I wouldn’t have started watching this if my friend didn’t suggest it to me, and damn am I glad i did.
At first I felt like this show would be a classic “main character goes into VR game and is somehow esekai’d into the game” type anime, trying to make off with some of SAO’s popularity (years late), but honestly, I much prefer this show over SAO.
Shangri-La Frontier takes the SAO formula, and instead of overcooking it like [nearly] every esekai out there, the creators slow cooked it into the greatest fall-off-the-bone fulldive anime I’ve ever had.
In SAO the mc was thrown into a vr game and the show basically said “Okay, this world looks pretty, but there’s nothing else interesting about it except if you die in the game you die in real life.” Shangri-La Fronteir gives you a main character who isn’t locked into the vr game, and the anime plays through some plot points in other games, and our mc has, can you guess? ~real world interactions with other people~ crazy, right?
Not only that, but the world of Shangri-La is so well made, with a really well thought out lore that continues to build through the show in front of us, and our main [player] characters, with some very likeable npc characters. This show also includes the first time I’ve enjoyed listening to a character sing for three minutes.
Seriously, watch it.