|"A beautiful angel wages war against God - and loses. Reborn as a human boy, Setsuna struggles with horrific visions and supernatural powers. Angels and demons flock to his awakening, spoiling for battle. Will Setsuna lead them to the apocalypse, or to salvation?"|
|This is a one-disc ova for the manga series of the same name. From the end of it, it looks like it will be continued, but it never was. You can read more of the story in the manga, starting around "The Book of Hades". You find a synopsis of the first few volumes here.
The main plot revolves around Setsuna, a seemingly normal teenage boy who goes to school with his best friend, Akira, and who lives with his estranged mother and dotes on his beautiful and perfectly sweet little sister. The problem is that he dotes on her a little too much, and soon finds out that she returns the feelings. In the meanwhile, he finds out that there is an angel sharing his body, a female who was once cast out of heaven and sentenced to multiple reincarnations. She's also the target of angels and demons alike. Rather than deal with what's going on around him - which is so complicated it even involves his former best friend and protector - he elopes with his little sister and makes an attempt at the perfect romance. Just when things couldn't get better, his guilt catches up to him and he returns to face the mess he left behind. Everything gets worse from there.
You can find a nice review of the US released dvd here.
|This anime is a forbidden romance centered in the middle of a backwards religious war. The angels are evil and the demons are good. Incest is bad if it's the angelic brother who wants his sister, but it's okay if it's the angelic sister's spirit inside the human brother who lusts for 'their' little sister. You never learn why the war that started everything happened, or why the angels were raping, pillaging, and massacring the poor defenseless demons to the point where a high ranking angel like Alexiel had to join the demon side to defend them from her bretherin. Rosiel, Alexiel's misguided brother, seems to be a complete nutcase. You don't know if he was always that way, or if his unrequited lust for his sister drove him to insanity.
Alexiel ending up in the body of a human boy who lusts for his little sister seems like karma intentionally done to make her see how her brother felt being on one side of a forbidden romance. The difference is Alexiel (through Setsuna) ends up getting the sister to not only return the interest, but to run away and have sex with her/him/them. Really a great snub at the traditional right and wrong. The romance in the anime is very tastefully done, beautiful animation done very detailed so that the forbidden love seems more heavenly than any of the depictions of the angels. Sarah (the innocent little sister) is gorgeous, amazing hair, perfect features that are so similar to her brother that they might as well be twins, and a personality that could be linked with Tohru (Fruits Basket) or Belldandy (Ah My Goddess). Everyone loves her because she's perfect (aside from loving her brother too much).
|Naturally this means she has no personality at all, but that just makes the animated romance scenes even prettier. Like a pretty bishounen with any unnamed pin-up girl, there's no way you can dislike the girl, so as long as you like the boy it's all good. Knowing there's a gorgeous woman sharing Setsuna's body probably makes the image even better for the guys. Note I'm not a guy.|
|Kira gets a good amount of screentime in the anime, and he's the real reason I ended up buying the dvd after renting it the first time. His background in the anime is as a 'sword' in the body of a boy who died - technically the body is really that of Setsuna's best friend, Kira, but the spirit in charge is not. He's Alexiel's "sword", literally. He can't be killed, and although he does talk to the real spirit of Kira (who never grew up and haunts him as an unaging child), he seems like a normal teenager on the outside. He's made up a 'bad boy' image to keep his estranged father away, to fulfill the trade he made with the human Kira - that his father would not mourn when he died. The fact that he can't fulfill such a simple wish, even with all his imortal experience, makes his character more human. The scenes with him and his father when Setsuna is off floating around in his self-involved bubble, actually made me cry. I had no such reaction to Sarah's angsty moments. She never struck me as being as 'real' as any of the others.|
|See more pics in the Angel Sanctuary Gallery; Kira's Page|
|Katan doesn't get nearly enough screentime. He's clearly devoted to Rosiel, even though he knows Rosiel has lost it (if he ever had it). He's more of a tragic character than even Sarah - he never gets his one shining moment of happiness before things go from bad to worse. He's a dedicated doormat, with just enough will to act on his own when he's driven to it.
See more pics in the Angel Sanctuary Gallery;
|Other fun little aspects of the anime are the demons. Two crossdressing demons who are looking for Alexiel's soul with the hopes of reuniting her with her body. The little one, a girl who dresses like a boy, and the older one, a man who dresses like a woman. Together they give a very strange image of demonkind. If all demons are like them, it really makes you wonder if there wasn't a valid reason the angels and demons didn't see eye to eye. Seriously, though, they're straightforward characters despite their dressing habits. The boy/girl's dedication to Alexiel after being saved during the war is understandable, and I sympathized with her when Setsuna refused to.|
|I didn't get that close to the woman/man, but I appreciated his dedication to the younger demon (who appears to have a very important role in the manga). There's a scene where he hugs her to comfort her, and it struck me as more real and tangible than any of the flowering romance scenes between Setsuna and Sarah.|
|Rosiel is just weird. I didn't get any sort of connection with him, although the fangirl in me did appreciate seeing him naked in full angel-before-the-moonlight glory. I think he's there just to torment Katan and to chase after Setsuna/Alexiel.|
|We get a few embraces, some flirting (with both Setsuna/Alexiel and Kira), and a kiss that isn't really a kiss (with Katan). As far as the shounen ai (light yaoi) factor goes, the kiss involved tongue, so I guess that counts for something. He just looks too much like a woman, even with the nudity scene. He reminds me most of Millefuille (from Sorcerer Hunters). Pretty bishonen are all good and well, but when they get that pretty you might as well give them some breasts and call it a day. We already have the incest, making it a yuri incest (sisters rather than brother/sister) wouldn't make that much of a difference.|
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