Review: Angelic Layer (2001) Anime | My Reviews 30 NOV 2013

angelic layer animeSuzuhara Misaki is a sixth grader who has just moved to Tokyo to stay with her aunt, Asami Shouko. As she arrives at the station, she witnesses a strange sight. A televised fight between a beautiful angel and an Amazonian warrior. Transfixed by the beauty of the angel, Misaki learns about the game called Angelic Layer.

Angelic Layer is a system whereby inanimate dolls can be brought to life within the confines of a special “Layer”. These layers serve as battlegrounds for the various Deuces and their angels to decide who is the best fighter amongst them. Age, size or talent doesn’t matter. Anyone can play Angelic Layer.

With the help of the mysterious Icchan and her new friends, Kotaro, Hatoko and Tamayo, Misaki is drawn deeper and deeper into the realm of Angelic Layer. As she progresses through tournament after tournament, she reaches ever closer to her goal – to fight the angel Athena.

But Angelic Layer is more than just a game. It might just be the very thing to repair a broken and neglected relationship between a very special little girl and her mother. Misaki and her angel Hikaru will never give up. They will always fight to the very end. To be the very best that they can be.

Angelic Layer is an extremely beautifully told story about a failed relationship between a mother and her little girl. It is a story about how the wonderous invention of Angelic Layer provides the perfect platform to reunite these two. The story is beautifully written, and you can’t help but cry as the series slowly draws to a close.

The Angelic Layer concept is really cool in its idea. A special layer that brings dolls to life so that they may battle each other, based on the brain signals inputted from the controllers. Although it seems a violent game, the majority of the players are in fact female. Because it is not a physical contest, neither age nor size nor gender determine who will win at Angelic Layer.

The animation for Angelic Layer is really well done. The character lines are kept nice and simple, but the fluid animation and brilliant colours more than make up for this. The fight scenes are well thought out and coordinated, and the animation is very capable of delivering the feeling of hand-to-hand combat taking place. The character designs are really nice, with Misaki stealing the show as the cutest of them all.

The show is very well written and paced, with the right amount of drama, action and humour. It deals with the relationship between a separated mother and daughter in a very nice manner. Also, the themes of trying one’s best, and never giving up are continously promoted throughout the series. The scenes between Icchan and his crew, especially Ogata, are hilarious. The “Wrong Answer” game will have you laughing out a loud.

The musical score is very beautiful, and the director seems to know exactly when to use it. The ending credits song for the last half of the series is especially beautiful to listen to. The show has a neat trick of starting the credits music while the scene of the current show is still running. The voices all fit into place very well, each character developing a distinctive profile through their voice.

Overall, I really really liked this show. It is very cute and well done. There is no major disaster threatening life on Earth as we know it. Only the slow revelation of a failed relationship between a mother and her daughter and the steps taken to heal this relationship. People willl complain that the plot appeared to be too simple – that too many people could see what would happen in the story. I would disagree with this opinion. The story is written for younger viewers, and I think that the writers have achieved their aims perfectly. I know that I really enjoyed watching this series.

angelic layer anime wallpaper

(Historical Note: This review was written way back in May 2003. Pleasingly my writing has improved greatly since then.)

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.