Jungle
Shangri-La: Part 1 - Limited Edition

Shangri-La

Studio(s): 
On DVD: 
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Grade:
A+
Discs: 
2

In the distant future, earthquakes and the effects of global warming have splintered Japanese society. Some struggle hand-to-mouth in the jungle-tangled ruins of civilization. Some live comfortably within the closed-off city of Atlas. Others lurk online, anonymously hacking the global economy. As nature grows more violent and the divide between classes expands, one spirited girl - Kuniko - must face her destiny and lead her people into the utopia of Atlas. The city's ruthless government isn't going to welcome them with open arms, but Kuniko won't give up until the gates of Atlas are kicked open for good - even if it means discovering that the promised land she dreamed of is built upon a foundation of twisted secrets and lies.

From the very first episode of this series I was hooked. The show manages to end every episode on pivotal cliff hangers, almost every character seems to have such a draw that you’re invested in their plight, and the story is well rounded and intriguing. There isn’t one aspect of this show that I am not in love with. 
 
Kuniko is a strong, sometimes stubborn, willed future leader of a resistance group known as Metal Age. She and the rest of her family live in Duomo, a peaceful under dwelling amongst the lush jungle of the old world, hidden within the shadow of Atlas. They are forced to fight and hijack for food and supplies and are mostly left to live under the constant threat of the Carbon Police and the governing body of Atlas. Every now and then Atlas will hold a lottery to select one person to come to Atlas to live. This is their only hope other then finding some small niche in which to survive in Duomo.
 
Atlas, as Kuniko soon finds out, is a breeding ground for the power hungry, and also a lie. It began as a project set up by the Japanese government and run by the Atlas Corporation after an earthquake destroyed Tokyo. All of the surviving citizens were promised a place in this new paradise but years have gone by and citizens still suffer in the dense jungles below. After Kuniko organizes a small infiltration group into Atlas all is revealed to her and it sets her on a course that will make or break those whose lives are tied with Duomo and the operations of Metal Age. 
 
I really like how the show centers on Japan after the effects of global warming have set in. The show never puts on airs that it wants to send out a message about the dangers of global warming. The event just is and the story takes place within those after effects. There is also a lot of stranger sci-fi horror elements that creep up. A little girl with the ability to kill in some unseen way, a presence held prisoner by the sacrifice of children who become said presence, some underlying secret about a few of the characters, like maybe their not human at all. Swords that wield some secret power that summons some unforeseen force. At every turn there’s something new and intriguing. A must see for any true sci-fi/action anime fan. 
 
Bonus features include a limited edition box which houses the Part 1 casing and has an artwork box which can be replaced by the Part 2 release. Commentaries, Promotional Video For Magical Gina The Akiba Fairy, Textless opening and closing songs, and trailers.

 

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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