Angel Links Anime Legends Complete Collection (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2006
What They Say
From the Outlaw Star Universe!
Meifon is quite an overachiever for a sixteen-year-old girl. She's the head of a major corporation and the captain of a state-of-the-art ship, the Angel Links - which provides a free pirate-fighting service. And her crew is just as extraordinary. Join the crew of the Angel Links as they fight pirates, right wrongs, and seek out the hidden secrets of Meifon's past...
Angel Links is a treat for the eyes and ears but provides only an average story.
I listened to the original Japanese stereo track for my viewing session. It featured some decent directional effects during the battle sequences, but most of the action comes through the center channel. All audio elements were balanced well and did not exhibit any noticeable defects.
Originally airing in 1999, I was not prepared for how visually appealing this show was. Bandai provided an excellent transfer that was free from any discernible defects. The colors were vibrant, and the overall picture was sharper than I had expected. The characters and their world had the visual "pop" I would expect from a more recent series. Angel Links features unique character and mechanical designs, and this transfer allows every aspect to capture the eye.
The front cover has Meifon's smiling face beaming underneath a halo and angel wing's showing behind her. Taffei poses just below her and just above the series title; banners for the "Anime Legends" and "Complete Collection" monikers adorn the top and bottom. The back cover contains the requisite images and text about the series. All four discs are housed in an oversized case with a dual sided flipper insert on the spine. There was no insert.
The main menu features clips from the episodes playing in a circle in the center of the screen. A catchy piece of music plays in the background, and the menu items are along the sides of the circle. There are no transition delays to prevent you from getting setup and into the show quickly.
The extras are spread over the four discs and feature some of the standard items -- textless opening, textless ending, and a collection of promos for the series. The clip where the Links crew shows up in Outlaw Star is also present along with clips of the Angel Link launch sequences. The best extra is a slide show of production artwork featuring narration by Li Meifon; it turned an otherwise boring, static extra into something more dynamic.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Welcome to the Oracion system where the police are unable to protect the shipping lanes from hordes of space pirates. If you have the money, you can hire a security agency to protect the delivery of your shipment, but who does a poor space jockey turn to for help? You turn to Angel Links, the free security team lead by the spunky and busty sixteen-year-old Li Meifon. Captain of a massive battleship, Meifon carries out her grandfather's dying wish to make the galaxy safe. Angel Links is mostly episodic featuring a set of pirates that are easily defeated. However, the first episode introduces us to two things that will change Meifon's life.
The first mission in the series has Meifon rescuing a mysterious and handsome millionaire named Leon Lau; Meifon is immediately attracted to him. Another mystery is revealed in the form of Meifon's gravestone; she is quite alive, but this stone predicts her death will be arriving soon. Where and how these two items intersect is a subtle plot thread that unfortunately is buried under the episodic style of the series.
These two mysteries are touched upon briefly throughout, but it does not play an important role in the story until the final four episodes. The adventures of the Angel Links crew up to that point are amusing and somewhat entertaining, but they do not provide the connection to the characters that would give those final four episodes a strong impact. Angel Links is a difficult series to review because of this; it does not do anything poorly, but it does not do much to make it stand out much either.
Visually, Angel Links was a gorgeous series that kept your eyes on the screen. The fluid, graceful hand-to-hand combat scenes were most impressive. Conceptually, it also had a rich world to play in; Meifon's crew includes Duuz, a proud, stoic Dragonite warrior. Her primary weapon is Taffei, a winged cat that leaps from her cleavage and transforms into a long sword. Toss in an intergalactic empire, conniving businessmen with their own security agencies, and even psychic powers, and there are plenty of elements to play against.
However, the episodic style for the series gives none of these elements much of a chance to be explored. Meifon and her crew simply defeat pirates with only a few clues about the connection between Meifon, Leon Lau, and Meifon's grandfather. With little build up to the events, the final four episodes end up rushed as they try to balance a large piece of exposition with the climactic battle.
These last four episodes show what Angel Links could have been; they went beyond the standard "beat up the bad guy of the day" motif and delved into some heavier sci-fi concepts. What was simply a passable diversion turned into an absorbing story. I would have enjoyed this series from the beginning if these concepts were more prominent throughout.
No prior knowledge of Outlaw Star is needed to enjoy Angel Links, but the series does not provide much enjoyment other than pretty pictures and catchy themes. The episodic nature hindered the series from developing an otherwise interesting premise. The final four episodes showed the potential lurking beneath the series' surface, but the build up to the finale did little to prevent it from feeling rushed. While the bulk is only mildly entertaining eye candy, the final four episodes make a strong case for adding this series to your collection.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening,Clean Ending,First Appearance Video,Commercial Collection,Launch Clips,Secrets of Angel Links
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Panasonic RP-82, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and optical audio cable
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 325
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Angel Links