Monday, July 24, 2006

Bakuretsu Tenshi (Burst Angel)

In short:
Awesome animation with smoothly integrated cgi, beautiful to look at. Cool character designs and fun spaghetti western genre/mood/palette. Fights can be repetitive but aren't dull and have some cool moves, good music, story could be better but there is a plot throughout (not the best, not the worst), psycho-bezerker killer bounty hunter chick (Jo)

Lots of people think lots of different things about this anime. Here's what it is and isn't:
• It does have an underlying plot throughout the entire series - even if an episode *seems* like a one-shot. Plots are not as twisted as GITS:SAC, but you might not realise they're related until maybe halfway through. There are some very superficial elements and some really superficial stories that, while they DO tie into the major plot, they still seemed kind of pointless. The story overall isn't the most stunning, but it isn't totally boring - and like most anime gets better past the halfway mark.

• It does have lots of fighting, but I found the fights way more interesting than, say, Kannazuki no Miko. Maybe not the most creative fights ever, though there are definetly some cool moments that had me saying, "Oh, wow!" out loud, heh. For the most part, if a battle got dull, I'd just admire the animation.

• The animation is beautiful. They use a lot of CGI but it's so well integrated that it doesn't stand out at ALL. Best integration I've seen so far in any anime. I love the western sunset palette.

• Fanservice: Not quite to a disgusting degree, but some of the female characters do have some amazing breast activity *rolls eyes*, and there are lots of panty shots. Not tons, but enough. Oddly, they manage to smooth it into the whole world so that I wasn't overly bothered with it at all.

• The theme of the series, the mood, is a WESTERN. The way stories unfold, the fights, the clothing - it's a western. And it's FUN. The end of the series is also totally so very spaghetti western in style. I love it. Though don't let me fool you - it takes place in a futuristic Tokyo filled with high-tech gadgetry. The attitude (and tons of guns) and the other things I mentioned make it a western in everything except tumbleweeds, horses, and saloons. Although, there is *one* horse...

• Some things seemed pointless, like Kyouhei, or whatever his name is, the chef. He had no purpose. I think originally he was going to be there for the whole harem-style group of characters with him being the fish out of water norm-boy, but that definetly died a quick death within 3 episodes.

• Music is good. I like the "bad guy is coming, we're gonna fight" theme. :D

• It has humour that isn't obnoxious or over the top. Kick-ass type of humour, not goofy humour.

Yuri content: is there or isn't there?
Ok, I don't know WHAT people are talking about: they say they watered it all down from the manga and hid all the subtext between Meg and Jo. If that's so, then I must have super yuri-goggles because I got a lot more than I was expecting. Sure, there are obvious outright occurences (well, one) but these women live for EACHOTHER and they say as much. Often. Kind of a Xena/Gabrielle type thing where you know they are 100% loyal to one another and live for one another, though you could argue wether or not they are actually in passionate love. More than best friends, less than lovers. Yikes - I do sound like a hardened Xenite, adamant in the relationship. Maybe that's where I get my ability to find subtext. ;)

More yuri than: Noir, ROD the TV, GITS:SAC,
Less yuri than: Marimite, Strawberry Panic, Simoun, KnM

Perhaps less in terms of obviousness, but I say the quality and pervasiveness of it makes it way better than, say, KnM, Noir, and Strawberry Panic.

Meg and Jo
Meg and Jo are the most fun duo since... since I dunno when. Very Xena/Gabby in that Meg is always getting kidnapped and Jo is always going bezerk, killing a zillion people and going through anyone and anything to rescue her, even if its good guys. Gotta love that kind of devotion (otherwise it'll annoy you to tears that Meg gets kidnapped so much). And they go back a little ways, which is what the manga is about (which has been liscenced and will hopefully be available soon as there are no scanlations). Also in the Xe/Gab fashion, Jo is the dark warrior who has obviously seen a LOT whereas Meg is more happy-go-lucky, "let's have fun". (Ok, think early Gabrielle...). Though Meg DOES have the capacity to kick butt (wish we'd see more of that).

Other stuff
Other characters are fun. Sei is cool - her breasts get huge in some eps which annoys the hell out of me, and some people rather hate her reverse-cleavage outfit but I rather like it. Her character gets more interesting as the series progresses but we don't find out enough. I don't think they really plotted her character too deeply though they easily could of. Kind of like Youko in Marimite. Amy is the computer hacker kid and she's so-so. I don't care either way about her character.

Some of the one-shot-ish stories were really fun; I particularly liked the girls school ep. and the obvious backstory eps. :D

All I can say is I want the damn OAV to be released! I dloaded the artbook, too, which has all the episode commercial cut-shot art in it, too. Some good stuff!

Quote that made me laugh: "Those who jump over people's backs don't live very long." -- Jo (it was funny at the time...)

Conclusion: It's a fun series - Watch it for the prettyness and for Meg/Jo slashyness. And possibly the fights, though as far as sharpshooting goes, as good as Jo is, she doesn't hold a candle to Kirika. You may have to leave your brain turned 'off' for chunks of it - it's not a particularly smart anime and is low on character development or deep, emotional plot. In the way that I prefer deep, requires-lots-of-brain foreign films, I do still like to watch fun action flicks. That would be Bakuretsu Tenshi.

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