Shangri-La came out at a time when people were finally beginning to realize what a crapfest studio GONZO was all along. It took them 10 years but after the repeated failures even the fanboys started to have their doubts. So as soon as this show is announced, most tried to find some hints that may lead to the series being good for a change. The cover picture sure didn’t look promising, since all we see is a pink-haired loli with a boomerang. But alas, the character designer is Renge Murata, who drew the casts of Last Exile and Blue Submarine No.6. With such a great character designer, this show can’t possibly fail!... Or that is what they thought. Silly gonzotards, this was the best claim they could come up with; anything vaguely reminded of Last Exile is auto-win. Since when was Last Exile a great show to begin with? And since when is something as unimportant as character looks the most important thing in a show? Maybe in storyless moe this stands true but this is not the case. Anyways, the show turned out to be indeed nothing more than what the main picture was showing all along: A pink-haired loli with a boomerang. OBVIOUS OR WHAT?
So what is the story about anyway? Basically it is a retarded version of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. It is about the world being taxed on how much they pollute the environment, and how some cities are redesigned as places where the air is filtered. It is about jungles and cities mixing together and security organizations attacking civilian areas if the slightest change in carbon dioxide is spotted. This interesting concept is of coursed completely trashed at the hands of the idiots writing the script, so all attempts at trying to make the series to appear intelligent, pro-ecological and social-political are turned to a travesty… Oh, did I tell you there are actual transvestites in this series?
Although the setting is a mature sci-fi dystopia, the characters living in it are a bunch of shounen and moe archetypes, completely irrelevant to their surrounds. This alone destroys any credibility in getting to like the themes, since what you get is like a tropical forest full of pink polar bears.
- Here you are watching a world trying to recover from a devastating ecological catastrophe and then a loli appears that to the most part she is being vulgar to her peers and jumps all over the place while her mini skirt mysteriously doesn’t follow the laws of physics and stays down all the time. She fights by using a boomerang that somehow is more powerful than a hundred soldiers and a dozen tanks that are constantly firing at her. She is not all alone of course; she is aided by her transvestite friends who love to molest soldiers during battles. Yes, you just see the quality oozing from the scriptwriters’ armpits.
- Here you are watching a rather complicating economical system of taxing based on carbon dioxide emissions which is deciding the fate of entire nations. And then a blond hacker loli with a teddy bear hacks everything with a magical creature and the balance of funds changes as it feels like it. Woah, amazing tactics there you guys.
- Here you are watching a jungle that feels closer to a Wizard of Oz forest.
- Why the devil is the heroine dressed as a school girl in a setting that has no high schools? Why is her hair pink? Half-assed otaku bait bullcrap; that’s why.
- Everything is explained in forced monologues and in your face, in the most fake way possible. There is no way they would be so explanatory about things they know so well for decades.
- And despite the forced explanations, almost nothing seems to make sense in the logrun. It’s like the characters break the fourth wall to tell you how their unicorn turns invisible but otherwise never tell you where the devil did they found the unicorn in the first place.
- The directing is horrible as usual. Most events are hardly presented with the gravity they deserve, they are either too superficial, or too vague, or too slow, or too rushed. It makes you thing everything is, like GONZO, a farce.
The production values are also not good. Although the sceneries are quite captivating with their detailed jungles and industrial areas, the foreground is one big mess of generic and usually crudely drawn character figures, random action scenes, and messy BGM that is thrown almost randomly at each scene. So much for Murata’s designs saving the show you gonzotards! They look awful! Especially the trannies.
What is even worse is that you will not be able to remember any of the characters. Theirs looks and personalities are so simple and stupid, they get automatically deleted from your brain five minutes after the episode is over. Most of them don’t even have backdrop stories, and those who do are barely hinted but never clearly explained. Their motivations also make no sense at all and they seem to change their minds for no reason, all the time. You can’t even remember them based on their clothes because the main loli is dressed as generically as it gets, while the more flamboyant personalities such as the trannies and the crazy company mistress change clothes on every episode. So no wonder that the only things I remember from the over fifty characters in this show are a boomerang thrown by some generic moe girl, some power that kills you by telling a lie to another boring loli, and TRAAAANIEEES!
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 7/10
General Artwork 2/2 (looks good superficially)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (eye-catchy)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)
SOUND SECTION: 3/10
Voice Acting 1/3 (retarded and corny)
Music Themes 1/4 (forgettable and unfit)
Sound Effects 1/3 (basic)
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 0/2 (chaotic)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (rushed and messy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 2/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 1/2 (generic)
Backdrop 0/2 (barely exists)
Development 0/2 (random to the point of not existing)
Catharsis 0/2 (what who where what?)
VALUE SECTION: 1/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 1/3 (no point in doing so)
Memorability 1/4 (it will give you nightmares but you will forget it eventually)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 2/10
Nice setting but otherwise horrible. A completely tasteless, insulting, poorly-written mess. In other words, just another GONZO anime to play Frisbee with your dog.
Overall, the plot was full of holes, the characters were in need of development, and the relationships weren’t well developed, if developed at all. In some cases, it felt like we knew more about minor characters than main characters. Some of the minor characters actually seemed more developed that the main ones. There were a lot of conflicts and events that seemed related only by the thinnest of strings and way too many issues for the short amount of episodes. There were too many ideas all crushed into 24 episodes so that none of them could fully develop much less actually wrap up. The animation was good for the most part but it was inconsistent. Sometimes it was very bland and lacked detail and other times it was very detailed and exciting. There were too many characters to keep up with in my opinion. I think part of that was due to having so many conflicts and stories going on at once. I mean there were crazy plants that shot their seeds and were taking over everything. There was the whole prison side story thing. There was the problem of Atlas not taking the outsiders in fast enough. There was the whole navy boat thing. There was Karin and Medusa and then Mikuni all that went on with her. You had the carbon market thing and metal age. There was the green haired lady and the screaming child in the room with eyes. On top of that, you had these blades and the three people who had them who didn’t even know what the blades meant. The plants, heirs, and Medusa are enough without all the other things.
The battle scenes were interesting except the last episode. There were some touching scenes too, though never too emotional due to lack of character development and such. There were some funny moments too. I thought their choice of music in some places was a bit odd, but in others it suited the situation fine. I did feel as though they could have made better use of sound in certain places to make the story more alive. Overall though, it was average. I would like to say that I thought the story had potential and just needed more episodes or a bit of tweaking, but honestly, I think it was too much of a clusterf**k of ideas and events to have done much better with it than they did. On top of all of that, I still feel like I need to take economic and business classes to understand half of it. I know what a carbon index is but what that has to do with a market, I don’t know. I don’t know about stocks or financing or anything beyond the very basics. I’m a psych and dance major, not a business major. I couldn’t understand anything the characters were talking about sometimes. It was too advanced and complicated for me. And yet, they managed to dumb down the biology to the point of pictures and unofficial terms (though I understood the bio stuff without it.) Why they had to get so in to the whole carbon market buying and trading and finance and what all I don’t know. Of course, it may be that I’m just stupid and everyone else understands what is going on. Still, unless you are trying to target an audience of college age and above people who major in economics, I think it should have been toned back a bit.
The random plot twists and new uncalled for information all the way till the end was rather ridiculous too. Not only that, but then it never really went anywhere. They talked about Kuniko being a clone, but it didn’t have an effect of anything. It didn’t change her actions; she didn’t seem to care even. The same goes for when the one guy revealed that Sayoko was his sister. Sure, the brief tale of what the green haired lady said (I don’t care what her name is because she is annoying) added a bit to the emotional aspect and was interesting for a moment, but beyond that, had very little value to the overall plot. The amount of information they threw in towards the end was silly. It had very little value and had absolutely no time to soak in or to be explored because the show was almost over. It took away more than it added to.
What happened in reality and what happened in computer world (I don’t know what else to call it) was confusing. I had a hard time telling what events took place in which. It seemed as if the nukes were fired and then it was all apparently fake? I really don’t know. Not to mention the part where a bunch of them were in there with Medusa and fighting it with a red hammer and light that came out of their hands. What part of that made sense? None of it was explained. I’m not sure what it was supposed to be. It seemed to me they were trying to use a metaphor to make it more interesting and less confusing about what was going on on a technical level. I don’t know enough tech stuff to really elaborate. It just seemed that maybe instead of showing us people typing code on a computer and doing computer stuff, they did it with pictures and so the hammer was a metaphor to some computer thing they were doing. Whatever it was, it didn’t make sense to me. I was lost.
I’m not saying it was a total waste of my time. I did watch it all the way through. It’s not awful and it can be entertaining at times, and at other times I was playing bejeweled on my phone waiting for it to get interesting again. If you like the post apocalypse theme or any of the other themes in the anime, it could pass a rainy day. It does have its moments at least.
I can easily say Shangri-la is one of my favorite anime's of all time. The first thing that caught my eye was that the main character Kuniko, has a boomerang as her weapon. I love boomerangs, I think they are the coolest as a weapon and I have never disliked a character that had a boomerang as their weapon. Most anime's or video games do not usually have boomerangs as a weapon of choice. I also thought it was cool that they had an lgbt character, two in fact! Transgendered people are even more rare than homosexual and bisexual characters.
Overall I enjoyed the anime, it had a nice story that always had a new twist around the corner, fun characters, nice animation, nice music ( I LOVE the opening theme!).
It's a light hearted action adventure anime that also has a dark side to it.
The only thing I wish they had added was more boomerang fighting action, which I know I am not alone on that one as I watched the series on Crunchyroll and there was one episode where everyone in the comments were saying they wanted more boomerang fighting to go on.
Shangri-la is up there on my list, I actually bought the dub too. I am not like most, I like dubs more than subs, but if I watch the sub first I will most likely not watch the dub because I usually watch an anime once unless I really enjoyed it. But for Shangri-La, I loved it so much the first time that I will watch it a second time via dub form.
You am watch dis for pretty; no watch for brain
The year is some where in the future (stop me if you've heard this before,) and perhaps even an alternative time line where Tokyo has been destroyed by an earth quake and the forest has taken over most of the world--near violently in fact. There are strange new plants mutating to climb their voracious vines over the skeletal remains of sky scrapers and long gone restaurants, humanity struggles to fight off the forest, survive "bomb" like hail storms of rain and dreams of winning a chance to become part of Atlas. An elite company of soldiers, scientists and upper class that live in a self contained high-rise like city in the rubble of destroyed Japan.
A group called Metal Age toils below the city of Atlas, raging against the splendid city and fighting against the corporation which runs it--for Atlas is, ultimately, for the privileged few leaving the rest of mankind to barely scrape two ends together below.
Political unrest is growing. The old Metal Age leader wishes to enlist her granddaughter, Hojo Kuniko. But Hojo Kuniko balks at her grandmother's urgings while those around her urge her to do as she wishes.
Sounds like an epic set up, right? Sounds like they couldn't possibly screw this up!
BZZZZZT, WRONG, thanks for playing!
My god they could not have screwed this up any harder if they tried. Shangri-La shoves so much extra garbage into its plot that the series becomes a bloated, waddling pale and nauseous ghost of what-could-have been. Shangri-La shovels in politics, magic, computer hacking, economics, character relationships, familial issues and genderless equality in a giant bucket of suck and plasters it on a massive wall of flapping plot-holes.
It is simply not able to stand under the weight of its own over ambitious story line and collapses akin to a poorly built card tower. Every episode limps over-stuffed toward a stuttering conclusion that just doesn't make a damn lick of sense because nothing ties in to one other.
This might have worked if any of it was really connected. Unfortunately, Shangri-La was either unable to, or became to lazy to give a flying monkey-cluster-fist to work all of it's strange plots together. Twenty six episodes was not enough to explain anything, and in the end, Shangri-La seemed to throw its hands up in the air at it's own story writing in a classic, "f-it. I'm tired and I wanna go home. Here's what happens, rocks fall--everyone lives happily ever after OKAY BYE :D"
At the very least the Music in Shangri-La was excellent! Really! It was! I enjoyed the opening and closing themes immensely and particularly enjoyed one episode which seemed to stand out like a side-story from everything else which used a great folk-song. The song fit the subject of the episode perfectly and was, in my opinion, the single best episode in the twenty six lot.
On the down side, the actual music within the series--the soundtrack for moving moments, or battle moments was absolutely boring. None of the background music stood out and in fact, Shangri-La simply recycled it so much every episode I found myself doing my best to just ignore the same damn music I heard five minutes ago in every scene.
Abso-frikkin-lutely outstanding, which is probably something that should not surprise anyone. And I feel it is a shame that such excellent animation has fallen on a storyline, plot and series that seems to have been written by an over eager seventeen year old.
There weren't any recycled animation snippets; the character designs were attractive, memorable and unique (at least for this series.) Expressions and motions were rather well done and I enjoyed at least, watching the way characters moved in battle scenes.
In the sense of if they were memorable or not, Shangri-La's characters are indeed different enough, filled enough with their own personalities that one will be able to recall them during the series. They're unique enough not to be confused for one another and a few of them actually garner sympathy.
Unfortunately, Shangri-La's poor writing often takes away what little empathy or sympathy a viewer might garner after a show or two for any particular character because they. never. do. anything. that. makes. sense! It's so terribly frustrating when characters run off and do something ridiculously out-of-character, or say something out of left field that doesn't match up to their personalities or motivation at all
The main character is an attempt at a happy-go-lucky young girl trying to overcome the tragedies that have befallen her, her family and friends without letting it all get her down. I believe she was supposed to appear as a strong figure head that can overcome all odds--yet the portrayal of this just doesn't make it through. Her happy-go-lucky returns at inopportune moments casting her most as a callous I don't care! TEE HEE, I'M SO HAPPY! more than anything else.
Shangri-La is pretty to look at. It's characters are o.k, but it isn't anything that is going to go down in my history books of OMG MUST WATCH animation.
If I had to liken Shangri-La to anything, I'd call it that hot college guy who's father had enough money to get him into the school and put him in a hella nice pair of jeans. He looks good, ladies, he smells good, he even moves well--but as soon as he opens his mouth and attempts any conversation it's all just HERP DERP HURR DURR from there.
If you want something pretty to look at and don't want any brain stimulation (because trying to figure out Shangri-La's meandering, possibly dropped-acid inspired story line will make brain hurt! Raar! Brain hurt, baaad!) then skip on watching this.
If you am like pretty shiny things without brain juice, than you am watch dis. Watch good. If you am smrt people and am are looking for dat, you no watch dis.
A post-apocalyptic/cyberpunk tale, where the apocalypse is in the form of massive flooding due to global warming. Kuniko is a girl struggling to survive with her people in the real "urban jungle" that Tokyo has become. Very weird cast of characters in this one, but it turned out to be a very satisfying tale that ended up making sense at the end.