Episode 2 of Shangri-la, “Cursed Sea of Ikebukuro”, starts with the attack from the previous episode. With a completely unknown attacker, the military is forced to withdraw from Duomo. The attack is inflicting a lot of damage on the town, but at least there aren’t as many casualties as one would expect from such an attack.
At ATLAS, Ryouko is unhappy with her subordinate Leon and the military unit he oversaw having withdrawn from Duomo. She also has to contend with the possibility that a well-organized third party is responsible for the attack: it originated from Ikebukuro, but it seems to have been organized too well to have been by an anti-government resistance group. She starts treating Shion, a meek-looking subordinate and Leon’s younger brother, in a threatening manner and emotionally manipulates Leon to volunteer himself to head the investigation. Like in the previous episode, I wonder what sort of working relationship Ryouko has with her subordinates.
In the aftermath of the attack, Metal Age is holding a meeting discussing it, where Kuniko and Momoko are part of the meeting despite not being official members of the resistance group. The resident geek Furukawa had managed to figure out that the attack originated in Ikebukuro, and Kuniko suggests that they investigate the source. This raises protests since Ikebukuro is a toxic place, even being called the Cursed Sea of Ikebukuro, but Kuniko is confident that Furukawa can provide reliable protective gear for the investigation team.
At Ishida Finance, a couple of Karin’s online friends Zhang and Klaris are talking with her about the latest job, which is when Karin notices the news that the foreign minister of Malaysia has resigned, the government official she negotiated with in the previous episode (turns out that he wasn’t the head of state). They soon get to work, and Karin has Medusa hack the carbon market so that they can buy low and sell high. The way that the online environment for Medusa and the way it hacks is visualized in a highly cartoonish manner, and it seems that Medusa hungers for hacking attempts since it looks very satisfied after the latest hack. However, it seem that her parents are a touchy subject for Karin, since she cuts off communications with her online buddies after being told that her parents must be proud of her by Tarsian, who had been silent so far.
Meanwhile, somewhere within ATLAS, Mikuni is wondering why the knife that serves as her symbol resonated, but Sayoko is unable to provide answers. However, a new attendant of Mikuni’s tries to suck up to her by claiming that it must be a sign of her greatness. Mikuni’s response is that she does not like liars, and the attendant is crushed like a broken puppet. It seems that Mikuni has telekinetic powers. This is the fifth attendant that had been discarded like that, but Mikuni doesn’t worry about replacements, thinking that there are still plenty of people in the outside world. The disturbing lack of empathy aside, the outside world does not look populous enough for Mikuni’s statement …
Kuniko and Metal Age members head towards Ikebukuro through an abandoned subway tunnel in their clumsy protective gear. Once they reach their target, they find that the military has already arrived doing their own investigation. In fact, Lieutenant Kusanagi manages to surprise them, which has everyone scattering and running away. As Kuniko and Momoko are running away, Kuniko mentions that Momoko doesn’t seem to have the physical fitness for someone who could have won the gold medal in the Olympics. It’s interesting to see the Olympics still seems to be going strong a hundred years later. It seems that Momoko was a practitioner of judo in the past, and Momoko mentions that she did get the gold, just not in the Olympics. I wonder what Momoko was talking about, although Kuniko seems to know. Momoko also implies getting silver for the gold, which has Kuniko curious, but Lieutenant also shows up expressing his curiosity, which has Kuniko and Momoko scattering again.
The equipment used by the military may be quite inferior technologically to Kuniko’s boomerang or Momoko’s whip, but at least their suits are superior compared to the protective gear from Metal Age. They’re much more easier to move in, so Kuniko has a much harder time trying to evade Lieutenant Kusanagi. At least the lieutenant has no intention killing anyone considering how he announces his presence and doesn’t shoot when his target is right in front of him. But Kuniko turns the table on him by taking off her clumsy protective gear.
With only an air mask, Kuniko manages to cut off an air hose attached to Lieutenant Kusanagi’s helmet and takes the plug that would seal the leak, and she demands to know what the military is doing and why their knives resonated. The military knows as much concerning the attack as Metal Age does, but the lieutenant still refuses to divulge any information. This gains the respect of Kuniko, and she invites the lieutenant to join Metal Age if he were ever to leave the military, disappearing after she throws him the plug. Kuniko’s stunt does have a cost: she needs to breathe through an air filter for a while even after returning to Duomo.
Besides encountering an investigative team from Metal Age, the military investigative team finds no trace of the attackers in Ikebukuro. In ATLAS, it’s also noted that the carbon monitoring satellite Icarus observed absolutely no increase in carbon dioxide emissions, which has one of the people light-heartedly wondering if the trees were responsible for the attack. He may have been joking, but it’s very likely that this is close to the truth. And back at Duomo, it turns out that there is no metal trace left over from the attack, although the Metal Age meeting is cut short by the announcement of the ATLAS lottery, which prompts Takehiko to complain about the cognitive dissonance of an anti-government resistance member wanting to get into a government facility.
The ATLAS lottery is supposedly a lottery for selecting people to live in ATLAS, and Momoko and Miko are hoping to be one of those that are selected. They don’t seriously expect to be among the winners, so it’s a big surprise when Miko, whose official name turns out to be Tetuo Kumagai, is selected. I guess this means Miko is heading to ATLAS, although for some reason I’m not sure it’s a good thing: I’m getting vibes that it might be a reverse situation of the movie The Island. The episode ends within ATLAS, where Ryouko reports the resonance of the three symbolic knives to the top administrator of ATLAS, who is not shown clearly but looks like having been cybernetically integrated with ATLAS.