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[ café reviews ]



(Battle Angel)
Rusty Angel

[ production info ]

Copyright: © 1993 Yukito Kishiro/Business Jump/Shueisha/KSS, Inc.; @copy 1995 A.D. Vision
Length: 30 minutes
Rating: NR, Graphic violence, nudity, language and adult situations. Parental Guidance Suggested
Format: Subtitled (VHS)

Screenplay: Endo Akinori Director: Fukutomi Hiroshi Supervisor: Taro Rin Character Design: Ochi Hiroyuki Music: Wada Kaoru

[ plot summary ]

vhs jacket

Scrap Iron City: a dumping ground in many ways for the citizens of Zalem, the great floating utopia. One of Scrap Iron City's citizens is Ido Daisuke, the finest cyber-physician every produced by Zalem. During one of his frequent scavenging trips through the refuse piles below the great city of Zalem, he discovers the remains of a cyber-droid. One that was still alive...

Gally: a name given to a young female cybernaut; a name of convenience. For Gally has no knowledge of her past, only that Ido's skills has given her a new body, and a new chance at life. Gally discovers that Ido, like many citzens of the dingy city has a secret. Ido is a Hunter-Warrior, the modern-day replacement for the police. Gally discovers that she too has a secret as well; a secret that's buried deep in her past. When Ido's life is threatened by a pair of brain-sucking endorphine junkies, Gally discovers that her body automatically reacts to save her guardian. From that time forward, she decides to follow Ido's steps and become a Hunter-Warrior as well. But the recipient of her attack wants revenge, and in a most serious way. Grewcica finds someone to repair him... and his benefactor is none other than Ido's former partner from Zalem, Dr. Chiren...

[ capsule review ]

Stylish. Very stylish. I can't think of a better way to describe the atmosphere presented by this series. Battle Angel is not your typical anime production; this all-too short series has some real substance, and it's presented to the screen in a very gritty fashion. The first thing you'll notice are the character and set designs. This is one area where the anime works even better than Kishiro Yukito's dark manga style. While the production may not be done at any eye-popping frame rates, you won't care. Lead characters are drawn with a kind of vulnerable honesty rarely found in any show. Backgrounds are richly detailed, and convey the ghetto-like environment of Scrap Iron City very effectively. Soundtrack is likewise well suited for this production. It's not in-your-face material, but rather done in concert with the visuals. (Pay special attention to the ending theme, it's one of the most haunting melodies I've heard in a long time.)

I was rather disappointed with Matt Greenfield's (A.D. Vision) English subtitling of the series; I thought that he took a few too many liberties with the script. While it does convey the gist of the dialog, he tries to squeeze in a lot of North American idioms. The problem is, I thought the choice of wording didn't fit the actual Japanese dialog, and it also forces the non-Japanese speaking audience to read the subtitles very, very quickly. And if you're spending your time reading subtitles, you won't have a chance to take in the wonderful scenes.

Acting was a bit of a mixed bag. I'm a big fan of Ito Miki; she has a wonderfully energetic voice which works well in her role as Gally. One thing that Ito does very well is convey a sense of vulnerability (which she used very effectively as Vision in Bubblegum Crisis). I wasn't quite so sure with the use of Kariya Shunsuke as Dr. Ido; at times, he sounded like he was reading a script rather than taking on the role.

The story is where this series both shines and fails. The premise of a character with a hidden past may have been done many times over, but I can't recall a show where I really become so involved with such a character. Gally is both incredibly vulnerable and deadly at the same time. Her story unfolds amidst the normal trappings of most teenagers: planning for the future, and first love. The main shortcoming has nothing to do with the anime, and everything to do with reading the manga series -- having read the series, I know that the events shown in the anime are compiled from several stories, and only touch on a very small facet of Kishiro's work. But don't let this keep you from watching this series, it's one of the best out there.
- AN, 98.04.26

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/R 4 stars N/A
Direction: N/R 4 stars N/A
Acting: N/R 4 stars N/A
Animation: N/R 4 stars N/A
Music: N/R 4 stars N/A
Translation: N/A 3 stars N/A
Overall Rating: N/R 4 stars N/A

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