Episode twenty-two of Shangri-la commences with a shot of Lady Mikuni walking up a ridiculously long flight of stairs whilst wearing a ridiculous pair of platform shoes, which leaves me wondering whether Atlas needs more elevators or simply more royal fashion consultants.
Of course, had this been a KyoAni show we would have been able to enjoy eight whole episodes of Mikuni walking up some stairs (that was a cheap shot, I know... sorry), but as it isn't it only takes her around half an episode to reach the top of said stairs, in which time we get supersonic lift shafts (if only Mikuni had one of them), numerous more bad jokes from Momoko, and a rather bizarre Luke Skywalker/Princess Leia "oh, so we're really brother and sister" moment which shouts out "deus ex machina" at the top of its voice.
Once Mikuni reaches the top, she's told by Ryoko that'll she'll only be accepted as Atlas' successor if she jettisons Sayoko - Sounds like a pretty good deal to me, and it seems that it does to Sayoko as well, as she hilariously jumps from the balcony at the top of the stairs rather than simply leaving by walking down them again. Never a woman of half-measures is our Sayoko.
With that little charade out of the way, we're left with just enough time for more laughably ill-conceived plot twists surrounding Ryoko, as well as an equally weak reason behind her wanting to destroy the entire world, before Mikuni is also convinced in nonsensical fashion that blowing up the entire planet with nukes is a good idea and a great way to get revenge for Miko's death. Finally, we're left with a cliffhanger that just so happens to be yet another bizarre plot twist - All it needs now is for Takehiko to come out of the woodwork and save Kuniko, and we'll have the full set of stupid plot devices.
As you can tell, this episode of Shangri-la (like so many others before it) hasn't exactly filled me with admiration. There really is no other description for it, the plot as this series moves towards its climax is beyond stupid in myriad ways, and you know you're doing something wrong in terms of plot scripting and animation when one of the supposed emotional cruxes of the episode (that being Sayoko's suicide) turns out to be utterly hilarious, of only slightly more so than Karin's question of "What happens to Mum and Dad when the world is destroyed?". Oh, I don't know Karin, perhaps they'll discover they have superpowers, fly to Mars to escape and set up a margarine shop to help passing aliens to make delicious yet healthy cakes and snacks.... Actually, not a bad idea for Shangri-la Season 2 that. Are you reading this Gonzo?