early in the series. It’s much better than the alternative: a “LUKE I AM YOUR FATHER”-moment near the end.

8 Responses

  1. - Someone Kuniko knows lives in Akihabara. My guess would be either her father or brother.

  2. uuggghh . . . why my reply was cut =_=

    - Someone Kuniko knows lives in Akihabara. My guess would be either her father or brother.

    do you mean the guy with glasses at the end of the episode? if yes, my guess it’s Kusanagi. Well, the close-up in the preview of the episode really seems to be him. or maybe it’s just my wishful imagination. haha!

    Sayoko . . .I forgot who she was x_x

    I am also seeing the possibility of Momoko being Mikuni’s . . . parent.

  3. psgels psgels says:

    Hmm, I forgot who Kusanagi was. ^^;

    Anyway, Sayoko was the main assistant of Mikuni. Previously it was mentioned that Kuniko’s mother was at Atlas. It can’t be anyone but her.

  4. LOLz to mutual character forgetfulness!

    Kusanagi is the soldier with the dagger. It made a sound when it hit with Kuniko’s boomerang in one of the previous episodes.

    Ah, if I understood correctly, Sayoko’s the one in the upper right screenshot?

    Ah, I see. In a way it makes sense. But there’s a possibility her mother’s a different character that hasn’t made her appearance yet? I dunno. ^^; I just can’t . . . see her connected to Kuniko. Hehe

  5. dm00 says:

    It may be my imagination, but I’ve come to think that this series is constantly flirting with the fourth wall in ways of varying subtlety — take, for example, the otaku ecstacy over a real girl wearing a real school uniform. Other than inciting otaku ecstacy why does Kuniko wear sailor-fuku (maybe it’s explained in the novel, where her dress is similar). I also think Kusanagi’s “polka dots” in episode two referred to Kuniko’s panties — but the series (from Strike Witches Gonzo no less!) has never shown cartwheeling Kuniko’s panties.

    That’s all prologue to saying that I think the “inconsistent animation” of the second half was actually a deliberate shift in animation style to one more Akihabara/Otaku-like.

  6. Rob Hiengler says:

    “While the show indeed isn’t anything amazing yet..”

    As I recall Guin Saga was doing some pretty amazing things within 2 episodes.

    Anywho resetting trade records? Whatever that does, considering this people i.e. the traders will notice a change in value of whatever is on the screen (presumably stock value etc.) and wonder why, and they will see the trade has been reset so they’ll just do the trade again not to mention know that someone “hacked” the system – back to square one. Its nonsense and quite honestly stupid.

  7. Rob Hiengler says:

    Again this show has no understanding of what the carbon economy is. It’s about limiting carbon emissions, selling people’s quotas to others not selling graphite.

    Graphite – how F-ing stupid. I mean synthetic graphite can be manufactured from amorphous carbon i.e. coke and coal. Burn a couple of trees flood the market and graphite is worthless.

  8. sigundul says:

    This is the worst anime I’ve ever watched. The story has no rule whatsoever and the author just keep pulling things off the thin air. While the whole carbon market and hacking in this anime is plain dump, it even has a bigger problem regarding its storyline. For example, why on earth that Lady Mikuni cannot kill Ryoko instantly just like she killed many of her servants? It was obvious that Ryoko blatantly lied to her yet she could not figure it out nor killed her for it. I thought sensing lies and killing liars are Mikuni’s power.

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 05:18 AM)
    Oh, awesome, dark horse is releasing volume 10 of black lagoon in April, its been nearly five years since the last complete volume…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 03:56 AM)
    @Aidan: I think theres something seriously wrong when theres the actually possibility of there being a good PA works anime but we all have our opinions =P
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 03:13 AM)
    @Raggers, I will go into detail when I review it. But I think something is seriously wrong when I get a far more satisfying ending out of shirobako than Death parade.
    Looking forward to writing a review of shirobako too.
  • Raggers
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 02:56 AM)
    @Aidan: it wasn’t bad though. I think it suffered from too high expectations and lack of focus (or overreaching).
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 02:29 AM)
    Well. Death parades ending was quite underwhelming.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 11:21 PM)
    Waiting between releases for this will be a good thing, its the sort of manga you pick up and put down, then go back to with breaks in between.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 11:13 PM)
    13 volumes into dorohedero, I’ve found it good enough to buy now that I’ve caught up with the official English releases. While the plot meaders and is kind of messy, isn’t up to much, I love how crazy the gory action is, the gritty artstyle/world and the black comedy more than well make up for it. It works best when focused on those masked gangster magician guys and also the main character, the others are only alright.
  • Raggers
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 02:19 AM)
    @Aidan: true, but I don’t think the level is anywhere close to a true shounen. And once the basic rules are established it’s strategising and straight out fighting.
    I’d be more inclined to call it seinen with shounen elements than actually shounen.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 09:59 PM)
    Good all action finale to cap off Garo there, went out with a bang, though thing is I have no idea where their going to go with this when the movie, second season comes along, this seems like a pretty good point to finish.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:35 PM)
    I think that just about all the manga serialized in ultra jump feel less seinen than those serialized in other seinen magazines.

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