Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer

Title:Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer
Angelic Layer
Battle Doll Angelic Layer
Mobile Angel Angelic Layer
Keywords: , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - A.C.G.T.
Animation - BONES
INOUE Kikuko
Music - Avex Mode
Original Concept - CLAMP
R1 License - ADV (Renamed)
SEKI Tomokazu
YUKINO Satsuki

Near future. "Angelic Layer" is a quite popular cyber-game where the players ("Deuses") control the little dolls filled with sophisticated technology ("Angels") with the power of their minds. Those "Angels" fight each other at the round-shaped arenas. Each doll has a different balance between speed, strength, vitality, special abilities and so on. Misaki Suzuhara, a 12 years old schoolgirl from Wakayama comes to stay with her aunt in Tokyo to enter the school here. By the chance she sees Angelic fight and decides to try it herself. Misaki and her new speed-type Angel Hikaru throw their challenge...

[26 TV episodes based on the manga of the same title. See also the more serious spin-off Chobits where "Icchan" and his wife are essential for the course of events.]

1:32min Series Opening (clean) - YouTube Video
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Watch 8 7 6 6 6 7 Devil Doll [series:436#752]
[23/26 episodes watched, temporary score: 64% = "Watch"]

This childish, predictable "ganbatte" show for girls is very much not my kind of show; I'm only watching it because Icchan is a key figure for the events in Chobits. I had to take a long break three times during this show; usually I would have aborted it at this stage.

I'm skipping both OP and ED song since episode 3 (the second ED from episode 14 on is slightly better), and I'm not yet sure whether I will want my time back at the end of the show.
One major disappointment for me is the level of tactical skills of the deuses. There are may occasions where one Angel has a leading score and could claim the victory at time-out by merely running away; not a single one of the deuses even tries to do this (not even for the sake of luring the opponent into a trap), they're all to arrogant and eager to apply their trade-mark finishing blow. This is a wrestling show, not a fighting competition.
But my biggest annoyance in this anime was Hatoko. You just don't play in the semifinals of the national championships with a high-tech instrument that requires scientific knowledge for tuning and maintenance (yes, Pokemon with very "techy" dolls) when you're five years old. This character alone killed the believability of the story, and unnecessarily so: Hatoko acts as Misaki's senpai for most of this show but her age never actually matters (while her size certainly does). At her age she should have had to cope with similar issues as Yuzuyu, and the one episode where she comes even close to this (#17) was in fact the best episode of this series for me.
  • Episode 01: (-) Why would a 12-year-old girl enjoy a fighting game so much that she mindlessly spends all her money for something she never heard about before? "It's in her blood" sounds unconvincing. Misaki is the "puppet" in this game so far.
  • Episode 02: (0) Despite performing excellently in her first Angelic Layer fight, Misaki remains a pawn but at least she's making some friends already.
  • Episode 03: (0+) This one was nice, with Misaki getting a potential ally (or perhaps even more?) and showing a talent for adapting to new situations, working with the small amount of knowledge about fighting she has at this stage. Her opponent was just one-dimensionally evil though, and the (yet) unknown abilities of these Angels are an issue in general.
  • Episode 04: (-) A boring fight, a hugely exaggerated hype for the tournament (compare this to, say, today's sumo), and Hatoko being way too mature sum up to a weak episode.
  • Episode 05: (0-) Weak performance by both Misaki and Hatoko. It could have been an additional experience for Misaki to claim a tactical, boring win this time; I don't understand why Hatoko disapproves of this method: If believing in your angel is everything that counts then why do all the training sessions before?
  • Episode 06: (0+) Much better, both the fight and the consequences (even though the winner was obvious before the fight started).
  • Episode 07: (0) A likable opponent, and even with a story. Too bad that the outcome of the fight was obvious.
  • Episode 08: (0-) Another fear having been overcome. Otherwise, not very exciting, and that bigmouth wasn't funny.
  • Episode 09: (0+) How did that beginner master such an advanced technique already? And the visitors state complex explanations for Misaki's fighting skills where apparently her self-esteem is all that matters. Other than that, an interesting episode.
  • Episodes 10+11: (+) An exciting two-part battle with a slightly preachy yet elegant solution.
  • Episode 12: (0) Romance filler but a nice change of pace.
  • Episodes 13+14: (+) What appeared to be based on an unexplained special ability turned out to be a good match against a decent opponent, even including the "Weaving a Story" part of this series. Rating upgrade to "Watch".
  • Episode 15: (-) Almost no battle at all, too obvious a result, and an unlikable girl being built up as the final opponent. At least Hatoko behaves according to her age for the first time.
  • Episode 16: (-) Another disappointing episode with the experienced player making a stupid mistake, thus throwing away her precious knowledge about her opponent's weakness. The melodramatic background story about her sister wasn't that great either.
  • Episode 17: (++) The Second. A great episode with lots of interesting scenes and decisions, exactly what this series was lacking so much. With this stuff there's still hope for this anime.
  • Episode 18: (0-) The Nationals Begin. The battles were not impressive, and not much else happened this time.
  • Episode 19: (+) Misaki's first round. A good episode on all layers, with character interaction as well as exciting events behind the scenes.
  • Episode 20: (0) The Summer Cold. Not as good as the previous one, with too many distractions of several key players. Icchan's situation is awkward, and so is Koutarou's.
  • Episode 21: (0+) The Beach. A surprising romantic interlude, with Tamayo showing some development at long last.
  • Episode 22+23: (0) Ohjiro's Story. Not really bad but too much is being reduced to simple goals. And the development on the romance front isn't that plausible either. This is where the anime is too shoujo for my taste.

Last updated Tuesday, September 13 2011. Created Saturday, August 20 2011.
Rent 8 7 8 7 7 8 Ggultra2764 [series:436#1552]
For a tournament-style anime, Angelic Layer was decent with its focus on the developing friendships that occur as a result of Misaki's involvement in the Angelic Layer tournament. I might as well nail the obvious issues plaguing this series before I get to praises. Like many tournament-based anime titles, the outcomes and battle scenarios with Angelic Layer are very predictable. Misaki quite often finds herself on the losing end throughout much of the battle before she realizes how to beat her foe and/ or work up the resolve to beat said foe and beats said foe by the skin of her teeth. Battles involving other Angels and their Deuses are kept short to emphasize the strength of an opponent that Misaki would be facing at some point in the tournament. Unless you're a younger viewer or are new to the tournament anime genre, you will see any outcome from the matches in this series from a mile away and it kills whatever suspense you're supposed to be getting for caring for the matches. In addition, the ending was a big cop-out with how the final match was wrapped up and as AstroNerdBoy noted, Atsuko Enomoto does come off unconvincing as 12-year old Misaki whenever her character gets excited.

Now for the positives. The show features a cast of likable characters you get to connect with most of them getting fleshed out enough for you to get a sense of why they are fighting in the Angelic Layer tournament. The show light-heartedly explores Misaki developing new friendships, a potential love interest and getting closer to meeting her long-lost mother. The antics of Icchan made for the highlights of comedy I got out of Angelic Layer thanks to his eccentric behavior and tormenting his assistant. Like many of CLAMP's titles, this series gives off enough charm where only the most cynical and jaded would not care for the characters in this series.

Overall, Angelic Layer was a decent watch for me thanks to CLAMP delivering their usual charm with a likable cast of characters. However, the tournament aspect of the series is way too predictable for me to want to purchase this series thus I leave it as a Rent.

Last updated Tuesday, March 08 2011. Created Tuesday, March 08 2011.
Rent Forbin [series:436#1573]
Drama : Med
Comedy : Med
Action : Med
SciFi : High
Ecchi : None
Hmm..Pokemon with Dolls.
Well I should be a little more nicer. Pokemon with a REAL story and very technical dolls.
Not a bad little story from CLAMP. Too bad they have to reuse animation in about 5 minutes of every episode. Nice story, about a girl Miasaki who has to learn how to deal with living in the big city, with a robot twist.
Good for a rent, I wouldn't own but it's neat to watch.
Edit : Even though I put Rent, I own the series.

Last updated Thursday, February 17 2005. Created Monday, January 10 2005.
Buy 8 9 9 7 6 7 Buzze [series:436#1034]
This is a typical Japanese merchandise show for kids. Like in Pokemon and other Yu-Gi-Oh's there's a rookie who wins everything by 'trying his/her best'. To play Angelic Layer, you go to a shop, buy a doll (and lots of atributes, hec, they don't even try to hide it) and start fighting. The dolls (angels) come to live on a special layer, controlled by the minds of their owner (deus).
Yet, this is a pleasant anime. Most characters are lovable, Icchan is really funny, and Misaki, the lead character, is hardworking, polite, cheerful as hell and has a voice as a whistle. This is the one downside I could find, really.
The fights, which take a big part of almost every episode, are well made and exciting at times. Yet, there's a real story behind the merchandise as well. Misaki lives with her aunt because her mother 'has to work all the time'. At the end, she will finally encounter her mother again. There are some love stories as well, but not the typical triangles you mostly get.
The art and animation are really good, apparently this is typical for Clamp. Music is good too.
All in all, a good show, worth to spend some money on.

Last updated Thursday, August 26 2004. Created Thursday, August 26 2004.
Rent 9 8 9 8 7 8 AstroNerdBoy [series:436#436]

As I watched this, I wondered what genre it belonged to. Is it a shoujo fight series designed to crossover to the shounen crowds? I don't know. What I do know is that we have another enjoyable CLAMP title, but with some problems.

While I liked Misaki-chii, every time the character got excited, it was clear she was being voiced by an adult acting as a kid (in this case, Enomoto Atsuko). While almost all kids in anime are thus voiced, I felt that Atsuko-san's performance was strained every time she was supposed to be excited. When Misaki-chii was talking normal, it wasn't a problem. The other seiyuu were fine.

Another problem I had was with Misaki-chii's being thrown into Angelic Layer by a then stranger, but then having "the gift" and somehow managing to win her battles. While she does exibit skill, the fact that the battles are all so predictable detracted from the enjoyment for me. The battles themselves are well done, especially when the Layer is given actual locations as places to fight (a ship, a mountain, a field of roses, etc.). So the battles are neat to see, but there's never a doubt as to the winner. The final battle was also predictable, and sadly very cliched. However, I realize that boys and girls are the target audience, and the way the final battle was done will appeal to them for sure. For me, it was eye-rolling time.

All this said, I did enjoy watching Angelic Layer. I laughed at Icchan-san's antics. I liked watching one set of characters become a couple. There aren't any weird relationships as there were in Cardcaptor Sakura, but there is plenty of romance around. Being a sucker for romance, I did enjoy this aspect of the series.

As to the DVD, kudos to ADV for leaving the "-chan" honorific in and for leaving the joke about "-kun" and "-chan" in. Sadly, ADV feels that if they don't use an honorific in the dub, they can't use it in the sub. So "-san" gets converted to "Mr." or "Ms.". Unfortunately, so does "-sama", thus changing how people were really addressing each other ("-san" and "-sama" are not the same). If they'd just leave ALL the honorifics in the subtitled version, it would be great, but ADV can't quite make that commitment yet.

Bottom line: To predictable and cliched for me to purchase. Still, it was fun to watch and if you have kids, it is a good title to let them watch.

Last updated Thursday, February 17 2005. Created Wednesday, May 19 2004.

Rent 8 9 8 8 8 8 Jan-Chan [series:436#967]
I have viewed the 26 episodes of the series as a fan sub release, but I understand that it is now being released R1 with an English dub.

Short and sweet Misaki is separated from her mother by circumstances, but she moves back to Tokyo to live with her mothers sister. In this period of change, Misaki has to attend a new high school, where she has to find new friends, and where she stumbles across the cyber-game called Angelic Layer. Each successive episode of this series is evenly split in following Misaki in her new life; (high school romance, new friends and her adventures in Tokyo,) and her miraculous success as a novice player in competitive Angelic Layer cyber game. A young and unsure Misaki finds a source of strength and inspiration in her Angelic Layer) angel, Hikaru, as they both team up to fight through the challenges of competition in the Angelic combat circuit. Through this experience, Misaki grows to be more confident in her self, with her friends, and manages to find the strength to address her strong feelings for her mother.

With a strong story about the adventures of a cute, successful, dynamic female lead character, CLAMP has found a winner in a fun anime series that will keep both the young romantics and ladies entertained. While the story line might be a bit predictable and formulaic, it does succeed to entertain and keep the viewer charmed in watching the adventures of Misaki, as she struggles to win the grand title of Angelic Deuse, while having to be a teenager dealing with adventures in life and learning about new love.

Last updated Thursday, November 20 2008. Created Saturday, March 27 2004.
Rent Stretch [series:436#628]
I read some quite positive internet reviews about Angelic Layer, so I thought I'd give it a try. Either it's extremely popular, or the place I mail-rented it from has only a single copy, because it took several months to arrive. This is a series which starts off strong--the very first episode explained the basic premise of this sport, and left me intrigued. Also, some sort of secret is clearly being kept from Misaki, who is living with an aunt, about her mother--could she be the person in a wheelchair during the closing credits? Icchan immediately became my favorite charachter--clearly in Japan there's no need to worry about children being accosted by strange men. Where did he get a photo of Misaki? Of course I've always got to complain about something, so here it is: I thought it was kind of strange that Misaki managed to go from not even being able to make her angel, Hikaru, stand up, to winning a fight so quickly--wouldn't it be easier to sympathise with a person who starts out a bit more average, rather than apparently having some sort of a gift for this sport? Of course Misaki is so adorable that it would be practically impossible not to like her. Her friends are interesting, three-dimensional charachters as well. I sort of assumed that even Hikaru would develop a personality of sorts (be able to communicate somehow with Misaki) but so far there's no sign of it. The fights themselves are not all that thrilling--for some reason Hikaru can absorb a ____load of punishment without being defeated, unlike her opponents (the fight with Mao, in episode 11, I think, comes to mind). The three-dimensional fight ring must be a simulation of some other planet with a good deal less gravity than the Earth! It is what happens between the matches that keeps me interested. When it was revealed how layer technology came to be developed, it reminded me of how another CLAMP series, Chobits switched from cutesy-funny mode to something more serious around halfway through. I'll continue renting the discs to see how this all works out.

P.S: Actually, I don't think I ever did see the remainder of this series. I vaguely remember it as I spiff up my review several years after I wrote it; I think I lost interest after awhile as the novelty of the show wore off. (2/08)

My favorite line: "I'm not! I was... I was... I was just checking the angel with my pure thoughts!" --Icchan

Last updated Sunday, February 24 2008. Created Friday, February 13 2004.
Buy 9 9 9 9 9 kakyuu_prince [series:436#404]
CLAMP never ceases to amaze me. They always manage to take a typical story and make it into a fantastically innovative creation of their own. The idea of fighting dolls is reminiscent of Pokemon but CLAMP makes Angelic Layer oh so deliciously CLAMP-esque in the way it's executed. The story was very exciting (although a bit predictable) and the cast of characters were all interesting and well developed. You can see their fantastic growth and characterization through the way they choose to play the game of Angelic Layer. By the end of the series, I can honestly say that I loved every one of the characters as well as their angels.
The animation is quite smooth and generally looks great. CLAMP used a fresh and different style for their character designs this time and they look very cute. The seiyuu work was very well done except for Enomoto Atsuko's too squeaky vioce for Misaki, I've heard Enomoto's seiyuu work before and I think she was definitely capable of expressing her character in a different way. Despite the squeakiness, Misaki (near the end) when it got really emotional seemed to lay off the squeak a bit which improved Mitsuki's performance for thhe finale of the series. Everybody else was quite good especially Onosaka
Masaya playing the hilarious Icchan. He knew exactly when to be funny and when to sound serious.
The music was pretty good too, nothing too amazing from the BGM but the opening plus both endings were fantastic lyrically as well as in the voice department. Angelic Layer is really a wonderful anime series (one of my favorites :) and should not be missed no matter what type of fan you are.

Last updated Saturday, June 14 2003. Created Saturday, June 14 2003.
Watch 10 10 8 8 7 7 Azusa [series:436#718]
A pretty cool series it's a anime for all ages i guess. It's a funny series especially when that girls beats that boy i forget there names it's been a while

Last updated Saturday, June 14 2003. Created Saturday, June 14 2003.
Rent 10 10 7 8 6 6 Sesen Kelader [series:436#471]
To first critize the bad part, the story is badly plooted, the character design is badly set. And I can bearly stand the sharp and somehow "hinna" voice Misaki"chi" has.
But the art and animation are nice, especially when the angels are fighting. Angels have outstanding outfits (clamp's way...) and looks, and the fighting stages are greatly and craftfully designed. However, the best part is Angelic fights. Various skills and ways of fighting are eye-catching---Kung-fu, Ninja, boxing, magic, wrestling, break-dancy-style, and much more. Although the story is bad, the fighting is absolutely worth watching.
Clamp's tradition is to make the main charater loved by everyone else and to include very intimate, almost-homo-like friendship. Angelic Layer is not an exception. However personally I don't find Suzuhara Misaki having so much great charisma. Honestly I like Hatoko best (she is a 5-year-old, but so what?).

Last updated Thursday, January 02 2003. Created Thursday, January 02 2003.
Buy 10 8 9 8 9 9 Ryu [series:436#362]
You can call it "Shin Pokemon Deluxe Gold Edition". ^^ No, it's not like that. "Angelic Layer" isn't just nice anime with good graphics, music and seiyuu work. But it has also it's own charm.
Very kawaii girl... doesn't annoy?! It's really hard to believe, but it's truth. I even liked her. ^^ "Childish" fights without the blood... don't annoy? I even began to enjoy them.
Anyway, this is a good anime and it needs your attention. Especially if you're a fan of spokon, fighting or just cute girls.

Last updated Thursday, August 15 2002. Created Thursday, August 15 2002.

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