Monday, November 12, 2001

Tenshi ni Narumon (I'm Gonna Be An Angel)

Genre: Romance / Comedy
Parental Guidance Recommended (contains delicate scenes and language)
1999 Heaven Project, Studio Pierrot, Bandai Visual. Screenshots courtesy of Tenshi Project.

Tenshi ni Narumon DVDs
Tenshi ni Narumon Music

Skysenshi's Description:
One quiet weekday, as Yuusuke Kamoshita walks through the forest on his way to school, he bumps into a girl who is lying buck-naked on the ground. He accidentally kisses her and she wakes up calling him "husband", later following him to school and eventually to his home. Yuusuke would think that that's the last of his problem, ne? Wrong! For Noelle, the hyperactive naked girl that he had found earlier, brings along her strange family into the picture. There's the kind and warm Mama, the big and proud Papa, the perverted big brother vampire Gabriel, the invisible elder sister Sara, the sarcastic genius Ruka, the cynical witch Baba, and her silent accomplice in crime Nekhbet. The list of names grows bigger as each day progresses and Yuusuke finds that life on his own isn't going to be an easy aspiration after all!

(26 Episdodes)

Datte...datte...datte...datte...datte! >>> by skysenshi
Tenshi ni Narumon's visual abstractions and metaphors remind me somewhat of Utena. I haven't even mentioned the exotically queer character design and an opening theme that made me think of Utena's bizarre "Trilobyte Song" (as my cousins would call it). The anime itself takes getting used to; in fact I thought I got duped when I borrowed all 26 episodes in one day. It has the weirdest evil bosses with henchmen that have names like Pipipi--ah, never mind! Even more outlandish is the main character herself! Noelle is as clingy as Utena's Wakaba, but she's a lot more wacky and totally kawaii in her toddler-like innocence. It's actually amusing how she finds pleasure at the things we usually take for granted (i.e. grasshoppers, butterflies, crabs, etc.). What's surprising about this character is that, despite her bleached-dumb-blonde behavior, she has the keenest sense of observation.

Enough about Noelle. Let's discuss other interesting characters, and believe me, there are many of them. What got me obsessed with Tenshi ni Narumon are actually the "semi-guardians" Mikael and Rafael. As you guessed it, there's a huge potential for a great YAOI angle in there. These two are so heavily enshrouded in sex appeal that it doesn't really matter if they're straight or not. Rafael exudes an incredible dose of manly charm (*swoon*), while Mikael is the cool and composed (HAH!) self-appointed advisor to Noelle. Mikael also happens to be 1/3rd of the puzzle that Noelle has to piece together in order for her to realize her dreams of becoming Yuusuke's angel.

Tenshi ni Narumon is a comedy with monster-of-the-day themes that can sometimes be dragging. In the middle of the series, the situation in Yuusuke's household becomes similar to that in Tenchi Muyo, where the protagonist finds himself saddled with a "family" that he neither likes nor wished for. The bonds that eventually develop within this household, and the perpetual dangers that test these bonds, are very much like the dilemma that Shin Tenchi Muyo presented. On the other hand, there are episodes that get me teary-eyed particularly when the limelight turns on Natsumi Suzuhara, Yuusuke's secret crush. There's also profound drama in the last few volumes because Noelle's connection to Mikael and the forces that want to control her are revealed.

While not as grim as Angel Sanctuary or other anime that attempt to dissect the secret behind these heavenly creatures, Tenshi ni Narumon has a few philosophical ingredients of its own. They say that soulmates are fragments of a single soul that was separated by fate. Relate this adage to the imagery that this title exhibits, and you'll begin to understand what I am trying to say.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 8; Story 9; Characters 10; Sounds 8

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