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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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Oct 7. 2015 04:45 PM)
    If sakurako-san disappoints I am ignoring everything modern that is based on a light novel from now on. I’ve been hit by these adaptations far too often.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Oct 7. 2015 02:43 PM)
    ….Dear God…I have no words in which to describe hidan no aria AA, no words. The original I could take the piss out of. But this is a new low standard set for the light novel medium.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 09:02 PM)
    One-Punch Man’s pilot was almost adapted flawlessly. It straight up uses the manga panels as it’s main storyboard, but added just enough new touches to improve the action instead of ruining it. Now let’s see how they animate the mosquitos and all the lasers for the next episode.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 08:57 PM)
    And that’s why Madhouse is one of the few respectable studios left. I thought that they will be seriously diminished after Masao Maruyama took some of its key members and funded MAPPA, but One-Punch Man showed that they are still one of the best in the business.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 08:51 PM)
    @Kaiser The anime industry isn’t advanced enough in CG to make it look good, is all it is.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 05:51 PM)
    @K-off: Your not wrong, it certainly looks poor but some of the old gonzo animated stuff was far more woeful looking. Stellvia, which was done by xebec was another example of old anime cgi which was quite ugly to look at. Just as I prefer traditional effects in film I also prefer traditional animation techniques to cg.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 05:42 PM)
    Lately, the use of badly integrated cgi have been making my eyes sore,from the obviously cgi background characters in Asterisk to the overly fluid mech movements in Aldnoah. I still remember the shitty cgi piano hands in Kimi no Uso.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 12:04 AM)
    On the note of good balance between humor and drama- I think BoJack Horseman is an example of a show that executed that almost perfectly in both seasons. You are laughing one minute and amused by the hijinks and silliness and the next minute you are actually moved and shocked by the honest introspection. Too be honest BoJack is more a tragic character then a goofy one, and his struggles are deeper and more existential than they have any business being in a show with anthropomorphic animals.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:56 PM)
    The changes in the setting actually made me more excited for season 3 then what I felt the past few weeks, since now the plot needs to move forward from the cliffhanger and hopefully this translates to more cohesion and refocusing on what mad the show great in the first place. I’m pretty sure S3 will also be a blend of episodic and arch story elements tho. Overall a few ups and downs but still a great show.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:52 PM)
    The finale also had some of the most overall arch story elements featured in the season. Earth joining the Galactic Federation is a big deal story-wise from now on. Also the use of a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” (not the Nine Inch Nails one clearly) was a nice fitting yet surprising touch. The throwback to Mr. PB after the credits was a good idea, but felt flat in it’s actual execution.

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