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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  • Bam
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 03:29 AM)
    @sonic: That just shows that they have budget issues and problems with asset management. Deen tends to hire a lot of commission contracts so the talen behind each work, and hence the quality, varies greatly.
  • sonicsenryaku
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 03:06 AM)
    Deen’s art has certainly improved and their cinematography has gotten a slight bump in refinement but their animation still could use some work and they still have trouble keeping their art and animation consistent through their series. All these critiques apoply to their tv series productions by the way; some of the movies they have worked on as well as they co-production works are pretty good
  • ninjarealist
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 11:49 PM)
    @Emma I think Deen makes some really good looking anime. People tend to give them crap for some of their mid-2000 stuff and justifiably, but their recent stuff and early stuff is really quite visually arresting.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 11:43 PM)
    Now granted,deens adaptation of sankarea had some pretty neat visuals behind it.
  • ninjarealist
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 11:14 PM)
    Granted that none of those manga had the type of mass appeal that Sankarea has, but they’re some pof the best manga I’ve read within their specific genre (sentimental ecchi comedies/romances). I love his art style too. It just works so well for sappy romantic stuff. Inu Neko Jump will always be one of my favorite manga.
  • ninjarealist
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 11:12 PM)
    On the subject of Sankarea, I’m about as big of a Hattori Mitsuru fanboy as anyone could be and I have to say that Sankarea is my least favorite manga of his. His strengths and weaknesses just don’t lend themselves very well to that type of horror/drama plot. Umisho, Inu Neko Jump, and Otogi no Machi no Rena even were all better manga.
  • k-off
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 08:47 PM)
    To be fair to the series though, I thought that the owl was pretty cool.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 06:18 PM)
    But I’ve heard complaints about the fanservice of rea not making sense considering her past/background and I’m inclined to agree.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 06:16 PM)
    Ha, and once again another shounen ruined by not being a seinen manga.
    @Aidan: Sometimes..sometimes I feel its the fans that should be writing these things instead…well the good ones =P
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 06:05 PM)
    @K-Off, Potentail for Rea to go berserk and starting a zombie apocalypse? Or at least enough to have her slowly lose her mind and chiro having to resort to more and more desperate measures to protect her and stop her from hurting others. There was plently of potentail in the premise, just that the author didn’t have the balls to take it that far.

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