A Tag-Team Review of “Angelic Layer” – Battling Barbies (Part II)

[Hey guys! Welcome to Part II of our “Angelic Layer” review! If you haven’t had the opportunity to, I recommend you check out Part I before proceeding! Okay! Let’s get back into the Tag-Team Review…also, please forgive the spacing issues with this particular post–I’m not sure what in the heck happened, but it just won’t space properly no matter how I tweak it!]
Cajun Samurai – Okay. Let’s look at the animation of this one. [::notices the Evangelion begin to power down behind him::] Oh yes, dear readers, it’s not all negative from me today.
OtakuAndrain – Thank goodness, the animation here is absolutely beautiful!
Cajun Samurai – Indeed. CLAMP did an excellent job with this particular series. It is one of the best animated shows I currently have in my collection. All the colors pop and stand out on the screen. Character designs are unique and easy on the eyes, and the battle scenes with the angels are very well done.
OtakuAndrain – Uh they didn’t animate this only wrote the manga bro…[Which I have SOOO much to say about but I won’t…]
Cajun Samurai – OH yeah, silly me. This was a Studio Bones creation. Studio Bones, of course, gave us such beautifully animated series like “Ouran High School Host Club”, “Eureka Seven”–
OtakuAndrain AS you all probably know we both like BONES… no matter how much they screwed with me earlier today. [::Goes off into wild E7: AO Tangent::]
Cajun Samurai – [::thumps on the head::] Save it for the review…
OtakuAndrain – Hai…
Cajun Samurai – In any case, Studio Bones has churned out yet another beauty of a show. If I were to take any kind of issue with the animation it’s this–the Uniforms.
OtakuAndrain – Well, that’s CLAMP’s fault… Though it is understandable… That outfit! On one hand, in semi-formalize events, it is considered good taste to wear the school uniform. It’s seen as nice clothes appropriate etc. But the uniform of Misaki’s school… WOW.
Cajun Samurai – Dang-near every episode…it’s the Uniform. Every battle–Uniform! Now, I understand that the uniform is multi-functional in Japan. And don’t get me wrong, the uniforms themselves are cute: Otaku Andrain knows I have a little thing for thigh-highs…and being that they’re blue…[::sighs happily::] but one would think that, either before a battle or maybe afterwards, they would change into street clothes. Every time they go into the Battle Arena, they’re wearing their school uniforms. I know when I was in school when we wore uniforms, I would go home, change, and am ready for the rest of my day.
OtakuAndrain – Yes, yes…
Cajun Samurai – But, once again, I suppose this is a Clamp trademark…after all, in hindsight, some of the characters in Chobits stuck with the same outfit; Chi wore that brown dress to pieces.
OtakuAndrain – It’s not just a Clamp trademark but yeah. So how many references did you Spot, Samurai?
Cajun Samurai – Admittedly, not many. I was busy cringing at the…well…I’ll just say not many. I do notice that both Chi and Misaki have hair things at either end.
OtakuAndrain – Oh there’s plenty of them, admitting not as bad as “Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle”, which only serves as a huge CLAMP reference. But even Misaki’s Doll is a reference to Magic Knight Rayearth, or did you not recognize Hikaru from my review.
Cajun Samurai – Oh yeah! You’re right!
OtakuAndrain – Once you see a bunch of CLAMP works you’ll soon see that CLAMP loves referencing themselves.
Cajun Samurai – I suppose so. Okay, so with regards to animation, “Angelic Layer” hits for me on all cylinders. I’m not going to take points for the uniform thing because I didn’t do so for “Chobits”, but I still would’ve liked to have seen some Varity in wardrobe. Seriously, even though the uniform is cute, it’s not really something I would wear when in combat.
OtakuAndrain – I’m still in love with the animation as I watch it now.

Cajun Samurai Score – 6.25/6.25
Otaku Andrain Score – 6.25/6.25

OtakuAndrain – The OP/ED Combo here is FANTASTIC! Be my Angel is A WONDERFUL OPENING!
Cajun Samurai – Again, I would agree with you. “Be My Angel” by “Atsuko Enomoto” is the perfect match for a show like this. The opening animation is also nice...[::coughs::] Running again…[::Coughs::]
OtakuAndrain – The endings though deserves equal note. When I heard them again I fell in love all over again.
Cajun Samurai – The ending song, “The Starry Sky” is also very epic and a nice way to end the show…that is until it’s replaced with “After the Rain” by Moeko Matsushita, in which case it was a quiet sort of epic which I equally enjoyed. The ending animations for both endings are well done!
OtakuAndrain – The background music really fit the battles extremely well too I think. The Score all around was top notch.
Cajun Samurai – The score was nice, I will admit, it was well done. I’m a sucker for classical instruments used in anime. But, and maybe it was just me, but at times it seemed like it was a little too dominant. At times, I almost couldn’t hear the dialogue for the swelling music. Perhaps it was a mixing issue…I’m not sure, and I’m gonna give it a small pass, but it was still a bit distracting.
OtakuAndrain – I blame bad dub work, myself… everything else was pretty lazy…
Cajun Samurai – Agreed. To sum it up–the music was good, very scene-appropriate, but all they had to do was turn it down a little and I would’ve given it a perfect score.
OtakuAndrain – And well… I’m looking at a different angle with no complaints

Cajun Samurai Score – 6/6.25
Otaku Andrain Score – 6.25/6.25

Performances and Production:
OtakuAndrain – [::Shudders::] Oh man here it comes…
Cajun Samurai – [::The Evangelion behind him is now fully activated::] …perhaps…it would be best…if we discussed the original first…
OtakuAndrain – Hai…The original anime ran from April to September 2001 and was produced by Studio BONES and directed by Hiroshi Nishikiori, best known currently for directing “Tu Aru Majutsu no Index”.
Cajun Samurai – As mentioned earlier, Studio BONES has brought us quite a few winners with regards to animation and production including “Ouran High School Host Club”, “Fullmetal Alchemist”, “Wolf’s Rain” and more recently one of my personal favorites “Gosick” and “Eureka Seven: Astral Ocean”.
OtakuAndrain – And this Anime does indeed have a power packed cast. Honestly Samurai I can’t imagine how bad the dub is to let you Ignore Aunt Shoko.
Cajun Samurai – …you just don’t know. But yes, in Japan, the dub cast is very solid and reliable. Once again, we have Atsuko Enomoto leading the cast as Misaki Suzuhara who regular viewers will remember from my “Kare Kano” review.
OtakuAndrain – Not to mention she’s Cure Egret Ahhhh… Crap! Back off, Back off! But Enomoto-san has been in several anime; most notably that and “Steel Angel Kurumi”.
Cajun Samurai – Yeah, she played the titular character, if memory serves.
OtakuAndrain – Indeed. And then there’s Icchan.
Cajun Samurai – “Wiggly-Wiggly” Icchan!
OtakuAndrain – Samurai… That’s Masayo Onosaka. That’s Vash the Stampede.
Cajun Samurai – Mr. Love and Peace himself! Talk about appropriate!
OtakuAndrain – Not only that he’s also Zelos Wilder from one of my favorite games of all time, “Tales of Symphonia” This man is a true legend! And do you know who they got to play Tomayo?
Cajun Samurai – Satsuki Yukino. If Wiki serves me right. AKA Kagome from “Inuyasha”…yeah, no. Not endearing to me with that one.
OtakuAndrain – That’s Kaname Chidori – Yeah that badass girl from Full Metal Panic, yeah her.
Cajun Samurai – And Ai Tanabe from “Planetes”. Funny story–in the commentary track on the DVD’s for that series, she along with the director and the other cast members were drunk!
OtakuAndrain – NOT TO MENTION…Yukino-san is also my favorite American in anime TINA FREAKING FOSTER [“Ai Yori Aoshi”]
Cajun Samurai – I need to finish that one…I only got two of the DVD’s.
OtakuAndrain – Oh she’s also Milly Thompson [“Trigun”] too… are you starting to have a better opinion yet…
Cajun Samurai – Of the original Japanese cast, yes. They did an awesome job.
OtakuAndrain – I mean Kotaro is freaking Jun Fukuyama.. That’s Lelouch VI Britannia… I mean wow…
Cajun Samurai – Yeah, he was Kimihiro Watanuki [AKA, My alter ego…long story…] from “xxxHolic”! And don’t forget, he’s Shinra in “Durarara”!
OtakuAndrain – And then there’s Misaki’s Mother… Kikuko Inoue… I won’t blame here for the role she’s most famous for… My point is the Japanese cast is so, so, SO full of win, it’s sickening. It was done magically. I know I said great voicing wasn’t all that it took to make great anime but hot damn between the beautiful animation and these brilliant performances… I cried at the second to last episode. I can only name 4 times that happened off the top of my head.
Cajun Samurai – And you’re right–great voicing is only a part of the puzzle for a good series…obviously, nobody told that to the crew at then-ADV Films. Okay…here we go. This series was directed and produced by David Williams. The English Script Writer is a name we should all recognize; Tiffany Grant.
OtakuAndrain – Ha-ha… I’ve gone through half of the English… did I miss anything for later on?
Cajun Samurai – No…What you get in the beginning is what you get throughout. Sadly… First of all, I want to start with the few good ones; Andy McAvin as “Icchan” is all kinds of awesome.
OtakuAndrain – I’ll agree, He made a fantastic impact on me. He played the role of the insane nut perfectly.
Cajun Samurai – Yeah. Sadly, I haven’t heard him in more roles of recent. I also have a soft spot for Monica Rial as Tamayo. She did a very good job.
OtakuAndrain – … She wasn’t the worst crime…She went rally awkward in a couple of places but it wasn’t… too bad.
Cajun Samurai – Yeah, you’re correct. The same can be said about Jessica Boone as Misaki. Tone-wise, she matches perfectly with the original–she sounds like her…and there are times when her acting is very good…
OtakuAndrain – Very true, very true.
Cajun Samurai – By any chance, did you pick up on the voice of the announcer? Here’s a clue–Fan girl fodder.
OtakuAndrain – OH Yeah, That’s Vic. I remembered that clearly… that man…
Cajun Samurai – He was good–bringing the overly-elaborate vibe to the announcer role.
OtakuAndrain – He did fit I won’t lie, man knows how to do it.
Cajun Samurai – Now…it’s time for me to break out the Cajun Rage…
OtakuAndrain – [ ::pulls out the umbrella::]
Cajun Samurai – To start off with–there is a SEVERE pronunciation issue with this series–IE – the word “Chan”.
OtakuAndrain –That’s something I can kinda overlook. At least it didn’t confuse me..
Cajun Samurai – It didn’t confuse me either…but it did irk me to no end. If you’re going to use it, please use it correctly–AND CONSISTENTLY. Seriously, there were times when they used it, and times when they didn’t.
OtakuAndrain – This is true… They could have honorifics throughout and not half-assed like that…
Cajun Samurai – And this inconsistency wasn’t just episode to episode, it was almost scene by scene! One moment, Kotaro was just Kotaro, and the next moment, he was Kotaro-Chan. Speaking of, there is a moment when Jessica Boone slips and you can clearly hear her use a country accent for Misaki. If you go to about 11:28, you’ll hear it distinctly. Naughty-Naughty.
OtakuAndrain – Yeah…
Cajun Samurai – The icing on this fail-cake has to be Kotaro’s V/A, Kevin Corn. [::The Evangelion behind him turns and suddenly runs off in a bloodthirsty rage::]
OtakuAndrain – Heheh…. Yeah but you forgot how many people can’t pronounce Suzuka…
Cajun Samurai – Oh yeah. This whole script suffers greatly from pronunciation issues. It’s sad…extremely sad. And really inexcusable.
OtakuAndrain – Every time I heard Suzu-ka I wanted to strangle someone!
Cajun Samurai – Ohh, I’ve had those moments several times throughout this one. It’s sad. But back to what I was mentioning earlier, whoever cast this dude as Kotaro needs to be tar and feathered. I mean, this guy can’t act his way out of a wet paper bag in the rain in a swamp!
OtakuAndrain – Soo dry…
Cajun Samurai – Listen to him say a word that ends with the letter “T”. I call it “Crispy T’s” He has it in EVERY SINGLE ROLE he plays in and it is annoying as heck! Honestly, the only other person who was bad in this one was Hatoko as played by Sasha Paysinger.
OtakuAndrain – Hatoko… Was dry But I almost understood it due to her character… Abrasive meh…
Cajun Samurai – Plain and simple–I did not believe her as a Kindergartener. She just sounded like an older woman doing an imitation of a younger girl. Am I forgetting anyone?
OtakuAndrain – No one of importance…
Cajun Samurai – Thank goodness. Plain and simple guys; the English production of “Angelic Layer” is nothing but a shadow of its excellent Japanese counterpart. And this is coming from a person who loves English dubs. This one ranks as one of the worst I’ve ever heard and if this show is ever re-licensed by another company, it is my VITAL that, save for Icchan and Announcer-Guy, that they don’t attempt to get the original V/A’s back; it’s not worth it.
Otaku Andrain – Obviously I have a much different opinion, The Japanese version was masterfully done. It’s a classic in its own right and I completely understand how it has quite a few fans that I know personally on the Island. Still that dub was bad, and I find myself thinking the same as the Samurai in that regard.

Cajun Samurai Score – 3/12.5
Otaku Andrain Score – 3/12.5

Scoring Summary:

Story Breakdown – 14.5/25
Characters – 16/25
Animation – 12.5/12.5
Music – 12.25/12.5
Performance and Production – 6/25

Final Score – 61.25/100 =61.25% – F

Cajun Samurai – Well…that was…interesting. I say we wrap this one up. After you good sir.
OtakuAndrain – IT was a strange series, the overlying plot was awful. Though the original manga was even worse in that regard. It’s one of those that you sit back and enjoy the fights and the characters and the Penalty Games. I really like this series and I’m sorry to see what the Americans did with it. Go watch the original subbed version however you can. This doesn’t deserve your support.
Cajun Samurai – Someone once said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. “Angelic Layer” is nothing short of good intentions, and I went through hell to complete it. It had the potential to be one of the greatest shows of all time, but it honestly had so much against it, that nothing short of a complete revamp could ever hope to bring me back to this story again. While I am all for supporting the industry; my thoughts are with Andrain: find the original Japanese and enjoy what you can.
Cajun Samurai – And with that, my friend, we have finally…FINALLY…concluded “Angelic Layer! I’m leaving for the month for vacation! I need to recharge a bit and take a break outside for once! Of course, I’ll still be watching some of the newer stuff from CrunchyRoll and catching up with shows that, honestly, I’m not sure how I fell behind on! Come July, however, I will be back, at full charge! July promises to be an awesome month for “The Cajun Samurai”, so I hope you all will come back and enjoy! Duces!
OtakuAndrain – Well that’s all for this time. I’m working on finishing CLAMP month personally as the Samurai takes a break. I’m taking the reins all next month so be ready it’s gonna be a blast! Tune in next time as I end CLAMP Month [Probably in June], as I take a look at CLAMP’s most famous series, you know HER! Take care!
“Card Captor Sakura”

4 thoughts on “A Tag-Team Review of “Angelic Layer” – Battling Barbies (Part II)

  1. Just to note, Lain had the little things on the ends of her hair as well in Serial Experiment Lain. I kept wondering where I had seen it before and that’s where! I liked Angelic Layer and watched it over a period of two weeks on Netflix which meant it was all dub. Yeah, I prefer subbed over dubbed but that’s for another rant. I cringed when I read the reference to Chobits. That show gave me nightmares. Still have yet to watch Eureka Seven so no opinions here on that one! Loved the tag team. AWESOME.

    1. Thanks for the note! I never saw “Serial Experiment Lain”, but only during the writing of the review, I noticed that Misaki and Chi shared those little hair thingies…I’m not even 100% certain what you would call them–Hair Clips? I keep my hair cut in a bald-fade style, so I don’t pretend to know anything about hair accessories…

      I would not wish this particular dub on ANYONE. I mean, unless you’re a fan of “Wiggly-Wiggly Icchan” or you are the biggest Vic Mignogna fangirl around [and trust, I know my fair share of fangirls…], then there’s not much that’s going to endear to your heart with regards to this dub. And the scary thing is…the most TERRIFYING thing is…this isn’t necessaraly the WORST I’ve heard! I’ll go into that later. Heh…

      I recommend you check out “Eureka Seven”; both the original series and “AO”. Myself and Otaku Andrain are watching it with great amusement…though admittedly I’m still a little lost at times.

      Once again, thanks for your support!

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