As regular readers of my reviews know, Outlaw Star is my favorite anime ever. It created an interesting science fiction world, had a cast of eclectic and memorable characters, and was nonstop fun from beginning to end. So imagine my surprise when I found out that Outlaw Star had a spiritual successor set in the same universe. Then imagine my surprise after watching it and finding out I didn’t know about it for a reason.
The first four episodes of Angel Links scared the piss out of me. It was episodic, following the exploits of the Links Company, led by the energetic and goddam annoying Meifon Li. She provides protection to smaller companies that travel through pirate infested space for the small price of nothing.
Sounds good. Too bad these first four episodes are all exceptionally boring and provide a series of characters so wooden and uninteresting you could replace them with celery sticks and get the same result. Meifon’s boobs seemed like the star of the show and are prominently displayed throughout the series in all their massive glory. Have fun with back problems the rest of your life lady.
After we get past the initial hurdle of those four episodes, we finally get to an episode that’s pretty decent. Can a pirate love a person who fights pirates? It’s not the best executed episode tackling the issue of opposites attracting, but at the same time it manages to be emotional and well-thought out.
And beyond that we get into the most unoriginal plot possible. We find out the bad guy is the guy we knew was the bad guy from the beginning, we get to learn about who Meifon really is, which is surprising and a good twist, until the execution, bringing up memories of Trigun. This all leads to a bloated twelfth episode that leads into a final episode that moves way too fast at the beginning, and then extends the epilogue way too much.
Angel Links isn’t only badly paced, it’s badly written and falls way too much into conventions of 90's science fiction, as well as getting into some Evangelion-esque ideas and themes. The final half of the series is definitely more entertaining than the first, but it is also more groan-worthy. It’s building on a character, Meifon, who barely has enough character to care in the first place.
This brings me to my next problem. The characters suck. None are memorable, none have any development. Each main character has an episode dedicated to him or her but it doesn’t make them pop. It just makes them float and give them reason to be there. The reason Outlaw Star succeeded in the character department was the fact it had a fun and eclectic crew. The Angel Links crew is slightly eclectic, but just because you have a lizard guy and a Joan Jett and the Blackhearts groupie doesn’t mean you can avoid giving them some sort of characteristics.
The characters’ sucking is compounded with the unbearably bad dub. They don’t even make an effort to synch the voices with the lips. Meifon screams every line as if she’s talking to someone across a canyon rather than across two feet. Names are mispronounced constantly. Then there are the sound effects, which are also goddam terrible. Men who are obviously carrying machine guns get the laser gun sound effect. At one point, a sword is drawn and there is a lightsaber sound effect. Oh, and there’s also a terrible opening and ending song.
But hey, at least the animation is…
Oh goddammit Angel Links.
Outlaw Star had a lot of problems with its’ animation but none as bad as Angel Links. Meifon’s face is terrifying, some mix between Lain and the Toxic Avenger. The lizard guy’s eyes change colors a lot. Characters are just…ugly.
But design-wise, I can appreciate the space ships and the thought that went into all the sci-fi pieces. This is a well realized universe full of Chinese influences. The series has a couple cameos from Outlaw Star characters and a lot of the ideas of that series carry over here. That doesn’t excuse the fact Angel Links sucks fucking balls.
Fuck you Angel Links. Fuck Meifon’s face, and the boring bad guy, and that cat thing that turns into a sword, and especially those flesh melons in her exceptionally revealing clothes. If you put more time into developing an idea instead of the physics of her fucking titties you might have had something.
There’s really nothing good to say about this anime. Avoid it. Deny its’ existence. Pretend that you never heard the name. Do like I’m about to do and run as far away as possible.
This is a minor anime Studio Sunrise made for the heck of it. It also has the director of the fail adaptation that was Fate/Stay Night so you can imagine how bad it will be.
ART SECTION: 5/10 [Swords that pop out of boobies!]
Since the setting takes place in the space era, expect the usual treatment: Lots of machines, lots of spaceships, lots of space battles, lots of alien planets, lots of aliens and lots of naked women… The last part sounds irrelevent, doesn’t it? Well, yes, it is. Half-naked female flesh is thrown all over the screen almost every 5 minutes for no other reason other than sleasy entertainment. And in order to make a long story short, this is all there is to expect from the optical department:
-Original shaped spaceships… Not that this contributes to the story in any way. They just look original. They otherwise “bahave” as spaceships usually do.
-Pathetic attempts at fan service in the form of huge breasts and naked legs. Almost no real nude or even pantsu shots. The series is filled with sexual-implied scenes that are not really sexual. Major failure!
-Flashy but boring battles. Lots of energy beams fly around, ships dance like crazy in space, things explode, people scream… and then the leading girl pulls out her secret weapon and beats the bad-guys in a flash… What a drag! A lot of fuss about situations that never feel threatening. Just how many weapons does that girl hide between her boobies, anyway? Rabid cats, magic swords, bioorganic mutations and who knows what else. Really, I skipped most battles out of boredom and stupidity.
-Uninteresting character figures. They are so generic that you forget about them as soon as the episode is over.
-Lots of still images, some repeated footage and inconsistency of graphic quality. Some episodes are ok to look at; some look terribly simplistic.
SOUND SECTION: 4/10 [Where is the mute button?]
Music themes? Terrible! Not only they sound stupid; they also feel out of place. Voice acting? Lukewarm and with worse lip-sync than usual.
STORY SECTION: 3/10 [Oh, not you again!]
- Busty chick with dramatic past protects spaceships from space pirates… Nothing more…
- Almost all the episodes are stand-alone missions about a cocky pirate, trying to steal something and getting his ass kicked by the leading girl. Those will feel lukewarm at best, as they don’t differ in any way than filler missions in most anime series. They are otherwise colorizing the secondary characters but not in original or exactly interesting ways.
- Towards the end, the heroine’s backdrop story is revealed as she faces her past nightmares. This part was a bit more interesting, as we get to have an on-going story. But her mysterious past turns out to be the most overused and clichéd scenario in existence. And the final battle was so rushed and boring that I literally wished for all the characters to drop dead in the conclusion. It was their last chance of redeeming in my eyes… But they didn’t; so to hell with them!
CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10 [They are better off dead!]
The short amount of episodes, their generic appearance, their dry behaviors and the really, really boring plot, put the entire cast side to side with the story itself. There is nothing to see or care about them.
VALUE & ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10 [Snoring and yawning]
Completely boring and unoriginal; this title has simply nothing to offer. Just open a hatch and throw this thing at the vacuum of space! And throw lasers at it, as it drifts towards Andromeda. Let’s not make any aliens who may find it to think badly of us.
Outlaw Star and Kiddy Grade A pair of almost identically stupid but nonetheless more interesting series.