Recommended Anime: Battle Angel -

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Recommended Anime: Battle Angel


BATTLE ANGEL"The OVA event of the decade." So read the video trailer referring to an Original Video Animation that had been released called Battle Angel.

With all the generous usage of such statements to sell a positively dizzying array of animated creations, it’s always a surprise to find a tag line such as this actually fitting the bill. For all newcomers the title Battle Angel is ripped from the pages of the Japanese comic book of the same name, written and drawn by artist Kishiro Yukito.

Like so many other anime videos that can be found on the shelves of retailers, Battle Angel has it’s story pulled from a popular manga for it’s inspiration. The manga creation of Battle Angel was originally called Gunnm and soon found itself with a massive audience in it’s native country and for anyone who knows anime in general, an anime adaptation of the popular creation would be inevitable.

The OVA of Battle Angel of battle angel actually pulls it’s story from the first story arc of the manga which was translated and released in the US by the anime / manga company Viz Communications under the name Tears of an Angel.

*** minor spoilers warning ***

The story of the OVA introduces us to a young (presumably) cyborg named Gally. She was found by Ido, a cyborg doctor who happened upon her while he was rummaging through a dump site one day. The two live in the sprawling, decadent society known as Scrap Iron City. Quiet literally, the whole visual make-up of the city is one of broken down burnt out otherworldly structures which seem to stretch on forever.

Gally lives with the doctor Ido who has taken her in as a surrogate daughter of sorts, as Gally has no previous memories of her past or who she is. The story paces forward quickly, introducing us to other inhabitants of the metropolis, such as a boy named Hugo who Gally takes quite a liking to, a swindler called Victor and another cyborg doctor named Chiren who has had a past history with Ido. The story makes quite an interesting contrast between the characters and their goals in their lives. For Chiren and Hugo, both are at the point of obsession in their attempts to break free of Scrap Iron City and achieve their dreams of making it to Zalem, the paradise city in the sky. On the other hand, Gally and Ido seem content in their existence and apparently do not have the same zeal for a better (in the material sense) lifestyle.

*** end minor spoilers ***The interaction of these characters are very quick in their development, but not overtly rushed.

At it’s heart Battle Angel is something of a cyber punk adventure and that means there’s bound to be some action going on… and this is where Battle Angel delivers in spades. The swift, agile Gally takes up the trade of becoming a bounty hunter in an intuitive decision to try to reconnect with her lost past. And through this trade we are given some dazzling animated sequences where the movements are fast and furious, not to mention a healthy dose of free flowing blood.

The Battle Angel animation is ranked high on the lists of so many anime fans for many reasons. The character designs are imaginative, bold, and colorful. The sound track is punchy. The story is well conceived and does a good job of putting a lot of dense ideas and imagery in such a short space.

Some have laid the criticism against this anime that it might feel a little to condense, but by and large most can agree this may very well be what leads to it’s almost blitzkrieg feel that has enthralled so many viewers.

In the Japan the OVA was originally released in two separate episodes. The DVD release by AD Vision holds both episodes on it in addition to having a production portfolio, a slide show, alternate credit angles, an English and Japanese language track, along with English and Spanish subtitles. (There are12 previews of other ADV titles as well.) The DVD has a somewhat soft visual transfer of the show which is understandable given the show’s age. The audio isn’t flashy but has a good level of authority to it. The English track is serviceable enough, but most would be better served by the original Japanese voice cast.

There are only two real problems with this DVD. One, with this DVD, one of the features touted was a cast with a multi-angel view option on it. Naturally, this was provided so everyone could pick if they wanted to see the original credits or the English version credits. The problem came about when many found the credits would begin to roll but you would see… nothing. Toggling the angel button tends to fix the problem for some, but a permanent fix was never given.

The second problem of the Battle Angel DVD is that, as of this writing, is no longer in print. There may be a few copies stranded out there on retailer shelves but by and large they are being picked up as time goes by.

So to those who may see this title sitting on the shelves of their retailer, grab a copy! Once you’ve got it in your possession, kick back and enjoy one of the best titles anime has to offer. One of the best OVA of the 90’s.


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