Posted by psgels on 7 September 2009 with categories: Shangri-La



Haha, what an awesome episode. With such a huge series with so many different subplots and such a frantic pacing, I was really expecting some sort of trainwreck for the final episodes. And yet the opposite turns out to be true, and instead the finale developed into a thriller to stop Ryouko from trying to destroy the world.

And really: it works. Because the rest of the series fleshed Ryouko out so well compared to most villains out there, she’s far away from those stereotypical evil overlords and really stands out as a huge threat to the lead characters. Her mindset is demented, yes. But at the same time as a villain, she’s very competent: she knew exactly how to place the chess pieces right in order to get her way; so far, she only made one mistake throughout the entire series in terms of her own ideals: she didn’t know that the daggers could be removed from the altar, and she didn’t know that they could cut through any kind of steel. And I admit: you’ve got to think pretty far-fetched in order to have seen that one coming if you didn’t know anything about it.

I also love how she also averts one of the tropes that most villains of her kind strangely get away with. Suppose you were working for an evil overlord, and found out that your master was planning to destroy the world, you included. Would you still support this boss? I sure as hell wouldn’t. Ryouko did well to keep all her plans to herself, right until it wouldn’t matter anymore who would find out. I mean, her plan to hold Kunihito’s parents hostages would never have worked for long, but it did buy her the necessary time to take Mikuni away from Kuniko.

And yeah: this episode finally explains what happened to Karin’s parents: they turn out to have been dead all along. Talk about an awesome plot twist here: all the wealth she attained, everything she gained when she created Medusa: it was all just a case of denial in her case.

Okay, so one episode is left. The set-up for the final episode is fairly straightforward: Ryouko wants Mikuni to destroy the world, Kuniko is here to stop her. What I want to see from this series is an ending which is more than “Kuniko and Ryouko have a fight and Kuniko wins”. I’ve seen too many series who have fallen to this trap, but if there’s any series who is able to evade this, it’s Shangri-La. This series really has exceeded my expectations at this point. These past few episodes took it away from its image of “yet another trainwreck” when it showed that it’s very well capable of writing a solid finale. What more could you want?

And yeah. Who cares that Kuniko descended the tube with her dagger? It’s science fiction. Who knows whether that dagger has magical slowing-down powers?
Rating: *** (Awesome)

10 Responses

  1. Tomtom says:

    I was anticipating this episode so much, that I actually watched it raw.. I kind of regret that now (it feels like a spoiler when I understand only half of what went on).

  2. Denizen says:

    I find it a real shame this show never got…more. Because looking at this finale and the build-up it got, it just screams “potential masterpiece” to me. The amount of detail, characterisation, composition – it’s all very impressive, and something this solid is hard for any anime to achieve, let alone a Gonzo production.

    Strikes me as a shame this series will remain a hidden gem. Naturally, it has its flaws and it is its own fault it didn’t make the most of such a brilliant story, but I hold this show in high esteem.

  3. Meep says:

    I feel like ranting.. ^.^;; Sorry..

    Psgels, your praise for Shangri-La has pretty much been my motivation for watching this show. I nearly dropped it early on, but now I am finally up to episode 23 as well.

    Unfortunately, I don’t feel the same way about Shangri-La as you do. D: I really wanted to though. 99% of the time, your reviews that are written positively for underrated anime (or hidden gems)influence me to feel the same way as you do. You’re my favorite anime blogger because of your excellent and mature taste in anime. I feel great when I agree with you.

    But Shangri-La kinda leaves this bad taste in my mouth, the same kind that Code Geass R2 left.. None of the characters in Shangri-La really appeal to me much. The heroine annoys me for some reason. Sayoko, Momoko, Shion, and Karin are a bit too quirky for me. As for Kunihito, I knew which side he’d end up on, so I didn’t have much interest in him. I suppose Ryoko and Mikuni are the only characters that interested me, but after a while, not so much. Miiko was my main surprise, and I admit I liked her plot twist. But that’s kinda it

    I just fall out of my chair every time the flamboyant transsexual character, Momoko (who looked best with her first hair style), uses her whip to save someone. Over-exaggerated moves like that just don’t sit well with me. Though nearly every move by anyone in this show has been like that, whether it’s attacking or saving another another.

    As far as the events go, there are too many coincidences, characters change their minds too often in the same episode, and the computer hacking and Medusa attacks in cyberspace is not interesting to watch at all. A lot of that happened in this episode… Like as the coincidence, Kuniko happened to hit her “magical knife” against “bomb and rocket-launcher proof metal” and it was “pulled apart by a schoolgirl(Hanner).” And then at the final moment when Mikuni was about to do what Ryoko wanted, Kuniko comes crashing through the ceiling to stop them at the precise moment. I never feel any suspense or excitement cuz I expect stuff like that to happen, and they do. (Miiko’s case and Kuniko’s friends in detention center as the exceptions)

    All I can say is, I can’t wait for episode 24 to be here so I can be done with the series. As you thought “I was really expecting some sort of train wreck for the final episodes. And yet the opposite turns out to be true,” it unfortunately is a train wreck to me. Shangri-La had a lot of potential with this unique plot, but wasn’t executed well in my opinion. Maybe I should have saved my comments for the final episode, but I doubt my mind would change.

    I want to give thanks to you for motivating me to watch an anime I would have neglected, though. That happens a lot, and in most cases, it’s a rewarding experience for me. ^_^

  4. Shounen A says:

    Reasons why the ending will be much more than “Kuniko and Ryouko have a fight and Kuniko wins”:

    – Takehiko and the Daedalus on the eighth layer.

    – The unknown relation between Karin and Kanaria.

    – Medusa acting on its own to destroy the world.

    – The mother of Kuniko and Mikuni. (“Kuniko, I am your mother.” moment?)

  5. windy says:

    I just loved this show so far, just a shame there’s only one episode left. I found the characters in this series just sublime the plot twist turns out to be amazingly good, actually I really love it when a show comes up with big surprises throughout all the series, and that was especially the case with Shangri-la, which stands among the best shows this season for me particularly for that reason. The atmosphere that was built up here was also really fabulous and changes from all the shows I’ve seen so far, and the bunch of characters contribute to it. Actually , it is one of the rare shows where I liked almost every character in their own way, there happened to be a various lot of them, they’re all different: be it Ryouko Sayoko, Miko, Kuniko, Momoko or even Sion , they all display some psychological insight. I also fond of the dramatic tension this show keeps creating. This season offered pure jewels as well as it created some deceptions: I am just amazed by ” Guin saga”, ” Phantom”, ” Shangri-la”, ” Canaan”, ” Umineko no naku koro ni” and ” Valkyria” but was greatly desappointed in ” tears to tiara” and at some degree ” Basquash”, even if the ep 23 was utterly awesome, the 12 previous eps were really hard for me to watch and ” Konnichiwa Ann”.

  6. Pafiume says:

    Man, I called his mom being a hostage. At least it resolved itself… in and interesting way. Although it kind of just dropped itself, I suppose it makes sense.

    The thing I wondered during this episode: Why did Kuniko leave Kunihito behind? Couldn’t he have gone down with her? He’s AAA as well. It would make sense to me. I guess it was probably because her mode of transportation was a knife clawing down the shaft, but I’d think she’d find some other way to make it work. He just kind of got pushed to the side with everyone else.

    Either way, I don’t care. I’m so excited to see the final episode! I sure hope it gets a good BANG ending~

  7. DangerMouse says:

    “I just loved this show so far, just a shame there’s only one episode left. I found the characters in this series just sublime the plot twist turns out to be amazingly good, actually I really love it when a show comes up with big surprises throughout all the series, and that was especially the case with Shangri-la, which stands among the best shows this season for me particularly for that reason. The atmosphere that was built up here was also really fabulous and changes from all the shows I’ve seen so far, and the bunch of characters contribute to it. Actually , it is one of the rare shows where I liked almost every character in their own way, there happened to be a various lot of them, they’re all different: be it Ryouko Sayoko, Miko, Kuniko, Momoko or even Sion , they all display some psychological insight. I also fond of the dramatic tension this show keeps creating.”

    I totally agree, for me like Last Exile before it this show also has that awesome unique “feel” to it in the way it keeps the plot twists and events coming on multiple fronts with a unique sense of mystery and scale and the integration of it’s storyline with world itself.

    “I find it a real shame this show never got…more. Because looking at this finale and the build-up it got, it just screams “potential masterpiece” to me. The amount of detail, characterisation, composition – it’s all very impressive, and something this solid is hard for any anime to achieve.

    Strikes me as a shame this series will remain a hidden gem. Naturally, it has its flaws and it is its own fault it didn’t make the most of such a brilliant story, but I hold this show in high esteem.”

    I agree with you, as I said before it’s so rare to get a series with this much ambition and while their are flaws and naturally at times you can feel their are parts they could have done even more with, however with how much they are accomplishing it’s indeed a shame the show will likely remain a hidden gem like much of the best science fiction.

    I can’t wait for the finale, I’m with you Shonen A, I think we’re going to get quite the nicely packed episode. This show has been spot on with it’s build up throughout and the various payoffs capitalizing on them so I’m looking forwards to this.

  8. DangerMouse says:

    Oh yeah, another gorgeous looking episode.

  9. DangerMouse says:

    Worth mentioning once again for the series is the music.

    I continue to absolutely love the music of this show, I hope the finale uses it as well as most of the series has :)

  10. Robhiengler says:

    What guarantee does Kunihito have that his mother will not be killed anyway? I’m pretty sure the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

    His sudden change of allegiance back and forth seems rather contrived to allow Ryoko to escape. Now he’s helping Kuniko, when Ryouko sees this surely his mother is dead considering apparently Zeus controls Atlas and Ryoko Zeus. Kuniko Momoko was kidnapped so you didn’t capitulate in fact wasn’t that the reason you attacked Atlas?

    Not to mention ANOTHER glaring plothole, if Zeus was that powerful to hack into MEDUSA, why didn’t it just take control of the nuclear missiles itself rather than bothering to go via a proxy?

    The most hilarious part is when
    Ryoko: “I was going to let you survive…”
    Mikuni: “Yes, I’ll let you survive.
    Ryoko: “shut it you!” *SMACK*
    Mikuni:
    “whoop whoop whoop whoop whoop.”
    three Stooges joke there

    So now they bring in Himiko 3rd century chinese queen of the Wa? By randomly stumbling on a shrine? What was Atlas already planned by this point or not? What has Himiko got to do with Japanese creation mythology?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himiko

    Why would you also ‘decide’ to make a bio-computer absolutely randomly out of someones DNA!?

    In addition now they knew about the oscillations Atlas was predicted to generate before it was built!? Maybe you could have designed it to withstand the oscillations.

    So Karin’s background is completely contrived, her parents die in a plane crash and she was already developing Medusa – for what purpose? and could Ryoko have known?. You would have thought anyone with a child prodigy at that age they would be in a scientific facility.

    Wouldn’t have been easier for Ryoko to brainwash one of the AAA Digimates kill the others collect the knives she blatantly knew they were for (if we were to beleive this is what she planned all along) and use Zeus to hack the nuclear arsenals? End of really.

    Lastly doesn’t anyone wonder how did a bunch of completely useless morons get employed by Atlas in the first place?

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • SuperMario
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 10:38 PM)
    @Bam: I just glanced over the lightning in a Bottle 2016 and it’s quite impressive. Grimes, Chet Faker, Hundred Waters, Jamie xx? Yay. Yoga & meditation class? Count me in!!
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 09:40 PM)
    @afgm, positive. DS2 relies too much on mobbing your character and the bosses are terribly unimaginative. DS3 has faster combat that DS1 but I still think DS1 one bosses are better and DS3 had less interesting level design than DS1. Plus DS3 also focuses a bit too much on Mobbing and referencing DS1 instead of making it’s own lore.
  • afgm
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 07:49 PM)
    @Aidan are you sure you aren’t looking back on DS1 with rose-tinted glasses?
  • Wicked
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 05:39 PM)
    Other wise I’d have recommended Life and Limit by Keiko Suenobu or maybe something like Mars. Although I don’t think Mars ages very well
  • Wicked
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 05:33 PM)
    @kaiser Shoujo don’t tend to be as twilight zone-y as Partner, plus it’s only 3 volumes. There are shoujo that deals with heavy subject matters like bullying or forbidden love, but i don’t know if that’s what the person is asking for
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 03:27 PM)
    @Wicked: That was a decent enough manga, that Partner series, I like a good dark shojo and it was well enough in that regard within what its genre/demographic could get away with and its story fit comfortably its three volume run.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 03:14 PM)
    @K-Off, DSII was a disappointment somewhat salvaged by the DLC. DSIII is much better but still doesn’t top DSI.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 03:05 PM)
    @K-off: sorry I’m actually in your (former) neck of the woods about 50 miles north of Orange, working at a music festival called lightning in a Bottle. You’ll love Dark Souls III if you’re patient enough. So much of it is a direct homage/copy of the original that it feels like a shelved fanfic at times, but there is polish and some ingenuity behind some of the deeper nuances of the game.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 06:24 AM)
    @Bam Finally going to start DSIII this monday, I’ll have to see what’s so special about this one since I wasn’t the biggest fan of DSII.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 06:17 AM)
    Pretty pleased with my Vita so far, finished Danganronpa 2 and completed 100% of Ray Gigant this week. June looks like a pretty good month for the Vita, currently deciding whether or not I should purchase Odin Sphere or Grand Kingdom when they release. Of course I really should repair my WiiU gamepad before Mirage Sessions comes out.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Bungou Stray Dogs 08a

Bungou Stray Dogs – 08

I have to say more than anything this is Bungou Stray Dogs’ special episode, in a sense that in one hand, the show produces one of its most brilliance ever, but on the other hand, there are still many shortcomings along with the greatness, producing an episode that mostly entertainment but uneven. The introduction of […]

Joker Game - 08 1

Joker Game – 08

Well Joker Game managed to pull a twist I didn’t see coming and what makes it rather amusing is that it did it unintentionally. For you see it took the entire episode for me to figure out that I wasn’t watching the antics of another spy of the D-agency only to figure out that this […]

Flying witch 07b

Flying witch – 07

One of the thing that Flying witch always does it right is how it establish the chemistry between any characters, while at the same time maintain the consistency in their personalities. It feels like if you give them any random characters in any random situation, pretty much the show can hit it off. Last week […]

Re Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu - 08 1

Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World – 08

I feel bad for the artists and animators who made the opening and ending for this show as they don’t seem to be getting much use. Not that I am complaining of course as if the choice is between a catchy theme song and more content then content wins every time. Though it is a […]

Kiznaiver - 07 4

Kiznaiver – 07

To some this may be the strongest episode of Kiznaiver to date. However to someone like myself I find myself mixed on what I just witnessed. I have said before that what I like about this series are the aspects which are distinctly Trigger which would be it’s sense of wacky humor and character chemistry. […]

Mayoiga 07b

Mayoiga – 08

Again this week Mayoiga succeed at bringing a big screw-you to us audience. The cliffhanger last week is quickly revealed, and we come to learn that Masaki is not a ghost, nor is she a witch, but simply that… she had visited the Lost Village before. Big surprise! It really is a ridiculous anti-climax, but […]

1

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress – 06

If you haven’t heard by now, the second season of Attack on Titan has been delayed till 2017 because Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is far too awesome for Studio Wit to handle in a single year. I really couldn’t care less about the delay since I already know what’s going to happen in season […]

Bungou Stray Dogs 07d

Bungou Stray Dogs – 07

This week the plot revolving the Azure King was resolved and it raises the conflict of sense of justice between Dazai and Kunikida. Like what I suspected last week, all the new characters are in play in this episode and now I get the hang of Bungou Stray Dogs storytelling now. The new characters will […]

Joker Game - 07 3

Joker Game – 07

You know, I am beginning to wonder just how do those lessons go at the D-Agency. Is it something like “Ok, class. Today I will teach you how to summon dolphins with a whistle. After that we will go over the magic rituals of Aleister Crowley and finally have a refresher on the finer points […]

Latest Reviews

20160513001913_1

Lucid9: Inciting Incident Video Game Review – 85/100

It’s not often I pick a game up without prior knowledge. I abhor the act of pre-ordering and at least do a google search on the title to get a general idea of it’s overall quality. Gone are the day you walk into a game store and buy something purely on a whim or the […]

The Totem Warrior

Chinese Animation Guide – Part 3: Haoliners inputs

This part we explore one Chinese animation studio’s works. I choose Haoliners partly because they are independent studio, and their works are not hard to find. Just established in 2013, Haoliners is an indie studio but gathered more reputation in the last few years in their homeland. My experience with them through those titles below […]

Cover

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress OST Review

This will be the first time in my anime blogging career that I have ever done one of these anime OST review. It should be known that I have a complete bias for Hiroyuki Sawano as he has become one of the biggest composer for anime in recent years in some of my favorite anime […]

Nüwa’s Growth Diary

Chinese Animation Guide – Part 2: Chinese Anime shows

As much as I hated the term Chinese Anime (Anime stands for Japanese animation, strictly speaking), this is the exact term for those shows. Their influence from the Anime was so heavy that apart from the voice cast and some scene settings, you can’t tell those apart from the original anime. With that said, judge from […]

If anyone have been followed animation closely for the last few years, they will notice a recent rise of Chinese animation (call it a wave if you like), both in feature and in series. While it does not have much of an impact in any English speaking world like anime has been, they are really popular in their mainland and some parts of Asian countries. With the success of Kung Fu Panda (half-produced by China) and its power on movies industry (China IS the main market for feature films now), it is worth it to take a look on this current trend and see how they are different from anime.
While my fellow bloggers are the ones who more specialize in Games and Manga, I will be the one who cover World Animation (by that I mean anything animated other than anime and American big studio animation – they got way too much coverage already). Like majority of you guys I am not from China, my Chinese is as good as my Japanese (which is to say NONE), so this is actually goddamn difficult to look for titles, and the information I could find are sacred here on top of that find a suitable sub for it, most of them does not even have an English name, thus the title and the synopsis that I give you here are just a rough translation. So behold. This is our very first attempt to cover the animation of china.

Chinese Animation Guide – Part 1: Computer Animated Wuxia shows

If anyone have been followed animation closely for the last few years, they will notice a recent rise of Chinese animation (call it a wave if you like), both in feature and in series. While it does not have much of an impact in any English speaking world like anime has been, they are really popular […]

asagao to kase-san

K-Off’s Ongoing Manga Recommendations (embedded links)

If you frequent the frontpage of Imgur or r/manga often, you may have seen some of my past manga recommendation lists before, but here’s some ongoing manga that I’ll recommend for now. This is in no particular order of best-worst, I’ve also embedded the links to the scanlations into the images for your convenience. 1. […]

New Manga Spotlight – Konya wa Tsuki ga Kirei Desu ga, Toriaezu Shi ne, Shoujo Fujuubun and Shimanami Tasogare

New Manga Spotlight – Konya wa Tsuki ga Kirei Desu ga, Toriaezu Shi ne, Shoujo Fujuubun and Shimanami Tasogare

Konya wa Tsuki ga Kirei Desu ga, Toriaezu Shi ne Two chapters so far. Ah love, that sweet nectar which all seek to experience. And truly there is nothing more romantic than gathering up your courage, inviting the girl you love up to the roof, taking her by the shoulders and proclaiming with all your […]

kQtrlYU

Langrisser Re:Incarnation Tensei video game review- 35/100 (avoid it like the plague)

To preface, I’d call this the poor man’s Fire Emblem if it wasn’t so damn expensive for its quality, not to mention so difficult to find. Here in New York City outside of lower Manhattan, there’s game stores in Brooklyn, Queens, Flatiron, and Newport, to a total count of 12 game stores in a 20 […]

413420_20160420220647_1

DanganRonpa 2: Goodbye Despair Video Game Review – 90/100

There may be those of you who know this series more by its anime adaption instead of it’s video games and if you haven’t watched the anime of this I highly recommend that you don’t watch it. Instead play the games which have been recently ported to Steam. The reason I say this is that […]