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Angelic Layer

 

Grade: B

Genre: Comedy, Competition

Reviewed: Sub

Episodes: 26 episodes

Notes: created by CLAMP (Cardcaptor Sakura, Magic Knights Rayearth, Chobits, X)

 

Introduction:

On the day Suzuhara Misaki arrives in Tokyo to live with her aunt, she sees a battle of "mobile angels" on a huge public screen. She becomes interested in the game "Angelic Layer" where mechanical dolls do battle while being telepathically controlled by their "deus."

Animation/Music/Voices:

Animation is clean with bright colors and fluid action scenes. Overall animation quality is about average and not up to par with some of Clamp's other animes. The character designs are in Clamp's usual cute shoujo style. The dolls are much more interesting to look at than the people and have some nifty costumes. Opening and Ending themes and overall score are pretty good but nothing notable. Misaki's voice is of the high pitched annoying type but tolerable. Overall voices are fine.

Review:

The main character, Misaki Suzuhara, is a seventh grader who moves to Tokyo to live with her aunt. When she arrives, she sees an Angelic Layer battle being televised and becomes interested in learning the game where players ("Deus") fight using custom-designed dolls ("Angels"), which move via mental control when on a special arena ("layer"). She is approached by an eccentric scientist (Icchan) who encourages her to buy and create her own angel. She names the angel Hikaru and with the help of her new friends, she gradually learns how to play and even competes in tournaments. All the while she is being monitored by Icchan.

Like other competition series, this show is fairly episodic from fight to fight, though the series should be seen in order for certain developments (not exact plot twists because they're all predictable). This series is basically Pokemon with dolls instead of monsters, but not as interesting, or funny, since at least Ash got to travel all over the place and his pokemon get to interact with him.

Misaki is a typical anime heroine. She's super nice, tries her best, never gets upset, and everyone loves her. As in any competition anime, she has great untapped potential and is able to defeat players with more experience. Not every episode has a fight though if it did it would be more interesting as the side stories are quite lame and predictable rather than touching. Some of the fight scenes are well choreographed with a bit of strategy but overall pretty standard fare.

What sets other anime competition series apart is their characters. Most characters here are rather standard characters with the usual motivations, who then see the light after being exposed to Misaki's good nature. Her friend Tamayo is very irritating throughout, but redeems herself at the end with a nice bit of romance. The humor is rather silly and annoying and will play better to a younger audience.

Rated G. Recommended for younger audiences. Older audiences will probably find this too predictable and boring.