Angel Sanctuary

Rating: 3½ Rampages box cover

Inorganic Angel Alexiel challenged the leadership of God (who had let his angels grow weak with lust and violence) and as punishment was separated into mind, body and soul. The body was killed, the soul encased in a crimson gem, and the mind re-incarnated as Setsuna, a human boy, Setsuna struggles with horrifying visions and supernatural powers. He loves his sister in a way that a brother shouldn't. Angels and demons flock to his awakening, spoiling for battle. Will Setsuna lead them to the apocalypse, or to salvation?

Man, what was I drinking...AAGH! SIS!!

Herself the Elf sez: My oh my, this one really pushes the boundaries. Not only do we get love, death, blood, long-haired bishounen, angels, roses and angst, but we got incest too! What a deal!

But seriously, this show impressed me. I was expecting something heavy on the eye-candy and light on everything else, and was pleasantly surprised. Yeah, there are some questionable morals involved, but there's also a deep and compelling story that unfortunately couldn't get the treatment it deserved in a 3-episode OVA. Nevertheless, they did a better job on the manga-to-anime conversion than CLAMP did for X. We don't get all the background story, but we do get some and it does make some kind of sense, although it does feel a bit rushed, like they were desperately trying to cram everything into 3 episodes.

All the characters are compelling and interesting, (especially Kira, Setsuna's best friend and a mysterious dark-horse type of guy), and I found myself actually caring what happened to them. There's a rather heavy-handed good-vs-evil and sin-must-be-punished message hanging over the whole thing, but it's handled fairly well and certainly could have been a lot worse. There are even a couple moments of humour, which surprised me immensely. They don't really affect the general character of the show, but they were fun and offered a momentary break from all that angst.

As for the art, it's just spectacular. Gorgeous scenery, gorgeous bishounen and, gorgeous effects make Angel Sanctuary a feast for the eyes. The music is pretty nice, too. All in all, it *is* heavy on the melodrama, but it's much better than many bishounen-angst shows out there. Recommended.

Available from Central Park Media.

Ooh, a naked angel