Monday, 18 May 2009

Shangri-la - Episode 7

Tragedy, Compassion, Love, Hatred is the title of episode seven of Shangri-la - Well, I suppose two of those four words wouldn't look out of place in my discussions of this series thus far...

Anyway, after her various misdemeanours during the course of the series so far, I suppose it was only a matter of time before the various factions who have something of a dislike for Kuniko would go out to take her back into their custody, and that's exactly what happens at the very start of this episode. Quite why arresting a teenager needs the use of armoured trains and a veritable army is beyond me, even with Kuniko's abilities in mind, but better to be safe than sorry I suppose. However, this time she doesn't go to jail alone, as her friend Tomoka goes with her after slapping one of the men sent to arrest her - An act she commits for reasons we learn later in the episode, and which relate to Kuniko's last period of incarceration.

While Kuniko is expecting another easy ride in jail, it seems that plenty has changed since her last stay - Not least the frankly bizarre and entirely ridiculous introduction of Lady Ryoko as the prison warder, who I assume must have decided to take some time off being a company president to do some kind of job swap. If that isn't bad enough, Ryoko has obviously been watching too many bad war movies, and spends the entire episode dressed as some kind of Nazi prison warder - Only Shangri-la could do this kind of thing with a straight face.

So, the rest of the episode is all about Kuniko's prison hardships through to a shocking conclusion, while in the meantime her Metal Age friends have decided to rescue her from jail. By digging a tunnel. Using a couple of shovels. Jesus Christ you guys, she's going to be 400 years old by the time you've dug far enough to rescue her! Again, it appears that The Great Escape has been playing entirely too many times on Japanese TV, to the detriment of this series.

Really, I simply don't know what to say about this series beyond Ryoko in a Nazi prison warder uniform and Metal Age digging a tunnel to rescue Kuniko - Two items which could have come straight out of the cheesiest, most stupid Saturay morning cartoons imaginable, and two plot points which make light work of destroying any semblance of serious scripting or portraying the severity of Kuniko's situation. It's almost like this series wants to be some kind of laughing stock, but I fear that the truth is probably a pure and simple lack of imagination of the script writes and animation teams part, and it's really starting to show in a big way, further sacrificing what could have been an interesting series and story to the God of Cheap Stupidity.


Anonymous said...

It's prison wardeN. Just FYI.
But, yeah, it was ridiculous. Oddly, I'm still going to continue watching...

dm00 said...

The Nazi prison warden outfit is obviously Ryouko playing out one of her campy fantasies. I wonder if Sion will end up jealous of Ryouko's attentions to Kuniko. Between Ryouko and Momoko, this show is having a lot of fun with that sort of thing. But, yes, the hard-work-and-guts tunnel plan is pretty silly, I agree.

As to the armored train --- don't forget that Kuniko is the (apparent) hereditary head of the community. Atlas may think a show of force is necessary --- Kuniko has out-maneuvered them twice, so holding the power-plant hostage to get her to surrender is standard Imperial Storm Trooper tactics.

However, I thought the series made it clear why Kuniko was so popular among the prisoners before --- she's tough, and doesn't surrender easily to bullies. I thought the prison scenes were pretty good, even if they have to cram a lot of development into a single episode to get to the cliff-hanger.

Hanners said...

"It's prison wardeN. Just FYI."

Not here in the UK it isn't - It's warder.

Anonymous said...

^Whoops. My bad. :)