Mars has been colonized and is a world where children have been replaced by robot servants known as "dolls." Layla is a skilled fighter with a tragic past who travels about the world. Her companions are Nei, a strange and unique doll with some unknown ties to Layla, and Speedy, who is a doll breeder. The founders of Mars see the trio as a threat to their world, and each time they attack Layla and Nei a bit more of their mysterious past and future is revealed.
The critically acclaimed movie, Children of Man, had the idea of the end of the human race due to the inability of humans being able to reproduce. Avenger, released a few years before that, had a similar plotline, but has little to no enjoyment that can be garnered from it.
Taking place on the planet Mars, humanity is at the end of its rope. Because Earth is no longer inhabitable, humans fled to the Moon and Mars. Resources are scarce and domed cities enlist delegate gladiators to fight in tournaments to decide who gets what, with the loser’s assets transferred to the winner. Furthermore, a decade
has passed without a single child being born. In order to compensate for this, the Martians created dolls, androids that resemble children. Our protagonist is Layla Ashley, who can best be described by this. If Sasuke Uchiha and Squall Leonhart had a man child, who was born prematurely and dropped on her head, that child would be Layla Ashley. She has no personality and little dialogue other than silence followed by “Volk…” or “Try and kill me”. Layla travels mars to eventually face Volk for, you guessed it, revenge. Volk is the gladiator delegate and the person who shot down the ship from the moon that carried Layla and numerous other people in order to keep them from taking up any more of Mars’ low resources. Joining Layla is Speedy, a “Jack-of-all-trades” doll breeder who travels with Layla out of curiosity; and Nei a human child who poses as a doll to avoid being taken and researched. Why the human society has lost the ability to reproduce and why Nei is an exception to this is never explained. This isn’t the only thing wrong with Avenger’s story, as plot holes pop up numerous times throughout.
As said before, Layla is not a good protagonist. She not only possesses no likable characteristics besides the ability to fight, she also performs several nonsensical actions. Take one scene where Layla beats up a man who has been using dolls as punching bags. That’s all fine and dandy, especially when this particular scene could almost be summed up as self defense, but for no reason she turns her weapon to the man’s girlfriend and an old lady, only stopping her assault moments before actually striking them. This is made even more ironic, as Layla herself beat up dolls for no reason in the very first episode. Inexplicable scenes such as this are present throughout the anime, but Layla seems to perform most of them. It’s not just Layla, but the cast overall seems to lack any personality or realism, with the exception of Speedy.
Avenger suffers not only from laughably bad writing, but a very noticeable lack of animation. Scenes seem to be drawn out through long drawn out silences in a desperate attempt to build drama. It should not have to be mentioned that these scenes fail completely in the attempt.
Well, if the story and characters are mediocre at best, then perhaps the fight scenes are good, right? Wrong. Here, the clarity of Avenger’s budget is pronounced. Speed lines are and random cuts are prevalent throughout the show. There are only a select few fights that are fairly enjoyable. As for the music, it’s the best part of the show. While the OST overall is fairly forgettable a number of songs, including the score and especially the opening are actually pretty catchy.
Combining one-dimensional characters, confusing writing, and numerous lines of dialogue that read “…” Avenger makes for a boring anime. Do yourself a favor and look up the opening on youtube, as it’s the only enjoyable part.
Being the BEE TRAIN fan I am I decided to buy Avenger in the complete collection form while at an Anime convention. I don't think it was a total waste of money but still it wasn't and won't ever be a personal favorite from them. It has their trademarked styles which I love, but the execution and ultimate conclusion left me dissatisfied. I wouldn't write Avenger entirely off like I would some other animes, if you are bored and looking for a short anime maybe you want to give this a try. If you are looking for a short or
moderate length anime with a deep story line, than this isn't for you. Overall Avenger is a series where you might want to turn your brain off and just watch it.
The story is the usual post-technological apocalyptic world that we've seen in countless Mecha animes, so you may be surprised that there aren't any giant robots in the obvious setting. The idea is fairly unique having it on Mars instead of Earth was different from the usual ways of doing things, but not different enough. The story features again a mopey female character who has been long exploited and has a chip on her shoulder to work out. She also has this adorable little doll (spoiler spoiler spoiler******Who is actually human******spoiler) who travels by her side. And of course you have the macho can do mechanic. The characters are fairly typical and predictable there aren't any surprises there aren't any unique traits they're pretty strait forward and one-stringed.
The writing is pretty dull and unentertaining, the battles are few and far between for something that is suppose to be about gladiators but most of the time it's traveling and fleeing from little Minion Dolls that are out to capture them. Overall there aren't a lot of surprises or unique revelations that we already could have probably guessed by now.
Music was better than I was expecting though cliched at times. I can't say I'm much of a fan of Ali Project, I've had fun with their Noir Opening as well as their one composition for the My-Hime Video Game, but at the same time this is the same pair that couldn't pull of .hack//Roots. The pair has made some memorable compositions in this show and their themes are rather typical including the second ending theme which is a half-way rip of a classical piece of music (I'm thinking it's "In the Halls of the Mountain King" But I'm not certain). The music was more fitting in this atmosphere than their music for Roots but it wasn't anything breathtaking or groundbreaking and it wasn't entirely new for them.
Mashimo has a much more solid direction handle on this than say Blade of the Immortal but I think it could have been more. I wasn't going in expecting a whole lot, and I didn't come out with any surprises. This is a short and pretty typical straightforward Anime that is very much in BEE TRAIN's style. The color pallet by Makiko Kojima is fairly cosmic and expected for a show of this genre and the cinematography is dark and dreary and depressing.
Without further spoiling anything more the ending was probably the worst I've ever seen in any shows. I'm fairly forgiving of endings but this made absolutely no sense to me, and totally changed all the rules of the play at the last minute. Then again there really weren't any rules of the universe set up.
Avenger is mediocre at best. So okay it's just average and not worth putting much effort into.
That WAS weak.
Really. For the first time since... since loooong time, I've watched anime, which has absolutely no, literally no point.
The music was horrible. I really do like a j-music. But this opening can be heard on your biggerst nightmare. During episodes was just a little bit better. MIDI samples rox there...
Characters... Watashi wo... korossu shite imasu. Kill me for christ sake and leave it! Main character - Layla Ashley was a totally freak and psycho girl, who would like to get killed. Unfortunately, she had beat the crap out of your ass, before you could even touch her. So as far as u
can see, her dream just can not be done.
Her main enemy - Volk was a OverFitness ( xD ) big and strange looking (god damn this armor. It was funny and i can bet, that it is NOT comfortable...
World there simply... oh. No 1 even try to explain why the fuck it's so stupid.
So... If you don't care about a story, sound and characters in anime... You can watch this. Once.
There was couple moments, where the graphic was quite good, but mostly it's... mediocre
Overall its wrong. Why the f... they didn't animated such mangas as Eden - it's an endless world, but doing crap like this? I hope u didn't waste your time on this. The opening thame will chasing u weeks after you see this anime. And it's not a pleasing feeling.
It took me almost ten years to get around to seeing Avenger. I was a really big fan of Noir, which was Bee Train's first independent series, back when it first came out, and the promos I started seeing for Avenger not long after made it look pretty stylish and unique, what with the Martian setting, hand-to-hand combat, and killer child androids.
I kept putting the series off though, because there always seemed to be something better to watch first, a feeling I'm pretty sure any long-time anime fan has experienced. In hindsight, my decision to put it off so long might have been my subconscious
mind warning me not to judge the DVD by its cover, in a manner of speaking.
Avenger just does so many things wrong, it's hard to decide where to begin. The series felt like a chore to get through, even at 13 episodes, and it took me fully four days to complete because after an hour or two boredom just kept creeping in on me, making me want to watch something else.
As other reviews have already covered, the story basically involves the colonization of Mars, and competition for food and natural resources through martial arts competitions pitting one city's best fighter against another. The main protagonist Layla Ashley is one of the gladiators participating in the competition. In her care is a strangely well-crafted android girl called Nei, whom it is unclear whether Layla has just met for the first time in episode 1, or whether they have been together for some time. Rounding out the trio of main characters is a robot mechanic named Speedy, who does the vast majority of the talking in the group throughout the entirety of the series.
One of the things that makes Avenger so disappointing is the fact that Layla and Nei, the two most important characters, have incredibly few speaking lines and are some of the least emotionally expressive characters in any work of fiction I've ever been exposed to. Layla's motivations for participating in the competitions is hinted at frequently, but never clearly laid out for the viewers right up to the end of the series, and it's really hard to feel concerned about her success or failure when any meaning to the fights other than simple survival is unclear. Speedy does his best to make up for the unhelpful silence of the other two, but since he is only a supporting character, idle chatter about the importance of trust and cooperation are the best he can provide, when what we're really interested in are Layla and Nei's past and future.
As far as the story goes, there are at least three major conflicts in play that the series continuously switches back and forth between: The first is Layla's participation in the gladiator tournaments and her quest for revenge. The second is Nei's past and the Martian rulers' constant attempts to take her away from Layla. The third is the impending destruction of the Martian world due to some unexplained natural disaster caused by the encroaching red moon. Each episode fills its time by alternating between events related to each conflict, punctuated by the occasional security android ambush, or gladiator fight, to keep the audience's attention. The conclusion of the show is infuriatingly anti-climactic, and doesn't give definite closure to any of the three conflicts I've just described, leaving the protagonists and their planet in an unspecifically heightened state of emergency at the conclusion of the series compared to the first episode.
The fights themselves, which at times feel like the payload the show was really designed to deliver, aren't all that exciting either. There's a lot of leaping around in Mars' diminished gravity, and a lot of generic kickboxing without much uniqueness from one opponent to the next. It doesn't help that Layla's own fighting style, which has just a little specialist flavor, is very judo and/or gymnastic oriented, dodging a lot more punches than she throws. The animation of them isn't bad, but they aren't interesting enough to watch twice.
The art and animation of the series are crisp and clean as any of Bee Train's shows, and the music isn't terrible, although I think it would have been nice to have at least one more performer on the soundtrack instead of complete wall-to-wall Ali Project.
Overall, as I already mentioned, Avenger was a slog through a deep muddy swamp, with very little of the entertainment value that the basic concept seemed to promise, which proved pretty difficult to see through all the way to the end for the reasons I've just described. If you're on the fence about this one, you'll probably be happier turning Avenger down and choosing something else in the same genre(s).