Having sat through three episodes of what should have been an epic, exhilarating, and provocative series, I can only dredge up the following reaction from the depths of my numbed soul: uh, lol?
At first glance, Angel Sanctuary has an interesting premise involving forbidden love and religious themes - not to mention all the fan art and screenshots on the internet, which give the impression that it will provide some great eye candy. In reality, Angel Sanctuary is cheap and corny and has a bewildering sense of pacing; just like watching a train wreck hurtling off the edge of a cliff at full speed, everything happens too fast for the brain to make any sense of it. I can only imagine how many scenes and side plots must have been pruned from the original manga to create this ultra-rushed nonsense.
What's worse, after being bombarded with scene after scene of confusing tripe about angels and reincarnation and blood that makes you immortal, not only did I find myself losing interest in the ending, but so did the creators! Angel Sanctuary comes to a halt just as events are about to take a ‘serious' turn; although, I get the feeling I've merely been spared the worst of what it had to offer.
Whilst undeniably attractive for its day, there are also several contemporaries which look better than Angel Sanctuary (X The Movie being one such example). Moreover, when compared to anything more recent, Angel Sanctuary has no chance of looking remotely attractive; it suffers from inconsistencies in character proportions, and motion is generally crude and simplistic. This is just another example of the entire budget going into making things looks pretty rather than making things look real.
With a fairly decent opening and closing theme, the real let-down comes with the nondescript score and generally average Japanese voice acting. Even worse is the American dub, which is downright disgusting.
Along with a rushed plot, Angel Sanctuary also displays some of the worst characterisation I've seen anywhere. I don't remember once having a good grasp of what these people were about, why they were doing what they were doing, nor why I should care; the best Angel Sanctuary ever provides is ‘bleeding heart' flashbacks seconds before a character loses their life. What is most tragic is that, with much better direction, some of the more original characters could have been genuinely engaging; for example, Kira Sakuya's disturbing past and his relationship with his father sparks some superficial interest but is not explored in enough depth to make any emotional impact.
There is only one reason why I or anyone else, for that matter, would pick up Angel Sanctuary: the novelty of witnessing incest as a plot device. I say this because there is nothing else apart from that to make it stand out from the other lumps of shite floating in the sewer of mediocrity. Even so, I wish I hadn't bothered - I find it laborious to watch and even more laborious having to find the words to describe it.
Setsuno Muda is a high school boy with a cruel fate, trapped in a forbidden love for his blood sister and inhabited by the spirit of the Organic Angel Alexiel. As the final battle between Heaven and Hell approaches, and forces gather against him, he must soon make decisions that will inevitably alter his future for better or worse. But for poor young Setsuno, his anguish and torment might be more overwhelming than the blood on his hands, as conflicts are settled and lives are changed forever...
I'll review anything as long as there are words in the dictionary to describe it. Disagree with me? Want to leave feedback? Please do, but take a look at my personal rating scale first.