Posted by psgels on 23 February 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews


One of the things I like about Clamp is that not only do they have a lot of imagination and a great sense of style, but they always try to go for something in a new genre, as opposed just doing the same genre over and over in order to milking their same old cash cows that brought them success (after all, they use their infamous cameos for that ^^;). Angelic Layer is their shounen fighting series: it’s about a nationwide tournament where people battle against each other with children’s toys brought to life. So yeah, it’s a notorious genre if anything, but along the way this series made me drop my scepsis and doubts completely.

It’s hard to see this from a distance, though. Nearly every single battle follows the same formula: Misaki (the lead character) enters battle, Misaki has trouble defeating her opponent, Misaki wins battle. As this series deals with a tournament, the opponents and outcomes for each battle is very heavily influenced by the writers in order to keep the plot on the correct path (after all, you wouldn’t have much of a series if Misaki lost and got kicked out of the tournament halfway through). But it all just doesn’t matter in the end, because Misaki is SO DANM adorable.

In fact, aside from the above mentioned predictability issues, I don’t have any problems with this series at all. This is simply a series that’s fun to watch, and throughout the series it never forgets that it’s supposed to have a consistently fun and fast-paced atmosphere. Even though you know that Misaki is going to win, you just can’t help but root for her, and during the fights it’s always fun to see what’s happening behind the scenes. Most of the characters are fleshed out and developed really well, and this prevents all of the battles from getting boring, and they continue to deliver.

In terms of eye candy, this series also delivers. Bones may not be the perfect studio, but these guys do know their animation. The character-designs look simple, yet very appealing (as expected from Clamp), and they’re brought alive really well in animation. The fights also consist out of mostly hand-to-hand combat, and while the action doesn’t look flashy at all, it is full of life and emotion. When the characters are fighting, there are hardly any close-ups or other cheap animation tricks used. Instead, we get real nicely animated fights that remain fun to watch.

What also sets this series apart from all other shounen fighting series is the lack of a villain, or for that matter any character who even bears a resemblance to one. In this series there is no “I’m going to use the powers of a bunch of child’s toys in order to somehow destroy the world. Mua ha ha ha”. There is an overarching storyline, but for once this is aimed at the characters, instead of the plot. Because of this, this series may abuse the “parents gone”-trope a bit at times, but the results make up for it.

To close off, even though we have a manga adaptation here, it is one of those few manga adaptations which fits perfectly into the time frame of 26 episodes. It’s especially surprising since quite a few of Bones’ series have their pacing issues, but Angelic Layer never feels too slow or too fast. No episode feels wasted or useless and the creators did a really good job in planning this series correctly. Obviously you don’t want to watch this series for a complicated plot, or heart-wrenching drama, but for those who are looking for a fun fighting series with adorable characters that may sacrifice its plot at times, then this series isn’t going to disappoint.

Storytelling: 7/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 8/10

6 Responses

  1. senerikfred says:

    Oh wow, I was expecting you to hate Misaki, since she’s a bunch of ‘perfect cute girl’ cliches rolled together. Nevertheless, this is a wonderful series with some very cute/fun characters. I watched this when I was about 10, and thus am nostalgically biased in my love for it, so I’m also surprised but happy you enjoyed it.
    Angelic Layer the anime is actually a lot easier to appreciate when you look at the bare-bones manga, too, and realize that Bones themselves added in all the drama, as well as most of fleshing out the system gets.

  2. FireChick says:

    I have the first 2 DVDs of this!

  3. Senna says:

    I felt the same about Angelic Layer; it’s deceptively simple but quite fun and has some great characters. And even though I wouldn’t consider it a drama overall, there’s some great dramatic scenes near the end that really won me over ^^

  4. Hunter-Wolf says:

    Angelic layer isn’t bad, but i think that Plawres Sanshirou is a far superior shonen series with the same theme, Angelic layer could be called the “lite” version of Sanshirou … watch it and you want be disappointed (i’m not saying it is flawless .. it has its share of shortcomings being a 1983 production but is still very good)

  5. Solaris says:

    Opps, i missed this! Glad you liked the show, but isn’t 82 a little low rating for this?
    PS: the soundtrack alone deserves more points! :P

  6. dave@scifi says:

    Hi I’ve been watching Anime for over 35 years, and I find I like character driven series the best. I find the interaction and development of the characters, much more fascinating than a pure action series. I watched Angelic Layer with my 9 year old Daughter, and found that I liked and enjoyed it as much as she did. A long time ago, I was told by a friend to let the credits on the final episode of any series or OVA run to the end, as sometimes an extra something is added. For those that turned off the show as the credits were running, here’s a SPOILER ALERT…………………………… As the show goes to black, a final scene is added. It’s a Bedroom, and on a shelf, Athena, is sitting with her arm around Hikaru, and Hikaru’s head resting on Athena side. Both have smiles on there faces. My Daughter turned to look at me with a tear in her eye, and a smile on her face. That one scene should raise the rating 5 points.

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Jan 27. 2015 06:45 AM)
    Junketsu no Maria’s source material is only three volumes long. I imagine it will fit well into one cour.
  • Nyangoro
    (Tuesday, Jan 27. 2015 06:32 AM)
    Junketsu no Maria continues to surprise me. I might even go as far as to say it’s the best structured show of the season so far.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Jan 27. 2015 03:37 AM)
    @Aidan: Last two chapters out now of this here: http://bato.to/comic/_/comics/shinigami-sama-to-4-nin-no-kanojo-r9855
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jan 27. 2015 03:16 AM)
    @Alley, Kinda being rude but I don’t know. Don’t know much of anything actually. I have been kinda left here to hold the fort.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Jan 27. 2015 03:12 AM)
    “My mind started spinning tales from her being a serial killer or her being a man.”
    Well doesn’t someone have quite the imagination, ha.
    …And I keep forgetting to watch the credits/after credits bits in death parade…damn…
  • Alley
    (Tuesday, Jan 27. 2015 03:04 AM)
    Isn’t psgels going to post anymore?
  • Emma
    (Monday, Jan 26. 2015 11:06 PM)
    Well to whoever who is still watching yurikuma Arashi, you’ll be happy to know this week they delve into some much needed backstory of one of the characters.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Jan 26. 2015 11:03 PM)
    I agree with those who have been saying that they would like to see an episode of death parade dealing with characters who have never met/don’t know each other. To change things up a bit.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Jan 26. 2015 11:00 PM)
    There is every bit the chance the first six episodes will be standalone stories and the rest more of a continuous plot.
  • Raggers
    (Monday, Jan 26. 2015 10:33 PM)
    @Aidan: I’m not writing it off completely, but Death Parade is at ep3 and it’s still not clear where it’s going, and it has been far from a smooth ride.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Death Parade – 03

Well this isn’t quite what I expected. This episode was a much more lighthearted fare with it being about love. It was better than the last episode but still not to the level I expected from this series. The game this time barely factored into the story at all. The twist on it was that […]

Durarara!!X2 – 2

If this episode had a focus then the stars would be Celty and the Orihara sisters. Though there were other events such as Anri and Mikado going to karaoke with Erika and Walker but it wasn’t really all the important and seemed to be there to foreshadow a new character and set up what looks […]

Death Parade – 02

Well this isn’t the best start. I must admit to being disappointed in this weeks Death Parade. Mainly because it was essentially a recap of the first episode. This episode was from the perspective of two characters who were watching the events of the first episode. With a white haired ponytail girl introducing another to […]

Some Really Quick First Impressions: The Leftovers

Sorry for leaving these out but they are not really worthy of a full impression. So I am just tossing down my two cents here. Seiken Tsukai no World Break – Hoo boy…maybe I spoke too soon about Juuou Mujin no Fafnir being worse than Absolute Duo. Because beside this trash heap it’s at least […]

Some Quick First Impressions: The Rolling Girls, Yoru no Yatterman and Sengoku Musou

The Rolling Girls Short Synopsis: What did I just watch? I am just going to break it to you. I have no idea what to think of this show. This is a work by the same studio who animated Attack on titan. It is an anime original show (meaning it is not based on anything) […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Durarara!!X2, Soukyuu no Fafner Dead Aggressor – Exodus and Aldnoah Zero Season 2

Durarara!!X2 Short Synopsis: People are strange, when you’re a stranger. It felt like a lot happened, but nothing really changed. That is the first season of Durarara summarized perfectly. The show itself even seems to revel in this. That said the main enjoyment of Durarara is seeing the cast of wacky characters interact with each […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Kantai Collection, The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls and Tokyo Ghoul √A

Kantai Collection Short Synopsis: Our protagonist sucks at playing battleship This is an anime based on the popular browser game of the same name. I haven’t played it but from what I hear it has ship daughters and some form of strategy. So I went into this blind, not knowing what I would get. That […]

Some Quick First Impressions: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure S3, Death Parade and Assassination Classroom

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders Egypt Arc Short Synopsis: Our protagonist is going to Egypt to kill a vampire Jojo’s first season was a breath of fresh air with it’s ridiculous entertainment value. However with the second season I found that a lot of it’s magic had been lost as the series took a […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Shinmai Maou no Testament, Tantei Kageki Milky Holmes and Junketsu no Maria

Shinmai Maou no Testament Short Synopsis: Our protagonist has just got two little sisters who are demons. Here’s a fun fact. Due to myself being in a position at one point where I couldn’t do much of anything besides read novels and happening to see this title pop up in front of me a few […]

Latest Reviews

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]