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.

    PLOT in a NUTSHELL:

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

  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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  • Keisuke
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 03:52 AM)
    What animes have the secene of at the end of the movie everyone forgets everything for the better and right before that happens the girl kisses the boy
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 01:28 AM)
    @Emma: that sound right up my alley, will definitely check it out and let u know.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 01:27 AM)
    @Emma: yeah, definitely go and see it in IMAX if you have the chance to do so. And McConaughey has certainly grown as an actor, but it’ll be stupid of him to stop expanding his horizons and keep doing the same Rust character from now on.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 01:26 AM)
    @Bam: Also had a look at that French graphic novel Nocturnal conspiracies I mentioned recently, less about dreams, more nightmares, in any case it should be fun to analyze, the author clearly has a big imagination, reading it I saw a commonalities of soldiers/killers/war/running away.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 01:06 AM)
    @Bam: Its a film that may very well work better on a second watch.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 01:05 AM)
    @Bam: I already gave my feedback on the film but left out the bit about the sound direction which yes was too loud but also ham-fisted and overbearing. One thing I also forgot to mention was for all the complaints one can make about Mconaughey he has come a long way as an actor.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 12:16 AM)
    Some of the effects were simply amazing and the pseudo theoretical physics was well-implemented into the film. The long running time was necessary but it could’ve definitely been better edited to cut out some of the fluff or the extra-long scenes. All-in-all a great endeavor. It really borrows liberally from the 2001: A Space Odyssey handbook, but given that Nolan admits his admiration of that film I’ll let it slide.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 12:10 AM)
    Also the controversy over the sound mixing is not all unfounded. You just can’t have the music swell up to the point of not hearing the fucking dialogue.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 12:08 AM)
    I can’t imagine any actor other than McConaughey playing the role of Cooper and giving him as much depth as he did. He was well casted for the role, but he still has to tone down some of that McConaughey shit before he becomes a parody of himself. We all know he is prone to doing the same exact role for a while so it’ll be sad if he type-casts himself as Rustin Cohle in every single goddamn film from now on.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 12:02 AM)
    Ok I saw Interstellar on the IMAX screen with the d-box and it was quite a treat. I stand by my statement that it’s really just a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have some heart. The ‘love transcends all’ nuance was a bit ham-fisted tho. And seriously you gonna name the character that symbolises the folly of man as Mann? C’mon Nolan.

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