Watching Volume 1 of Burst Angel reminded me of a lot of things. It reminded me why I never reviewed the anime in the first place, primarily. ^_^;
Okay, so, after a really silly rap theme that does not benefit much from being translated we are introduced to a dystopian future Tokyo in which nearly everyone is allowed to carry a gun. This has only served to heighten the chaos and violence in an already chaotic and violent city. The government has created a paramilitary force, RAPT, to assist cleaning up, but they seem to be as much the problem as the cure.
In the middle of this we meet the schlub du jour, Kyouhei, who is trying to make enough money to go to Europe to train as a chef. He’s a nice kid and a good cook and through no fault of his own, he gets embroiled with four freelance agents; three of whom are mysteriously named after sisters from Little Women. Jo, the fighter of the group, clearly has superhuman powers, Meg, her caretaker and chief kidnapping target is mostly there to be saved. Emi (Amy) is a hardcore tech otaku and loli fodder. Sei, who is not named Beth for some reason, is the money and assumably, but not apparently, the brains behind the team.
It drives me crazy – why three of the four??? The wife says I need to let it go, but…
Thankfully for all Yuri fans, the focus of the series is not Kyouhei, as first seems. Rather quickly, the focus shifts to the place where it will stay through most of the series – Meg and Jo.
The four women take on jobs from Sei’s contacts which usually lead to several things: Meg being kidnapped, Jo having to blow lots of things up with and without her giant robot Django, and involvement with any number of stereotypical bad guys and shady conspiracy figures. By episode three hints of the larger plot have reared their ugly head (and yes, that’s a pun of sorts). Despite my lack of interest in the actual plot, I have to give them snaps for doing something with it, even if it’s all pretty predictable.
Here’s things I thought were bad: the opening theme is laughable, the plot is rather dull, the use of the giant robot is a hand wave we must simply accept, and for all that Jo’s dedication to Meg is *very* obvious, there’s not much reciprocity, at least in this first volume (Don’t write and tell me about later bits – I know about them, but I’m not reviewing those volumes yet.)
In fact, compared with the Bakuretsu Tenshi manga (click this link, the top three are the English manga reviews,) the Yuri in this series is seriously leveled down. (The manga came second, so really it leveled up the Yuri.) Meg comes off as being nothing more than a victim for Jo to save. More deadly, during an episode commentary in the extras section, the voice actors for Jo and Meg and the director are all going on and on about how they are so best friends, that Meg and Jo – best friends for-evar, etc, etc. I was like, “they aren’t best friends…”
Which brings me to the best thing about the DVD – the extras. Each disc will have commentary on one episode – of course this is commentary with the English staff and actors. It wasn’t very interesting, but it was kind of fun to listen to – and it made me listen to Monica Rial as Jo. She absolutely did a good job of sounding nothing like her speaking voice, I’ll give her that. She wasn’t as deep, or monotonal as Watanabe Akeno, but she definitely did a decent job. Also included in the extras are three radio dramas and two bonus tracks with the original voices actresses – subtitled. You just *know* I liked that. Opening and ending credits without text, and outtakes which I’m watching are right now and really aren’t very funny – mostly stumbling over lines – and trailers. The DVD box has a reversible cover and the liner notes include character sketches and info on characters, the art, comments from Watanabe and info on the opening and ending themes. All very cool indeed – too bad the actual anime isn’t that interesting. ^_^; Okay, The Japanese seiyuu commentary isn’t any better, either. (Bug bites, dreams about whales…pollen season…seriously….)
I do have to mention something Toyoguchi Megumi says during the first bonus track – that she wasn’t used to doing radio shows with other women, she’s usually with older men. Remember, this was pre-Marimite days for her. I bet she’s way used to it now. Also, ironically, just as Jo was the first butchy character Monica Rial ever played, the same was true for Watanabe Akeno. Ironic, huh.
Art – 7 with a strong favoritism paid to the CG over the conventional art
Characters – 5
Story – 5
Yuri – 1
Service – 6
Overall – 5
The extras are stellar. Best part of the series so far.