Shangri-La – Let’s Watch a Random Anime (#6)

Shangri-La – Let’s Watch a Random Anime (#6)

Guess what? Every month I go watch a random anime and write about it. It’s fun and fuels my gambling addiction without the need to spend any money. I just spend my time, which isn’t as valuable. I’ve done this a few times. 

 

I like to try and guess what I’ll get because the odds of that are so unbelievably low that if I did get it right, nobody would believe me. As of now, I have the page open, but I have not gotten a random anime yet.

 

I want a Rom-Com. I always want them. Give me more. But, I’m going to say Black Butler. Why? Because I really wouldn’t feel like watching something like that right now. That’s why. 

Shangri-La
(I have nothing interesting to say)

 

I have no clue what this is, nor do I have any opinions from the image. It’s a girl with pink hair. We need more of those, I guess. Let’s read what it’s about.

 

“In a post-apocalyptic society, much of earthquake-riddled Japan has been left to ruin, resulting in an abundance of greenery. Governments manage much of the world’s emissions, resulting in a massive class divide and economic disparity. The Japanese government launches “Project Atlas,” a utopian city that will replace Tokyo but can only fit a certain amount of people. This limitation means that some people will have to live outside the city in jungles, as refugees. However, with any flawed plan comes those who are willing to challenge it. These include Kuniko Houjou, an heir to a renegade town; Mikuni, a mysterious and powerful child kept in a secret temple; Kunihito Kusanagi, a soldier for the high-tech and exclusive monopoly Atlas; Karin Ishida, a genius economics whiz with her hand in markets across the world; and the villainous Ryouko Naruse, leading Atlas in its domination of this future world. Can this group of rebels, forming a movement known as “Metal-Age,” band together to demonstrate that inclusion and teamwork prevail over cruel segregation?”

 

I guess we’re watching Politics: The Animation next. That’s about all I have to say. No clever joke this time around. I’m sure you’re hurt.

Kuniko looking off in the distance
(It’s dystopian, alright)

 

So, how was Shangri-La? Truth is, I did not finish all of it. This isn’t like Ranma, however, where it had too many episodes. Shangri-La has 24. The reason I didn’t watch it all was simply for lack of time. I will watch it after, but I wanted to get that out there. My experience with the series was limited but still enough to understand it.

 

This anime has me feeling a few ways. In some aspects I really like it. I think it’s creative, well-put-together at times, and has a decent plot. Then other times, I question what exactly is going on, and I feel like certain things were just added for the sake of it. Let’s start with what I liked.

 

While it isn’t for everyone, I really like the plot conceptually. I’m a sucker for these kinds of dystopian settings, and I think Shangri-La does a pretty good job at creating a convincing and fascinating one. It’s the type of setting that actually benefits from the story focusing heavily on politics, the economy, and global warming. All things that don’t sound fun but help paint a picture of what this world is, which is the main point of this kind of setting. It’s well done.

Kuniko with her boomerang
(Such a light boomerang)

 

That makes certain things weird to me. Like why this fairly realistic setting has a young girl who can jump 20 feet in the air and throw a boomerang around that’s taller than she is. The boomerang is just a weird choice in general. In a world where guns seem to be the main way to fight, giant boomerang is a choice, alright. Just kind of odd. You could kind of explain this with the material it’s made out of, but no. I don’t buy it. Carbon ain’t magic.

 

Weird 4D virtual world and odd virtual snake guy that controls the carbon market is odd too. I suppose it is in the future, so you can forgive things like that, but those aspects are the only thing that really seems futuristic, aside from the Midgar-esque city. Speaking of that, Shangri-La and Final Fantasy VII are very similar in setting. I wasn’t aware there was a need for political, dystopian global warming crisis stories whose main characters have comically large weapons.

 

Jokes aside, the story is genuinely interesting. The main pull of these settings is to provide an interesting scenario and one you could actually see happening in real life. The world deciding to forcefully stop global warming and make a bunch of money in the process is definitely something I could see happening, granted we’d have more problems than giant boomerangs. We’d be overthrowing the government. Oh, wait, that’s what Metal-Age is doing. This really could happen!

Young hacker girl
(Look, it’s the young hacker girl)

 

Even if the story is fascinating, it suffers from being a tad boring. The details of the story are unique. The way everything is put together isn’t. If you’ve ever seen some similar story of guerrillas against the government, it’s fairly similar. Main character is indifferent to both sides, you have your big friendly guy, smart hacker girl, little girl that causes death and destruction. Ok, that one might be unique. Point is, my connection to Final Fantasy Vll isn’t just because I like the game. A lot of these stories are point together in a similar way.

 

I haven’t gotten far enough in Shangri-La to tell whether it will be one of the good ones. It shows promise in some areas. The premise is one. The art is also surprisingly smooth when it wants to be. But then there are certain parts that are supposed to be tense or edgy that make me audibly laugh, like when Shion, who gets constantly abused by Japan’s new prime minister, suddenly reveals that he likes it because he’s a masochist. I think that was serious, but it got me good.

 

I also get a good kick out of the little girl that keeps murdering people for sport. The tone of Shangri-La is baffling, really. It tries very hard to be serious, but I have a hard time taking it seriously. Partly because of the giant boomerang and other things I mentioned. Or maybe it’s because the self-proclaimed “tranny” that won’t stop talking about family jewels. Almost a decent character there, but Momoko starts to feel like a parody pretty quick, which is a shame.

Kinuko and Momoko
(The jewels aren’t serious enough)

 

And I don’t need to tell you how difficult maintaining a serious tone is. It’s way riskier than something lighthearted. Shangri-La is going for a mature story, but whether it stays that or becomes a laughing stock is ultimately up to you. I’m somewhere in between. I can see the story becoming something more, but as of now, I just can’t take it all seriously.

 

And that really does take away a lot from the show as a whole. If I’m laughing when I’m supposed to be in suspense, well, you’ve got something wrong. Maybe I’m just a screwed-up individual and find the wrong things funny. That’s possible, but children murdering people is funny, no? I think so.

 

That being said, there are actually some decent plot twists along the way that make me think the story will really pick up, so I’m excited to see how that will change things. Admittedly, I would have watched more than the 6 episodes I did. For most series, that would be plenty, but Shangri-La is a bit different.

 

It’s much slower-paced for one, and you know the story is building up to something. This wasn’t a long-running series that spanned a whole bunch of arcs. It was one or two novels, so the pace reflects that. Do I think it’s a little too slow? Yes, I do. 6 episodes in, a whole fourth of the series, and I feel like almost nothing has happened. We’ve been introduced to the world, and that’s about it. Granted, that’s pretty important for the series, but I also feel like it’s one of the only real things being focused on.

Old folks
(They also exist in this dystopian future)

 

If you haven’t seen me talk about much else, that’s why. I still don’t know much. I know more about Momoko’s long-lost family jewels than I do about half these people. Had I seen the entire series, I would probably have a better understanding of just what was going on and have more to talk about, but as a human, time is never on my side.

 

I also know that not everyone will sit through an entire series to decide whether it’s worth watching or not, so I do feel I’ve seen enough for the purposes of this review. So, how is it? It’s alright. I’ve seen better, even within the setting, but I don’t think it’s horrible. Shangri-La has a cool premise that’s executed fairly well and makes for a good dystopian tale. I believe fans of the genre will probably get a kick out of it, but otherwise, it may not be the most interesting thing. But if you are interested in jewels, especially of the family variety, don’t watch this. Momoko got rid of them. Seriously, why is that joke in every episode? It’s like the Brock hitting on girls of this series.

 

Thank you very much for reading

 

Should we forcibly stop global warming- no, that’s a bad one. Is a boomerang a good weapon? That one’s lame too. Are killer children funny? No, that sucks too. I don’t know. Take your pick.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. darkdaemonpk2

    I think I’ve seen this before in Animax when I was casually resting on our break room when I was still working on a company. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Funny thing is, I also feel like I’ve seen or heard about this series before, which is weird because it seems fairly obscure.

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