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.
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