Angelic Layer - Volume 6: Inherit The Layer Review
It's Summer time! The finals are in full swing, Misaki has fought hard and now she's enjoying a well earned break for the holidays. What better way than to spend a day at the beach and frolic in the sun with all her friends? Well with her mother being there too there's just gotta be some problems, right?
Note: While I've tried to avoid as many as possible until now the following will contain partial spoilers so read at your own discretion.
Like Misaki the viewer gets to take a break from all the high kicking action and relax a little more for this volume, which despite being low on layer matches rams up character situations to the max. Conveniently Volume 6 starts off with the obligatory anime beach episode, which is also by far one of the more colourful and pleasing episodes of the run. It is here that we learn so much about the characters that hadn't yet been divulged, with not only Misaki and Ohjiro getting all the headlines but also Kotaro and Tamayo in a twist of events that quite literally shakes up their friendship. The episode largely stays light hearted and "wiggly" Iichan manages to entertain again after taking a short and serious break, which provides most of the humour on display. But it's the central relationships that prove to be the core of the episode, if not most of the series, with several romantic sub plots and confessions taking place.
Things are not going to be easy with this is mind but to make matters worse emotions begin to swell and confuse as we find out that various parties are in love with someone who is in love with someone else but finds themselves attracted to those who love them in some way or another. Was that hard to get your head around? It makes perfect sense, trust me.
So anyway, we have the Misaki and Ohjiro thing going on which is kind of troublesome, not just because of the gaping age difference between the two (he being in High School, she in Middle School) but the fact that both have mixed feelings. Misaki is certainly curious about Ohjiro, as he is about her but he seems to think of her as a younger sister as time goes by. When Misaki learns that he's Iichan’s step-brother it only makes matters worse and yet it doesn’t stop there because we also learn that Ohjiro has been in love with Misaki’s mother, Shuko since the day he met her as a young boy, which drives his passion for the game as he hopes to face and defeat her in the grand final - in order to "get over her".
On the other side of the beach we witness Tamayo confess her love for Kotaro, something which he finds hard to take in as he's "never thought of her as a girl". These life-long friends become torn apart by Kotaro’s admiration and growing feelings toward Misaki. But can Kotaro change his feelings and see his best friend in a different light?
As the volume continues the relationships gather momentum and situations are forced whereby the characters must endure each other for a prolonged period, with Misaki and Ohjiro going on a date and Tamayo and Kotaro getting stuck in a lift. Uh oh!
Still, it's all very engaging and at times emotional, particularly coming from Tamayo’s viewpoint, who clearly has been frustrated for a long time as she hid her feelings amidst groping and wrestling Kotaro through all these years.
But, the ultimate showdown between best friends soon commences. As the third episode gets rallying its time for Misaki and Ohjiro to face each other in the round that will determine who will make it to the finals. Will it be the "Miracle Rookie" or "The Wizard"? If you've been following the series this far you'll probably already have it worked out but that's not to say it isn't one tense fight. The entire episode shows these two determined figures battle it out, while making their intentions and aspirations clear. Misaki knows she has a tough fight, especially when it's against a potential boyfriend and formidable opponent, who has made the finals two years in a row and when her friends are off worrying about their own problems her predicament begins to look bad.
Although there are only three episodes this time around they provide a lot of substance as we head into the final volume. Things are looking more exciting than ever. Just how will we react when Misaki and her mother finally meet again after all these years?
Volume six contains the following episodes:
Summertime at the Sea! Someone is in Love With Someone
At last! Misaki is free for the Summer and she tags along with her friends as they visit the beach for a day. Everyone is there, ready to party and have a great time but when Shuko also takes a trip on the same day Iichan must be careful to keep her away from her daughter. Elsewhere, Misaki and Ohjiro start spending more time together and Kotaro learns a shocking truth.
Suddenly Just the Two of Us. Secret Double Dates
Ohjiro has asked Misaki out on a date to which she gladly accepts. This of course displeases Kotaro who now has two girls on his mind but can't do much about either one. As Misaki and Ohjiro draw closer, so does their big match up and neither one wants to give up on that either.
Break Up the Magic Wall! Misaki Versus Ohjiro
Misaki is about to face her toughest challenge as she goes up against her good friend, Ohjiro in a game that will determine who will face Shuko and her undefeated Angel, Athena.
The series is presented nicely again on DVD, featuring Misaki and a butt raised Hikaru (the minx). The amaray is also armed with a mini fold-out poster that depicts various characters in their swimwear.
As in previous volumes Angelic Layer remains consistently bright and cheerful, with no major defects. The series is presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and offers great clarity.
As standard we get an original Japanese 2.0 track and a remixed English 5.1 surround dub. I do prefer the Japanese track, even if Atsuko Enomoto's voice gets so ridiculously cutesy that it's quite funny at times. The English track features well separated elements and is performed with gusto.
Clean Opening/Clean Closing
These can be viewed separately from the extras menu and contain some nicely animated pieces, without the credits playing over the top.
Production Artwork (3.15)
Playing out to the series’ opening and end theme is a collection of character artwork that this time focuses on many of the opponents that Misaki has faced in the past, along with their Angels.
Commentary by Chris Patton (Ohjiro) and David Williams (ADR Director)
Chris and David provide an enjoyable if not entirely interesting commentary with regards to the show for the last episode. It's more of an observational piece with a few discussions thrown in about what Chris and David get up to outside of the studio, such as taking stage and convention gigs. There are a few chuckles here and there and for those of you who are big fans of ADV's actors this should please. I do have a couple of faves and Andy McAvin gets a worthy mention for his Iichan performance - currently the most entertaining voice artist on their books in my humble opinion.
Trailers for Chrono Crusade, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Platinum, Get Backers and Gad Guard
Not long to go now. Angelic Layer approaches the final volume in a series that has already exceeded expectations and should by rights end on a high note, which I'm confident it will do. So with the final volume not too far off I can only leave things here and wait impatiently until it arrives.