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
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:47 AM)
    I remember that same guy, during end of eva, pausing it over and over during that scene where asuka dies with all of those fast moving clips too.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:39 AM)
    I remember catching it also when I was young with a friend and we looked back on a fanservice scene with shinji and rei and he mentioned “You know if you think about it that scene is damn disturbing when you think she’s a clone of/modelled after you know who…”
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:36 AM)
    Before Eva, when I was 11 or so my image of a mech anime was Nadesico…then it was eva and then I was like…Whoah…whoah God halp! =O
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:34 AM)
    I suppose credit where I feel it due, the angel designs are excellent and I remember getting the shock of my life when shinji’s eva went nuts and then there was a bit with Bardiel infect Toji’s unit. I remember at least Masatos boyfriend being a likeable character.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:31 AM)
    I don’t think anyone was prepared for Eva, whether they liked the show or not, at 11 I can remember being horrified by end of eva and the series original ending as well as having my first moment of “Feck…theres a first…an anime that did something that scrambled my mind, I actually feel kind of thick now, this show is smarter than I am”.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:27 AM)
    It really wouldn’t have been that hard to put a satisfying ending to the original series, wrap up the threads nicely and put a pretty ribbon on the package to finish it off. But Anno and friends took a risk and went against the tide and end up becoming the trope-namer for the Gainax Endings. That took balls and made things unexpected and fresh, cuz god knows that ,good guys win the day ‘is tired and boring.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:26 AM)
    Requiem for a dream. I remember the guy who recommended that film saying to me “Even someone such as yourself who finds it hard to find/has high standards an emotionally investing film will get something out of requiem for a dream”
  • Bam
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 03:17 AM)
    @Emma: leaving a bad taste is pretty much the point of Eva, just as getting bummed out by Requiem For a Dream is the naturally intended effect. I don’t mind that you don’t enjoy Eva all that much Emma, l actually appreciate it over dishonest admiration. Just keep in mind that Eva deserves it’s special place in anime.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:32 AM)
    But Eva just left a bad taste in my mouth as a whole, I understand that Bam you are very passinette about it and thats fine, I wasn’t aiming to provoke. I just feel that its frustrating that like alot of certain anime, that I am not allowed to dislike it or have reason to.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:32 AM)
    If anything at least I found Ikuhara’s symbolism while obvious at least in utena and straightforward was at least visually interesting to look at.
    I love every David Lynch film and again I thought Lain was exceptional.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Durarara!!X2 – 08

No animation issues this time around thankfully. Really like the touch of Irelands flag on the cup Shinra gave the girl at their apartment. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Celty is indeed Irish. Probably one of the few Irish characters in anime. And here we learn that the one who told the little girl […]

Death Parade – 08

Why do you do this to me death parade? You dodge your true potential and instead focus on background exposition or, of all things, comedy. Then just as I was about to lose interest and give up, you present the best episode of the series so far. Now this, this is what I was talking […]

Durarara!!X2 – 07

I think the problem with this episode was evident right from the opening scene. I had to do a double take when seeing a very poorly drawn Simon. I even questioned whether it was a new character entirely. But no, the animation budget took a nosedive. Or the guy who was to do the inbetweens […]

Death Parade – 07

Why is the girl from the last episode still around? This episode brought up three rules about arbiters. The third rule, about arbiters not having emotions, Is odd to me. For the arbiters we have been introduced to are very emotional. They state that Decim was given human emotions yet he is the least emotional […]

Durarara!!X2 – 06

Turns out that assassination attempt got Celty to see her life flash before her eyes. I suppose taking a tumble off a moving motorcycle is a fatal thing. But well in the last arc we saw two people survive getting blown away at about the length of a football field. So I cannot say I […]

Death Parade – 06

Death Parade in a risky move has taken things in a new direction. A daring adventurous move that no one expected. And it is…absolutely terrible. Death Parade, what happened? Did no one read over the script and do a shaft head tilt in wonder? Was there not an Animator who said “Excuse me sir. But […]

Durarara!!X2 – 05

We have yet another new character entering the show. A motorcycle gang leader who has a massive fondness for woman. Personally I am not a fan of him. His brand of female overprotective crazy just seems like a downgrade from the shows already huge cast of crazies. He looks like a character whose introduction serves […]

Death Parade – 05

If asked about how I think of death parade so far, my answer would have to be divided. On one hand the premise is rife with potential and it does have moments where it rises above the bar. But it also seems confused as to what it wants to be. We have death games between […]

Durarara!!X2 – 04

The current story arc ends abruptly and unexpectedly. I am rather surprised that it came here. From how this was portrayed it felt this would be a longer arc than it turned out to be. So with its end I must think back and wonder. What exactly did this arc accomplish? We got introduced to […]

Latest Reviews

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: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]