Shangri-La Review


September 20, 2012 by

Shangri-La Image

Shangri-La is an action anime that takes place in the ruins of Japan. A massive earthquake hit the area, and everything is in shambles. That is, except for Atlas, a highly advanced city that is designed in a tower shape. Not only are they technologically advanced, but there are clean resources and plenty of room for the people who live there.

For those who don't live in Atlas, it's a completely different story.

Surrounded by a vast, dangerous jungle, the people who call Doumo home are lucky to get by. Food is very scarce, and the wilderness keeps growing into the town at an alarming rate. Their home is reduced to a slum, and the cities nearby are no different. With carbon emissions being under close watch, lighting a fire to warm yourself is enough to send the “Carbon Police” on your trail.

And it is in the small town of Doumo where we meet Kuniko, our heroine, a spirited young girl who wields a boomerang. She is the new leader of Metal Age, a group who aims for equal treatment of the people. They are considered a terrorist group because their methods tend to be a bit on the violent side, and they do not agree with the government. When Kuniko takes a forbidden trip to Atlas to see what it is like, she sees how much room there is and is horrified. Currently the only way to get into Atlas is to win the “Lottery”. Surely they can accept more people and do it more quickly than currently are. So Kuniko's first action as the new leader of Metal Age is to storm Atlas and demand entry for those who have been abandoned to live out in the slums.

If only the plot were that simple, I would have been able to follow it all.

I guess it's not that I didn't understand it, but it's that it is needlessly complicated. I'm all for a complex, involved plot; as a matter of fact, I welcome it. But I felt like this show was a little out of hand. The first three disks or so of the show built up the plot. The fourth disk felt as if the conclusions weren't either developed or dwelled upon enough. The writers dropped a bunch of huge drama bombs and left us only a few moments to dwell on it and figure out how it affects the rest of the story.

And I understand that the different story lines were all interconnected, but I felt like some didn't need to be there at all. Some might argue with me when I call out on the story line of Karin, the attention-starved shy girl who is playing the carbon market. I can't understand half of the things that come out of her mouth with all the economic jargon she throws around. Moreover, giving the computer program Medusa a 3-d snake model to “roam” around in cyberspace, which looked like a bunch of hexagons, reminded me of the 90s cartoon “Reboot” and I couldn't help but laugh aloud. I understand that these all connect later, but I felt that there could have been other ways to connect the plot while leaving this mess out altogether.

In all, I felt that Shangri-La left a bit to be desired. Namely, a simpler plot for a mere two season show. Most of the characters were decent, if not walking stereotypes. All jokes aside, this show was alright. If you want to take the Shangri-La challenge, I would recommend more than one watching.

Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.

About the Author: Elizabeth Williams

I started playing games from a young age, but really got into it when Santa left a SNES in the fireplace. My other hobbies include reading, writing, gardening, and playing with my two cats.

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