Shangri-La Frontier ‒ Episode 18

Shangri-La Frontier ‒ Episode 18


I’ve been praising the show’s visuals without going into much detail, but one can only repeat a statement so many times before it gets annoying. You don’t need me to tell you that Shangri-La Frontier looks good. So, the only time I’m going to bring up the visuals is if there is a noticeable dip in quality or if somehow they managed to exceed their pre-established expectations. Thankfully, I’m talking about the latter today because this might be one of the best-animated anime episodes I have seen. There’s amazing choreography, and the camera work and subtle character movements were superb. Arthur and Katzo were flying all over the place, and the action didn’t feel confusing or overly indulgent. You see little details like them bouncing around or shifting their weight in specific directions before going in for a punch or a jump, and the particle effects on the lasers are just a spectacle to behold. Usually, in media like this, it feels underwhelming if something is built up and doesn’t happen. I was fully expecting the boss’ companion to merge with him for one final bout, but the trade-off for that would’ve been downplaying the actions and planning of our cast. I’m okay with not seeing what the actual final version of this boss looks like because I am very impressed with how everything came together in the end.

Speaking of the end, I didn’t think it would reach the end of the fight here because there were only three minutes left in the episode by the time the team took care of the boss’ steed. The caveat that they had to recognize the final attack was tied to the fight’s winning conditions was well built up. Sunraku utilized every skill and special ability he had to perform the perfect counter, which was brilliant. The final clash managed to squeeze out one last bit of tension with the self-inflicted wound to meet all the conditions.

It felt a little cheap that one of those final reveals was tied to circumstances that could have been better foreshadowed before this episode. Shangri-La Frontier could’ve gotten away with showcasing or discussing the endurance condition before this fight and then having it be the final linchpin. Still, I thought this was a brilliant, satisfying conclusion. The custom ending of the boss and his love walking through the horizon of flowers was also a lovely touch, symbolizing that they could finally move on.

P.S. My favorite part of this episode had to be when Arthur and Katzo were speculating how Sunraku would react if he accidentally got hit by a stray laser. They portray him as incredibly obnoxious about it for six months but admit they would do the same thing if their positions were reversed. That’s true friendship right there.


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