When writing a review, the question ultimately arises of whom to address this to. In the case of Angelique: When the Heart Awakens, I am left in somewhat of a quandary. On the one hand, this positively phosphorescent anime comes with the kind of special effects that would send any adult queasily fumbling for their aspirin; on the other hand, there’s no way anybody of the right mental age and/or taste for Angelique will understand even half of my vocabulary. That leaves only the parents – lucky you!
Judged as a kid’s TV show, Angelique performs relatively well (in fact, this is the only way I could see any value in it). Most of the episodes present a clichéd scenario in which Angelique learns to use a specific element owned by one of the Guardians to bring a little more life to a desolate universe. Once in a while she just hangs around with the pretty guys in the palace to find out a little more about their personal issues. Occasionally, the events do veer a little towards the dark and disturbing (for example, Angelique travels to a world where the people will soon die in a flood unless she teaches them to build a boat); during such moments, there is a trace of pathos which is reminiscent of more accomplished series such as Scrapped Princess. Generally, however, the adventures involved aren’t very complex, include little peril, and lead up to minimal character development.
Having said that, there are individual moments in which the series becomes genuinely emotional. By this I mean the part about Angelique’s mysterious lost love, a man who left her broken-hearted and insecure about her own self-worth. Since the part about saving the universe gets highly repetitive and predictable, Angelique’s inner turmoil presents a welcome change of focus.
Ah yes, bright hues, picturesque still-shots, sunshine beaming from every orifice… I smell a shoujo! More to the point, did anyone say bishounen? In all honesty, Angelique looks shamefully basic by contemporary standards, but generally compensates for this by being pretty.
The soundtrack is a pleasant surprise; both the opening and closing themes are incredibly catchy pop numbers which I listened to on repeat. For the score, there is a variety of string instrumentals, beautiful upbeat ditties, and evocative chorals, the likes of which actually made me rewind scenes just to hear them again.
Since the script gives no opportunity for complex emotion, the voice acting turns out to be remarkably cheesy and inane. Considering Angelique’s target audience, this is probably a point of strength rather than weakness. More importantly, the voice actors are all suitable and seem to perform with some enthusiasm (Oscar, the suave Guardian of Fire, almost convinced me to blush at times).
Everyone without fail is a bland albeit likeable cardboard cut-out. Angelique herself is a weak version of characters replicated in countless other shoujo (see Fruits Basket, Card Captor Sakura, Saiunkoku Monogatari). Still, while she may lack the multidimensionality necessary to make her memorable, she constitutes a formula that works well in the given context and will certainly be believable enough in the eyes of a child.
Then we get to the Guardians: a who’s who of bishounen archetypes, their purpose is solely to make little girls gush and little boys feel confused about their sexuality. There’s the drag-queen one who has the power of dreams, the bookish one who has the power of earth, the brooding one who has the power of darkness etcetera, etcetera. Most of them get an episode dedicated to building their personality, although, with nine Guardians to get through in only thirteen episodes, this amounts to no depth whatsoever.
Even for a show aimed at children, Angelique falls short of the bar – for great family friendly TV, nothing beats Card Captor Sakura. Furthermore, if your child happens to have relatively refined taste, I suggest sitting them in front of Scrapped Princess in stead. However, if all other avenues have been exhausted, Angelique: When the Heart Awakens does make a fairly decent substitute – it has lots of pretty colours, excellent music, and gimmicky protagonists that kids will like. Just don’t sit and watch it with them.
A young galaxy is crumbling and their queen is in a deep slumber - but there is hope, for according to prophecy a young girl will become the "Etoile" and save them. Shipping one hundred talented girls to their land, the queen and her nine guardians look for the Etoile to no avail - save for one: Angelique, an insecure and clumsy girl from the countryside. It is she who is destined to fulfill the prophecy. Eventually Angelique accepts her fate, but with so many obstacles to overcome and with doubts in her heart, can she succeed in saving the galaxy?
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.
This review has no comments. Leave one now!