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. Its 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 its pleasing conclusion.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.