Angelic Layer - Volume 2: On a Wing and a Player Review

Misaki has taken part in and won several Angelic Layer matches. Although she is still a rookie she has the angel’s luck on her side but must learn more if she is to improve herself, both as a player and a person. Her friends, Tamayo and Kotaro cheer her on as she tries to qualify for the Angelic Layer nationals. In the meantime, Icchan continues to observe her and soon the mystery surrounding his character will be revealed, along with a few other surprises.


Angelic Layer is still moving at a brisk pace, both in terms of story telling and the amount of action being offered. The fights take more precedence in volume two than they did last time round, this time serving as more of a basis for Misaki's inner development which proves to be pivotal to her further success.

It was only a matter of time before she lost her first match, and she does so at the hands of her young friend, Hatoko - the undefeated "Deus". Misaki learns to accept her defeat and see it as being a positive thing, a learning experience for which she will always keep inside her mind.

She soon gets back on track but is criticised for being more lucky than she is skilled. Misaki learns to harness her abilities in the arena; she does this by concentrating on her rival's weak points. Angelic Layer is a deeper game than she ever thought but the most important part is being one with the doll and showing it the care and love required for it to be able to reciprocate and win battles.


Note: The following section contains spoilers.

We finally learn the part that Icchan plays in all of this as it turns out he is the creator of Angelic Layer. We also find out that Misaki’s mother works at the same company, testing battle dolls. Clearly there is something secret going on between Misaki’s mother and Icchan, who for reasons unknown continues to show an interest in Misaki, with the likelihood being that it’s at the request of her mother. There is much to be speculated but for this seven volume series it would also be best to remain patient.

Still, for a series on its second volume it is holding up well and is equally as entertaining as the first one. Icchan continues to torment his assistant by giving him even more ludicrous punishments than last time; something which I imagine is set to continue throughout the run. I don’t know how the writers come up with some of this stuff, which this time involves Icchan forcing the poor guy to eat Udon noodles without making a noise.

Several characters make a return to the series, including a past opponent of Misaki’s and a group of strangers who watch every match being held at the qualifiers. The role they play has yet to be revealed but I am guessing they are a part of bigger things to come.


Volume 2 contains the following episodes:

I Don't Want to Lose! I'm Believing in Hikaru
Misaki prepares for her next challenge with the support of her friends. Luck wins out when Misaki defeats her opponent, bringing some concern about her true abilities.

Suzuka, the Speed of Light! Hatoko's Declaration of Rivalry
Misaki must face her friend, Hatoko in the arena. Hatoko is an undefeated champion with a lightning fast doll. Misaki loses but she gains more experience that will aid her in the future.

Fight at the Edge...Misaki's Last Chance
Icchan kindly fixes Hikaru after she was injured in her last fight. Misaki goes head to head with a headstrong girl who plays Angelic Layer for the wrong reasons. She has no friends and little understanding of the games fundamentals. Misaki tries to show her that Angelic Layer should be fun.

Misaki VS Misaki? A Dangerous Classmate
Misaki is challenged to a game by a classmate whose surname is the same as her first name. The boy doesn't understand the game that well but he believes that boys are better than girls at games. Will Misaki be able to convince him otherwise?


The DVD

ADV present another colourful volume, again containing a fold out mini poster with character profiles on the reverse.

Picture

Presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio, Angelic Layer looks as good as can be expected from a 2001 series - fantastic. The sometimes hazy look, featured in the fight scenes is deliberate.

Sound

There is a choice of Japanese 2.0 or English 5.1. The fight sequences and involving score benefit greatly from the English 5.1 mix but the original Japanese track is equally good. Like many recent ADV releases the English dub is enjoyable, though I prefer the original track. Andy McAvin and Monica Rial provide fun performances for their whacky characters.

Extras

Not dissimilar to the extras found on volume 1.

Clean Opening
This is the nicely animated, main title theme but without the overlapping credits.

Clean Closing
Same as above, except this is the song that plays out at the end of each episode.

Production Artwork
Running for 1 minute and 30 seconds, this gallery plays out to the main title song and features colour drawings of the main characters in their various outfits.

Audio Commentary Kevin Corn (Kotaro) and Monica Rial (Tamayo)
Young actor, Kevin Corn appears alongside Monica Rial in another fun little track from ADV. Monica is amazingly energetic as usual and sounds as crazy as the characters that she voices (no offence intended). I enjoy listening to her every time she appears on a commentary track, even if she doesn't provide much insight. Likewise Kevin Corn is equally less in the know but he enjoys himself and talks a little about his career.

ADV Previews
Trailers for: Final Fantasy: Unlimited, Pre-Tear, Azumanga Daioh and Rune Soldier.


Overall

Angelic Layer is so far on the right track. The story is engaging and while we wait for more to unfold we are given plenty of action and comedy to satisfy. Stay tuned.

Film
8 out of 10
Video
8 out of 10
Audio
8 out of 10
Extras
4 out of 10
Overall

7

out of 10

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