Angelic Layer

Angelic Layer

8 reviews - 31.0 total score (Explanation of the rating system)
avg score: (3.9)

Alternate TitlesKidou Tenshi Angelic Layer
FormatTV Series - 26 Episodes
Publishing Date2001
Animation StudioBones
Publisher/BroadcasterTV Tokyo
Genre(s)Comedy / Action
Crew/CastCreator - CLAMP
Director - Hiroshi Nishigori
Music - Tanaka Kohei
AvailabilityR1 - ADV
Related Works
LinksAnimeNfo / Animated Divots

8. Avenant

The concept didn't seem very appealing to me. I could care less about a little girl and her doll (aka Angel) taking part in a doll-fighting tournament. Was I wrong? Yes. The concept might revolve around the Angelic Layer tournament, but it comes with a healthy dose of decent plot.

The kawaii 12-year-old Misaki comes to live in Tokyo with her aunt, she hadn't met her mother in 7 years. Upon her arrival she witnesses an Angelic Layer fight on a screen, and is instantly captivated by a White Angel in that match. Luckily, she also meets the eccentric Icchan, who teaches her about Angelic Layer and helps her get started with her own Angel. It's not that simple,though – Icchan and the White Angel both have a big part to play with regard to Misaki, her mother, Angelic Layer, as well as with the other characters. Thankfully the plot advances at an excellent pace leaving enough room for everything.

I was very impressed by the fight sequences featured in Angelic Layer. The Angels move like real people would, just are a little more impressive in the way they do it – some of the moves are very impressive - I enjoyed the beautifully drawn and exiting fight scenes. Likewise, the rest of the series is also well drawn and very colourful throughout. Music works well within the series, and I thought the into and outro themes were good, despite them being different from my musical preference.

What made me like Angelic Layer the most was probably the way it was executed. The fights that you see matter – which probably makes them that much better. There is also a good deal (most of the series) of time given to characters for them to develop, and the timing on the series is simply perfect. It’s also great that the main focus of this series are the characters, not the Angels (though they play a crucial part, mind).

In the end Angelic Layer is a feel-good story (with fantastic fighting) that paces itself perfectly, runs for 26 episodes and says everything it needs to before hitting it’s pleasing conclusion.

7. bluemist

Angelic Layer is a sporting tournament with mind-controlled dolls battling each other over an arena. This seems like a normal premise for a typical, ladder-based, tournament-type shounen anime series. We see this too often in series like Beyblade and Crush Gear. But Angelic Layer has something special. The story came from the original manga by CLAMP, a group of artists known for quality in both art and story. The animation production is handled by Studio BONES, who would later do even more prolific anime titles such as RahXephon and Wolf's Rain. With powerhouse names backing the series, it shines beyond being a typical shounen anime. The story centers on Misaki, a girl who suddenly becomes interested in the world of Angelic Layer. As time passes, she wins matches, gains new friends, and basically sends a message that believing in oneself and having fun is the key to success. The art and animation is excellent, with the Angel battles particularly elaborate. The music feels essentially like Cardcaptor Sakura, but a little more upbeat to keep up with the action. There are also 'CLAMP Crossovers' (as I call it), where various names, characters, and themes from the CLAMP universe seem to be featured in this anime in one way or another. Another great reason to watch this series. Highly recommended.

6. Hybrid

Before watching this TV series all that I knew about this show was that it was based on a manga by CLAMP. Angelic Layer is a story of Misaki a young junior high schooler competing in her first Angelic Layer tournament. While watching the show, I found that some of the characters from the show came straight out of Card Captor Sakura, and that to me left a little sour taste in mouth while watching the show. Leaving that little negative element behind, I found the Angelic battles to be wonderfully animated, as the CG looks beautiful. I found the story of Angelic Layer to be a bit weak, as one can easily map out what's going to happen in the end. As this is CLAMP series, I was on the look out for their trademarks (cherry blossoms and white wings) which I found enjoyable on one level, but one the another level wished that they don't always have to put in their trademarks into the screen unless that have to. The music of the show is actually quite good, as the music does build and make you feel the atmosphere of the show. In all Angelic Layer is a fun show about sportsmanship, and one that can be enjoyable to anyone.

5. Iodine

This decidedly girly version of the standard tournament fight plot, where opponents do battle with elaborate thought-controlled dolls, depends quite a lot on the multiple characters and their interaction outside the actual battles. Unfortunately, Misaki is not a very strong heroine, not even close to matching the spunk of her younger CLAMP predecessor, Cardcaptor Sakura. Every single story development feels staged and a little too convenient. Thus everything, even the eventual love triangles, comes off pretty dull and predictable past a certain point. We know what's coming, but it takes forever to get there.

The animation is okay, but noticeably static outside of the fight scenes. The secondary characters have the potential to be interesting, but generally wind up doing only what the plot requires them to do. The Angelic Layer game itself is reasonably fun to watch, and provides the greatest amount of real suspense. The tournament formula feels a bit odd in a shojou setting, but it fits the gentler competition messages here very well.

4. Corkscrew

From CLAMP, the creative group behind titles like Magic Knight Rayearth, Card Captor Sakura and X, Angelic Layer is a 26 episode TV series that is simple to the point of being completely predictable, and yet entirely enjoyable despite this. Angelic Layer stars Misaki, a young girl who moves to Tokyo to live with her aunt. As she is leaving the train station, she enters a square where a broadcast of the hottest new game, Angelic Layer, is being run. This game involves combat between miniature robots, called Angels, inside an arena sized for them, a Layer. As she watches, enthralled, she encounters a strange man in a white lab coat who takes her to buy an Angel of her own so she can participate.

Angelic Layer might fall into the trap of becoming a "battle-of-the-week" show if it weren't so darn enjoyable. CLAMP finds many ways to mix Misaki's time with her friends and a few subplots in with the Layer duels. There are large amounts of character development across the board, and the simple character designs (similar to the ones seen in the newer CLAMP series Chobits) are effective. Overall, it is a fun show, and even if it is on the predictable side, that shouldn't hamper your enjoyment.

3. Yogi

Angelic Layer is about a girl who is trying to find confidence in herself and establish a place for herself in the world. Her likable attitude and general earnestness generally gets her through the day, as well as endears her to the people around her (the viewer included.) However, she is very unsure of herself and half of the battles she fights are with her own self doubt. This is mirrored with several other characters in the story, with the only thing keeping them back is their own insecurity. Indeed, as it was stated several times in the story, the person with the greatest determination will win.

The main characters are all very likable and believable, and the so-called side characters also have their own personalities, some more well developed than others. The storytelling is mostly smooth, but falters at several instances, most noticeably with the ending, which is in my opinion at odds with the rest of the show. There is little objectionable material, with the only violence coming from robotic dolls engaging in bloodless hand to hand fights.

2. Himiko

Angelic Layer is the newest anime from CLAMP and what an anime it is! Misaki is a young junior high girl that goes to live with her aunt for a while. When she gets there a freaky looking guy in a scientist's outfit stops her and convinces her to buy a toy called Angelic Layer. Once she gets home she immediately makes her angel... Hikaru! Now, she hears about a competition for Angelic Layer that brings people from all around Japan together to fight each other's angels. The Angels are controlled by their master or 'Deus'. Each angel must fight the other to get to a higher level. This is basically a story of how Misaki finds the love in competition and that things are fun only if you try your hardest. Definitely a good anime ;)

1. weasl

Based on a manga by CLAMP (Cardcaptor Sakura, X, Magic Knights Rayearth), Angelic Layer is a 26 episode series that follows a young girl named Misaki and her first Angelic Layer tournament. Excellent animation, and an interesting premise make Angelic Layer a good watch, but at the story level it's a bit weak. Other then one or two minor developments, you can pretty much map out the whole story arc from the first 5 episodes. Overall it's a fun series though, with lots of touching moments as well as a strong theme of good sportsmanship. A fun watch, though a tad slow and drawn out.

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