Anime Corner: Twin Angels Break Review

Blog Twin AngelReview Title

If it’s broke…well fix it, obviously.

What’s the Story?

Meguru has always wanted to be a hero and when she leaves her island home to go to school in the big city, she may just get the chance. Together with the closed off Sumire she becomes apart of the magical girl duo Twin Angel! They’ll have to learn to work together, taking advice from a talking hedgehog (as long as it’s not a manipulative bunny-cat we’re okay), battling Russian doll robots, mad geniuses and the lovesick Mary who, well, clearly can’t afford a wardrobe seeing as she has nothing to wear (I know female villains have a tendency to wear less, giving evidence to the theory that villainy is related to skin temperature, but come on, underwear and stockings a costume does not make).

The Review

I have mentioned before that I have a soft spot for Magical Girl anime and that’s probably the reason why I stuck with this show until the end. There are a few glimmers of hope, some neat ideas and plotlines, but overall this show just isn’t, well, written well enough for me to consider it to be good.

I think one of the main issues is pacing, this series has a lot of ideas and has a tendency to rush through them in order to get it all fitted in. Sometimes this can be a good thing as we’re not spending ages stuck on some cliché element, but on the other hand several events lack impact because they’re just not given the time they need. For example, the first bad guy they face, he comes across as just your typical villain of the week, but at the end of the episode we learn that this guy was one of the 4 Generals of the bad guys. A guy that was taken out in one episode, an introductory episode with very little time for an actual fight, by a couple of newbie heroes, and this guy’s a general? Yeah, not intimidated by the bad guys at all, at this rate we can finish the series by episode 4.

The odd thing though, is that sometimes the pacing works. I mean the arc in the middle with the twin idols, that’s kind of the best the show has it. I mean it still moves fast, but everything gets build up and pay off and there are some interesting moments. For one thing one of the villains works out the secret identities of Twin Angels and it’s like, wow, actual villain competency, I was not expecting that. We get to know the bad guys (the idols at least), learn their back story and actually feel some sympathy for them. We’ve got the bond forming been one of the bad guys and one of Twin Angels while their respective partners try to keep them apart. We’ve got a wedge developing between Meguru and Sumire and of course the eventual learning that their new friends are actually their enemies and what are they actually going to do about that. If this was better written, this would be really dramatic. Now the writing isn’t bad, it’s just…serviceable. It gets the job done, it gets the point across, even if it can be full of clichés and worn-out dialogue.

The tone is another odd thing about this series, half the time I had no idea whether this show was trying to be serious or parody itself. Let’s go back to the twin idols, that is a section of the series that is trying to be dramatic and heart breaking as we get towards the end of it. Yet how are we introduced to them? They’re a pair of twins who put on concerts that involves making sushi while they sing. Making sushi. While singing. Now I’ll admit I’m not all that knowledgeable or into the whole idol thing, but that’s weird right? I mean that’s something somebody came up with as a joke, right? Nobody would actually…what am I talking about, it’s Japan, of course somebody would come up with this stuff. Some of it can be funny, but it just takes me out of the show for a moment as I try and work out the heck I just saw.

Going back to the villains, let’s talk about Mary. Okay, admit it, which member of staff just wanted to draw her? Come on, I mean we’ve all drawn stuff like it, we don’t all put it in TV shows and inflict it on other people, but each to their own. That ludicrous costume aside, she is an effective villain. She’s smart, she’s manipulative and she is powerful, posing a legitimate threat to our heroes. It does bug me that her motivations boil down to reviving some guy just to meet him again, a guy who we never actually get to see. I mean he’s built up as this whole great evil thing and then he disappears in two seconds flat. The final episode is kind of a microcosm of what’s wrong with this show, it’s so fast-paced, moving from one, what’s supposed to be epic, set piece to the next with no time at all to take it in. It just leaves you sitting there, saying “Oh. That happened.”

I haven’t really spoken much about our heroes Meguru and Sumire and that’s really because there isn’t that much to say. They stick to their archetypes, Meguru is the bubbly optimist who never stops believing and will always help a friend, even if at times she’s a little too energetic and air headed. Sumire is the cool and aloof honour student who doesn’t believe in friendship and is feels better off on her own, until she learns the true value of friends. Honestly the most interesting part is when Meguru starts to slip into a depressed state at the end of the series, weighted down by some pretty serious grief, that Mary is happy to exploit. There’s also their untold back story that, again final episode, goes by the blink of an eye and you barely get a second to take it in.

Maybe I’m expecting too much from this show. I know why I’m here, I want to recapture that feeling I got when I first saw Cardcaptor Sakura (or Cardcaptors as it was called over here) or even Sailor Moon, but I can’t seem too. Maybe I’ve grown up too much, maybe this sort of show just doesn’t appeal anymore and (damn it!) I don’t want that. On the other hand this could just be a poorly executed story and nothing to do with my own personal gripes. Either way, the search continues.

The Verdict

Twin Angels Break isn’t a terrible series, but it’s nowhere near a good one either. It has it’s moments with some decent ideas and plotlines throughout, but the majority of the show is too fast paced for its own good and has a tendency to either fall back on clichés and tired dialogue or just forget what tone it’s trying to establish. You might get some enjoyment out of it, but there are better shows you could spend your time with. Hang on a minute, I just had a thought, this series is called Twin Angels Break and they mentioned a Break System. Did they ever actually explain, or even show, what that is? Damn it now there’s something else wrong with it!

fish stamp avoid

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.  

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