Angelic Layer Vol. #5 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Angelic Layer

Angelic Layer Vol. #5

By Chris Beveridge     April 02, 2004
Release Date: March 30, 2004

Angelic Layer Vol. #5
© ADV Films

What They Say
The finals are about to begin, but the rules have changed and Misaki has to select a partner, forcing her to make a difficult decision - choosing between her friends.

The Review!
Angelic Layer continues to be one of the best 'feel good' anime series running out there and these four episodes only cement that more.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its English 5.1 mix. The English 5.1 mix comes across nicely with some clear distinct voices to it and a few areas of rear speaker directionality, mostly in crowd scenes and background noise. Dialogue throughout on both tracks comes across nice and clear and we didn't notice any dropouts or distortions.

Originally airing back in 2001, Angelic Layer is a fantastic looking show with this transfer. Cross coloration is pretty much non-existent, aliasing is very minimal and only in a few areas and the colors are rich. The colors are where this show really shines with very vibrant lush pieces, mixing between the real world and the Layer itself. Blacks are beautifully solid and there's no visible over saturation.

The swirling backdrop takes something of a backseat on this volume as the character art fills up the bulk of it, and good art it is as we get the duo of Misaki and Hatoko as well as their angels. With both of these characters being so prominent of course, they come across well here. The back cover has a series of shots from the how and several paragraphs of good summary for the premise of the show. The discs features are clearly listed, though not all the extras are listed there. The insert is a two-panel poster that has a nice layout of a number of angels hanging around while it opens up to character designs and information on some of the supporting cast..

Set up in a competition/athletic style theme, the main menu here plays some of the action oriented music from the series while various images from the show roll behind the top layer. Selections are quick to load and access times are nice and fast.

The extra material for this installment mirror the earlier volumes but with a few of the usual differences. The opening and closing sequences are presented again and there is also another set of production sketches. The commentary track for this volume was particularly fun for me as it features Sasha Paysinger, who plays Hatoko, and Mariela Ortiz, who played Ringo. I was particularly interested to hear Sasha's normal voice to see how close to Hatoko it was as well as how she feels about getting roles like that due to her voice. I was also rather interested in this track since Mariela was on it and I've known her for several years now so it's something of a treat to get a 25 minute recorded version of her. The sheer amount of ammunition I have to use on her now is priceless. It's actually rather fun since Mariela's definitely knowledgeable about a lot of things in the anime/manga/Japan world and is able to provide some good tidbits. In particular, the bit about the rock/scissors/paper bit with the mallet and helmet was new to me, since I hadn't seen that in a show before to the best of my knowledge, and she was able to comment on it some. This is a good fun little commentary where we get to learn just what Ohjiro fangirl someone is. She'll reveal her shouta complex sooner or later.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the series gets closer to the end, the divergences from the manga series are even more pronounced, which means that this gets to be even more enjoyable since it's not exactly the same like some manga to anime translations go. Angelic Layer in fact continues to be better in the anime since the writers were able to handle the shounen aspects much better than CLAMP did in their first attempts in the manga, never mind handling the entire mother aspect much better.

While the Kanto regional games are behind us, the nationals are getting closer and closer. But before they can get to that, you have to take a break and fill the show out with some, what's it called? characterization! That's it. While you can do plenty of interesting bits during fight sequences, particularly in a show like this where the fighter and the lead character are actually separate, you can accomplish a heck of a lot more by getting people together. And what better way than to have a party to celebrate Misaki's ascension to the national stage. While it starts out as a small affair with Kotaro and friends coming over, it grows into a much larger group with the people she's won over during the matches and even Ohjiro. Ohjiro gets a little creepy here in the things he offers to do for Misaki while she decides who her Second will be in the nationals.

The nationals we learn are set up differently than the regionals. The matches run for three minutes on and a minute break where the Deus and Second cane take that time to repair and rework their strategies should they need to. The challenges then become longer and more drawn out (though they actually don't in the show itself) allowing more planning and strategy. In addition, Icchan's introduction of locales into the Layer has been greatly expanded upon here in the nationals and there are a wide variety of intriguing and gorgeous places that the fights occur.

With one episode given over to characterization and the remaining three given to the fight sequences, we actually get a lot going on here. The show has really mastered the method of working character growth and storyline advancement into the fight sequences through secondary characters or other interactions that allow pieces to move. With the nationals having Shuko as the Champion and her intentions to show Misaki that she's spent all these years working hard, the goal of winning the contest takes on a new angle to the viewer, though Misaki is still completely unaware of her mother being involved in any of this.

In Summary:
This show continues to go by very fast ? too fast ? and it's over before you know it. These episodes played out very well, a good mix of fun with the cast and then lots of action in the tournament with both old and new angel's competing in the Layer. The added adoration everyone seems to have for Shu(ko) is amusing but not unsurprising since this tournament is very heavy on girl players and the champion is an older woman who inspires them. Of course, the constant blushing can make some think otherwise, but that's how things go sometimes. Angelic Layer is simply a lot of fun to watch and continues to be accessible to all ages and very entertaining.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Opening,Textless Ending,Production Sketches,Commentary with Sasha Paysinger and Mariela Ortiz

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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