There's something to be said for Clamp's works. While an individual episode may not be utterly extraordinary, they will often elicit that smile or invoke some warm and fuzzy feeling. Angelic Layer is no exception to this. One can't help but feel for Misaki and Hikaru in this second episode as they fight their first battle without having any practise in operating the system first.
While there is still a fair amount of introduction both in the way of new characters as well as expanding on the gaming system concept itself, there is the potential of this anime becoming a "battle an episode" series as well. Not uncommon perhaps for a shounen series although not entirely keeping with Clamp's storyline style, time will tell which way this series will actually work out. This second episode doesn't have all that much story development although there are a couple of questions which are brought up to capture viewer interest. Perhaps most unusual of all the characters is Icchan, possible lollicon male, scientist or at least developer of Angelic Layer, and all round strange person. Watching poor Ogata chase after Icchan's whereabouts makes one wonder if working with him would be an adventure or a horror...
The humour and story in this episode continues to catch viewers, much as in Card Captor Sakura. However, there is a bit more focus on humour in Angelic Layer. The animation continues to be nothing special although the battle between Hikaru and the other angel is quite nicely done. For those who love classic Clamp character designs as seen in such anime/manga as X, RG Veda, and Tokyo Babylon, the character design for Angelic Layer is a bit different in that it's not so bishoujo/bishounen.
The music continues to really catch viewers being a mix of instrumental and pop rhythms. I'm especially enjoying the closing theme song and will have to look into getting the soundtrack for this series. How well it will stand on its own remains to be seen, but in the anime itself, it's definitely above average compared to most TV shows.
The voice acting continues to be quite strong, typical of most Japanese seiyuu. Misaki's uncertainty in herself and in working with new things is pretty typical of how many people feel as they grow up. Tamayo on the otherhand is showing signs of being the eternally annoying loud and cheerful type which could get annoying as the series continues; shall see if this turns out to be the case in later episodes though.
While this could easily become a battle an episode anime, there are signs that Misaki's battle to overcome her own shortcomings and to gain self confidence may be more central to the story line. Somewhat akin to a shounen based and targeted version of Card Captor Sakura's underlying storyline, this show continues to hold viewers attention as we watch and see what happens next with Misaki and Hikaru... not to mention what strange new games Icchan thinks of as punishment for Ogata getting things wrong....
- JYN, 2001.10.31