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If you loved "Kiddy Grade", then "Burst Angel" will knock your socks off.
Review by Matthew Anderson
24 Episode TV Series
Running Time: 100 minutes (4 episodes)
Rated: PG-13 (Adult situations, language, partial nudity)
In Tokyo of the distant future, crime runs rampant. Parts of the once great city have become lawless no-man lands, full of villainy and strife. To combat this plague of crime, RAPT was created. Part law enforcement, part military unit, these well equipped men and women use any and all means necessary to bring control to the wild, gun toting populace.
Young Kyohei Tachibana is looking for a part time job to help fund his way to cooking school. Answering an advertisement posted by his teacher, he finds himself the personal chef of a group of women who take on dangerous assignments for the mysterious Bai-Lan organization. There is Jo, their cold, calculating point man with a chip on her shoulder. The pretty, yet stuck up, Meg, Jo's oft captured partner. Amy, a very young, but incredibly brilliant computer hacker, and Sei, their sexy boss.
It isn't long before Kyohei finds himself on the wrong side of a loaded gun, as he become stuck in the middle of the girls latest mission, recover a data disc from the Mafia.
Will Kyohei survive long enough to make it into cooking school?
DVD VISION TEST
VIDEO: The quality is excellent. There are no pixels or errors noted. The colors are solid, and the motion, fluid.
AUDIO: The English and Japanese 5.1 audio tracks are mixed well, with plenty of surround sound effects during the action segments. The English 5.1 is louder, with plenty of base to keep you in the middle of the action.
EDITS: The best of both worlds. Thanks to the use of multiple angels, you can watch the open and close with English titles, or the original Japanese versions. No edits to the episodes have been made.
EXTRAS: Chock full of extras on this volume. There is an audio commentary on episode 4 with voice actress Monica Rial and Jamie Marchi, audio mixer Nathaniel Harrison, and ADR director Christopher Bevins. There are 5 special "radio dramas", textless opening and closings, and a collection of hilarious outtakes. There is even a "Burst Angel" cell phone strap included in the box set edition!
STORY: If you loved "Kiddy Grade", then "Burst Angel" will knock your socks off. Based off the concept by Gonzo, series structure writer Fumihiko Shimo and director Koichi Chata fill each episode with plenty of gun slinging action, comedy, and cute girls.
ACTING: The cast is very good, on both tracks. On the English dub, you will be totally amazed at the work done by Monica Rail. Jamie Marchi's reading for the pushy, stuck up Meg was right on the money, injecting the right tone of indignation and dissatisfaction in every sentence. The supporting cast is top notch too. Clarine Harp is downright sexy as Sei, her strong voice a perfect match to her regal character. Greg Ayers is cute as Kyohei, and I loved Alison Retzolff's reading for the bratty Amy.
The Japanese cast is also quite enjoyable, although I found Megumi Toyoguchi's voice for Meg a little too high pitched for my tastes. Like Monica Rial, you will be surprised to hear Akeno Watanabe of "Witch Hunter Robin" voice for Jo. Rie Tanaka goes for a more regal tone for Sai, and it's just as sexy as Clarine Harp!
FAN SERVICE: It's funny, but the outfits they wear are so form fitting, there isn't any need for panty shots...they don't wear any pants! Well except for Sai and Kyohei, and Sai wears low riders!
As a wise (or cynical) man once said; "There are no new ideas, only new ways to express them!" In anime, that goes doubly so. "Dirty Pair" had "Kiddy Grade", "X" had "Angel Sanctuary", and "Tenchi Muyo" had "Love Hina". While Bubblegum Crisis OVA's had many cousins (including the TV series by the same name)," Burst Angel" is the first to really capture the flavor of BGC, while giving us more to look at.
"Burst Angel" is a thrill ride, plain and simple. There are no deep plots, no epic speeches, and minimal angst. It's just 100 minutes of ass kicking by hot babes in sexy outfits. There is nothing here you haven't seen a 1000 times before. Hell, it borrows so much from "Bubblegum Crisis", you can almost hear "There is a Hurricane Tonight" playing in the back ground.
Perhaps you have read this scenario before; girls get assigned a dangerous mission, they carry it out in a very flamboyant, incredibly destructive way, and then they go home. All the while, they must deal with a sinister, ultra powerful organization that manipulates things from behind the scenes. While the bad guys have advanced technology, and inexhaustible funds, our four female heroines have a secret weapon of their own. Am I crazy, or does this sound like the premise of BGC?
Okay, if that doesn't convince you, take a look at the characters. There is Jo, the cold and aloof main character that really kicks ass. Meg, the snotty, rude, and arrogant partner, who is more concerned with looking pretty than getting her hands dirty. The uber-cute and super smart computer hacker Amy (who is of course the youngest of the group), and the sexy and stoic boss of the group Sai, who they affectingly call "big sister". Oh, and let's not forget Kyohei, a young, socially awkward young lad who is not quite ready to handle the crazy world of the Knight Sab....er the ladies of Bai Lan.
By this point, I'm sure you are expecting me to rip into this series, screaming and shouting about how much it sucks. Well, your in for a surprise, because I liked "Burst Angel". In fact, I really enjoyed it. Certainly, it isn't anything new, but it has an innate charm, a vibe that you can get into, right from the start. The over the top action, combined with great acting and beautiful character designs results in one hot anime.
The combat is plentiful, with enough cool "action poses" to make John Woo shed tears of joy. The CG and regular animation are blended perfectly. The motion is smooth, but some of the robotic CG is a little to much like the animation from the first season of "Zoids". The characters look great, with plenty of detail, and the bright pallet of the computer aided coloring makes "Burst Angel" look beautiful.
Speaking of beautiful, I am utterly in love with the character designs of "Burst Angel". All of the women, from the gorgeous Sai to the uber cute Amy are to die for. Taking the already excellent work of Original Character Designer Ugetsu Hakua, Animation Character Designers Osamu Honuchi and Kanetoshi Kamimoto show their appreciation of the female form, in all it's wonderful shapes. Jo is perfect for you "Cameron Diaz" fans; buff, cut, and full of attitude. Amy will appeal to your "Lumiere" fans. While she may be underage, she still has that "future hottie" look about her. Meg is cut from the same cloth as "Éclair"; great curves, busty, and nice legs.
My personal favorite is "Sai" the sexiest boss in anime since "Sylia Stingray" from the BGC OVA. Her classic facial features, her sexy clothes, tight yet curvy body, and the voice of Clarine Harp make her one of my all time favorite female anime characters. I can't wait to see her in combat!
It's funny, but the right theme song can do wonders. "Loosey" by "The Stripes" sets the rockin' vibe of the series from the get go. The fusion of jazz, hip-hop, and rock establishes the mood, letting you know that the next 25 minutes are hip, cool, and action packed. It's one of those songs that will stick in your head, and will have you desperately trying to remember the lyrics so you can sing it at the next anime convention.
The acting is one of the best parts of "Burst Angel" and at the top is Monica Rial, who will blow your socks off with her reading as Jo. I never, ever, knew that her voice could go that low, and that aggressive. She fully brings to life the permanently angry Jo in a way I could not have predicted. Even after I saw her name on the credits, I still could not believe it. There is a reason why she is one of the best in the business, and "Burst Angel" is proof positive.
"Burst Angel" is pure entertainment, plain and simple. Not every anime has to be a deep, philosophical dissertation on humanity and his relationship with the universe. There are times when you need to just kick back and watch hot babes, with big guns, and even bigger mecha, blow crap up. If you felt that "Kiddy Grade" was awesome, wait until you watch these "Crazy Burst Angels"!
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