14 Apr 2004 8:02 pm

I thought I’d throw my pair of pennies onto the pile and review Bakuretsu Tenshi (which, I believe, means “Exploding Angel”, or something to that effect — the official site seems to translate it as “Rupture Angel”, which seems oddly creepy). Two episodes isn’t a lot to go on, but so far, this is one series that I’m actually looking forward to watching on a regular basis. It’s not particularly deep or convoluted (so far), but it does look like high-energy fun.

The series follows the exploits of Jo, Meg, Amy, Sei and their new cook (and only male castmember) Kyohei. So far, it looks like the girls are part of some kind of gang or bounty-hunting organization, only with better funding and a rather Daphne-in-the-Brilliant-Blue dress code (which is generally Okay By Me, with one exception).

Kyohei, Meg, Jo, Amy and Sei - Bakuretsu Tenshi's Main Players

The cast of Bakuretsu Tenshi

Jo’s the heavy muscle for the group (being the bad-ass with the short-short chaps, dual pistols, bizarre strength and some as-of-yet unexplained connection to the group’s mech Jango). Amy’s the young computer whiz kid, Sei seems to be the organizational head of this little group, and Kyohei, as mentioned before, is the cook. I have yet to determine what role Meg plays, aside from Jo’s backup and possible foil. Generally speaking, the characters with undefinable roles tend to be the emotional anchors for ensemble shows like this, so I’d expect to see a fair number of Meg-centric plots.

The show is created by Gonzo, and has a mix of 2D and 3D animation; the 2D’s pretty damn sweet, but the 3D could take some lessons from this season’s other mecha series (Kenran Butoh Sai, which appears to be wholly 2D and therefore manages to have its heavy mecha action without being so damn jarring in terms of its integration with the rest of the show, though perhaps at the cost of the sheer fluidity and speed that the CG animation offers). My primary complaint is that the 3D looks too much like a PS2 cel-shaded mecha shooter, which, honestly, may be the effect they’re gunning for, but it feels rather out of place, and looks blurry.

CG Jango Mecha Combat

Jango, guns at the ready

And, I can’t say I’m overly jazzed about the designs. But then again, I’m not really watching this show for the hot, hot mecha on mecha action (which is a shame, because they could have pulled a Full Metal Panic! — now there’s a series which integrated the character drama with exemplary Gaul / Sagara Arm Slave combat).

As Karmaburn pointed out, there’s a ridiculously strong Asuka / Rei / Shinji vibe to the characters of Meg, Jo and Kyohei. This seems to be further complicated with shoujo-ai overtones between Meg and Jo (and which is sure to get the 2/4-chan’ers busy photoshopping MariMite-esque situations for those two). Meg seems fiesty and opinionated, and overly protective of Jo. Jo seems to be channelling both Rei and Maggie (from ROD TV).

Meg and a tired-looking Jo

Meg and Jo

Character development for the rest of the cast will have to wait for more episodes, I guess. I really hope that the show doesn’t pull a Dual! and turn into some weird mecha / harem anime. To be perfectly honest, I’d rather it explored the entire Jo / Meg relationship, but that may be the power of MariMite speaking through me. The official site for Bakuretsu Tenshi has more technical details (well, if you read Japanese). よい

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