After years in the wilderness, good Gonzo makes a return…
And its about time!
I enjoyed the first episode of Shangri-la; we have a solid cast here, thus far, anchored by the energetic Kuniko, a young lady who is expected to become the leader of a movement known as the Metal-age, but who seems to feel fairly opposed to that fact. However, unlike some past heroines of anime, she certainly doesn’t seem to be against it because she dislikes fighting, which is a nice change of pace – got to love the ladies who can and are willing to fight.
Shangri-la certainly has set itself up strongly, managing to introduce us to much of the cast while also evoking a strong sense of the world of the show – which is to say that the setting feels legitimate and not simply hastily pasted together. I realize that this is based on some novels, so the depth should be there, but execution is always key. I just hope that some of the less than original elements (vaguely Chinese-ish loli with different colored eyes? evil lady with big boobs who doesn’t seem to be bothered by nudity? another loli who wields a tremendous amount of power and talks to her teddy bear?) won’t end up dragging things down – or, worse, multiplying. However, I am cautiously optimistic.
I have to admit I find it hilarious that Gonzo has thrown its crazy-ass boobs onto Momoko, one of two transvestite characters present – good to know Gonzo thinks massive ta-tas work well with male-to-female characters as well as flat-out female characters (flat-out? perhaps poor word-choice). I was also amused by the blonde loli doing business transactions – she reminded me very much of the blonde girl in Emonaut Dragonaut, and she even had a dragon, too!
The animation here is impressive; it seems like Gonzo’s finally gotten the hang of mixing CG with regular animation, resulting in a surprisingly un-jarring experience visually.
Other than my minor nitpicks (also, Kuniko is supposed to be eighteen? uh, righttt), this was a great start to a series I hope will maintain the momentum seen here. Just hope that Dragonaut girl clone doesn’t bring in some random guy who screams “JINNNN!!!!” every three seconds.