Battle Doll Angelic Layer anime review – 9/10

Cast / crew
Writer (Original Story): Clamp
Series Concept: Ichiro Okouchi
Director: Hiroshi Nishikori
Animation Director: Takahiro Komori
Writer (Screenplay): Ichiro Okouchi
Producer: Shinsaku Hatta
Producer: Taihei Yamanishi
Producer: Masahiko Minami
Copyright Holder: Clamp

Battle Doll Angelic Layer (2001)

Twelve-year-old Misaki Suzuhara arrives in Tokyo and watches in amazement as a televised fight between two women is won by the significantly smaller of the two. She is thrilled when she learns that the battles are between Angelic Layer dolls and that she can buy one of her very own from a store. Miha, er, no, Icchan, a strange young man in a white coat, agrees, for some unknown reason, to take her under his wing and teach her how to train and nurture her own battle doll.


Any way you slice it, this has been a wonderful show. It is positive and good-natured. It contains worthwhile sentiments for children and adults alike and can be recommended to anyone. While Japanese animation may be better known for Final Fantasy and violent futuristic entertainment, frequently featuring giant robots hitting each other and girls wearing short skirts falling over, it is this type of show that the industry can be most proud of. No-one else makes or seems to be able to make anything like it that feels so innocent and honest and without any hint of jaded irony.

This series contains battle doll violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Angelic Layer is, on one level, a show featuring tiny robots hitting other. There is typical Japanese animated comedy in the brilliant shape of ‘wiggly’ Icchan. The girls do wear astonishingly short skirts as part of their school uniform (though no pantie shots in this show).

The thing you’ll remember, however, is the emotion and nature of the show which is endlessly positive and pure. The show is also fun, entertaining and offers food for thought. It helps you look at how you live your own life and how you treat others. It is so much the opposite of Western entertainment which is all about being selfish and fulfilling your own desires and fantasies.

SPOILERAn entirely unexpected level of brilliance for the show comes with the back-story regarding the invention of Angelic Layer. This is detailed in the episode “I won’t give up. And an Angel was Born.” (episode 14). It involves research into controlling prosthetic limbs using your mind and getting Shuko to walk again.END SPOILER

If you are someone who always turns off when the credits start, be strongly warned: DO NOT turn off during the credits of the last episode. The entire show’s story arc is only completed after the credits have finished.

Last note, the music is consistently brilliant. The opening and closing song are both excellent. The score is superb and brilliantly used.

3 thoughts on “Battle Doll Angelic Layer anime review – 9/10

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