Watch Shangri-La

  • TV-MA
  • 2009
  • 1 Season
  • 6.2  (93)

Shangri-La is a Japanese anime series from 2009 that initially premiered on Chiba TV before gaining popularity and being broadcast across other networks. The show was adapted from a novel of the same name by Eiichi Ikegami, and evolved into a 24-episode production with director Makoto Bessho at the helm. It's a fusion of post-apocalyptic settings, social critique and vibrant character drama that makes it compelling viewing for fans of anime and speculative fiction.

Set in a mid-21st Century Tokyo, the story gives us a frighteningly plausible dystopian future world where the city has been transformed into a jungle by aggressive vegetation, resulting from an attempt to mitigate the effects of global warming gone awry. Japan, like the rest of the world, has become an oligarchy and a structured society divided into classes, controlled by the Atlas Corporation. Those deemed worthy seek refuge within the luxurious monolithic Atlas Towers, a refuge from the post-apocalyptic jungle world outside. In contrast, the lower classes dwell in the seemingly endless forest, struggling to survive in a world overrun by an interplay of nature and technology.

The show revolves around a robust cast of characters, with the prime focus on a lively young girl named Kuniko Hojo. Kuniko is a designated leader of Metal-Age, a resistance group against the Atlas Corporation. She's a striking protagonist with her boomerang weapon and unyielding spirit showing resilience amidst the turmoil. Other vital characters include Mikuni, the mysterious girl who can control the destiny of Atlas, Momoko, a transgender woman who acts as a mother figure to Kuniko, and a ruthless female CEO named Ryouko, among others.

Shangri-La is a captivating display of contrasting aesthetics. The dense, vibrant greenery of the jungle beautifully counteracts the sleek, futuristic appearance of Atlas. The animation and visual presentation effectively capture the unique setting and ambiance, never failing in relaying the anime's sometimes serene, sometimes chaotic balance.

Beyond its visual appeal, Shangri-La stands out due to its compelling and intricate narrative. It ingeniously merges real-world socio-political issues like climate change, economic disparities, and corporate control, delivering it in a packet of gripping science fiction. It poses existential questions about the human connection with nature, the impact of unchecked technological development, the class struggle, and in essence, the definition of a utopia. The differences between the jungle world, where nature has overtaken civilization, and the enclosed, artificially controlled environment of Atlas in the series echoes the conflicts between the haves and have-nots, nature and technology, tradition and modernity.

Furthermore, the detailed storytelling is backed by strong character development. Each character is layered, with their own motivations, fears and hopes, adding a human element to the otherwise dystopian set. It's not just a tale of survival against the harsh realities of an apocalyptic future, but also a coming-of-age story and journey of self-discovery for Kuniko and the others. Amidst the conflicts of the world, the series subtly deals with themes of identity, friendship, sacrifice, and the human spirit.

Shangri-La is unique not just for its engaging storyline, but also for its presentation of a diverse cast of characters. Whether it’s the blatant but dignified portrayal of the transgender Momoko or the varied display of female characters that range from leaders, warriors to villains, it reflects a significant strive towards better representation and inclusiveness, a refreshing move from the usual tropes attached to female and LGBTQ+ characters in anime.

Another noteworthy aspect is the show's music. The background scores and theme songs, especially the opening song "Kiminoshizuku" by May'n and the ending theme "Hajimari no Asa ni Hikari" by Midori, are not only beautiful but capture the essence of the series, heightening its pivotal moments and augmenting the viewing experience.

In conclusion, Shangri-La is an anime series that beautifully blends intricate storytelling, poignant character arcs, and a daring socio-political narrative with striking visuals. It's a series that leaves the viewers not only entertained but also contemplative, a hallmark of all great dystopian fiction.

Shangri-La is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (24 episodes). The series first aired on April 5, 2009.

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Our Shangri-La
24. Our Shangri-La
September 13, 2009
Atlas teeters on the edge of collapse, threatening the lives of everyone inside. If the city's population is to be saved and Japan is to rise from the ashes of her troubled past Kuniko must battle the resurrected Himiko.
Prelude to Collapse
23. Prelude to Collapse
September 6, 2009
Tarsian, Karin, and Nagiko work to prevent Medusa's plan of nuclear annihilation. Meanwhile, Kuniko rushes to Himiko's tomb to confront Ryoko and stop Mikuni from pulling the sacred spear.
Eternal Bonds
22. Eternal Bonds
August 30, 2009
When Mikuni's hunger for revenge and Ryoko's connection to Zeus endanger the world, Kuniko vows to stop them. Unfortunately, before she can take action, Kunihito appears with a gun - and he's got Kuniko in his sights.
The Holy Land Lost
21. The Holy Land Lost
August 23, 2009
Kuniko and Karin attempt to crash a satellite into the Marshall Islands in order to stop the rampaging Medusa. Meanwhile, Mikuni, shattered by the loss of Miiko, accepts an offer that might allow her to avenge her fallen friend.
Melody of Connection
20. Melody of Connection
August 16, 2009
After Kunihito tells Kuniko about the numerous strange markings in the land around Atlas, Nagiko and Tarsian offer disturbing insight into the construction of the city - and the gruesome rituals undertaken to keep it standing.
Tokyo Airstrike
19. Tokyo Airstrike
August 9, 2009
Kuniko takes Duomo's fate into her own hands, personally destroying her beloved home. As bombs fall across Japan, Karin's plan to profit from the nation's faltering economy is derailed when she loses control of Medusa.
Two-Headed Fable
18. Two-Headed Fable
August 2, 2009
Kuniko learns of a surprising potential connection to Mikuni. Later, Nagiko returns to Duomo and offers to arrange a meeting between Kuniko and Ryoko - but Metal Age's young leader has her own ideas of what to do about Atlas.
Tunnels on a Dark Night
17. Tunnels on a Dark Night
July 26, 2009
When a valued ally betrays Kuniko, the tense situation quickly escalates into tragedy. Later, Kuniko travels to Akihabara to secure weapons to use against the daedalus, she finds herself haggling with a familiar face.
A Dark Night's Resistance
16. A Dark Night's Resistance
July 19, 2009
After confronting Nagiko about her past role in the Atlas government, Kuniko is forced to make a tough decision. Meanwhile, the source of the recent unexplained artillery attacks is discovered.
Freak Defeat
15. Freak Defeat
July 12, 2009
The Metal Age fighters are surprised when Kuniko agrees to a cease-fire offered by the Atlas authorities. Later, Ryoko turns on Tarsian after Karin unleashes Medusa on Zeus.
Transfigured City
14. Transfigured City
July 5, 2009
Metal Age infiltrates Atlas, but confusion caused by the ever-changing scenery results in serious casualties. Later, Kuniko makes a shocking discovery about Atlas's past that will alter her life forever.
Flying Girl
13. Flying Girl
June 28, 2009
The Metal Age war against Atlas begins! Kuniko leads a risky aerial assault against the city, while riots erupt within Atlas's walls. As the battle rages, Karin attempts to profit from the situation.
All in Constant Flux
12. All in Constant Flux
June 21, 2009
Ryoko's suspension of the Atlas Settlement Project doesn't sit well with Kuniko, who begins plotting an assault on the city. As Metal Age prepares to execute the plan, a familiar face reappears in Duomo.
Butterfly Dream
11. Butterfly Dream
June 14, 2009
Karin faces the reality of her lonely life after an encounter with a mysterious boy deep within the confines of her sanctuary. Elsewhere, Kuniko struggles to keep up with her new responsibilities as Metal Age's leader.
Blade of the Sacred Sound
10. Blade of the Sacred Sound
June 7, 2009
With Momoko's fate weighing heavily on her shoulders, Kuniko fights to understand and confront her own destiny. Meanwhile, Ryoko exercises her newfound power as Prime Minister by launching an attack on Medusa.
Divine Prophecy of the Sun and Moon
9. Divine Prophecy of the Sun and Moon
May 31, 2009
Already struggling with the guilt brought on by Momoko's capture, Kuniko must face an even darker pain when she and Takehiko make a gruesome discovery on the grounds of the prison.
Lipstick Cruelty
8. Lipstick Cruelty
May 24, 2009
With her execution approaching, Kuniko receives a visit - and a care package - from Momoko. Later, as the firing squad takes aim, a daring escape attempt results in tragic consequences.
Sad Thoughts of Love and Hate
7. Sad Thoughts of Love and Hate
May 17, 2009
After she's arrested by Atlas soldiers, Kuniko finds that things have changed for the worse at the detention center from which she was only recently released. There's a cruel new warden in charge now: Ryoko.
Fictitious Battle Lines
6. Fictitious Battle Lines
May 10, 2009
Karin and the Japanese government unleash a risky plan designed to lure Orochi into the open. When the program's location is revealed, Ryoko intercepts the information - and the U.S. military attacks.
Wild Dance of Madness
5. Wild Dance of Madness
May 3, 2009
After spying on his comings and goings in Akihabara, Kuniko encounters Kunihito in public. With each suspicious of the other's motives and tactics, the tension between them eventually escalates to violence.
4. Uber-Akihabara
April 26, 2009
Kuniko and Momoko travel to Akihabara to sell off a portion of Metal Age's carbon-rich graphite stockpile. Meanwhile, Karin attempts to learn the identity of a mysterious new player on the carbon market.
The Creation
3. The Creation
April 19, 2009
After Miiko wins an opportunity to move to Atlas, Kuniko grows curious about what life is like within the city. Counterfeit work passes in hand, she leads a party on an infiltration mission - but not everything goes as planned.
The Poison Swamp of Ikebukuro
2. The Poison Swamp of Ikebukuro
April 12, 2009
Kuniko and her allies venture into the dangerous foliage outside their village, unaware that a recon party from Atlas is lurking nearby. Meanwhile, chaos strikes the carbon market after Karin unleashes Medusa.
The Girl Returns
1. The Girl Returns
April 5, 2009
After two years in detention, Kuniko returns to her village. Momoko is happy to have her home safe, but the arrival of a military assault force proves there are some who aren't pleased with Kuniko's newfound freedom.
Where to Watch Shangri-La
Shangri-La is available for streaming on the Chiba TV website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Shangri-La on demand at Amazon Prime and Amazon.
  • Premiere Date
    April 5, 2009
  • IMDB Rating
    6.2  (93)