Summer is in full swing and Japanese broadcasters are releasing new anime to keep children and otaku entertained. Shangri-La is a timely global-warming-themed sci-fi show, combining anime action with environmental issues for a thought-provoking programme.
The premise is that the world has finally realised how great a threat global warming is. In an effort to stem carbon dioxide emissions, a world-wide tax based on CO2 output is implemented.
While rich countries reduce their emissions, developing nations decide not to try, opting to offset their debt with a new stock market product called carbon futures. These turn into big business for financial groups, while plunging the poor into ever-increasing debt.
Japan suffers a devastating earthquake but is not granted any relief from carbon taxes. So Tokyo is transformed into the world's first city jungle which absorbs most of the country's carbon emissions. An oppressive military force is employed to use violent tactics to enforce the environmental laws.
The show's heroine is Kuniko Hojo, the leader-to-be of resistance organisation Metal Age. Kuniko is reluctant to take up the mantle of leadership she inherited from her late father, but fate won't let her escape her responsibilities.
Shangri-La reminds us of the importance of protecting the planet without beating the point to death or ruining the story line. Check it out on DVD soon.
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