Less action, more plot: Shangri-La shifts its focus a little bit in this episode.
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.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the invasion team from Metal-Age running into more than they can handle, Sergei Tarsian offers an olive branch to the dissidents, giving them free passage out of the tower if they cease their struggle. With little choice, Kuniko reluctantly agrees, but while the rest of Metal-Age leaves, Kuniko and Momoko opt to sneak back into the tower to check out daily life, ultimately running into Kusanagi’s mother. In Karin’s camp, Zhang warns that playing the market during such a time of political unrest can be dangerous, but Karin is blinded by her greed. But when her own operation starts to get played instead, she quickly finds herself in over her head. And at the top of Atlus tower, Ryoko begins her power ploy against her uncle in an attempt to officially take over.
After two episodes of non-stop combat, Shangri-La takes a step back and allows events to fall into place. For the first time, we got a glimpse of what real life is like inside the tower and why Kuniko and the other surface dwellers are anxious to make the move. At the same time, it was a little unnerving to see how “normal” life is inside such an artificial creation, and it makes me wonder if there is a trick or deception behind it all. I was also a bit surprised to see Ryoko already make a move against Tarsien, as I expected it to take a little more time to play out. But, I was happy to see Karin finally get hers. Her story has been the one aspect of the series that I really have not gotten into thus far, and her attitude is part of it. I am sure her developments here are the next step into bringing her closer to the other Digma’s, but this latest development is giving me at least momentary satisfaction.
As a final note, I should mention that Crunchyroll seems to be offering the Shangri-La 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.
With a couple episodes of warfare in its wake, this episode of Shangri-La slows down a bit to refocus on all the plot themes. The result is not unwelcome, though I was enjoying the battle scenes, but the final picture is starting to come into focus a little bit. We still have a ways to go, but it is still building really well. Recommended.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles