Posted by psgels on 14 September 2009 with categories: Shangri-La

And so this series has come to an end. Unfortunately it wasn’t the epic ending I hoped for though. In this episode, Kuniko simply kills everyone evil, and this episode unfortunately was rushed in order to get to a happy end. I expected better from this series. There were also a bunch of deus ex machinas, like Miiko suddenly popping up from nowhere and blocking bullets that were aimed for Mikuni. It was explained later, but it still feels cheap.

There also was that matter of Kuniko, somehow not becoming Himiko’s reincarnation. Why did Ryouko not know that that was going to happen? Also, Takehito was just pathetic in this episode. What, he just appears and blows himself up? Come on, that deserves more build-up. Everything just went too easy in this episode. It didn’t really build up to Kuniko’s development of becoming a leader, she simply smacked her way through everything because she happened to be a digma (thankfully she wasn’t Ryouko’s daughter, but instead a clone).

But there’s one thing I really liked about this episode: Karin’s end. She really feels like she developed her character and I liked how despite being in despair, she still managed to stop Medusa in time, and it was very nice to see Claris and Jean appear in the end. Her ending was really cute.

But yeah, overall I’m really afraid that this downer ending is going to leave me with a rather negative impression on this series, which is a shame because the middle part of this series really was everything I look for in an anime. Thinking back, I think the turning point was the burning of Tokyo: after that, the stories started to converge with each other, and it lost that bit of chaos that it was so good at in the middle part. In a way the hardest part of a mystery series is its ending: making the revelations count.

In any case, I do hope that this isn’t going to form the ending of Gonzo. Like ‘em or not, they do have the guts to take risks, even when they’re about to go bankrupt. Risks like these are much better than playing it safe. Shangri-La… if it were well executed it would have belonged to my absolute favourites. Unfortunately, the shoddy execution made it less impressive than it could have been. Still, it’s still likely to end up somewhere at the end of my top 10 for 2009, unless the fall season turns out to be really, really good. Which I really doubt until proven wrong.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

11 Responses

  1. Divaa says:

    Lol so my spoiler was right.

    A fucking clone.

  2. Meep says:

    I enjoyed something about this episode…the new musical piece during the brief showdown between Takehito and the creepy black-haired dude. XD I want soundtrack..nao.

  3. DangerMouse says:

    Obviously I haven’t seen the finale just yet but your screenshots show that they really did indeed come through on the production values end for the finale, the screens I’ve seen look really gorgeous. :)

    Meep, the second OST is coming in about a week and a half on the 23rd, the first is already out just in case you haven’t seen it yet. Hopefully they’ll come out with a third OST if they haven’t covered all of the rest of the music on this second one.

    I’m with you, can’t wait to have both OSTs in my hands, the first was a very nice disc. Hope the military action theme (first used in ep1) is on OST 2. :) Hope all the special music from the second half and the finale makes it in too.

  4. Panther says:

    I somehow knew from the very start there would be a Gonzo ending, and yet I still kept watching. y u do dis to me gonzo

  5. Meep says:

    Thanks, DangerMouse! =] I didn’t know about the information regarding the OST, so what you said is good to know. I also hope the finale music is included. T_T I want to make an AMV with that new orchestral/vocal piece in the last episode.

  6. Pafiume says:

    I think the ending was alright, at least. When Kuniko killed Himiko I was like, “Gosh, we’re about halfway through the episode… What else could go wrong?” But nothing did. And for good reason, I guess. But it feels like the aftermath was… a lot. Not that I didn’t enjoy it.

    I was really surprised when Takehito appeared. I liked the way it happened, though. And he didn’t really just blow himself up. He -was- shot, so he would have died either way. If he hadn’t been shot, though, then he probably would have just blown himself up. But I mean, what else does he have to live for? Suicide bomber ftw.

    Anyway, now I’m curious about the novel. One day, hopefully I’ll be able to read it (in Japanese~).

    Divaa: I saw that! I was like, No waaay! And then it happened, and I was laughing to myself.

  7. Shounen A says:

    I was actually pretty happy with what happened in the concluding episode itself. Nothing came out completely out of the blue (even the rather implausible way Miko appeared was vaguely preceded by the appearance of Yasuko in episode 15), and the fights Kuniko were in were not dragged out pointlessly. I liked the aftermath as well.

    It was what did not happen in the episode that makes me unhappy: I was expecting some answers that would make sense of a lot of things, but I didn’t get them. I’m just telling myself that this is because a couple of intended episodes were never produced due to budget constraints …

  8. DangerMouse says:

    I agree Shounen A, I liked what they did with the finale and what they managed to fit into it to cap things off. I also like how they used their full runtime with the finale like a mini-movie with no OP like some shows do for their finale.

    Somehow I’m used to this, I feel the same way, a 25th or 26th episode to have included a few more things during the course of the finale would have been wonderful. They also probably would have better addressed the nitpick complaint I read in the other thread of spelling out, by physically showing, which of the various ways they could have chosen for Sayoko to survive her supposed fall if they had the time to spend on something not central to finale.

  9. Robhiengler says:

    Yes Kuniko I mocked your feelings and you failed to defeat me.

    Where to start with this utterly awful series. I actually rank it up there with Ergo Proxy as being the most self-involved utterly random nonsensical drivel. What makes it worse in the utter contempt it shows towards science or economics by completely fabricating known scientific laws and principles in order to suit the plot. It is also awash with pseudo-economic and pseudo-science mumbo jumbo jargonese that even the most low-brow pulp-fiction novel would be aghast at.

    A simple plot is purposefully made confusing: one to make it appear less shallow than it is but also in reality whats clear is the writers have failed to link the super-natural to the scientific world. In fact the overused-cliches of possession, human sacrifices, special powers are all apparent. The worse thing is the utter irreverence to japanese and western mythology, Himiko is not linked to the legend of Izanagi or Izanami (see previous posts) and any similarities are cosmetic at best.

    Plot-elements are also introduced at the last minute to give a sudden unexpected twist. There is nothing wrong with that, but you must at least give a certain amount of foreshadowing and development, so the viewer says: “I should have seen that coming!”
    otherwise all they are, are deus ex machina device in order for shock value, iron out inconsistencies, glaring plot holes and move the story on.


    – Global Warming caused by CO2?
    – Mass earthquake/disasters destroys Tokyo
    – Carbon Market apparently created to control levels of CO2 – this becomes the world’s main economy
    – Tokyo greenified to reduce CO2
    – Himiko shrine found? centre of geomantic ley lines blah blah blah link to Izanagi Izanami creation myth?
    – ATLAS decided to be built to control the world and save & make Japan Powerful.
    – ATLAS requires DNA supercomputer made from Himiko mummy to keep it stable?
    -DNA supercomputer requires lifeforce of little girls to run.
    – Ryoko is Zeus Avatar
    – Ryoko wants Himiko to be resureected? hence requires clones [Digmas] for Himiko to jump from one body to the next rather like the emperor in SW.
    – Zeus/Himiko wants to control earth
    – Decides to destroy most of earth using nuclear missiles so it is easier to control.
    – Kuniko saves the world – THE END.

    Ryoko = Zeus Avatar interface
    Kuniko = clone of Himiko
    Mikuni = incested offspring of Himiko clones?
    Kunihito = Kuniko’s son wtf!?

    For starters the Carbon market portrayed here is utterly implausible that carbon, an abundant element would be the basis of the monetary system, one that apparently controls CO2 output. It would also lead to an unstable market as carbon could easily be manipulated.

    The main lead: Kuniko is some odd unlikable character who ocillates between happy, hyper, to sad and unsure, and right back to normal as if nothing happened even after seeing her friends had been massacred.

    We are also led to believe she is the leader in waiting of the “Metal-Age” for no other reason than that she is related to granny – born with a silver spoon syndrome. Quite honestly we then look at her assault on ATLAS, which is then abandoned with many deaths – I didn’t really feel like she cared for people any more than Ryoko. In fact she’s uninspirational, unintelligent, uninsightful and gets handed leadership on a plate even though she is quite obviously incompetent. A character that never develops or grows.

    As for the Plot, the whole reason why ATLAS was built where it was, was because of the Feng Shui ley lines were meant to bring prosperity to Japan. At no point have we seen this was actually the case. In fact there was no scientific reason to believe this would have happened to begin with.

    In addition how did they know that ATLAS would be affected by oscillations. How did they know they would need to make a DNA supercomputer to control it from the Himiko mummy? How did they know they would have to have Lord Hiruko to channel the lifeforce of girl sacrifices to Zeus presumably? Exactly where and why is Lord Hiruko even here?

    As for Zeus-Ryoko easily hacked MEDUSA, then why didn’t it take over the UN nuclear systems itself? Zeus-Ryoko could have taken all three daggers by force and brainwashed one Digma to be a vessel. Karin = Redundant annoying character (probably there because the writers are loli-pedicons)

    In essence the entire series is confused, relationships seem superficial, characters are utterly 2D when you get down to it behind whatever psychotic or sexual deviancy the writers have decided to give to make them seem quirky or interesting.

    The series never lived up to the potential or hype or “epic-ending” that psgel had given it – the only saving grace were some reasonably well animated and illustrated backdrops other than that it is an utter waste of time.

    I know dystopian future sci-fi, occult can be done see the so-so Boukyaku no Senritsu (2004).

    Himiko Izanami Izanagi

  10. psgels psgels says:

    Um, Rob: Blogsome has this nasty feature of holding really long comments up for moderation. I’ve been trying to shut it off but to no avail. You’ll just need to be a bit patient for me to notice your comment and approve them.

    As for your ramblings, I’m not going to respond to all of them because we clearly watched this series for different reasons. When I watched this series, I didn’t really care whether the storyline was scientifically accurate in any way. I was just interested in its creativity and characters, which is what made me rate it this highly.

  11. Robhiengler says:

    psgels fair enough about blogsome, I didn’t know that – my apologies.

    Well clearly some people watched the series off the back of your recommendation and hype for the series and that the premise for the series was reasonably intriguing. Really – better than Guin Saga? Unfortunately I’m not someone to preview the episodes before I’ve watched them, nor to quit a series half way in – otherwise I would have given this a miss.

    The point is there is a massive discrepancy between individual episode reviews and what you’ve written for the series overall; the high rating and your positive spin: I wouldn’t be the first person to disagree with your assessment of Shangri-La either.

    In addition people watch anime/films/TV series for the SAME reason – to be entertained by a good story. Otherwise people wouldn’t be coming to this blog looking for reviews/recommendations.

    As for rambling:

    “writing which is not clearly organized, continues for too long and fails to follow a direct course or reach a goal, target or understanding”

    I think it was a fair critique that I made, (i.e. the story line itself doesn’t hold together, some characters are superfluous as are their motivations, nothing is really explained properly or correctly) with logical conclusions: though ‘Rambling’ does aptly describe Shangri-La.

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  • 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.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:49 PM)
    I thought R&M had a pretty good finale. The episode achieved what was missing from most of season 2, and that was a balance of randomness and meaningful bits. What made Rick Potion #9 and the previous season’s finale and general tone great was a sense of humor that was combined with more sincere drama and character developments; a sort of sweet melancholy.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 09:51 PM)
    @K-off, not having too much trouble with the interface but I still cannot create categories.

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