Manga Fans Unite! Angelic Layer GN 1
Age - All Ages
Translators - Anita Sengupta
English Adaptation - Jamie S. Rich
Editor - Jake Forbes
Before We Begin
For all intents and purposes from what I've seen? The Anime and the Manga are basically two entirely different beasts with some exceptions. So, with that said, I'm going to review the first Graphic Novel of the title now... which is to play it safe until I've seen Volume 2 and compared it to the manga.
That way I don't accidentally reveal any "spoiler" notes of what is yet to come in the Anime version (since you are only up to Volume 2 of the series and I have to get that DVD myself sooner or later).
Graphic Novel 1
She has come from a long way away to go to school in Tokyo... and she's barely fifteen minutes in town before she becomes entranced by the fighting "game" known as Angelic Layer.
Who is "she" you might ask? She is one Misaki Suzuhara, and she has become entranced by the game known as Angelic Layer after watching a smaller white clad "angel" defeat a stronger opponent.
Identifying with the smaller angel she is inspired to build her own "angel" and fight, which might be an easy proposition after she runs into a strange guy in a white lab coat... you know, the kind of guy whose description you take to law enforcement so you can acquire a restraining order against said individual.
But building an angel is just the beginning.
She'll have to learn how to play the game, and there's no better way to do it than a little "on the job" training with some actual combat and some "basic training" by herself -- or is it by herself?
At this point the anime and manga split.
There's abit more depth in the anime version, and you get a lot more content including stuff on Mitsaki's mother (who she hasn't seen in a long time), that guy who is related to "Icchan" (that scientist who is more than he seems)... oh, heck, lots.
Thus comes a problem I have with the manga... and that is you need to watch the anime if you want more depth to the manga, but you DON'T get the same amount of depth if you do it in reverse (read the manga to enhance your experience with the anime). What's up with that?!?
Sure there is SOME info, but it doesn't go to the level you get from the anime (and I got this just from watching ONE volume to date). Also there's way more emotion to the anime version than the manga, and lots more depth that the manga lacks severely.
Didn't read the manga? Maybe you're not missing much.
But regardless of this it's still worth having because, well, as I watch the series I might change my opinion.
There might be times when the manga has more depth than the anime... it's just not now.
Of course before this is over Mitsaki is going to meet the rest of the cast, and be entered into her first major tournament and have her first battles, and her first defeat. All of course needed for her to grow.
Don't get me wrong. I love this series. It's one of the few CLAMP series I praise highly... of course I praised Cardcaptor Sakura until the second half when they shoved Sakura into Syaoran's arms and then I spent a lot of time gripping about it... but I won't give you my standard "Tomoyo/Sakura" lecture so don't worry about that.
Yet somehow the anime came off abit better than the manga. In fact it even takes one or two "flaws" with the manga and fixes them... I'll explain that later as I review this in more depth in the future.
Okay. It's breakdown time.
Angelic Layer Breakdown the 1st
Are you watching this? You should. It's one of CLAMP's finest and should be watched. From the CLAMP arsenal I like this, Magic Knight RayEarth and Cardcaptor Sakura... at least the FIRST half of the series in anycase. And, so, if you are a fan of the anime you should be owning the manga, right? Right.
Sadly I'm not telling you to own the manga because it's a required read to grasp the anime. In fact, if anything, it's the opposite (the anime is required to better grasp the manga from what I've seen so far)!
Yet as a fan of the series you should have both. And I have only seen DVD Volume 1 of the series so far so it might be different with subsequent volumes... but for now I'll hold to my one Not for this series.
Moments to Remember
Quite abit of this is memorable, and not just the Angelic fights. Lots of the interactions with Misaki and those around her (her aunt... I mean Shoko... forgot she hates to be called "auntie"... her classmates Kotaro and the potentially fatal to be around Tamayo... "Icchan"... etc) are high on my memorable list.
What to Ignore?
Eck. Can't ignore! Why? This AND the anime are pretty much a who's who of references to OTHER titles from CLAMP!
Eriol Academy, where they go to school, comes from "Eriol" from Cardcaptor Sakura.
The café they eat at in Graphic Novel 1 "Duklyon" comes from Duklyon CLAMP School Defenders.
The name of Misaki's "Angel" Hikaru comes from Hikaru from Magic Knight RayEarth (but that connection gets better explained in the manga than the anime).
A several of the angels are characters from CLAMP series like Magic Knight RayEarth, and one is even the snow goddess Shirahime (of which CLAMP did a one shot of stories for that recently got released by TOKYOPOP translated in english).
Okay. I said it before and I'll note it one more time.
Sure, the anime at this time seems to have a leg up on the manga and has more depth to it, but a true die hard fan of the series would buy this as a must have. This is also for fans of CLAMP, of course.
And it's even good if your curious about Angelic Layer and want to see if you'd get into it.
That's how I got into watching it, by reading the manga.
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