|wFeb 16, 2008|
Hmmm, I was going to make one large post about three different series, but it's looking like I have more to say than I thought I did. Damn you, CLAMP!
This 5-volume series centers on the protagonist Misaki Suzuhara, a 7th grader who looks like a 4th grader. Her mom works a lot, so she has just moved to Tokyo to live with her aunt. She is quickly sucked into the sub-culture revolving a video game called Angelic Layer. In the game, players like Misaki are referred to as a "deus," and they control a small toy, usually about the size of someone's hand. The toy looks human, although they wear outfits designed by their deus, usually designed to look fantasy or sci-fi esque. The point of Angelic Layer is to have the "angel" (toy) of a deus battle another angel in a one-on-one battle, gladiator style. The deus controls their angel by putting on a helmet that covers their eyes, and using their mind.
Overall, not much happens in the series. Misaki is a typical shojo manga heroine: she is very polite and innocent, and receives help from lots of people who want to help her succeed in the video game of Angelic Layer. Misaki is a natural at the game, and goes through many tournaments with her angel. The entire plot of the series is Misaki battling these fights with her angel, Hikaru. There is one highly predictable sub-plot as well. Due to the lack of a plot that I cared about (guess who wins every battle?!), I was pretty bored throughout the series, and only finished it because I am a complete-ist.
I did enjoy the references to other CLAMP manga littered throughout. Every volume opened with newspaper clippings about Misaki's success in the Angelic Layer tournaments. Snatches of other articles were visible, including speculation about the "Man of Many Faces," and CLAMP School Defenders Duklyon having to go into rehab, due to their Angelic Layer addiction, :) In volume 4, Misaki is singing to herself, A field of peony pink... - from my investigation into the CLAMP School Detectives anime, I know that this is the theme song from that show! Unfortunately, it's not a great song.
Misaki also got the name for her angel from Magic Knight Rayearth. She names her angel "Hikaru," because she says that like Hikaru, she would like for her angel to be "a short girl, but strong and happy."
I would say that this series would appeal to younger kids. The gladiator fights provide action, and it's lack of a plot would mean not getting lost, as can often happen in manga (even for adults). The only caution I would have is that Misaki's friends seem to like to tease her by inexplicably knowing what color panties she's wearing. I think it's supposed to be funny, but I was a little WTF about the whole thing.
The internets tell me that Angelic Layer is set in the same universe as CLAMP's later series, Chobits.
Characters from Angelic Layer will appear in Chobits and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle.
This series was made into a 26-episode anime series, but I have very little interest in seeing it.11:57 AM
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