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Recommended Anime: 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, its 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 its story pulled from a popular manga for its inspiration. The manga creation of Battle Angel
was originally called Gunnm
and soon found itself with a massive audience in its 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 its 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
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
, 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
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 its heart Battle Angel
is something of a cyber punk adventure and that means theres 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 its 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 shows age. The audio isnt 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 youve 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 90s.