Angelic Layer #1 Review: Clamp-ing Down Success
Can a popular game really change a person’s life? It’s just a silly game, right? Well, those are questions that seem to be asked in CLAMP’s five volume manga “Angelic Layer” being released by Dark Horse in two parts.
The prequel to “Chobits” that takes place several years before it, is about when Misaki Suzuhara goes to live with her aunt in Tokyo. While waiting for train she sees a battle on the TV screen where two puppets fight each other and one Misaki describes as an angel. She is so amazed by how beautiful this “angel” is that she wants one. A weird guy in lamb coat named Icchan finds her and tells her that that’s a battle game called Angelic Layer where players, called Deus, pit their angels against each other. So he takes her shopping to buy her all she needs to make an angel based on Hikaru from “Magic Knight Rayearth” and she now competes in these battles.
The premise is as basic as you can get, but the narrative is strong enough to keep readers attention long enough. The story doesn’t tray away from what it wants to be and is well paced. The characters are also interesting with that CLAMP charm that readers expect to see. You really feel for Misaki and Hikaru while they’re battling even if it is just a game. The only drawback to the story is that Ichhan’s antics can get a little annoying after a while and Misaki’s friends feel more like background characters than supporting characters.
The art style will be familiar to those who have read “Chobits” or “Tsubasa.” It has that early “cute” CLAMP style with characters that are just way too cute to talk about. It also has those shortcuts where the characters run around like Loony Tunes characters and panels with nothing but characters in them and no background. There are also some inconsistencies in the art, such as in one panel one character is wearing one type of dress while in the next they’re wearing something different. Despite that, the art is okay- it fits the story perfectly.
“Angelic Layer” has an interesting story with some decent art that sets up the Cobits universe for those who want to know how it all started. It may not be anything special and the side characters may blend into the background, but the strong story more than makes up for that.
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