My biggest complaint about the previous volume of Burst Angel was that the winning formula – i.e., Jo and Meg being the point people – was sort of dropped and left behind as the plot flailed around in a Jo-focused sort-of-back- and sort-of-present- story.
Thankfully, Volume 6 recaptured what made the early episodes work, so we get to wade about in a pool of satisfyingly standard tropes of action team anime, with a decidely Western flair.
First, having resolved Jo’s personal arc, we must face the inevitable Storm before the Calm, as the team is dissolved for political reasons. As is typical in this particular plot complication, the characters, despite their personal bonds, shoot apart like shrapnel. I don’t know why that is, but it is a requirement that we all go bara-bara. Jo and Meg take to the road, Amy does Amy things and Sei-who-is-not-named-Beth does Sei-who-is-not-named-Beth things.
Jo and Meg face one more crisis, as Maria returns (another standard, which I mentally refer to as “Can’t keep a good bad guy down”) and in a lovely fit of Yuri, she kidnaps Meg, because she wants her for herself. There’s some lovely sexually suggestive stuff in there, before Jo shows up and beats the crap out of Maria in a nicely animated fight. (A trope my wife has just named “Get your hands off my Betty!”)
Meg has a chance to have her own moment of Yuri where she confesses her feelings to a sleeping Jo, kisses her and promises to protect her forever, thus notching up the Yuri without making any committment at all.
Akane returns, as the wildcard cowboy who rides in for the last battle; a nice touch, as it’s a classic tactic for Westerns.
And there’s the standard emotional parting scene where Jo leaves Meg behind before the final showdown. Also a classic Western moment, reflected beautifully by the music.
Last thing I noted was a convention of mecha/sci-fic/cyberpunk anime – the main brain to which all other brains are connected, is inexplicably wired to explode when something something something. Whose idea was that? Imagine if Google did that with their servers…. Seems to me to be a *really* bad idea.
So, the final volume returns to the classic Western roots it sort of vaguely nodded towards in the beginning. It really worked, I think. This wasn’t a deep look at anything particular, it’s not “slice of life,” or “drama,” or despite fans’ insistence “romance,” – Burst Angel is a pretty standard action anime, with strong ties to conventions of good, ole’ American Westerns. For a decent live-action analogy, I recommend Silverado which contained many of the same tropes and was about as satisfying to watch as any Western I’ve ever seen. Plus, the cast kicks. No giant weaponry though, unless you count Danny Glover’s shotgun. :-)
In the end, we get a teeny little brief glimpse of Meg’s future, which I really would have prefered to be her present, but oh well, it’s nice to know that Jo’s scarf bestows +10 competence on the wearer.
Extras as always – the American cast commentary, the Japanese radio dramas and a nifty book full of nifty facts and pictures. Extras aren’t crucial to me, and they won’t save a bad anime, but it feels nice to have such a *chunky* set of extras for this series. It’s the best of both worlds – something for the intellect and something tactile to enjoy.
Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 7
Yuri – 4
Sevice – 4
Overall – 8
Overall, a fun series that would make really good background images on a big screen during a party. :-) My thanks to Ted the Awesome for sponsoring today’s review!