Aug 16, 2009
MajorTom (All reviews)
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'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's a far better take on Angelic Layer than the manga.