Shangri-La Episode #11 (

By:Mark Thomas
Review Date: Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Release Date: Sunday, June 14, 2009

With Momoko captured and all her friends at the prison massacred, Kuniko faces a crisis of conscience.

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)
This episode switches gears a little bit and focuses mainly on Karin, with a few snapshots of the other main characters. As this episode opens, Karin is settling down after it seems the markets will stabilize for a while. But in her inaction, she begins to get lonely, as she spends all of her time in solitude. While trying to convince herself that she is happy with her existence, she is contacted by a strange boy who is able to read her deepest thoughts, and tries to convince her to break her isolation. While this is going on, we find that Kusanagi has managed to find it to a life raft after the sinking of the Yamato Takeru, Kuniko is struggling with indecision with her new position as the leader of Metal-Age, and Ryoko is continuing to search for ways to grab power.

In many ways, this felt like a place holder episode. While it never really concerned itself with the carbon market, Karin is still the least interesting character in the series, and the rest of the characters were basically treading water; so I found it hard to really get excited about this one. The upshot is that we might see Karin take on a more active role as the series pushes into the second half, but at this point, I have trouble really caring about it. The only thing that piqued my interest is the not-so-subtle hint as to the background of Kuniko, Mikuni, and Kusanagi and why they are so important. I am not sure as to how I feel about what was apparently revealed, but as always, I remain open until I see all the facts.
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:

Though I have enjoyed Shangri-La so far, this was a down episode for me. I have found little so far in this series to make me truly care about Karin, and as 99% of this episode concerned her, I therefore found little to make me care here too. There was seemingly a fairly big reveal near the end, though, that makes this an important episode, so it was not a complete wash. 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