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.