Posted by psgels on 1 September 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Haha, how awesome! Just when I thought that this show had already passed its best point, it just keeps the surprises coming. Seriously, with this series I was expecting the final episodes to be all over the place, like what it did in the middle part of the story, which had so many different plot twists about so many different characters.

Instead, the past few episodes have been the most solid and focused episodes of the entire series. Because of that, it lost the erratic pacing that I liked so much in the rest of the series. Usually when a series pulls this, it gets rather boring, but this episode really was surprisingly good. In fact, it was awesome, and well for the fact that this series has much more than just that pacing: it still has its great sense of characters, plot twists, visuals, music, et cetera. And the slow pacing leading up to the ending actually improved on them: we now can really focus on the central themes of the series. And hey, this series has completely shifted its style of storytelling before, so for once it doesn’t feel like the creators lack inspiration for the finale.

I really liked the reason why Sayoko was freed by one of Ryoko’s henchmen: he discovered that Sayoko was his older sister he had never known, so he decided to be a good brother for once and let her go. While it seems like a rather flimsy reason at first, the more I think about it the more it fits within this series: it ties in very much with this series’ themes of family bonds: families being torn apart, growing away from each other. You see it everywhere in this series: Sayoko lost her daughter, Takehito having lost his little sister, Kuniko taking her grandmother for granted and getting into a fight with her, Karin and the distance from her parents, and there is of course also my theory of Ryouko, being the mother of Kuniko, Mikuni and Kunihito, which is getting more and more likely, which I’ll get into below.

Most of this episode was spent on Mikuni, trying to decide whether it was worth destroying the world for the sake of revenge. The thing is however, that she’s just a little kid: very easily influenced by the scary Ryouko. Ryouko on the meantime really proved to be an excellent villain here, if you can accept that she’s so screwed in her mind that she’s willing to destroy the world, and it was her who hacked into Medusa earlier.

So in the end she did turn into another villain who’s planning to destroy the world, but in my opinion she stands much higher above the usual villains of this type. In a villain, I’m not looking for someone who necessarily has to be morally ambiguous, like these misunderstood good guys. Those people also have their sets of problems. What I’m looking for in a villain is a personality: a well fleshed out character who isn’t a cheap excuse for a bit of conflicts. Well backed-up reasons are a plus, but not necessarily required: I mean, how many evil overlords in the real world are screwed in the head? The reason why I dislike most villains in anime is because they’re too often just paper bags who are there for the sake of having a villain.

And yeah, I’m getting more and more convinced that Ryouko is the mother of Mikuni, Kuniko and Kunihito. The final twist this episode really was an awesome one: I love it when these character who infiltrate the enemy tell nobody of what they’re doing, not even the viewers themselves. I already found that it was strange that he’d suddenly get so close to Kuniko, I already found it weird for the creators to suddenly start establishing a strange romance between him and Kuniko. Now everything makes sense!

And really, Ryouko looked so much like an angry mother who’s urging her child along when she took Mikuni along with her. She really had that feeling of parental authority when she dealt with her. And besides that, I can’t think of any reason why she would want to obey the successor of Atlas, other than some sort of strange and deranged case of family bonds, in a series which is full of broken up and dysfunctional families.

Out of all the shows that are going to end in the coming month, the ones that are promising some outstanding endings to look out for for me are the new Mazinger, Shangri-La, Tokyo Magnitude and Phantom. These are the shows which were excellently planned across their total airtime, and are promising to close off with a finale in which everything comes together. There are only a few shows of this caliber every season, and I’m glad to see that this season again has a fine selection of them.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

9 Responses

  1. Shounen A says:

    It would be barely plausible that all the angsting by Kunihito was over whether he would become a deep undercover agent and mire his life in deception, but I find it a lot more likely that he was coerced with hostages.

  2. Pafiume says:

    Ya know, I never even considered that Kunihito was actually double crossing them, I just assumed it was some sort of crappy “We have your mother!” type of thing. Which would have made me pretty upset. Either way, though, it’s a pretty cliche cliffhanger.

    I loved the rest of the episode though~ I don’t know who I’m rooting for!

    Also, thank you very much for blogging this, otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten into it. And it’s one of my favorite anime in a while. :)

  3. Divaa says:

    -HUGE SUPPOSED SPOILER-

    I read on some random blog or forum Kuniko is actually a clone. Silly idea huh? I think that would just kill the show.

  4. Wow amazing characters, where can i see this series?

  5. Shounen A says:

    The official Shangri-la website links to sanctioned online broadcast sites (in Japanese). One of them shows the most recent episode for free (old episodes have to be paid for), while the other seems to require a paid membership.

    Or you could wait for the DVDs …

  6. reverse says:

    just what the hell happen, awesome episode indeed. it just make me excited to see this show finale. the cliffhanger at the end of this episode is nice too.

    shangri-la has to many up and down, with mostly down but if they could deliver 2 more awesome episode I could overlook some of those down episode

  7. Denizen says:

    This episode was absolutely fantastic, this show has turned out to be amazing.

  8. Alexander Morou says:

    I’ve been watching this show from the start.

    It really makes no damn sense.

    I mean the characters are interesting with their quirks; however, sometimes their motivations don’t make any sense. The story tends to jump around a lot, and they’ll introduce some random strand, that was previously left untouched, to drive the story down another path that was unthinkable before.

    The logic behind aspects of it are non sequitur, it is almost as if they’re trying to do too much at once: worldwide economic distress by a computer that can hack anything without giving reasons as to why it can hack anything (speed alone isn’t sufficient to handle the kinds of computations necessary, it has to have good programs besides raw power, to handle the multitude of security infrastructures that exist around the planet, never mind the throughput that would be necessary to inundate a given target with the commands necessary to overcome its primary control systems. Most country military infrastructures are super computers themselves, and are often nothing to laugh at.); nonsensical techno-babble about carbonic coefficients and adjusting them ‘magically’ alters the economic tide of a given region of the planet; ‘Zeus’ the control hub of the Atlas control center is decades old, yet it was able to easily hack the aforementioned super-computer-terror of the time without difficulty. The main character’s grandmother just happened to be the original CEO of Atlas.

    The drive of the main lead seems to change rapidly, from happy, hyper, to sad and unsure, and right back to normal as if nothing happened even after seeing her friends had been massacred. Strength of character is one thing, but leading a life, mostly running away from responsibility for a majority of the time, and suddenly developing a strong character is confusing. Mi-ko’s possessing seemed random, the vile witch of Zeus’ interface seems to be aware of everything, yet she intentionally kills an integral part of the so called supernatural pillar that makes the Atlas stand.

    How did Digma 2 know how to close the door to the central chamber for Zeus, why do things only get revealed immediately before their relevant in the story (the writers seem to know of foreshadowing, but sometimes fail to use it with enough advance)?

    It just seems like a bunch of interesting ideas slapped together, when summarized, it makes it sound like a bad dream, and you’re calling this good?

  9. Robhiengler says:

    Alexander Morou, absolutely agree with you. Glad I’m not the only one who thinks this is really nonsensical drivel packaged in a shiny wrapper unworthy of viewing.

    The blog author, you say the middle episodes were all over the place, that’s exactly you said about the beginning episodes.
    The only reason why the final episodes might have some sense is because the “end of the world” scenario imposed by the authors means the characters have to do something straight forward and logical i.e. save the cheerleader save the world.

    I was promised a good series, sadly I was very very disappointed.

    For an outstanding series ending try Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Seirei no Moribito, Samurai 7 or Even Full Metal Alchemist – the characters have grown, had a sense of loss, overcome obstacles and developed and where you as the viewer are sad to see the series end. It’s called emotional investment and quite honestly if anyone cared about these paper thin 2D caricatures in Shangri-La then you’ve got some seriously low standards for anime.

    Is Ryouko a well fleshed out villain? Let me see we don’t know her origins or the reasons behind her motivations yet; all we do know is she’s a blase psychopath who couldn’t care less about life, with a penchant for young boys, and a strange need to drink ‘refined’ beverages – in your own words “a paper bag” villain. I mean she isn’t even that manipulative, clever or even very evil, after all I can’t think of one instance where she played the long con to get someone to do what she wanted: she was even outplayed by Kuniko.

    With Ryouko people either typically do something because she’s in power or do something because it moves the plot forward with no explanation. Case in point Titan airfortress from the UN; after all they could have just used a fuel air bomb like the US did in the Maldives, but no Ryouko gets what Ryouko wants. Another point is the whole Japanese government wants her to step down, yet when she says whose going to lead the country if I do; no-one responds – ridiculous – if they got to that point then should already have some idea. The only thing that makes her formidable is this deus ex machina divine luck fate which makes her impossible to kill. Again why or how she has this we don’t know nor does seemingly anyone care either.

    This also brings in the other problem that IF Ryouko is unable to escape her destiny, therefore in effect she has no free will; therefore everything she does is part of her “destiny” and so she is utterly blameless for her actions because it was all fated. Nagiko even had mention “so a mannequin wants to be queen of Atlas” – well Nagiko apparently she never had a choice in this. Therefore she’s just annoying and certainly not the crazed unhinged evil that sends shivers down your spine in mortal dread evil.

    So what happened in this episode: bunch of characters procrastinate about the end of the world and who’s going to become ruler. So Ryouko is now an expert hacker because she ‘interfaced’ with Zeus? In addition apparently that gives her super-fast reflexes and increased strength, agility etc?

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jul 6. 2015 02:28 AM)
    *People are free
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jul 6. 2015 02:27 AM)
    @Justwandering, Don’t feel much of anything really. Not even sure why I do it. Habit or hobby I suppose. Nope, hear nothing from psgels. People are few to come on but my control of the site is limited so I can’t give people accounts. All I have is the password to someone else’s account that could be used by others.
  • justwandering
    (Monday, Jul 6. 2015 02:07 AM)
    how do you feel about managing the site on your own so far? Do you still have contact with psgels? And, would like if someone else offered help to write stuff for the site? Like reviews and such
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jul 6. 2015 01:52 AM)
    @Justwandering, It’s possible psgels does still care about the medium but rather has gotten tired of blogging it. It’s understandable as it’s a very time consuming hobby and he likely don’t have time for it anymore.
    Still he must care somewhat seeing as someones paying for the upkeep of the site.
  • justwandering
    (Sunday, Jul 5. 2015 11:24 PM)
    hmm… tired of the medium huh. Yeah, sometimes I get burned out too, too much crap, not enough good ones. I can’t seem to let go, there is always a couple of series keeping things afloat for me.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Jul 5. 2015 10:55 PM)
    @justwandering: Yes Aidan is the only one upkeeping the site. K-off is too busy with life responsibilities, Ninjarealist had a crisis of confidence, feels he’s not cut out for it, lighteningbolt just vanished. Psgels is tired of the medium and has a larger social life now.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Jul 5. 2015 10:30 PM)
    I hold no love of Jun maeda anymore after angel beats and little busters. And come to think of it I only ever got emotional once in clannad but never cried. Toei did a better job that kyoto animation with the key works, I agree with flawfinder that they had an antithesis to maeda feel about them, the toei adaptations.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Jul 5. 2015 10:25 PM)
    It must have been the music that got the sales.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Jul 5. 2015 10:23 PM)
    the minute I watched of symphogears second season had a mad loon of a scientist jumping arounding laughing like a saturday morning cartoon villain, it was so bad I just laughed.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Jul 5. 2015 10:20 PM)
    And that damn girl who kept making that “This is like an anime” every time she showed up line. And the ending with the fake death and guilty crown level of stupid plot twist.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Knights of Sidonia S2: Battle for Planet Nine review – 73/100

The second season of Sidonia makes a number of mistakes that a lot of second seasons do. That namely being that the anime slows down and introduces characters and conflicts that are often resolved in a undetermined to exist, third season. A new antagonist is introduced, whom does very little in the season and only […]

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 12

Tanikaze’s rendezvous with Benizumie looks to have been cut short as Izana interrupted with some hacker magic. The entire sequence being as uncomfortable and disturbing as you could imagine. I still wonder just what was her goal in doing all this to Tanikaze. Was it some method of killing him or just some really kinky […]

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 11

It’s quite the coincidence that both shows I am covering have decided to use their last episodes to make up for the season’s shortcomings. This will be a short post as while action packed episodes are great to watch, they make it hard to bring up topics to talk about. Guana look to be imitating […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 24

Now this is more like it. Well as they say, better late than never and this was at least the best moment to bring back the quality. All I ask is where this was three episodes ago which it could have made all the difference in the world. Admittedly this episode has made me a […]

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 10

Unfortunately this wasn’t the time for Izana to become an ace pilot though she did at least show some ingenuity in her escape from gauna. Instead the spotlight falls once again to Tsugumi and Tanikaze. A lot of the fight scenes before the challenger appeared was to shown that Tsugumi and Tanikaze have great teamwork […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 23

Sometimes it’s hard being a veteran anime fan and a huge Fate Franchise fan. I sit down to watch the latest episode of this series and I want to shut up the cynical critic in the back of my brain pointing out everything that is wrong with this episode. But as events I adored from […]

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 9

Though the majority of the episode was of the same antics I have been complaining about in previous episodes, it’s nice to see Sidonia get back to what it does best. Dire situations and sci-fi mecha action. Izana being pushed into the role of scouting with a new weapon has to be the best path […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 22

A fairly uneventful episode this week.In some ways for me that’s good as it allows me to go into detail about the nature of the ever so popular CGI dolpins. But first let’s speak about what happened. Our three heroes had a strategy meeting discussing how to deal with Gilgamesh and the grail while all […]

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 8

I think something is wrong when I consider a protagonist from a movie these characters are watching a more compelling lead than our current one. I was surprised when starting the episode to see a sudden rise in visual quality only for it to turn out to be a movie within an anime. Actually I […]

Latest Reviews

Little Witch Academia The Enchanted Parade – 81/100

I wonder when it was that a film being childish became a flaw. As a medium grows it takes steps to aim to mature itself and seek a more intellectual level of presenting entertainment. Animation did it as Anime aimed to explore terrontry that cartoons refuse to explore and video games only recently broke away […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]