In the future, the most popular game in the world is Angelic Layer. Contestants must raise and train their own 'Angels' (or fighting dolls) to compete in tournaments. Enter Misaki Suzuhara, sixth grade Angelic Layer prodigy. With her speed-type angel, Hikaru, many people think Misaki stands a chance at winning the championship. She'll have a lot of help along the way, but the road to victory will be not be an easy route, especially for someone as young as Misaki.
This manga is Clamp's attempt at a battle manga. It is set in the same universe as Chobits, and contains similar themes, such as the relationships between created beings/robots/toys and humans.
I read this after seeing an episode or two or the anime. It is a short enough series, at
only 5 volumes, so I finished it before I continued with the anime.
The story of Angelic Layer is simple, with limited twists and turns. Clamp attempted to have some shock twists but they are basic and can be guessed a mile off. The manga is probably too short. I was expecting a few tournaments, some decent rivals and a love triangle, but none of these seemed to develop, though they would have all been possible in a longer series. The pacing was good, until the end when it all seemed rushed. The development of Misaki's skills is not shown, so it difficult to connect to Misaki as a character because there is not enough detail in the story to give her development. Things are left unexplained and relationships are created with little real reason other than to tie up the series. The concept of battle dolls is interesting though, and sets Clamp up nicely for their more famous series, Chobits.
I gave the art a 5/10. The art style is not as detailed as some of Clamp's other works. It is very similar to Cardcaptor Sakura and yet in Cardcaptor Sakura there are some beautifully designed cards, and a lot of detail is put into them, however the Angel Dolls in this series, though pretty, do not seem to be as detailed.
The battle sequences in some scenes look quite rushed, yet there are some well drawn moves in other scenes.
One thing that particularly struck me was the artwork in the karate moves Koutarou-chan performs for Misaki. A lot of work must have gone into those pages.
Clamp's heroine, Misaki Suzuhara, is a Sakura-esque girl who is sweet, cute, good at cooking and a little bit ditzy and naive, therefore she is a classic shoujo manga heroine, which is unusual as this manga was run in a shounen magazine. She learns little throughout the series other than the typical self-belief and friendship is important lessons most shoujo manga offer, and is essentially the same girl at the end of the series as in the beginning.
She is surrounded by a cast of interesting people, including the mysterious Ichiro "Icchan" Mihara, a seemingly crazy scientist who encourages her into the world of Angelic Layer (and who has a role in the Chobits manga by Clamp), her new school friends Tamayo Hizaki and Koutarou Kobayashi, and Koutarou's younger sister, Hatoko. Tamayo is a typical energetic, sporty character who encourages the blossoming romance between nice-guy Koutarou and Misaki. Hatoko is a 5 year old Angelic Layer prodigy and a valuable source of information and support for Misaki.
Would-be rivals are won over by Misaki's thoughfulness and sweetnature, and her self-belief. Icchan's younger brother Ohjiro Misaki looked as though eh would play a big role in the series on his first appearance however, he does not get much of a chance to grow. Misaki's mother's reason for leaving her daughter all those years is quite unbelievable (though funny) but overall the characters seem to be lacking development which could have happened if there were more volumes released.
Despite its shortcomings, Angelic Layer is a very sweet, enjoyable series to read. Though there are no major twists, it's pacing means you can keep reading without being bored, and there is a nice mix of action, romance and comedy. Icchan's entrances are amusing, and as are the brother-sister relationships between Koutarou and Tamayo, and Hatoko.
I decided that 6 is a fair-enough rating for this series. It could have been so much more if it were even just 2 volumes longer, but it is a good read. The art is not too bad, just not of the usual Clamp high standards, and though the characters are your shoujo-manga staples, they are still fun to read.
Angelic Layer is a good manga to read if you have nothing better to do, if you fancy a shortish series with lots of cute-action and if you are interested in what came a few years before Chobits.
The Angelic Layer anime made many changes from the manga, so if you have seen the anime first, expect there to be differences. The main ones are relationships and character motivation.
I dare say that my view on this manga has been coloured by its anime counterpart, but I honestly am surprised that a show as good as that came from this manga. I didn't remember it being like this, only that I wasn't happy with the ending. Well, as it turns out the ending is not the only thing that I'm not happy about.
It must be said that I do like the idea behind this. It's a more creative look at fighting toys than others, and the overall plot is alright. But it moves at a breakneck pace. Training, first
game, tournament BAM, BAM, BAM. There is little in between the fights, so much so that most of the manga is the fights. Precious little time is spent on any of the characters, including Hikaru. You've got your usual 'fight your hardest and you will win' and 'size doesn't matter' themes going along but because we run through it fast and spend so little time on the characters, these themes feel quite unfulfilled.
On the characters a little further, they are rather flat and boring. Each character has either one or two roles to play, one of which is always analysing and spouting off how great Misaki is during her fights. The other is dependant on who the character is, and possibly if they've been defeated or not . Tamayo is the tomboy, Koutaro is the punching bag etc. There are some chapters where we aren't in a fight and you get some semblence of who these characters are, but these moments are few and far between. You just don't get a feel for who these people are, and why they do what they do.
Now one of the things that does run through the plot is Misaki's mother, it's something that is constantly alluded to by several characters from the very start (yet there is no subplot to put any meat behind those allusions). When you finally get to the big reveal about Misaki's mother.....you're kidding me, right? That's it?! After the (what counts for) buildup to this rather important plot point, that would have to be the lamest motivation and ending I have ever read.
Onto the artwork, overall I didn't like it. When the characters were standing still it was good, but we spend so much time in blurred action littered with speed lines, it can be difficult to make out what's happening. The action on the whole was pretty poorly choreographed, I had no idea what was going in most of the fights. The characters spend quite a bit of time in chibi mode, and sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. I think the characters spend too much time in chibi mode overall, but there occasions were it was amusing.
Overall, I was really disappointed. It's got a good idea but it's rushed all the way to the end and it's so unsatisfying. Watch the anime instead, it fleshes out the characters, gives a better mother plot.....it's a far better take on Angelic Layer than the manga.
lovely sci-fi manga with imaginative touch .
very simple one without any tense and holocaust ,a super safe G-Rated manga and it's a quality one . But , it's sci-fi and imaginative theme , such as creating toys named angelic layer is something unique and attractive for children , a fresh air after surrealistic toys with stupid imaginative and less-creativity such as Beyblade and Yu-Gi-Oh! .
Very Cardcaptor Sakura . No special things , just simple , just very CLAMP but yet enjoyable.
less-character improvement and no abnormality , just very normal character who you can find in real life .
very easy-reading , a side-kick manga .
Beware, the following review may contain /spoilers/.
As far as CLAMP’s manga go, Angelic Layer is pretty average. And that’s all there is to it. /Average/.
For our basic premise, we have Suzuhara Misaki, a young girl who has just moved to Tokyo to live with her aunt in order to go to middle school there. Upon arriving in Tokyo, she is swept up into the game called “Angelic Layer”, where you raise your own “Angel” from an egg and fight with other Angels. Along the way, Misaki makes a couple friends, a few enemies, some rivals, and learns new things about herself. She also discovers that
she is naturally martial arts oriented, and uses her capabilities to fight better in Angelic Layer.
Angelic Layer doesn’t really teach us anything new, except for, perhaps, reinforce the ol’ saying “size doesn’t matter”. There were a few emotional moments here and there, but all in all, Angelic Layer is five volumes mostly comprised of fights. Fights between the Angels, that is; detailing how they battle with each other and the strategies Misaki and Hikaru – her Angel – must use against them. The art is fairly typical CLAMP fare and will probably remind a lot of people of Chobits. Not only is Chobits also written by CLAMP, it also contains a similar theme: the relationships between people and toys (or robots). Misaki is shown to have a high amount of regard and care for Hikaru, a trait that most of the other Deus (people who control Angels) lack.
Plot twists? What plot twists? Most of them were fairly easy to see and read – I’ll eat my hat if no one guessed that Misaki’s mother was the one who controlled the white Angel, Athena, at the end. The characters weren’t particularly memorable. None of them really stay with you at the end. As is the norm for CLAMP’s works, sharp-eyed people will be able to catch references to CLAMP’s other manga – one of the most obvious being Hikaru, who is named after and looks like Hikaru from Magic Knight Rayearth.
Angelic Layer isn’t deep. It isn’t meaningful. But if you’re looking for a few volumes of cute characters and battles between Angels, here’s your manga.