Monday, 8 June 2009

Shangri-la - Episode 10

With Momoko captured and her state unknown, and Kuniko missing after coming face to face with the death of her former prison-mates, there's only one thing Takehiko can do to resolve these pressing situations... Gardening. Yes, that's right, as we all know a little weeding will put right even the most worrying of kidnappings. I suppose it beats digging a huge tunnel over the course of three episodes only to find that nobody needs it after all.

Joking aside, Shangri-la is at last making some attempt at stitching togther the myriad plot points it currently has running, albeit in a slightly haphazard way. Of course, Kuniko and Momoko respectively take up chunks of the episode, as the former tries to decide upon her future path (looking to past conversations and the like with Momoko for guidance) while the latter finds herself the subject of torture and interrogation, but manages to turn the tables on Sayako by figuring out more about her than she would have otherwise let on. Who would have thought Sayako had a daughter? Hmm, I wonder who she might be.

Speaking of which, Lady Mikuni is playing up, demanding another trip to the surface and eventually trying to sneak outside on her own before soon succumbing to the sunlight, but not before she hears a voice in her head that portends major upheaval ahead. Upheaval is also the word of the day around Atlas, as the Prime Minister is removed and replaced by (who else?!) Lady Ryoko - This woman really loves her job swaps. Mind you, if she fancies deposing another inept Prime Minister who's past his sell-by date, we have some ripe fodder here in the UK right now...

Ryoko's first promises as Prime Minister are to speed up the building of Atlas and the repatriation of all those living on the surface (not the most believable of claims on the latter point given her reputation), while her first actual action looks towards shutting down MEDUSA. To be fair, I won't be too sad to see the back of that stupid dragon thing myself. Anyway, as the episode ends Kuniko finally decides upon her future, causing literal reverberations in multiple places as the scene is set for her next mission.

It may surprise some of you to hear this coming from me, but this was actually an okay episode of Shangri-la. Yes, it still feels like it's staggering all over the place like a raging drunk as far as the plot goes, but the raging drunk at least seems to be sobering up a little and making some coherent sense here and there. Once some of the mystical mumbo-jumbo gets mopped up and rationalised, we might actually have a more enjoyable series on the cards now that Kuniko is running the show as far as Metal Age is concerned and Ryoko has taken her rightful place as being more evil than anyone else. My word, am I almost praising this series? Quick, somebody pinch me....


dm00 said...

After what's come before, this episode seems almost straight-forward.

I thought using the mechanism of joint flashbacks as a way to transition back and forth between Kuniko and Momoko was very nice --- almost like something Satoshi Kon would do. It also served double-duty in telling us about the two characters (different things, really, given the different situtations of the characters at the time of the reflections situated the memories in different contexts).

As to weeding --- one gets the impression that Takehito is a "hard-work-and-guts" guy stuck in a chess-game. He's also the one who thought it would be a good idea to welcome Kuniko home by firing up the boilers. And, um, he may be just as glad to have Momoko out of his hair, actually.

I assume the weeding was a way to fight the spread of the jungle, and, in fact, these weeds return us to another plot element: that mysterious bombardment that ended episode one.

zaeris said...

You're right it is not like you Hanner to praise the series, lol.

Like others I greatly enjoy this episode. When everything slows down and more time is spent on developing its characters this is where the story becomes interesting.

While the anime is paying attentive details on Kuniko and Momoko back-story it's time they move to integrate Karin’s part. With Kuniko symbolizing the Sun and Mikuni as the Moon, what is Karin suppose to represent? Given her technological ability, her affinity would either be something that isn’t natural to man.

"I assume the weeding was a way to fight the spread of the jungle, and, in fact, these weeds return us to another plot element: that mysterious bombardment that ended episode one."

On an interesting note, the unknown variant of plants our gardener found adds something more to the plot which I wish the anime would explored rigorously, The existence of the forest and how it came about. Given how Shangri-La has built a world plagued by environmental destruction mutations are bound to happen couple with the level of science the world exhibit. I’m willing the guess the meat of the story will explore these areas and conclude the relevance of the three children.