I picked up this anime because I wanted to watch something lighthearted and innocent. And this one just seemed to fit the budget. While Angelic Layer did manage to remain lighthearted and innocent throughout the entirety of its 26-episode run, so much about it pissed me off. Now, this anime had some very positive aspects as well, they just weren’t present enough to get it a better score from me.
It starts off with some potential, the young girl protagonist goes to live with her aunt in Tokyo, becomes interested in a game she saw on TV, decides to try it out, and makes some friends at school. I was really enjoying it all at first. But then it became all about Misaki winning EVERY battle she’s in. Okay, she loses once, ONCE! It’s a shame as I liked Misaki, but the plot was making her into a Mary Sue. Actually, she was able to avoid that title because of one thing; everyone feels the need to criticize her fighting style. I mean EVERYONE, even her FRIENDS! I just wanted all of them to SHUT UP, especially that stupid Hatoko! They all just keep telling Misaki that she’s not good enough to play Angelic Layer and that she MUST find her weak spot. WHAT GIVES THEM THE RIGHT TO ACT LIKE SUCH JERKS TO HER WHEN SHE HAS NOT ONCE TOLD THEM HOW TO PLAY WITH THEIR TOYS?!?! What’s worse is that they all call themselves her “friends”. I’m not kidding, according to this series, the most immoral thing you can do is not believe in the strength of your doll. If people don’t think you BELIEVE hard enough in your doll, they will all talk you down, to your face or not to your face. THEY ARE JUST FUCKING DOLLS! ISN’T IT MORE IMPORTANT TO CARE ABOUT THE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE? Besides, the dolls can’t actually do anything by themselves. The owner must use their minds or something (I’m pretty sure they changed the rules at some point) to control the damn things. You can’t believe in something that is totally dependent on you. And of course a mother who abandons her daughter for 7 years is still considered to be a wonderful person and a good mother just because she showed mild remorse and made tears come out of her eyes. Honestly, I was relieved when episodes focused on going to the beach or the love triangle instead of Angelic Layer because of how annoying everyone gets during the tournaments. They were a much needed breather so that I could once again, suck up my gut and get through more tournament crap later on. I will say that the best episode though, was the episode explaining the origin of Angelic Layer. It was very interesting, deep story that focused on my favorite character. That one episode was all I needed to say, “This could have been something unique and moving, but they chose to take the tedious route and only put in a small fraction of the character insight and development that could be used here”. Needless to say, the story sucked when it really didn’t have to.
So maybe the character designs and backgrounds were generic. It all looked really nice. There were no pressing flaws for me to tear to pieces. I’m actually a little surprised that this is a 2001 anime. Anyway it’s good, moving on!
Truly this anime’s strength is in its opening theme. I could not get enough of it, I loved it so much! Really, it was awesome! The two ending themes fit in pretty well too. Although, something about the second ending theme’s lyrics rubbed me off the wrong way. What else was great was that I heard so many of my favorite seiyuus voicing the characters including, but not limited to, Kotono Mitsuishi, Masaya Onosaka, and the late Tomoko Kawakami. The only voice I really took issue with was Misaki’s voice. They of course HAD to make it high pitched just like with any other shoujo heroine, but Misaki’s voice got really grating. I was surprised to learn that her seiyuu is the same woman who voiced Yukine Miyazawa in Clannad since I found her voice to be very pleasant, but I guess it also explains why the opening sounds good when she’s the same person singing it.
I will say this now; the only character who really deserves any sort of credit is Icchan. His main function is as a comic relief character, (which he does really well, by the way) but he also has a lot of depth to him. You actually learn how he thinks and what he actually wants. It was great! The only thing working against him is his terrible taste in women. Everyone else is just flaunting their one or two character traits. And those blessed enough to have two are usually the worst because one of those character traits happens to be being a jerkface. Icchan will definitely make it worth your time though, so come watch his comedic gold and everything else that is great about him!
The biggest surprise for me here is that Angelic Layer is a BONES PRODUCTION! Considering some of the GREAT anime that has come out of that studio, it’s a little hard to believe they made something that couldn’t even dream of reaching the same quality as their other stuff. Oh well, it can be called the grayish-sheep in their collection I guess. I mean, it was still somewhat enjoyable and partially worth my time. Maybe you’ll like it, despite its apparent flaws.
I really loved this the overall storyline was very cute and ended with no big questions unanswered. It was really heart warming, bitter sweet and cute throughout the anime, and some of the character were very funny and side relieves from the at times intense moments. Though no 2 characters eally stood out that i would ship since this was more of a mother daughter anime,I guess my fav couples would be Icchan and Misakis mom and Ohjiro and Misaki. Overall very lovely anime and i'd recommend to anyone who likes animes with a lil action, romance, and somewhat comedy~
(Warning: this review may contain some spoilers... if you like to live in a trapped and flowery world, do no read. You have been warned!)
Looking back at the the anime trailer for angelic layer, one could feel slightly excited that this may have a similar feel to Cardcaptors. Sadly, after finally forcing myself to watch all 26 episodes, I could only conclude that this anime was one of those "back-in-the-day-typical-shoujo-anime"
The anime is based upon a girl named misaki who ends up taking part in the game called Angelic Layer, where the players compete against others using their dolls (dues). These dolls are connected to the player and act out the actions the player thinks. This concept is what I have found to be the most interesting part of the anime; with effort and creativity, I believe this could be fully explored and we could see real potential of it becoming a sucessful anime as the likes of beyblade or yu-gi-oh.
Particularly at one episode where the viewers get to see Athena fight for the first time, this is the only time you get to see the potential of what could have been a seriously good action anime.
Unfortunately the story dithers away from this possible potential success, to the pitiable main character, misaki. It starts to revolve around her and her mother with each episode becoming a countdown of their reunion, and like in all shoujo anime, her living the life of "a normal girl" and "making friends".
I found her voice a bit too high pitch and at times she seems as a fragile and weak character that you just wanna hold and watch her as she breaks into little fairy dusts. All the other characters are also quite hollow as they all possesses generic personalities that somehow meshes into "everyone is caring, happy and FRIENDS FOREVER!"
But the story doesn't stop there, as with all shoujo anime, there has to be love! <3 And this is the bit that ends up being the most interesting and sadly, the most dreaded. Throughout the anime, you are constantly questioning the status between the main character and "ohjiro-san" (the noble prince)- not to mention we discover that he had a hidden crush for a very mature woman...which...ends up being her mother. Also.... the older brother... is in love with the mother as well.
Can you feel what I was going through? Most of the time, I was cringing that there may have been an indirect incest going on, pairing the mother with the older brother and the daughter with the younger brother. And did the younger brother, "ohjiro-san" (noble prince), fell in love with misaki (main character and daughter) after he lost to her?! WHAT! ? But it does turn out that he and his brother are not blood related so I guess that is still okay....right? o.O?!
Honestly it was still quite uncomfortable espiecially for an anime that seemed to aimed at kids and young teens, it is not what I expected to see.
And the final match?....ppffffffff....was like watching the animation director confuzzled on whether he wanted to make a "mother chasing daughter scene on the seaside, froliking and giggling while the sun sets" meets "I still wanna beat you down!". The mesh of these elements didn't really go well together and I was left confused of what I should be seeing.
Overall, angelic layer had a lot of contrasting elements that did not go well together. If based on the actual concept, this may have a really good anime. Those who are looking for a feel-good-shoujo anime, this should be last on your list. Experienced watcher, I recommend to ignore.
Anime in 200 Words: Angelic Layer
Premise: A young girl discovers an amazing game and with the help offered by a crazy stranger, she joins the game herself. Misaki is determined to be the best.
Disclaimer: I read the manga before I watched this. Everything I say here is colored by my prior review.
Training: The deuces perform complicated dance routines with their angels, and I actually like it because it strengthens timing and coordination.
Challenges: There still aren’t any. Misaki is defeated by a kindergartener once, and never loses again. I still hate how absurdly fast she learns this game.
Love Square: Why is this even in here?! *sigh* Regardless, it’s handled fairly well, though it’s a touch underdeveloped for my taste.
Main Point of Contention: Off the layer, Misaki is an idiot. A good-natured one, but she still possesses all of the classic characteristics of a dense protagonist. On the layer, at the very end of each battle, Misaki has a flash of genius, does something brilliant, and wins! This is too unrealistic for me; I can’t accept this character.
Overall: Angelic Layer isn’t a horrible anime and it has good points, but I still don’t recommend it.
I found this to be an interesting concept, but the story had some hangups in my book. I mean it is too obvious that you know whose going to win. It's the standard, feel good, good girl always wins senerio.