Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Shangri-la - Episode 19

After making a tough decision last time around, as of episode nineteen of Shangri-la it's time for Kuniko to act upon her plan. So, out come the bombers once again, although at least she has the common sense to deploy them at night this time around... Even though being attacked isn't really an issue on this occasion. Oh well, it's the thought that counts.

The subsequent bombing of Tokyo is pretty much the sole focus of this instalment, as the bombs drop and the fires rage in the hope of clearing Japan's Daedulus infestation in the most violent way possible. Put simply, it works, although at the cost of the the country's carbon economy which is dragged into the doldrums by Kuniko's actions. While Japan finds itself newly "crowned" as the poorest country in the world thanks to the carbon economy, so Karin makes herself filthy rich - But at what cost? The problems could be mounting, as Atlas still has its own Daedulus problem to deal with, the UN has imposed an anti-Medusa ban, and the actual Medusa is... well, who knows?

If anything, this episode serves to highlight one of the big problems with Shangri-la - It simply fails to evoke any emotion from the viewer. Reducing almost the whole of Japan to fire and ash should have been a hugely emotive and upsetting topic for the series to cover, and although it tries to portray the serious nature of the decision made by Kuniko it somehow never manages to do so to the extent that you actually care - Simply showing her personally pressing the button (which seems to have been stolen from an iPhone) that sentences Duomo to destruction and playing a sad, slow version of the opening theme just isn't enough to cut it. Compare and contrast to Valkyria Chronicles tear-jerking moments in recent episodes, and that series gives a lot of lessons in how it should be done that Shangri-la simply lacks. Still, if nothing else we have ourselves an intriguing little cliff-hanger for episode twenty, so let's see what comes next.

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