Review: Angelic Layer (2001)

Angelic Layer
Directed by:
Cast: , ,

Distributed in Australia by:

I am a big fan of the works of CLAMP. From Card Captor Sakura to X, I have been greatly entertained by all of the CLAMP anime I have seen. Some of that is to do with the character designs; the eyes of the characters in CLAMP series always seem so expressive to me. The people are just so darn cute, you just sort of want to sit them on your shelf with your other plushies… CLAMP always bring together the reasons why people are doing the things that they do. The scenes all mesh and the interaction is always good, and the stories don’t suck either.

All in all, I had some pretty high expectations when I began to watch Angelic Layer. I was not disappointed.

Misaki, the main character of the story, lives in a small village in the country with her grandparents, but she moves to Tokyo to attend a school that her mysterious mother is paying for. (A recurring theme through the episodes is Misaki’s desire to see her mother again, and the payoff is delightful.) “Grounded” is the best way to describe Misaki; she comes under a lot of attention, but takes it all in her stride, and mostly stays an extremely bubbly person. She is quite a good lead character, in a classic CLAMP way.

Although, what is it about CLAMP Heroines (and some of the Heroes for that matter) that they are usually quite domestic? Good cooks, incredibly neat, good at housework. Sometimes in a power-to-destroy-the-world kind of way, but still… I laughed a lot where Misaki’s Aunt asked her to be her wife, and she was not the only one to do so. It seems lots of people want a little Misaki of their own.

The story is a little bit Magic Girl, a little bit Sci-fi. The premise that moves the whole story along is that of the creating/training/participation in the sport called Angelic Layer which is like WWF, with Barbie dolls (Well, little ones, not the great big ones who do that for a living). I found myself wanting Misaki to win her Angel battles, though I do have to stop watching these when other people are home, as I sometimes find myself yelling at the TV, cheering etc. (I don’t watch sport, so this is quite unusual for me.) If Angelic Layer was real, I know that I would be attempting it (though with how good I am at computer games, my success would be debatable if not outright laughable).

Overall, with this being CLAMP’s first series specifically aimed at a male audience, I think that they have clobbered it for a six. The story has something for everyone that watches it, especially kids and the kids at heart.

Yes, I am a CLAMP Fan through and through. And there is nothing wrong with that.

8 Dancing Angels out of 10.
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