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We are all human. We all make mistakes and we all have regrets. Therefore it’s only natural for us to wish for a chance to go back, just once to say the right thing at the right time, to be at the right place at the right time. Retrospectiveness, it seems, is hard-wired into our brains. But the eternal question persists: would you go back in time if you could? Would you prevent the unexpected disaster or the agonizing heartbreak of your first love, relive the best day of your life, or take back something you said?
When you have the power to go back an infinite number of times, these are the choices you must make. Few things illustrate this conundrum better than the dynamic animation, vibrant colors and touching storyline of Jin Kobayashi’s Natsu no Arashi. And these are the things that Arashi and Kaya must take into serious consideration before they consider a jump backwards through the space-time continuum.
Arashi, for example, traveled back in Episode 3 to January 1945 and encountered Mr. Murata and his son on their way to go fishing at the Tsurumi River. Arashi attempts to convince them to cancel their fishing trip, as a bomb raid will be targeting the Tsurumigawa area in forty minutes. However, despite the urgent warning, Mr. Murata is skeptical of her alarm and eventually continues anyway. This situation brings up an interesting and philosophical question in the context of time traveling and altering history: do we ever really have free will, or are we all prisoners of our own history, traveling inexorably onwards along on a fixed and unalterable path?
Would you believe a warning from a stranger who, from out of the blue, “claims” to know what will happen in forty minutes? In theory, you would say “yes,” but in reality, you probably would be just as skeptical as Mr. Murata. You probably would seriously consider the option for a second and then quickly dismiss it; after all, we instinctively believe we --- and we alone --- determine the course of our own lives. And this is exactly what we see in Mr. Murata's reaction: instead of appreciating Arashi's forewarning of the events to come, he reciprocates with rage and anger. And despite the deus ex machina of Arashi's arrival, the course of history flows on unaverted.
Kaya, too, delves into the murky subject of time travel. She is brought back in time and is forced to face her first love. Having the opportunity to finally tell him her true feelings, she hesitates yet again. Imagine having the power to go back in time to the fork in the road and choose a different course, and yet be unable to muster the courage to do so. Yet if Kaya had followed through and taken the other fork, she may have never become a ghost like Arashi nor have met the people at the Ark and gone through what she was apparently destined to do.
Revisiting our rhetorical question from above: If you could go back in time and change the face of your own reality, would you? Naturally, our impulsive instincts tell us to reply with a resounding "yes!", with nary a second thought as to the potential consequences. But if the totality of one's life is the sum of every single instant in time from when we were born to the present, then in essence, each one of those moments defines who we are today. If we go back and alter any one of them, even the most inconsequential moment, would we even be able to recognize the resulting person?
Hopefully, we will discover Arashi and Kaya's destiny and the reason for why they are the way they are. In the meantime, we can continue to enjoy their harrowing travels through time.
The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Crunchyroll.com and/or its affiliates.
If Asian dramas were high school cliques, then Korean dramas would be the popular kids. And Korea’s sexy stud, Gong Yoo, would be the big man on campus.
Yoo has garnered tremendous fame taking on the lead role in the oft-celebrated drama: The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince. His charm and bad boy attitude in the series has addicted and captivated audiences, even drawing in fair-weather drama fans such as myself. As his popularity increases, it seems like everyone wants a piece of that pretty boy smile and those deep, charming eyes of his. It's not at all surprising, as his amazing figure and chiseled good looks can make even the most guarded and reluctant female swoon.
Gong Yoo first debuted in the KBS Drama “School 4” in 2001, earning much acclaim for his performance. His success landed him multiple roles in many subsequent dramas and films. Within the Korean media industry, his work is well-regarded and well-recognized, having recently earned three 2007 MBC awards: Favorite On-Screen Couple (with Yoon Eun Hye), Most Popular Actor by Netizens and the Excellence Acting Award for The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince!
Looks aren't everything (although Yoo has them in spades!) Even as he is an amazing person on camera, he is equally amazing off-camera as well. In his spare time he serves as a radio DJ at a Military camp base in Korea, displaying patriotic devotion to his country and boosting the morale of servicemembers. To discuss more about this talented young actor with other fans, please visit his fan group!
As of Sunday May 10, 2009, we’re officially six episodes in, and – let’s be honest – following Shangri-La is not an easy task: it can be downright difficult.
Shangri-La’s intricate plot focuses on humankind's survival during a post-apocalyptic environmental meltdown, but delves more into how these environmental issues affect economic trends, how the market adjusts itself based on current conditions, and the resulting conflagration of social issues. As if that's not a handful, it's cast consists of a rainbow of colorful characters whose lives are tortuously intertwined with one another. At the moment there are too many unanswered questions, with more and more added as each episode builds up to the next.
It is perhaps too early to determine how all the pieces fit together and how things function in this alternate reality. However, we can gather what we know at the moment, and speculate and hypothesize about what may come in the future. After the fact, we may revisit the series and observe how much our reasoning was off the mark!
As of right now, here are the basics you need to know: Atlas is like the Shangri-La of legend, where the rich and lucky can live in the laps of luxury, instead of the jungles and dilapidated, makeshift cities on the earth below. The protagonist – Kuniko Hojo, leader of the Metal Age, and gifted with incredible leadership and insight – hopes to take all of her people there. However, Atlas and the Military aren't so willing to open their doors so freely. Looking past the physical struggle to survive, there is also an invisible struggle socially and economically that directly affects everything and everyone.
Power of Three:
Three characters: Kuniko Hojo, Kunihito Kusanagi and Lady Mikuni.
Three elements: Sun (Kuniko), Land (Kunihito) and the Moon (Mikuni).
Three factions: Metal Age, Military and Atlas.
Each of the three possess their own mysterious dagger that has apparently been handed down to them. Right now, it's obvious that the three are connected, but we have no idea how and why they're connected. Their respective family backgrounds - how each came into possession of these daggers and how the vibration of the daggers could cause so much damage - is still a mystery.
Bull and Bear Markets:
A major portion of this show revolves around the economic market of this future Earth. And while cruising on the forums, it just so happened that someone asked for an explanation of how the markets worked, so I thought it would be a good idea to address it. What I found out was that figuring out how the markets work is central to understanding the rest of the story. So if you still don’t get it completely, worry not, I’m sure the vast majority of viewers out there probably don’t!
Let's start at the beginning. In this alternate future, it seems as if the basic fundamental commodities have changed and been replaced with two predominant items: carbon and graphite ("but graphite is carbon!" you may be thinking, but bear with me for now).
What’s a commodity, you say? Essentially, a commodity is a good for which there is 1) high demand and 2) little differentiation in quality across the entire market. So, gold is gold no matter who mines it, milk is milk no matter which cow it comes from, and so forth. There are several varieties of commodities, such as agriculture (corn, soybeans, coffee), livestock, energy (natural gas, oil, uranium), precious metals, industrial metals and a variety of others.
In the world of Shangri-La, the global warming crisis of our age has bloomed into a full-scale emergency. Therefore CO2 emissions are tightly regulated, to the point where trading commoditized carbon-credits becomes the dominant international market. As a result, wealthier nations with large carbon footprints must seek to purchase carbon-credits on the international markets in order to sustain their economic growth.
The commoditization of graphite, however, is an interesting choice. As mentioned earlier, graphite is just carbon in a certain form (nota bene: diamond is also made of carbon, and so is coal). In episode four of Shangri-La, Kuniko states that graphite as a commodity seems arbitrary as it doesn't seem to have any inherent value. But this begs this question of why it's valued so much? Many theories abound, but I'll leave it up to you to speculate about the inscrutible purpose of graphite in this series.
Episode 6 Finances:
There were plenty of technical ideas tossed around in episode six. If we delve into them, perhaps this series will start to make more sense.
Another commodity in this market are shares of actual countries (remember: gold is gold, a share of Japan is a share of Japan). In a world dominated by the valuation of all things carbon, it seems only logical that the implicit value of a country is determined by its carbon. So each country has a quantitative value referred to as a carbon coefficient. From what we can gather, these carbon coefficients are, for all intents and purposes, like perceived stock values. This means that the ebb and flow of a country's economic (and hence carbon) might is reflected in the ebb and flow of the value of its carbon coefficient.
In this episode, to stop the serpent that caused the Saudi Arabian market to crash, Ishida Finances cornered the market to drop the value of Kuwait's carbon coefficient and lure in the serpent. As the serpent came in to destroy the market, banks from all over the world started pouring in money to a bankrupt Kuwaiti economy. Why?
The serpent came in and scooped up all the assets and started engaging other countries to pour in money, not for aid, but to take advantage of the leasebacks it was offering.
A leaseback means that the owners of the property or assets enters a long-term agreement by which the property is leased back to the seller for an arranged price. In this case, the banks pouring in money would be the middlemen between the serpent and Kuwait, and they are essentially "purchasing" second-hand leasebacks on all of Kuwait's major carbon-producing properties: its oil fields. As a result, now they own those areas in Kuwait and the carbon-based commodities that they produce. Simply put: after the leaseback, Kuwait has to pay to live on its own land.
It was a calculated move to target Kuwait and an underhanded way to take financial control of their property and carbon coefficients. The question is who exactly is behind it and what is their motives?
Karin – the girl who always has a teddy bear with her – attempts to control the state of the market with the small serpent-like creature next to her. Whether she is doing it for the good of humanity or merely for selfish reasons, we know that she can balance out the positions of financial power with just the click of a button.
She also has two shadow partners – Klairis and Talsian – whose scope of power and influence surpasses any of the other characters we've encountered so far. Supposedly, they can create economic crises and can control the total carbon output of any given country's economy. Whenever these monsters are on the move, the water level increases or whirlpools start to form based on the situation. Naturally, we ask, how do these creatures control the carbon markets, and how are actual bodies of water affected by said creatures and how do humans control them? Unfortunately, we have no explanation for these phenomena yet.
Our final question:
Who is Hiruko?
There are still a lot questions to be answered, but hopefully this helped clarify the most confusing points. These are just my hypotheses on the inner workings of this anime to try to make things clearer. I could be on the money, or I could be off the mark.
Please feel free to add questions and discuss it here on the Shangri-La forum page. And stay tuned to see our questions answered!
Did you know? In a bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics and the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Gundam, the construction of a giant, “life-size” Gundam is being constructed in Odaiba, Tokyo. If you have the chance, check it out when it’s completed!
Word of the Day
This is the sound of a cat meowing in Japanese and is used at the end of a sentence in order to sound cute. It is often seen with Ikuto’s guardian character, Yoru, in Shugo Chara. For example, “What are you doing-nya?” So, try using nya-nya!
Saki Episode 6 – The tournament finally begins! Saki and the other Kiyosumi mahjong players gear up for the first round, and oh what a first round it is! Let’s just say I can’t wait till episode 7 comes out…I need to know what happens…
The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by these authors do not necessarily
reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Crunchyroll.com and/or its affiliates.