Monday, April 6, 2009

The difference between optimism and delusion.

... Well, Shangri-la has some nice backgrounds, at least.

But, damn, you can really tell this is the director's debut.  Lot of very awkward editing and compositionally dull scenes.  Even the action scenes are hit-or-miss.

Doesn't help when the story isn't any better.  Two lolis with pandering, loud voices (no, Hojo is not 18, and no amount of "b-but the youth of Asian women" is going to say otherwise)?  Check.  Stereotyped transvestite?  Check.  Outrageous hair style and colors (seriously, what the hell is with that commander?)?  Check.  The Evil Character introduced by Evil Music as she does Evil Things with Evil Make-Up on a generic Evil Expression that the director cuts to because we must know that she's an Evil Leader? Check.  Exposition about a ludicrous concept poorly shoe-horned in?  Check.  Another one of countless, failed attempts for an anime to attempt to balance playfulness and a Serious Plot with Serious Themes?  Check.

And then we get the soldiers running away from the stereotyped transvestite instead of shooting him, because, well, you cannot have competent soldiers actually killing a main character.  And I'm not even starting on the fucking boomerang.

Not that Gonzo has made anything that I've given a damn about in over a half-decade, but I sort of deluded myself that they would succeed here with Shangri-la.  I just give up.

The above screenshot says it all, really.


  1. I bailed the instant the transvestite showed up. I simply can't stand another new half stereotype; I know Japan and anime and, more importantly, Gonzo well enough to be confident it would never be anything more than unfunny and embarrassing.
    There's a grain of truth behind the stereotype, yes, but why is it they always miss the reason that personality type gets a pass for being so damn silly? Why is One Piece the only one who gets that drag queens are FUNNY. They themselves are funny, not the notion of a man in a dress.

  2. That's like, what, five minutes? New record? Really wish I could've seen a rant about the Alvis look-a-like who is the fucking smartest human being in the show.

    Also, other than One Piece, the only other two anime/manga titles that don't begin and end the character as "a man in a dress" are Hourou Musuko and Tokyo Godfathers.

  3. This is why you need to read Sugar, incidentally.
    It's the only thing I've read that went the other possible direction.
    It winds up being awkward and painful, but with a dignity and understanding that really draws a line under how excruciating the stereotype is.

  4. I wasn't expecting greatness out of Shangri-La in the first place, but I never expected this director would be so incompetent.

    Not bailing just yet, but the plot has been poorly executed thus far, and the pacing in the first episode is all out of whack. Gonna give it another episode or two, but things aren't looking good so far.

    So much for the nice backgrounds and Range Murata character designs ....

  5. I started watching this because it looked pretty and I"m a sucker for old cities covered in trees, but every time I thought of that boomerang I got a little angry, and then I gave up when I glazed over during a big chunk of exposition and didn't take anything in for the following five minutes.

    I'm sure this show is going to have a lot of people in DEEP discussions about the environment and ecomonics stuff and whatever, but I think I will save my deep thought for things that are not about sterotyped transvestites and fucking boomerang lolis.

  6. The transvestite is as annoying as miss "I'm a lesbian and must point this out ever time I open my mouth" in Dark Angel but I'm probably going to keep watching it anyway.