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Shangri-la Eps. 13-24
Andy Hanley
Author: Andy Hanley

Andy has been writing for UK Anime since 2006, and was the site's editor-in-chief until August 2017.  Contrary to popular belief, Andy is not actually a robot.

Shangri-la Eps. 13-24

Distributor
Crunchyroll
Certificate
N/A
Price
N/A

I think it's pretty fair to say that the first half of Shangri-la didn't do much to convince me of its merits - Anything but in fact, as it plunged deeper and deeper into the depths of embarrassment.  Classic anime it was not.  Given those negative feelings, you may think that it's largely pointless to ask whether the second half of the series served to improve things.... and you'd be absolutely right.

If anything, the second half of Shangri-la loses its way yet further, as it appears to reach the point where it creates numerous story threads which it has no idea how to close, and then rushes around trying to close them in the most witless and downright stupid ways possible.  So, we see the introduction of "shocking" revelations about which characters are related to who, before going one better and introducing the good old concept of clones to make life easier for the script writers.  A whole host of deus ex machina are also introduced to proceedings in a panic-stricken attempt to tie up loose ends towards the last few episodes of the series, including one character who appears to die three times by my count with no hope of survival, but somehow she manages to reappear again each and every time she's required to save the day again.  I won't spoil the final scene of the series for you, but let's just say that there isn't actually much to spoil, and the ludicrous resolution it offers to one of the key tenets of a particular character sums up Shangri-la as a whole almost perfectly.

Oh yes, that brings me to the characters... ohh, the characters.  I'm not sure there's much more I can say about most of them that I didn't cover the last time around, from the laughably cartoonish evil traits of Ryoko to Lady Mikuni, who changes her mind about who is good and bad in a single episode more times than most of us blink.  Add to that a whole host of characters who are simply downright annoying, in particular a trio of Akihabara's staunch otaku who end up becoming an outlet for many of those deus ex machina with a range of cobbled together gadgets that even MacGuyver would blanche at.  Only Kuniko, the actual star of the show, comes close to saving the day thanks to her drive and attitude, but she really stands little chance of improving anything in such a sea of clichéd and lazy writing.

At the end of the day, I have to say that laziness is what it really boils down to at the core of Shangri-la's failings - its core concept is intriguing enough in itself, and at times throughout the series there are occasional glimpses of what might have been.  All of that potential has been frittered away however, with the series preferring to traverse a route of easy fixes and dull, predictable plot points and progression that not only have we seen a million times before, but we've also seen them all done better on 99% of those occasions.

To sum up Shangri-la in a word then - Avoid.  There's nothing of merit about this series at all, and even streaming it for free via Crunchyroll seems like an almost criminal waste of your Internet bandwidth.  There are plenty of far, far better series out there demanding your time these days; I just hope that this dreadful series doesn't prove to be Gonzo's swansong - How did they come from Last Exile down to this?

 

At the time of writing, Shangri-la can be viewed in streaming format from Crunchyroll - The entire series is now available to be viewed for free on the site by all users.


Extras:

Japanese audio, English subtitles - Available in Standard Definition and 480P streaming resolutions.


2
Let's not beat about the bush - This could be amongst the worst anime to be released in 2009
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