Sometime in the future, the Earth is ravaged by the effects of Global Warming. The flora fights back, violently overtaking civilization. In Japan, a perfect utopian society, Atlas, is built and shelters the chosen few, while the rest of society fend for themselves in the ruins of civilization. The global economy is based on carbon. The CO2 producing nations of the world owe large tax levies. Businessmen, hackers and terrorists alike battle for control of the global market and power.
The story revolves around a spirited young girl, Kuniko, who is heiress to a "terrorist" organization called Metal Age. Metal Age opposes the exclusionist principles of the Japanese government and wishes to protect all people by gaining access to the safety of Atlas. We follow Kuniko as she battles her personal demons and inspires her people to action. With strength and resolve beyond her years, her decisions change the world.
Shangri-la succeeds in creating unique characters. The most memorable characters in my mind are the three codgerly otaku, who deal in underground goods, and Momoko, a transsexual who acts as Kuniko's foster mother and confidant. They provide much needed comic relief to the anime. There are a myraid of supporting characters. Each character is adequately fleshed out with back story that explains their personal motivation.
Shangri-la is visually appealing. There are drastic color palette differences between the sterile Atlas, the encroaching jungle and the ruins of society. These differences really serve to accentuate the segregation of these three equally important pieces of the plot. The character design and wardrobe (a sailor type school uniform) for Kuniko emphasize her young age. Transsexual Momoko's wardrobe changed frequently and was as unique as her personality.
The audio for Shangri-la was uninspiring. The voice actors, although competent, are relatively unknowns. The OP by May'n called "Kimo Shinitamo Koto Nakare" really didn't create a mood for me. The audio wasn't bad, it just wasn't noteworthy.
With its tangled plots, Shangri-la misses the mark in making a comprehendible story line. Rouge computer programs; governmental power struggles; environmental issues; and personal and interpersonal struggles are all very interesting themes, but together they become a mess of overflowing ideas. What the author seeks to accomplish might have been fulfilled in a 50+ episode anime, but I really think simple is better in this scenario. Pick a plot and a subplot and weave your story.