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?
StoryWhen 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.AnimationAh 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.SoundThe 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).CharactersEveryone 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.OverallEven 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.
The Seijuu Universe is crumbling and their queen is in a deep slumber. In the nearby Shinchou Universe the queen grieves for she loved the Seijuu queen like a sister ... but hope awakens as the sacred tablet foretells the prophecy of a young girl who will become the legendary 'Etoile' and save them. Shipping a hundred talented girls to the Shinchou Holy Land the queen and her nine guardians (who have the power of the nine elements) look for the Etoile ... but to no avail - save for one: Ange. Ange is summoned to the Holy Land with a hundred other young women from around the Shinchou Universe in an attempt for the kingdom to discover if any of these young women are the legendary Etoile but none of these young women know that this is the reason they are summoned. Instead they believe they will be interviewed for a position within the palace. Thinking there was a mistake to be included Ange tries to leave and in the process stumbles upon the tablet and it is uncovered that she is the 'Etoile' who is destined to fulfill the prophecy. Eventually Ange accepts her fate, but with so many obstacles to overcome and the doubts she holds deep within her heart, can she succeed in saving the Seijuu Universe? The plot was interesting, if only the slightest bit trite, but nothing remarkable. The animation was okay ... again, nothing remarkable. The soundtrack was also simply okay... The characters, to me, are what held my attention. I sometimes feel the urge to watch a reverse harem bishie anime, and this fit my tastes as it has both! xD In the beginning I rooted for Oscar ... and then it was Luva ... and then Oscar again ... and then finally Zephel. My favorite of the bishies was probably Clavis but he wouldn't have suited Ange at all ... but I SO would have gone for him! xD Zephel, in the end, was the one I thought Ange fit the most with, despite his tsundere tendancies. Ange kind of pissed me off though in the latter half of the anime since she was all obsessed with Arios. On one hand I kind of understood, as he's all gorgeous and shit with the two tone eyes and the awesome voice and the bishiness *wipes up drool at the memory* ... but he wasn't a good fit for her and she knew it but she got all depressed when it got pointed out to her. The ending was ... interesting... It got all mahou shoujo and then left it with a cliffhanger! It forced me into watching the second season to find out what happened next! Overall it may not have been anything remarkable ... or very memorable, but I enjoyed it none the less and I did watch the second season due to the frustrating ending ... ^This is a pic of Clavis ... my personal fave! xD
(Note: This review covers both the 1st and 2nd seasons. Spoilers ahead!) This show had so much potential. The first season starts you out with a relatable main character who you really feel is struggling with the tasks she is given while also trying to keep her emotions in check. Plus you come to love all the different guardians surrounding her and you may even start to root for one of the guys hoping she will fall in love with them.... that is until it is all dropped down the toilet in the second season. That’s when she is completely separated from ALL of the characters from the first season and she is somehow magically transformed into this character who is strong and bold showing barely any signs of the struggles she was experience two freaking days ago! I’m all for good character development but seriously her entire world is out of her reach, no one can come to her aid and she is just like “I’m alone…*cries for five seconds* well enough of that lets hunt down some new guardians who I’ll become even more enamored with then those before! Yay!” ….ugh moving along. This show had great potential but sadly the second season ruined any real reason to even watch the first and (WARNING: massive spoilers ahead!) the ending of it all does nothing but leave you completely hanging. (All you see is a hand. A freaking hand! You have no idea who she chose and who she told to take a cold shower. *sigh*) Story 5: Like I said the story had good potential and I actually liked it allot right before the first seasons ending but then you got the more than a little ridiculous boss fight, (the all-powerful guardians couldn’t even wound this thing and all she did was point a magical stick at it and it fell over like it just got hit by a lightning bolt from the Greek god Zeus…seriously!?) and then you got to dive into a second season that makes the first pretty much completely pointless. The only upside is a few of the new characters which I’ll get to below. All and all the story really could have been so much better and it left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. Animation 7: The shows animation is well done despite the apparent age. There are some very beautiful scenes that will just leave you in awe and the characters are really done well. Sound 6: Once again age plays a factor here but still for the most part the sound and character voices are clear. My one complaint here would have to be with the nickname Julious has for the main character. The way it sounds to me is unnatural and I felt myself cringe every single time he said it. If you watch the show you will understand. Characters 7: This is this shows saving grace. I absolutely loved pretty much all of the characters (especially Charles and Arios they are pretty much the only reason I finished the second season) I felt the main character was really relatable in the first season and I liked her connection with each of the different guardians. As for the guardians themselves each had their own unique personality and own ways of supporting Angie in her time of need. If someone asked me if I would recommend this show my answer would have to be only if you need to kill time on something that you want leaving you very aggravated in the end.
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