Angelic Layer Vol. #1-7 - Mania.com



Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B-

0 Comments | Add

 

Rate & Share:

 

Related Links:

 

Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: ADV Films UK
  • MSRP: £19.99 per volume
  • Running time: 650
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Angelic Layer

Angelic Layer Vol. #1-7

By Paul Jacques     April 09, 2005
Release Date: April 18, 2005


Angelic Layer Vol. #1-7
© ADV Films UK


What They Say
The moment small town girl Misaki Suzuhara arrives in Tokyo, she is thrust into the excitement of Angelic Layer-a high-tech, fast-paced game where dolls called Angels are controlled by the thoughts of their operators.

Twelve-year-old Misaki, a middle school freshman now living with her aunt, quickly makes friends with others who are as interested in Angelic Layer as she is. Misaki builds her own Angel, Hikaru, and begins competing in battles where will and determination count for far more than size and strength.

Will Misaki get the hang of Angelic Layer quickly enough to avoid defeat? Who is that mysterious man who keeps popping up, anyway? And what is really the deal with Misaki's mom? Watch the first four fun-filled episodes to see how Angelic Layer helps Misaki cultivate friendship as she learns to cope with big City life in Tokyo.

The Review!
I am reviewing this series in it’s entirety.

Audio:
We have a solid 2.0 Japanese track plus and good 5.1 English Track. Neither attempted anything more exciting than frontal sound distribution. I alternated between both tracks, and found no fault with either.

The opening theme is called Be my Angel, and is a good toe-tapping track. The main closing theme is called The Starry Night, which is my favourite theme in this series. There is a secondary ending theme called Ameagari, and this is a quiet ballad.

Video:
This is a very modern Anime, and as is expected the colours are good and the picture sharp. I couldn’t find any flaws in the mastering process, and the only improvement could be through the addition of wide screen aspect. Suffice as to say this is an excellent TV aspect picture.

Packaging:
Volume 1 has a red~ish colour scheme, with the front box cover has Misaki, Hatoko, and dolls Hikaru and Suzuka. The rear cover contains stills as well as storyline and credit information. Inside is a mini poster (montage of characters) which also contains some none spoiler character information. The disc itself printed in a simple (red~ish) Angelic Layer circular motif.

Volume 2 has a green~ish colour scheme. On the front box cover we have Misaki, Hatoko, and dolls Hikaru and Suzuka. The rear cover contains stills as well as storyline and credit information. Inside is a mini poster (Misaki & Hikaru at the beach) which also contains some none spoiler character information. The disc is printed in a simple (green~ish) Angelic Layer circular motif.

Volume 3 has a yellow~ish colour scheme. On the front box cover we have Misaki, Tamayo, Kotaro and Dr “Icchan” Mihara, plus Hikaru. The rear cover contains stills as well as storyline and credit information. Inside is a mini poster (Misaki & Hikaru in the bath) which also contains some none spoiler character information. The disc is printed in a simple (yellow~ish) Angelic Layer circular motif.

Volume 4 has a blue~ish colour scheme. On the front box cover we have Misaki, Hatoko, and dolls Hikaru and Suzuka. The rear cover contains stills as well as storyline and credit information. Inside is a mini poster (Misaki & Hikaru, plus the other dolls from the matches) which also contains some none spoiler character information. The disc is printed in a simple (blue~ish) Angelic Layer circular motif.

Volume 5 has a yellow~ish colour scheme. On the front box cover we have Misaki (with egg), Hatoko, and dolls Hikaru and Suzuka. The rear cover contains stills as well as storyline and credit information. Inside is a mini poster (Hikaru, plus the other senior dolls) which also contains some none spoiler character information. The disc is printed in a simple (yellow~ish) Angelic Layer circular motif.

Volume 6 has a pink~ish colour scheme. On the front box cover we have just Misaki and her doll Hatoko. The rear cover contains stills as well as storyline and credit information. Inside is a mini poster which shows the main characters from the Angelic Layer matches (except Ringo & Fujisaki sisters), in a beach style pose, as well as containing some none spoiler character information. The disc is printed in a simple (pink~ish) Angelic Layer circular motif.

Volume 7 has a green~ish colour scheme. On the front box cover we have Misaki, with dolls Hikaru and Suzuka. The rear cover contains stills as well as storyline and credit information. Inside is a mini poster (Misaki & Hikaru kicking butt) which also contains some none spoiler character information about the Fujisaki sisters. The disc is printed in a simple (green~ish) Angelic Layer circular motif.

Menu:
Each volumes menu is laid out in exactly the same way: It’s coloured the same as the box it comes in, and has an almost target reticule view on the menu items. In the background we have a spinning discs that looks remarkably like the DVD disk itself. The menu options are presented, simply, in the centre of the screen and all hotspots worked quickly with no dead end links encountered.

Extras:
Volume 1 (Divine Inspiration) has clean Open & Close, plus episode commentary by VA Jessica Boone & Andy Mcavin.

Volume 2 (On a Wing and a Prayer) has clean Open & Close; Around 25 Production artwork in a slide show (to the Op them); An episode commentary by VA Kevin Corn & Monica Rial (Monica is totally mad I tell you).

Volume 3 (Idol Worship) has clean Open & Close; Around 25 Production artwork in a slide show (to the Op them); An episode commentary by VA Shelly Colene Black & David Williams.

Volume 4 (Faith, Hope & Love) has clean Open & Close; Around 25 Production artwork in a slide show (to the Op them); An episode commentary by VA Tiffany Terrell & Tiffany Grant.

Volume 5 (Deus ex Machina) has clean Open & Close; Around 25 Production artwork in a slide show (to the Op them); An episode commentary by VA Sasha Paysinger & Mariela Ortiz.

Volume 6 (Inherit the Layer) has clean Open & Close; Around 50 Production artwork in a slide show (to the Op them, plus the secondary Ed theme); An episode commentary by VA Chris Patton & Director David Williams.

Volume 7 (Seventh Heaven) has clean Open & Close; Around 50 Production artwork in a slide show (to the Op them, plus the secondary Ed theme); An episode commentary by VA Crustine Auten & Kelly Manison (BTW they misspelt Ms Auten name).

In summary: The Production artwork is good, but I never feel it adds much to the overall knowledge of the show. It is what it is, an extra, and they are generous with their pictures.

In summary: The VA commentary over the episodes is interesting, and quite often very amusing, but it’s not really something you can listen to AND watch the show at the same time. Do the VA commentary on the second run of the show.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
This is a 7x volume series which follows a clumsy and insecure girl called Misaki Suzuhara, on her path to finding friendship, confidence and her mother.

Misaki arrives in Tokyo to stay with her Aunt Shoko, having lived her life in the country. When she arrives in the City she is stalked by a stranger is a lab coat. This stranger introduces Misaki to the world of Angelic Layer, and helps her buy her first Angelic Layer doll. After which he disappears, occasionally reappearing to give words of encouragement to Misaki. Only later do we discover that he is none other than Icchan Mihara, Chief R&D guru at Angelic Layer. And as to why he has taken such an interest in Misaki is not made clear until well into the series.

We learn that Misaki hasn’t seen her mother (Shuko) for seven years. She misses her mother a lot, but cannot summon up the courage to make contact with her. And pretends that her mother is too busy with work to come back home to see her.

Settling into her new life Misaki enrols at a local Tokyo school where she makes friends with Tamayo Kizaki and Hatoko & Kotaro Kobayashi. Which is fortuitous because Hatoko is a top draw Angelic Layer player, who gives both moral and technical support to Misaki’s efforts.

It’s not long before Misaki discovers that she has a big talent in the Angelic Layer Tournament she has joined, and so she begins to train her new Angelic Layer doll Hikaru in the art of fighting.

Each subsequent episode settles into a by-the-numbers set of Misaki meeting someone, who she later fights in a tournament match. And with each successful fight she finds herself moving further up the league table towards the National Championship and closer to her mother (although she doesn’t know it).

There are some good laughs to be had; Mihara constant torture and humiliation of his subordinate Shuji; Tamayo always trying out her new fighting moves on an unsuspecting Kotaro (does she secretly fancy him?). And who does Kotaro fancy? Who does Misaki have a crush on? There certainly are times when you suspect that Cupid went in with all guns blazing indiscriminately.

Volumes 1-2, 6-7 are the best. Episode 21-23 are outstanding; the plot finally moving forward at long last; the characters get to interact with some proper dialogue; not to mention we get a brief respite from the by-the-numbers formula approach. Although this was counter balanced with a serious lull in the mid section as the series padded itself out with repetition.

At the end of the day the real story is why Misaki’s Mother left, and how Angelic Layer brings them together again. This ably assisted by the efforts of Icchan and his younger brother Ohjiro. With a secondary plot of how the love hexagon gets resolved between the main characters (a love triangle would be too easy). The actual fighting is just the backdrop, so don’t get hung up on it. And if the last volume doesn’t get you dewy eyed, then you’re obviously well ‘ard (sniff, sniff).

In summary-
This anime isn’t targeted at me: My Daughter really enjoyed it, and I suspect anyone of a tender age will as well. As such, for younger viewers it has some real appeal going for it. My daughter always held a doll when watching this series, so far be it from to suggest that cross-selling merchandising should be possible LOL.

For me it’s TV cookie-cutter approach left me impatient for a good deal of the time. Which is a shame, because it looks nice (visually) and the actual story has some touching moments. In the final analysis it’s a CLAMP story, so you know what to expect ^_^

Features
Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 5.1,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Clean opening and Close,VA Commentary

Review Equipment
Primary equipment: JVC 28" Pure Flat Wide Screen TV, Pioneer 454 Progressive Scan code free DVD player, Logitech Z-680 THX DD/DTS receiver & Speakers.
Secondary equipment: 21” Sony Trinitron monitor, ATI 9700pro & PowerDVD v4, Creative Audigy 2ZS & headphones.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES



Be the first to add a comment to this article!


ADD A COMMENT

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Please click here to login.

POPULAR TOPICS