Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer
Hajimemashite! Watashi dake no Angel
(Nice to meet you! My own Angel)
Copyright: ©2001, Clamp, Avex Inc.
Length: 25 minutes
Rating: NR, Parental Guidance Advised
Format: Original Japanese Dialogue (VHS, DVD)
Yappari chikoi to nanisuri son ka...
(Whatever you do, being small is always a disadvantage...)
Misaki has just come to Tokyo from Wakayama. But no sooner than she exits Tokyo station, does she realise that she is well and truly lost. Accidentally stepping outside the gates, Misaki finds herself outside in front of Tokyo station where a crowd has gathered to watch a battle between two "dolls" from the toy battling game "Angelic Layer". Intrigued by the game, Misaki asks Icchan, a strange man who started talking to her after the battle, about Angelic Layer and how to play the game. And so, Misaki starts down the road towards creating her own Angel and taking part in the game of Angelic Layer...
This first episode of Angelic Layer makes a nice easy introduction for what looks to be a light, battle driven anime series. Based on the shounen manga series of the same name by Clamp, Angelic Layer shows signs of Clamp's distinctive story-writing style. Even though this is a first episode where we would expect primarily character introductions and minor story, while this is the case, there is also the introduction of several points in passing which will undoubtedly be expanded upon further in upcoming episodes. Also, rather than introduce too many characters at once in a confusing jumble, we are introduced to a mere three characters, with a fourth scarcely introduced... actually, I suppose you could say four characters and a fifth introduced if you include Misaki's angel, Hikaru.
Also in this first episode we are quickly introduced to Misaki's character and certain quirks and feelings she has. Her dismay at being small or at least her consciousness of being smaller is often very much disadvantageous, as well as her family situation are all quickly revealed to the viewers. The remaining characters are less well developed although there is a sense that more will be revealed about them as well as the series progresses. Indeed many questions are raised in this first episode which will hopefully be explored in subsequent episodes.
Being based loosely around a gaming system, the set up for Angelic Layer is highly reminiscent of point based role-playing games. The actual battling on the other hand is more akin to two player fighting games such as Street Fighter.
In keeping with the younger audience for this series, the music is fun, and generally light in tone although with occasional more serious tones. Likewise, there is a good range of interesting melodies so far for this series. The animation is somewhat limited in that there are a number of static backgrounds as well as stills and pans. Not fantastic but sufficient and fairly typical for kids TV. The acting on the other hand is well done and the seiyuu are well into character even in this first episode.
All in all a good light start and a fun introduction to the characters and the series. While it's a shounen (young boys) manga based series, these early parts show promise of appealing to both boys and girls, especially those who have played any RPG style games. Likewise, the hints of story to come suggest that there will be plenty to keep viewers interested beyond the potential "battle-an-episode" idea of the game. On to the next episode!
- JYN, 2001.08.06
café rating (original japanese):
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