Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 6, 2009 to Sep 14, 2009
23 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.201 (scored by 9933 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisIn the distant future, earthquakes and the effects of global warming have splintered Japanese society. Some struggle hand-to-mouth in the jungle-tangled ruins of civilization. Some live comfortably within the closed-off city of Atlas. Others lurk online, anonymously hacking the global economy. As nature grows more violent and the divide between classes expands, one spirited girl—Kuniko—must face her destiny and lead her people into the utopia of Atlas. The city's ruthless government isn't going to welcome them with open arms, but Kuniko won't give up until the gates of Atlas are kicked open for good—even if it means discovering that the promised land she dreamed of is built upon a foundation of twisted secrets and lies.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Shangri-La, Shangri-La
Characters & Voice Actors
Everybody knows of at least one anime that, while being rather decent for the most part, is sorely let down by certain rudimentary failings which a little more planning could have easily resolved, and it's unfortunate that as anime has gradually become more commercially viable, this phenomenon steadily been increasing. It's a sad fact though that one of the main avoidable flaws is also one that a little common sense could fix.
A case in point is Shangri-La.
Adapted from the manga of the same name, which in turn is an adaptation of a series of science fiction light novels by Ikegami Eiichi, the anime version is a reasonably good envisioning of the story. In what is effectively his first time directing a full series (movies notwithstanding), director Bessho Makoto has done a pretty decent job of bringing the series to life.
Set in the mid 21st century, the world has become a very strange place indeed as an international committee forcefully imposed a "carbon tax" on all the CO2 producing nations of the world in order to mitigate the effects of Global Warming. The financial and economic markets of the world altered greatly because of this change as more nations poured their money into the carbon markets in an effort to offset their current tax levies. Unfortunately, Japan suffered a major earthquake which destroyed most of it's infrastructure during this time, and to further compound matters, Japan's carbon tax rate was not lifted out of fear it would set a precedent, making Japan one of the poorest nations on earth.
However, a lifeline has been thrown to the ailing nation in the form of ATLAS, a project to rebuild Tokyo far above the ground, while the land itself is given over to the jungle.
The story begins with a young girl being released from a Japanese detention center, where she has been for two years. She is Hojo Kuniko, the "leader" of the anti-government group known as Metal Age, and her newfound freedom sparks a chain of events which will shake the world.
As far as the story goes, it can honestly be said that Shangri-La has almost everything anyone could possibly want, however this is also it's Achilles' Heel. The plot, which is generally paced quite well, has a tendency to go off the beaten track in an effort to justify events in the anime, and this is where the whole thing begins to unravel.
Quite simply, Shangri-La tries to cram far too much into 24 episodes. The rather lengthy introduction to the story earlier is an example of just how much content is in this anime, and while one can appreciate the effort that has gone into producing a viable screenplay, an experienced screenwriter like Onogi Hiroshi should really have known better than to try and put the whole story on screen. Likewise the director, having had some experience with the Ah! Megami-sama and Armitage: Dual Matrix movies, should have made the effort to keep things a little more simple.
As it is right now, Shangri-La isn't a bad series, however the numerous twists, turns, plots, counterplots, double crosses, extortions, blackmails, vendettas, factions, and characters who have a stake in the future of Japan, all serve to cloud the story proper, and confuse the viewer who may be left scratching at some new direction to which the show has suddenly veered. While the series does try to tie up the various loose ends and explain what has actually happened, there is simply too much to absorb in one go, and many people may find themselves stretching the series out just so they can absorb what has already happened (and maybe make sense of it).
For the most part the series is fairly well animated and the characters move nicely. However, whenever the show takes a turn towards action or combat, then the cracks begin to appear. The action sequences are decent enough in their own way, but there are numerous occasions when the characters somehow defy the laws of physics (Kuniko's spinning boomerang attack outside of ATLAS being a great example of this at work). One can only attribute this to a marked lack of attention to detail, or an attempt to make the show look "cooler" than it is. Whatever the case may be, Gonzo have let themselves down with Shangri-La as it is a long way from being their best work.
On the plus side though, the backgrounds and settings are failry well realised. Likewise, the characters are also reasonably well designed, although there is degree of naivety inherent in this, especially in the case of Kuniko, as while the characters appear as individuals facially, their clothes never really seem to change at all (except for Momoko).
To be honest, I was expecting somthing a little more in keeping with the theme and setting of the series given that the characters were designed by Range Murata (who also designed the characters for Last Exile and Blue Submarine No.6), but like everything in this show, this department is a bit of a mixed bag.
Musically the show is a bit hit and miss. The OP, a boppy little J-Pop track called "Kimi Shinitamo Koto Nakare" by May'n, has some extremely well choreographed visuals to go along with it. The ED is another J-Pop track, this time by Midori, called "Hajimari no Asa ni Hikari Are", and while it's a nice enough little ditty, it's not really memorable in any way. Both the OP and ED are decent enough tracks, but the series is let down by some poor and cliched thematic music. That's not to say that all of the mood music in the anime is bad, no, it's simply that the usage of certain tracks is a bit on the silly side. One example in the very first episode occurs when the viewer is shown ATLAS for the very first time - cue the dark and foreboding "Castle of Ultimate Despair" style music. It's this cliched music usage that really spoils certain parts of the series as the viewer is left in no doubt who the bad guys are.
Even if the show had tried to be a bit more ambiguous with their definitions of right and wrong (and oh how I wish they'd gone down that route), the music would have simply given the game away.
As far as the voice acting goes, it's pretty good on the whole. The cast are fairly talented, and are able to express a good degree of emotions, however there are several occasions where the drama is really "hammed up", which somewhat ruins the mood of the scene.
One of the biggest problems with Shangri-La is it's wealth of characters. The show has several leads and numerous supporting characters, which on paper would make for some great development if handled correctly. Unfortunately,the development of most of the characters is often haphazard, or stunted completely, and the reason for this is because the series attempts to justify everything. In simpler terms, the show tries to give every regular character a reason for their actions, thoughts, idealogies, feelings, etc, and because of this there is no real focus on the lead roles because the show simply runs out of time - which is why many people find the ending to be extremely rushed.
Shangri-La isn'ta bad series, and I would be lying if I said that I didn't enjoy it. The show has many interesting concepts to recommend it, but none of them are ever fully explored due to the attempt by the screenwriter to cram the entire novel series into 24 episodes. The sci-fi twist is coupled with a supernatural angle later in the story, and while this is not a bad thing, the show uses this as a justification for certain actions and events without ever fully explaining the link. The trade shenanigans in virtual carbon could have made for an OVA at the very least, as could life in the show's version of Akihabara.
Somewhere along the way the environmental message also went missing. Being ambitiousis all well and good, but it shouldn't be taken so far as to be a detriment to the series.
On the whole this series has much to criticise about, however don't be fooled into thinking it's godawful because of it's flaws. It's said that the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts, and Shangri-La is an example of this at work. Even with the numerous flaws I was extremely surprised to find that the story was pretty engaging, the characters were amiable and relatable, the settings were nice to look at, and the majority of the music was fairly easy on the ears. It's these positives that are the reason why the series is raised above the level of medicority, and while the plot may be a little garbled and far too convoluted and involved for it's own good, that doesn't mean that the premise or story are bad. It simply means that one has to work that little bit harder to figure out what's actually going on.
It's just unfortunate that, with so much potential inherent in the story, we didn't get to see the show as it should have been. Still, better luck next time, and hopefully Gonzo et al will learn from their mistakes. read more
I happened to have caught the first episode of this anime on it's air date and I stuck it through all the way to the end. I must say that I am very pleased as upon finishing this anime I am left with that "epic journey" feeling. Well lets get to it...
STORY 6/10 - It was interesting, but I suppose I wouldn't say that it's breathtakingly captivating. Sometimes there will be discussions about the worlds fictional economy and to the less sophisticated the dialogue might go in one ear and out the other. Towards the middle you might feel the plot begins to go into tangents but it does eventually tie together. All in all, it had it's "awesome" moments and it's "touchy" moments, and as for the ending... it was good.
ART 8/10 - I'm personally not that nit-picky about this kind of stuff, but it looked good to me. Lots of awesome explosions, nice backgrounds, action scenes and the characters were drawn well (particularly the transsexuals who definitely looked like transsexuals)
SOUND 7/10 - I personally can't remember any of the background music and I don't think there were any notable inserts which says enough for itself. The SFX were up to date and what they should be, sounded great. I give it a 7 cause I enjoyed the opening and ending credits which to me can sometimes make or break an anime if it's borderline.
CHARACTER 8/10 - Main character is very like-able, cute but not drenched in "moe" which is a plus in my opinion. A lot of the other notable characters are cute little girls as well. What I found the most interesting was the presence of a couple transsexuals in the main cast that played a big role in the story. They fit their roles really well, ironically playing motherly roles with those touchy family like bonds as well as having their own sense of transsexual humor. They may be one of the more memorable assets to this anime.
ENJOYMENT 7/10 - Simply put, I enjoyed it : ). I wasn't tossing and turning in bed waiting for the new episodes to come out, but I didn't skip a beat to watch them when they did. I probably won't watch it again but I'm glad I watched it.
For those who haven't watched it I would give it 3-4 episodes before you decide you don't like it. If you like animes where the main character can seemingly do anything then you should check this one out. read more
Both series are based on different novels that use a similar post-apocalyptic setting where a community of people forgotten by society lives outside a fortified utopia.
Both story take place in a tower city that houses the elite rich and privileged in comfortable living.
Not all is allow to enter the tower while life outside tower are the less-privileged masses struggling to make a living.
The story contains not so bright secrets about the tower governor, sudden turn of events.
Shangri-la and No.6 are similar to each other as:
1: they both depict an large incident occurred
- which lead to a large construction work to create utopia
- not many people are able to enter
2: one of the generation's people are the creators.
3: the opposing force makes friends with each other and joined up to destroy the utopia.
Shangri-la talks about a young girl that would rise up to be the leader of the anti-government group. She over comes many large difficulties that helped her to rise in power to bring the utopia down. From an innocent young girl that loved boomerangs, to a young leader who wishes for everybody to live in harmony.
No.6 talks about a young boy learning the dark secrets of the utopia and decides to open people's eyes for them. Due to helping a wanted criminal, he was stripped off his titles and brought to the normal living conditions, where after that, he learned about the dark secrets of the utopia and manages to escape from hell. where after that, he tries to help others to escape from that hell to learn about the real world.
Futuristic theme involving the utopia culture is involved in both of these unique series. Both series present an usual feeling as the episodes progresses though dealing with apocalyptic themes.
Both anime series also contain sci-fi themes and unique characters.
I can't really put my finger on it but there's something that reminds me of Shangri-La. It has been lingering in my mind since I started the series. If I tried to narrow it down to something, I would say it's the overall feel to both series. Also the content of the stories are quite similar. Young protagonist/s trying to find the truth about their twisted society. Both are entertaining and take suprising twists. I recommend to watch Shangri-La if you liked Shinsekai yori and vice versa :)
Both are sprawling series centering around a young girl in a distant future era. Both have an Eden-esque setting and gorgeous scenery.
In both series, the setting takes place in a distant future years from modern times. In that future, there is are mysterious and backgrounds that are waiting to unfold.
Both series has a serene like feeling and majestic backgrounds presented in a more natural way.
Both series has drama and supernatural themes surrounding the many strange events going on.
Both series also has surprising plot twists.
Opening Theme"Kimi Shinitamou Koto Nakare (キミシニタモウコトナカレ)" by May'n
Ending Theme#1: "Hajimari no Asa ni Hikari Are. (はじまりの朝に光あれ。)" by midori (eps 1-2, 4-6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17-19, 21, 23)
#2: "Tsuki ni Kakuse shi Chō no Yume (月に隠せし蝶の夢)" by midori (eps 3, 7, 9, 11-12, 14, 16, 20, 22)
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