Is Shangri-La Crap? Animebloggers are Crap.

Everyone seems to think so. I’m on the fence at the moment, though I must say it isn’t the worst anime of the season, and probably is about average. There are far worse shows, such as Ghost 07 where pretty boys love each other really hard, and Tayutama, a really bad version of Inari-sama.

The main reasons people don’t like Shangri-La can be broadly categorised into two main types. The first is, an unfulfilled potential that arose from overly high expectations created by impatient youngsters. Gone are the days when anime series can take some time to do a bit of exposition and slowly become awesome. These days, impatience and instant gratification are the norm, and any first episode that is not automatically awesome leads the anime series to be classfied as "fail". This leads to the primacy effect, where first impressions are given far more weightage than subsequent knowledge. Such changes in consumer taste has the dire effect of making anime companies blow budgets on first episodes, then heighten expectations, and subsequently fail to achieve them.

The other reason is confirmation bias, where people basically just seek to confirm what they already think, without considering other alternatives. People think GONZO sucks, and thus watch Shangri-La to spot instances where GONZO sucks. If you read other anime blogs which flame Shangri-La, you’ll notice such observations like "incoherent plot", "boring", "carbon trading is not exciting" etc. It’s pretty obvious that the story hasn’t even kicked in yet, but no, it’s "incoherent" already. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, where people think GONZO sucks and then make themselves believe that Shangri-La sucks.

Now I’m not saying it doesn’t suck, there are certainly issues with it. For one, the voice casting of Ayu from Honey and Clover as Kuniko is fucking terrible. I have this strong urge to rape and kill her brutally with candles everytime she speaks, especially if she goes on her "ne ne ne" hyper combo finish. The exploding tanks in the OP are another small issue, which people mock the show for, but in truth, exploding tanks have yet to appear in this show! The animation is not that good, that’s for sure, but only if you compare it to the likes of Bones’ or Sunrise’s. Compared to even A1 studios’ Birdy, it’s like godly already. But that doesn’t make Birdy a bad show. Anyone who can’t see past animation quality is a shallow Zaitcev (the Russian word for hidden ninja blogger).

The good points are far more plentiful. We have a polarising resistance group who basically rob the government. It’s nice of them to show that such acts have repercussions, since many of the public don’t actually like them. Kuniko’s the Princess of the resistance, but she’s an idiot. There is not moe fanservice in this show and no panty shots at all, which is as awesome as telling your retarded little brother not to drool and he actually follows the command, since GONZO is all about the panty shots. We also have an interesting carbon trading concept, which is run by a shadowy group of child prodigies of something. I assume these are unaffliated to any organisation, and essentially sets up a 3-way power struggle between the neo-world of Altas, the resistance and the profiteers.

The funny thing is, after writing this post, I actually like Shangri-La more than before. This is due to cognitive dissonance, where attitudes and behaviour collide and humans find some way to justify their behaviour to reduce this uncomfortable state of dissonance.

Savvy individuals will be able to spot that I have a psychology examination coming up in a couple of days, which explains the liberal use of the lingo in this post.

37 Responses to “Is Shangri-La Crap? Animebloggers are Crap.”


  • Is Zaitcev deep? No, Anime is deep!!!

  • I enjoyed this post and agree with almost all of it. :)

  • That is great the Big N, I hope you will patronise my blog more. Anime is DEEPP!!!

  • Yeah, agreed. The amount of negative reviews this show gets is far too large, and people result to nickpick every single detail they don’t like out of this show because they don’t like Gonzo. It’s definitely not the best show this season, but it has its charms and the potential to become awesome later on.

    Oh and ps: the animation of Birdy didn’t suck. ;)

  • Anyway, any post that involves a tiff with Author is fun.

  • PSgels, the animation for the fighting scenes in the 2nd season of Birdy, can you honestly swear it didn’t suck? Because Birdy looked like a cockroach!

  • And yet you bash 07 Ghost because it has pretty boys?

  • Scamp: No I bash 07 Gost because it has pretty boys who love each other.

  • Enjoying your psychology just a little too much, boss? I would recommend Social Psychology for you next semester. :p

  • Ascaloth, damn no I have 5 modules all core ones some of which are 6 MCs.

    Also, psych is not that fun, it’s quite dry and the lecturers all suck. Your textbook is the only thing I learn from.

  • Most of the negativity surrounding Shangri-La is really a conspiracy among a circle of bloggers. Don’t mind them~.

    Really,, few have nitpick at some of the most ridiculous thing. One example is the tank exploding in the OP… Really. And some gripes are more at how it didn’t meet their set or desired expectations.

    There are some complaints about the lack of explanation for what’s going on. I think some people are overlooking at how the show sets itself as. It’s set in a neo-futuristic setting that have dystopia elements. It comes out as partly sci-fi and fantasy. And, well…

    I think this will get the point across.

    “People who do read science fiction and fantasy have developed a skill set that other people don’t necessarily have. They can pick up a book and begin reading it, and it will have all of these words that they have not seen before and names that they are not familiar with, and it’s set in a world whose geography they don’t know and whose customs they don’t know–and it can be a bit hard to follow at first, but those kinds of people know that if they just keep reading and are patient, over time all of that will be explained, and they will be able to piece it together in their heads. And doing that is actually part of the pleasure of reading such a book for a fantasy or science fiction fan.

    People who don’t habitually read fantasy and science fiction, I think when they encounter a book that’s got all these unfamiliar elements, they find it a bit off-putting. I noticed very early when people were reading early drafts of this book that the ones who were habitual science fiction and fantasy readers blew through it with no trouble, and the ones who weren’t frequently said, “I would like a glossary. I’d like a timeline. I’d like a map. I’d like more explanation of the background of this world.”

  • I watched the first episode of Shangri-La a few weeks back and I thought it was pretty crap. Just the whole idea of little girls beating fully grown soldiers with boomerangs, little girls doing complex carbon trading; it’s all just so blatantly aimed at otaku, so I would contest your suggestion that it’s not about ‘fan-service’, even if that fan-service is a tad more subtle than Strike Witches and its ilk. But then again, this is all just a matter of opinion, after all, the last Gonzo anime I half-way enjoyed was Blassreiter, not exactly a crowd pleaser, but at least it had a cast of adults.

  • I like to attribute this increase in retarded reviews and lack of critical evaluation to what I call the *chan culture–basically all the bullshit that works in 4chan and its derivatives utterly fail in anime blogging.

  • Therefore K-on is F-off crap.

  • No WoT from me since the time is better spent studying so I’m just going to say I agree with the bias thing (I’m partially guilty myself) and I’m enjoying the show thus far.

  • I just think that the animation quality in Shangri-La isnt up to par.

  • I might have the opposite problem: lots of stuff might seem ridiculous on first glance, but it feels like there might actually good reasons for them and that they would all add up to an awesome whole. I fear I might be trying to ascribe a lot of thought being put into small details more than is warranted, forgetting that sometimes silly things really are just silly things …

  • I expected you to say “displacement activity” when you brought up the psychology exam.

    I pretty much agree with what you have to say, though some of the nits do stand in the way of my enjoyment a bit (we didn’t need quote so much “it’s so BIG!” in episode 3, I think). “Kuniko is an idiot” really does capture my objections to the series — everything else, I enjoy quite a lot. I’ll try watching the series with the idea that maybe she’s supposed to be an idiot, and see how that goes.

  • I am 100% with you on this one.

    Shangri-la can have some issues like some bad animation or Kuniko being annoying, etc… But so far I found it really interesting and even if Kuniko is annoying the transsexuals are just hilarious.

  • Kuniko is idiot-dere and not the kuudere that we expect her to be. Or even just plain cool.

    I don’t mind the voice acting, it’s partly why I’m watching the show (I guess you never saw that other horrid Takahashi Mikako anime).

    I agree with the second paragraph entirely, because it’s true, and it’s got some years of history behind it for show.

    And Birdy S2 AND S1 have awesome animation. Don’t pull a Zaitcev on me bro.

  • With Gonzo there are two different kinds of “bad”.

    The first is the complete terribleness of basically every aspect of the show, which is really just a recent thing from shows like Glass Fleet, Dragonaut, or Rosario Vampire. There really were not that many shows that fall into this camp, but the meme seems to have spread so that people think that they were always this way.

    The second is their tendency to toss the kitchen sink into everything kind of “bad”, which is more of a signature Gonzo thing. This isn’t even necessarily “bad” (Linebarrels wasn’t “bad” for this reason, nor was Count of Monte Cristo), but it can heavily detract from enjoying the show when the parts just. don’t. work. together. Strike Witches is a good example here, where it can be hard to take anything in the show seriously (like the character development) when you’re mentally going “But, like, nobody is wearing any pants…”

  • I like your point about impatient viewers nowadays. Back then I used to watch a lot of monster-of-the-week shows and they were lots of fun. Now people complain about shows with that kind of format and ask for plot development right off the bat.

    I don’t have anything to say about the show, since I haven’t started watching it. Maybe in the future.

  • Stop pretending that Gonzo doesn’t suck and trying to get hits to your blog by attempting to stir up dorama lol.

  • This is one of my favorite this season :o

  • Hinano: lol confirmation bias? :P

  • More like drama bias IMO

  • Some good points made, especially by JP and Trapmind. Zaitcev actually did a post on this post, so I guess we can all pat ourselves on our backs and say, “Mission Accomplished”. Anyway, in all seriousness, Hinano, Gonzo does suck pretty bad. I mean, look at Arad Senki and Saki!! Those are absolutely beyond hope terrible.

  • Shangri-la does have a number of faults, but I’m pretty interested in it so far. I’ve strayed away from Gonzo for a long while now, and decided to give them a second…er, I mean ninth shot. While the animation isn’t amazing, considering how far we’ve come from the classic shows I return to every once in a while, I won’t complain at all. Sure, I might be irked by a scene with characters completely off compared to their original designs, but I haven’t noticed anything quite like that yet in Shangri-La. (Then again, I am quite oblivious)

    I’m okay with waiting for the plot to pick up too — I don’t see any point in rushing the plot without laying a firm foundation for it -glances at Sunrise- At the very least, the foundation shouldn’t be leaning over sideways.

    Of course, I have a light fever right now…so I might be more lenient than usual. XD;;

  • It has been established that people have different opinions on various things. Which really gets my knickers in a twist once bloggers start declaring something is shit and everyone agrees like the sheep they are.

    Do people really need someone in authority (lol) giving a simple yea or nay before they like anything? Why don’t they roll over so they can get stomped on the other side of their face?

  • On the impatience factor, you really have to factor in the GONZO FACTOR.

    One part is, of course, as you said, the impatience of viewers nowadays due to anime being so easily ready. But the other 75% of it, at least for me, is that GONZO is making the show. I donno, but their track record isn’t exactly perfect, especially with shows that seem good at start and then flameball into utter crap.

  • Shangri-La is a deep show… too deep for me.

  • I think that this show has a lot of potential. Didn’t know there was so much Shangri-La hate.

  • 07-Ghost doesn’t suck. Eden of the East > Shangri-La > Asura Cryin’.

  • Oi! Tayutama is a win!

  • Thank god someone made this post… im sick of people shitting on this show but i havn’t had the time to write a post like this… great job.. i completely agree with this

  • Gonzo has become a pseudonym for bad anime for me since Dragonauts, which incidentally also had a good start and was some epic fail further down the road. Still, after refusing to watch a single episode of Senki, Saki and the epic Tower Of DRUAGA (based on a 1984 arcade game no less), I find myself watching Shangri-la as an acceptable anime this season.

    The fact that the plot is based on a light novel probably helped, since by now its rather clear Gonzo is utterly FAIL at directing their own storylines.

  • Kuniko has a panty shot in the final episode when she fights the Himiko clones. Too bad it’s only one frame.

Leave a Reply to Owen S