Shangri-La Episode #04 (

By:Mark Thomas
Review Date: Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Release Date: Sunday, April 26, 2009

This episode sees Kuniko take the initial steps on her quest to bring those behind Atlas down.

What They Say
SHANGRI-LA is the story of a young woman fighting for her survival in a real "urban jungle." Only 18 years old, Kuniko Hojo finds herself at the heart of the battle for humanity's future when she discovers that the government which rules Atlas intends to continue marginalizing the less-privileged masses outside the tower - by force, if necessary.

Follow Kuniko and her rag-tag group of guerrillas, Metal-age, as they fight for survival in the amazing surroundings of a bustling metropolis reclaimed by nature. Even in this superheated future, both bravery and the human spirit can persevere and—hopefully—win.

The Review!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the last episode ended, Kuniko, Momoko, and Takehiko were making their escape from Atlas after their attempts to infiltrate failed due to faulty fake IDs. Having seen what lies in Atlas, Kuniko is left wondering why the government does not open the doors to all. She feels that if everybody were allowed to live within its walls, nobody need suffer. To this end, she begins to take on a more active role in Metal-Age, and concocts a plan to sell Duomo’s graphite and play the carbon market. With this, she and Momoko heads to Akihabara, which after the fall has become a haven for black marketers.

Of course, this begins to draw the attention of Karin who was already concerned of market fluctuations that she had no part in. To her, it seems obvious that somebody has managed to copy her Medusa system. At the same time, Mi-Ko has managed to find a place for herself as the hand =maiden for Mikuni. For some reason, Mikuni has taken a greater liking to Mi-Ko than she has ever given anybody else. As all this is happening, Ryoko sends her underling to an audience with Mikuni in the hopes that she would kill him, but a chance remark to Mikuni reveals the presence of Kinihito’s blade, which gets her interested in the ceremonial weapon that is copy of her own.

I am happy to see that, with the ending of the last episode, we are starting to see how the many plot threads are going to come together eventually. My biggest concern was always how Karin was going to fit in with everything else, but with Kuniko now interested in the carbon market, the picture is clearing up. Still, I am left wondering what role the carbon market will have in all of this, as it so far seems to be a sundry detail that has no apparent connection to the greater issues—outside of economics, of course. I was also happy to see that it is starting to return to the greater mystery of the blades that Kinihito, Mikuni, and Kuniko all carry and the power that they contain. This is much more interesting to me, and I look forward to seeing where it goes.

As a final note, I should mention that Crunchyroll seems to be offering this simulcast title for free as a bit of an advertisement for their membership services. So you do not actually need an account to watch it before it drops into their general video collection.

In Summary:
Shangri-La seems to be starting to answer some of the many questions that it has raised through the first few episodes. The connections of many of the characters are starting to become clearer. As such, it is starting to feel like it is picking up a little bit. I still wonder if it might have been a bit better served to have a little more of a simplistic storyline, but as always, I reserve judgment until I have seen the whole thing. Recommended.

Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Crunchyroll
Running time: 25
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Shangri-La