Chapter 1 – God Game
Shangri-La Frontier is a series based on the light novel of the same name. Hidzutome Rakurou is a high school student and a “trash game hunter.” Games of poor quality are considered trash, filled with bugs, poor AI, and glitches. Hidzutome is tired of the misery these games inflict and is talked into trying a good game for once, Shangri-La Frontier. A VR game with over 30 million registered players, Shangri-La is the most “played game in the world.” Set in a world 1000 years after some apocalyptic event, the game features a new race living in an age similar to the middle ages. Hidzutome puts on the VR headset and starts creating his character.
First, decide on a job, dual-sword mercenary, then choose a role, wanderer. Hidzutome’s avatar is a human with a “staring bird mask.” He names his character, Sunraku. Hidzutome’s character is transported to a random location instead of a town because he chooses the wanderer role. Sunraku has minimum equipment, an incomplete map, and low stats. Hidzutome picks luck over endurance. Suddenly, he’s attacked by a goblin. Sunraku kills the goblin in one strike and levels up to 2. He picks up the handaxe the Goblin dropped, although it only has half its durability. In Shangri-La, when the durability value of a weapon hits zero it becomes unusable.
Sunraku battles a vorpal bunny, when he defeats it his level jumps from 2 to 4 and he learns a skill, Flash Counter. The skill allows him to turn parries into counter-attacks. Sunraku begins to grind, waiting for more vorpal bunnies to spawn, hoping they drop knives. In about 2 hrs, Sunraku reaches level 12, increases his stats, learns three more skills, and gains two vorpal bunny knives. Hidzutome plans to head to the second town, Secondil, but the bridge is blocked by the area boss. The Great Devouring Snake is considered difficult for even a level 10 party. Sunraku attacks it alone, using his speed and skills, he assumes he will when easily. However, the vorpal bunny knife shatters, and then Sunraku gets poisoned. Despite the setback, Sunraku still believes he’s going to win.
Elsewhere, a shadowy woman complains that “no one’s defeated a unique monster.” She suggests that Shangri-La Frontier isn’t the type of game anyone can just beat. Shangri-La Frontier starts as any new game does. The series recreates the experience well. I was reminded of when I started Final Fantasy games or the Legend of Zelda. If you enjoyed series like Sword Art Online you will probably love Shangri-La Frontier. The art of Fuji Ryosuke is great. I like how he uses white space and minimal backgrounds. This style choice works well with the use of shadow and he does action scenes well. Shangri-La Frontier has me hooked.