Review by: Clive Owen
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: DVD: $59.98
Running Time: 300 minutes
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now
Dear Prince, I kissed a girl and I liked it.
Typically, I’m the guy that reviews the boys titles with an eye towards the action series or the supernatural anime series or the ones with samurai warriors hacking and slashing away. It’s very rare that I look at an anime or manga series that isn’t a shonen title but there’s something about Shattered Angels that caught my attention. In hopes that I’d find that romantic yet action-fueled anime, I was a bit surprised and disappointed by Shattered Angels and I wasn’t alone since I watched it with the girls in this office.
Well, mainly I was disappointed and this is a series with cute girls either taking baths together, fighting enemies in their underwear or (gasp) kissing each another.
Ok, so those parts weren’t so bad if not a little out of place. Then again, most series with plenty of fan service just to it to, well, please the male audience. What I care about more, though, is the story, the characters and the sweeping romance. Surprisingly enough, the romance in this series is handled rather well and even when things gets a tad on the cheesy side it hardly comes off as forced. In fact, its quite easy to wrapped up in how the girls in this series feel for some of the characters in this series. These girls’ feelings are genuinely portrayed and that’s one of the good things Shattered Angels has going for it.
The series revolves around a girl named Kuu that dreams of a handsome young Prince that tells her he wants to take her away someplace together. Of course, those are only dreams but Kuu somehow accepts them as a sort of reality to the point that she is constantly writing “Dear Prince” letters to her Dream Prince. In the meantime, she sees herself as an ordinary yet empty girl with not much to offer. She can’t even ask out a guy that goes to her school that is composed of an impressive School City called Academia. Then the new transfer student named Kyoshiro comes into her life and – to her surprise – he looks a lot like the Prince in her dreams.
At the same time there’s a rumor going around Kuu’s school that a girl in a cape has reportedly been spotted on campus. It isn’t until Kuu sees this lovely girl yet mysterious girl herself that she comes to link her appearance with some strange occurrences that her school’s Mobile Morality Brigade is investigating. Then, Kuu’s best friend, Kozune, is being attacked by a vicious cat-girl. Only by attacking I mean kissing, which doesn’t look all too enjoyable for a human. This cat-girl named Torlotte turns her attention on Kuu when the same mysterious girl shows up again only this time to defend Kuu from her attacker. In an instant, the two are locked in an most unusual battle with mech-like armor parts suddenly appearing in-synch with each punch or kick they throw.
As it turns out, the blonde girl in the cape is named Setsuna and she just happens to be Kyoshiro‘s “sword” (meaning she serves Kyoshiro and defends him) and she’s also something called an Absolute Angel. Soon, Kyoshiro and Setsuna save Kuu and keep her close in hopes that Torlotte as well as another unseen threat doesn’t capture her. Kuu, of course, is happy to staying under the same roof as Kyoshiro and it doesn’t take the girl long before she realizes that she has feeling for this young man. Who is he, exactly? What is his connection with the Absolute Angels.
The head-scratching questions aren’t really revealed to Kuu even when she does manage to get captured by another Absolute Angel named Homiko who serves the even more mysterious Lady Miko. Homiko explains the significance of kissing … which is basically just another way for Absolute Angels to recharge their life force or Eternal Mana. It becomes a tad clear to Kuu as to why she caught Kyoshiro kissing Setsuka but that doesn’t shake the feeling that the Absolute Angel willing to do anything for him is doing this out of love.
As you might have guessed by now, there’s enough romantic themes that give the series just the right dash of shojo elements. Besides that, however, are the action sequences scattered throughout such as the battles between Absolute Angels becomes more intense and the family rivalry that has Kyoshiro going up against his remaining siblings. Kyoshiro reveals to Kuu that he had an older brother he always admired and not only died saving him but also saved the world. During the aftermath of a battle between Torlotte, Kyoshiro reveals to Kuu his plans for the Absolute Angels.
In the middle of all the battles and Kuu’s declaration of love for Kyoshiro, we come to see the relationship between the Absolute Angels and their handlers. Homiko has Lady Miko who not only surrounds herself with other pretty girls but strives to make Homiko her lovely “sword.” Meanwhile, Kyoshiro’s other brother, Sojiro, takes care of Trolotte even though the cat-girl kicks him around frequently. As I mentioned, there’s plenty of fan service and since recharging Eternal Mana involves kissing there’s a lot of girls kissing girls.
In the end, though, the series doesn’t get really interesting until the final five episodes. Seeing as Shattered Angels only contains 12 episodes, the fact that the final five episodes of the series are the best is just not right. The fault lies in the narrative that’s all over the place to the point that some parts actually come off as confusing. When the story isn’t being rushed or too overly complex, there’s a sweet love story filled with genuine feeling. I actually did feel the heartbreak experienced by two of its more interesting characters.
Shattered Angels does feel like a missed opportunity and this is too bad seeing as the characters start feeling real and the action rather exciting at times. Sadly, the story falls apart in places and becomes more interesting by the end and I’ll be damned if I didn’t enjoy the fact that these girls are putting their lives and emotions on the line. This isn’t a bad series but it’s not a great one either.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Kuu dreams of a gallantly handsome Prince and when she locks eyes with a new transfer student at her school she thinks it’s him. It is then that she is introduced to the world of Absolute Angels as Kuu is caught up in a battle she has yet to understand until the very end when a shocking secret is revealed. This is definitely not your typical fairy tale.
VIDEO QUALITY: A+
The series looks stunning on DVD whether you love the vibrant colors or the sharp animation. There’s fan service aplenty in this series and girl-on-girl kissing … if you’re into that sort of thing.
AUDIO QUALITY: B+
Even using a good sound system, the audio falters a bit during certain scenes and really sounds amazing during other scenes. Still, it’s hard to complain when both the English dub and Japanese voices are handled really well and the Mina Kubota score is gorgeous. I even like the opening song “Cross Heart.”
Just about the only extras you will find are the trailers and the cleaning opening and closing songs. At least the packaging is pretty.
Unfortunately, Shattered Angels could have been a lot better considering the series has its share of standout moments but – in the end – the storytelling fails to keep us guessing or handle the action in an exciting way. In other words, the series just isn’t compelling enough to do justice to the genre. Still, this isn’t a bad series and a rental is definitely in order.