Monday, 11 May 2009

Shangri-la - Episode 6

Oh Shangri-La, do you even know what you're trying to do any more? After really trying my hardest to re-evaluate this series after the last episode, and managing to at least dish up a little smidgen of positivity towards it, so episode six fritters much of it away by further planting its foot into the mouth of implausibility.

With this rogue carbon trading system still on the loose and wreaking all sorts of havok, all parties concerned want to put paid to it as quickly as possible, which leads to Ishida Finance suggesting the setting of a trap, using poor old Kuwait (what have they ever done to Japan?!) as bait so that they can track down the "serpent" which is running this system.

Cue lots and lots of financial and carbon trading related mumbo-jumbo, which clumsily tips its hat to the economic crisis currently enveloping the real world while simultaneously spouting jargon which would even have Gordon Brown reaching for the Valium. In fact, with that in mind maybe I should start a petition encouraging him to watc this episode? Anyway, somehow Kuniko is associated with all of this trading nonsense thanks to some kind of mystical ability to "see" this serpent and where it's headed - I'd like to explain how or why she can do this, but it seems to far-fetched even for the realms of anime that I'm not even going to try to wrap my head around this particular serving of bullshit. So, let's leave it as a fact that "she just can".

Anyhow, with the "serpent apparantly tracked down, good old America goes and drops a few bombs on the part of the Maldives where it appeared to be based (yes, another clumsy attempt to bring real politics into this series), causing yet more turbulence in the markets. Meanwhile, and away from this episode's attempt to make an anime version of The Financial Times, Kusanagi gets invited to an audience with Lady Mikuni, which brings both his own mysterious nature and that of the knife he's been carrying around to the fore.

For all of my other complaints about Shangri-la so far, I'm beginning to wonder if the real problem isn't the fact that this series is simply trying to do too many things at once. The story seems to be skipping around like a hyperactive child, and to be honest I'm starting to wish it would just sit down and do some colouring for an hour or so instead. I'm also worried that all of this science and politics is eventually going to be usurped by a couple of magic knives and Kuniko's magic brain (hey, maybe she's going to end up as a magical girl? That would be different if nothing else), as these appear to be the only elements that haven't either been explained to any great degree or made to seem as dull as dishwater by the clunky plot.

Well, my re-evaluation somewhat worked for a week, but it looks like I'm back to actively disliking Shangri-la again... Maybe when it grows up and decides what it wants to be it can manifest itself as a more coherently enjoyable and intriguing series, rather than the pick 'n' mix of "things that it would be hip to have in anime" competition that the show currently seems in danger of turning into.


zaeris said...

It an ecological anime with the world’s economic market as a pretense for world setting. I wouldn't be surprised if the next few episodes become philosophical when the meats of the story are more apparent.

I must be thinking different when the anime threw the term bubble economy as in it’s different from the current financial crisis which is a "credit crisis" mainly due to the collapse of the finance system of America due to bad lending, leading to a domino effect. The general idea of a bubble economy or commonly known as a speculative bubble is based on investor effort to seize profit in a short period. The market mechanism of demand and supply dictates an equilibrium where all things are balance and the value of any given stocks are priced around the demand and supply of that particular stock while all real exogenous effect and market fluctuation are factored into its prices.
If investor believed momentarily that’s tock A is going to rise even though its intrinsic value(true value) is over prices, investor action in continuous bidding will cause stocks prices to rise. The idea behind a self fulfilling prophecy allows stocks to rise if everyone believes it will. Eventually the bubble itself will burst when its intrinsic value is realize but the adjustment mechanism is slower than the totally injection of trillions of dollars. Rapid increase and rapid decrease in stocks level will bring any economy in chaos especially when their own central bank tries to intervene.

Anonymous said...

I agree Shanri-la feels like a shotgun it's trying to be to many things at once hoping something will stick but instead it alienates its watchers.

zaeris said...

I should add something as I've felt Shangri-la hasn't changed its direction from episode 1. Carbon trading and carbon tax credit are a form of economic stability. While episode 6 details the financial part of the world it hasn’t radical change its view. Environmentalism involves the protection of nature from mankind but so far Shangri-la isn’t actively pursuing nature but everything essentially is moving towards the equality of mankind creating a fair trade through the carbon tax scheme. Kuniko views are still in line with saving everyone as a rationale. As for her ability it’s already been hinted since episode 3, it is said her birth is a threat to Atlas . To be intertwining with something like the world economic system wouldn’t be surprising, if Atlas is a system which monitors mankind from above, Kuniko may very well be an existence which can freely move about as a hacking system.

p.s I’m curious to how far you're able to continue. While blogging are essential opinionated articles it does boil down to your own enjoyment.

p.s.s Definitely not an Otaku anime, *evil-laugh*