Heaven's Design Team

Alt title: Tenchi Souzou Design-bu

TV (12 eps)
3.693 out of 5 from 1,708 votes
Rank #3,182

In Heaven's Animal Design Department, designers create a variety of new animals daily while contending with the unreasonable requests of their client: God. Funny, interesting, and full of useful information, this series answers questions such as, “Why can't unicorns exist?”, “What makes an animal taste delicious?”, “What's the most powerful creature in the ocean?”, and, “Bird versus snake: who would win?” You won't believe it's a manga series when you read up on the featured animals in the included encyclopedia entries. Heaven's Design Team will make your next trip to the zoo or aquarium 100 times more fun!

Source: Kodansha

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I used to work in a design agency like this one so I might be a little biased when I say that Heaven’s Design Team has been one of the nicest things I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching this season. Faced with the daunting task of populating the earth with animals, God, in his ever-knowing wisdom and omnipresence, outsources a team of angels to do all of the work for him. The twist – and a good number of the punchlines – comes in his vague, self-contradicting requests. Despite his ever-knowing wisdom and omnipresence, it turns out God is just like every client of every design agency ever. He knows what he wants, but doesn’t quite know how to describe it. Hmm, and I don’t know about that black shade you used for the eyes. Do you think you can make that a lighter shade of black? Oh, not that light. Look, now it’s gray. I wanted black. Black! The appeal of Heaven’s Design Team comes in how likable and unpretentious it is from top to bottom. The team of angel designers are good, fleshed-out characters who bounce off well against each other. They each have their own quirks and designing go-tos, but these don’t completely define who they are as characters. Shimoda, the angel go-between for both God and the designers, isn’t too shabby himself. He’s plain and unremarkable for a reason, but he’s always eager to learn and knows the finer points of hip-hop. Thanks to his naiveté and relative innocence, he’s the perfect audience avatar for a show like this, throwing in retorts when necessary and asking the right questions so we can all follow along without looking like uneducated chumps. Heaven’s Design Team is good, educational fun. It doesn’t talk down to you and even better, it knows exactly which trivia bits to highlight for us. That means we get a lot of insight into the animals’ strange diets (spoiler alert: there’s a lot of poop-eating in the animal kingdom, it turns out), their mating rituals, and their strange anatomies. At the end of each episode, you’ll know why it would be impractical for a unicorn or a Pegasus to actually exist, why an elephant’s ears are so big, and why koalas are A-OK with eating their own poop. That the characters each have their own ways of reacting to their design requests makes the show a lot livelier and a lot less dull than the way it’s spelled out as “edutainment” on paper. All in all, it’s a show that’s able to balance its learning material with its soft parody of life in a creative design agency, indecisive clients and all. It’s a show that knows how to have fun and make you feel good in only the most wholesome ways it can think of, never mind if a lot of that has to do with animals making babies and yes, animals eating their own poop.


This show puts zoology in a more fun and interactive format. If you aren't that interested from zoology or biology to begin with you're not really going to like the show. It is humorous though, it doesn't just spout science nonsense without comedy.  The show is set up more episodically. There isn't an overarching storyline except that they need to make new commissions every episode. They'll make roughly two, but it goes into different kinds of detail on the biology--you shouldn't expect a whole biology lesson. There is a short part of the episode where they show the animal in real life and explain more biology bits. The characters allow for more thorough engagement with the material through their personality or style.  The characters are all vehicles for presenting different kinds of animals; they are all likable but don't expect a deep backstory or anything. The animation is bright and colorful and lets the viewer take in the written content without being bogged down by heavy visuals. The animation does its job in encouraging exploration of reality.  The sound is nothing to gawk at, but it's not bad imo.  I personally really enjoyed it, it was comedic enough for me to continue watching it and I got to learn something new each time. I always enjoy bright colors--so the animation played to my moth tendencies. They vary the animals enough so it isn't just a new mammal every time. I would say go for it if you like this kind of stuff and if you don't like it at the 3rd-ish episode drop it. 

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