Neo Angelique Abyss Season 1 Collection (of 2) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, January 26, 2010
When one young woman discovers that she's the Queen's Egg and will become the savior of Arcadia in the future, lots of young men become her friends and guardians. Handsome, young men.
What They Say
Arcadia was once a beautiful world. Now it is a land under siege. Against the horrifying creatures known as Thanatos, there is only one known defense: Purifiers, rare humans gifted with the ability to exterminate the life-draining monsters. But Purifiers are few and the Thanatos are multiplying, so when the mysterious Nyx discovers 16-year-old Angelique, he becomes doubly committed to recruiting her for the team of Purifiers he is organizing.
Not only is Angelique a Purifier, she's the first female Purifier in recorded history. Moreover, there is an ancient prophecy Nyx is aware of: one of a woman with special powers, the "Queen's Egg," whose future will be inextricably tied to the fate of Arcadia!
Contains episodes 1-13.The Review!
Unsurprisingly, Neo Angelique Abyss is a monolingual release with just the original Japanese stereo track, encoded at 224kbps, included. The show is fairly standard fare where it’s a decent stereo mix with some occasional moments of distinct placement of dialogue and sometimes a little bit of depth going on in an action sequence, but by and large most episodes are dialogue pieces. There’s a good number of characters in the show and the performances come across well throughout with directionality when required but otherwise is a solid forward soundstage piece. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and the music moments in the opening and closing sequences are problem free.
Originally airing throughout 2008, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The two disc set has its thirteen episodes split across in the six/seven format which continues to feel odd in loading the extra episode on the second disc. The series is one with bright solid colors for both the character animation and the backgrounds so it has a very vibrant look to it that stands out well. The transfer in general handles it well, though there are some scenes where the noise is more noticeable than others, and it keeps to an average bitrate around six with spikes where appropriate. There’s no cross coloration to be found but a few scenes showcase some jaggies during panning sequences, but it’s brief and likely more in the animation itself than in the transfer.
While a bit dark, the cover for Neo Angelique Abyss is definitely appealing as it brings together Angelique, Rayne and J.D. with their very detailed designs. The guys obviously look good as they’re the draw and Angelique has a good costume with lots of detail. It has a mixture of seriousness and mild lightness to it as the expressions are different from person to person, but it all comes together well with their personalities. The background is done in a few shades of purple that get dark with petals floating around, while the bottom is heavily shadowed where the logo is. The back cover does its shadowing at the top with the tagline and the summary while the rest of it gets rather light as it showcases a very pretty shot of Angelique in the woods as well as several good shots from the show. The episode count is clearly listed as is the disc count. Production credits and technical information round out the bottom in a clean and easy to read way as well, an area that Sentai has managed to continue to do to very well. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menus use familiar elements from the cover reworked to a larger space, though I think in a rare change of pace that the artwork looks better on the cover than here as it has a bit too much softness and light. The right side features the artwork pieces while the left has the top level episode access and a special features submenu that loads very quickly. No language submenus are included here as it defaults to the subtitles being on, but you can change them to off on the fly which is good to see still being an option. Everything loads quickly and without problem.
The extras are pretty cute here, when you get past the clean opening and closing sequences. The Neo Angelique Abyss Theater is what makes up the bulk of the extras as there are just over half a dozen that run a minute or so a piece. They’re all small bodied comedy bits from the show with the characters acting silly, engaging in word puns and so forth. Shows that do these tend to have a very good sense of humor about themselves and helps to “humanize” it a bit more after watching the set.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Spun off from a game called Angelique, Neo Angelique Abyss is a two season show with this set containing the first thirteen episode season. The show is a fairly standard reverse harem piece with one young woman surrounded by a bevy of beautiful men while the fate of the world is at stake. With Yumeta being behind the production of the anime, there are some good production values to it with solid animation and designs but it's held back by working through very standard and familiar plot devices.
Neo Angelique Abyss takes place in the world of Arcadia where it's a mixture of old times, fantasy period kind of material as well as a smattering of technology. You have little villages that feel like backwater pieces, you have more upscale towns and cities and you have people that have gadgets like old school cameras. There feels like there's a little bit of internal consistency here, but it seems like it goes to the wayside when they introduce autonomous tanks that don't fit in with other things. This world has a lot of problems going on as there are creatures called Thanatos that are invading through rips in the space-time fabric that are opened by something called Erbos. These creatures come in all sorts of shapes and sizes while maintaining a creepy ghostlike supernatural feel to them. When they invade, they tend to drain the bodies of humans to husks which eventually kills them off.
There are a few organizations that work to defeat these creatures, though with varying levels of success. The times are becoming darker as more and more of these Thanatos show up, so there is a growing need to truly take care of the problem. The original organization that dealt with them but is becoming overwhelmed is the Order of the Silver Tree. These knights have held up bravely but with so many appearing, they can do only so much. Following them up is a group known as the Foundation which is using technology to try and deal with the issue. The third group is a newer one called the Orb Hunters and is led by a man named Nyx who is also in charge of an academy through which he gets familiar with a lot of people.
One of those people is a young woman named Angelique who has had a difficult life, but one that she's managed to work with and overcome. She lost her parents at a fairly early age in a Thanatos attack and ended up in the academy where she's been cared for. She's decided to follow in her parents footsteps by becoming a doctor as they gave their lives trying to save others during the attack. With all that she's been through, Angelique has turned into a bright, happy and well adjusted beautiful young woman with the world at her feet. She's simply working towards her goals and achieving them step by step.
When Nyx arrives and informs her that she holds a greater power as someone known as a Purifier, she's not interested in being involved with that. She simply wants to save people as a doctor. But when a Thanatos attacks and her powers activate, she discovers that she can actually save a lot more people this way. And because of her power activation, she sent off a signal to others of her existence as she's something more than just a Purifier. She's also something known as the Queen's Egg which will one day become the queen and save the nation itself. This speaks deep to her and she decides that she'll join with Nyx and those that work with him to try and do good for the many.
Nyx has his operation setup in a place called the Sunlit Mansion where he's got a couple of other people working with him. The first is an outgoing young man named Rayne, who is actually related to the man in charge of the Foundation and he even worked there for awhile as a senior research scientist. That of course goes against his visual as a quasi-punk guy with a pistol whol shoots Thanatos' dead. Also living in the mansion is a man named J.D., who is considered something called an Artifact. He's actually a machine that is as close as human as possible but conflicted about what he can really do. And when Angelique's signal went out, she gained a new follower in the form of Hyuga, a former Silver Tree knight who left because he didn't agree with how the organization was looking.
Naturally, all four of those men are attractive and handsome but there must be more introduced. Rayne's brother, Yorgo fits that bill with his being older but we also get some younger as well as both a journalist and a photographer are brought into the series to try and help further the larger plot of the Thanatos and what's going on. There's also a very young member of the Silver Tree involved named Roche who adds some mild charm to it as he befriends Angelique. In the end, that's the basic idea among all of them. Practically nobody who meets Angelique dislikes her and practically all of them become loyal to her in a way. Not that she wants followers, she's too modest for that as she prefers to have new companions from which she can enjoy their company and work together.
Neo Angelique Abyss works through some very familiar storylines as the group heads to different villages to deal with Thanatos outbreaks and some mild intrigue and politics with the government and the Foundation itself. There are also some dealings with the family side of it as Rayne and his brother have issues and J.D. discovers a brother of sorts when a new Artifact arrives on the scene. The big issue that defines this first season of the series is when the Foundation creates a device known as the Jinx that's essentially a small autonomous tank that can auto target Thanatos. But it has a flaw in that it doesn't account for people or buildings so it causes a lot of destruction whenever it's used. When the Foundation starts mass producing them, it causes a conflict for people as they destroy a huge amount of Thanatos but many villages and towns are ruined along the way.
Visually, there's a lot to like with this series as it has some very strong vibrant colors to it but not the kind that overwhelm it. The character animation has a good amount of detail to it with the uniforms and the regular clothes they all which complements the fairly detailed city designs and locations that are used. It does all have a bit of a too glossy and perfect feel to it at times, but that fits in with the almost fairy tale like quality of it. The animation has a good flow to it and they avoid repetition overall, and that's including the Thanatos themselves as they seem to present them in pretty varied forms. Neo Angelique Abyss has a good set of production values to it that helps it to rise above the average a bit.
The first half of this series sets up the season pretty well by introducing the basic concepts and characters and their various relationships. When it gets to the first full on big storyline of the season, it ends up being rushed too much in the last couple of episodes so it loses most of its impact. In terms of a reverse harem, they did a nice job here with plenty of guys that the female viewers will enjoy watching, but you know practically from the start who they're trying to push Angelique towards. It has good production values to it, a fairly predictable script that's a bit rushed towards the end and a bevy of handsome men. And really, Angelique is the only female of note here which is interesting since we usually do get a few others. I'm fairly ambivalent about the series with this first half as it has some nice ideas but doesn't flesh it out well enough and focuses on growing the number of men too much, owing to its game origins.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing, Neo Angelique Theater
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: C
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Running time: 325
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Neo Angelique Abyss