Sunday, June 1, 2003

Angel Tales (Tenshi no Shippo)

Genre: Comedy / Fantasy
Parental Guidance Recommended
Kazuhiro Ochi (Director). Juzo Mutsuki (Story). Takashi Kobayashi (Character Design). Wonderfarm.

Angel Tales DVDs
Angel Tales Manga & Art Books
Everything Angel Tales

Tsumenki's Description:
Goro Mutsumi's down on his luck. But when a strange twist of fate brings back his long-lost pets as angels to help him put his life back on track, it seems that his luck is about to change. Produced by Wonderfarm and Tokyo Kids, Tenshi no Shippo is a 12-episode series that was aired in 2001 on WOWOW.

(12 Episdodes)

NOTE: This review was written sometime in June, 2003 and was recorded in the classic Otaku Fridge as 06.??.2003. Unfortunately the database would not accept non-numerical values, so this review is now dated June 01, 2003 by default.

Why settle for one?>>> by tsumenki
A harem of cute girls. One clueless guy. Goro Mutsumi is your run-of-the-mill pathetic yet goodhearted nerd who is -- surprise, surprise -- about to have the time of his life now that he has teenage angels making things easy for him. After all, why settle for one when you can have twelve? But if you're looking for more than your average anime, you might want to look elsewhere.

That's not to say that the series is a disappointment from start to finish. Most of the earlier episodes are devoted to developing the pet/angels' characters. Some are entertaining, while others take on a more touching tone. What's more, interspersed within the series are hints of a deeper, darker plot line -- there are a bunch of guys who are out for Goro's blood, although you won't know for what purpose until the end. All in all, a mix of comedy, light romance, drama, and action (and I don't mean hair-pulling and name-calling).

Unfortunately, there were a lot of aspects of Tenshi no Shippo that I felt needed more development. The underlying plot, for example, wasn't as fully explored in the series as I would have liked. Despite the "maid" theme, the series leans more towards cute than ecchi (fan service shots are kept to a wholesome minimum), it caters to a younger audience, which can be why there is a lack of detailed explanation. These might prove to be too cumbersome for a light anime and its target demographic. But I really believe that the series could have done more than just take dips into the characters' backgrounds -- especially when the most important aspect of the story unravels only towards the end of the series, say the last three episodes. Almost a waste of a good plot twist.

Don't get me wrong -- the anime isn't all bad. There are a few episodes that are moving in their own way (I think that's why certain aspects of the anime Kanon didn't surprise me after watching this series). The art is clean and neat, with a dab of CG to embellish the fight scenes. Its musical theme has its own appeal. Goro plays a short and rather haunting melody for his pets on his harmonica. You'll hear it every once in a while within the episode, and it's also used as the ending theme. I watched ten episodes of Angel Tail straight, and not once did I find the song grating on my nerves (but then again, maybe that's just me).

Watch Tenshi no Shippo with the most minimum of expectations, and it will surprise you with some important realizations about life in general. If you haven't had enough of maid anime and cute girls, that is.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 8; Story 8; Characters 7; Sounds 7

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