Heaven's Lost Property: Forte
With the trouble centered around Nymph, not to mention Ikaros and her terrible secret, settles down, Tomoki Sakurai hopes he can regain his center of peace and quiet again. Unfortunately for him, the heavens have certainly not forgotten that he exists, and isn't above sendin more angels after him, starting off with Astraea.
It's hard to tell why I seems to have taken so to this show when it's got so many odds stacked against it. Why, the abuse of the main character sometimes never seem to end. Yet despite this, he's rollin' in ladies because... he's a nice guy?
But maybe that's why it works. As Tim mentioned, Tomoki is a collossal pervert, and unashamedly so. If his mind isn't filled with underwear -- ladies' underwear, that is -- he's usually hatching some plan to fondle up some of the girls in the neighborhood, or at least catch a peek in the shower or the changing room. (And how?) And seeing as how the girls aren't really fond of all this, it's not exactly making him the most popular guy on the block. Seriously, he scored dead last on a popularity contest in one of the episodes, and the punches he endures on a somewhat regular basis? Well... he kind of has them coming.
It's a bit odd, then, that the show also plays him up as one big hero. Despite his complete lack in combat abilities, he's got the team of angels -- whose numbers steadily rise -- doing the gunning parts, relegating his role to giving these cringeworthy speeches whenever the girls need a pep talk. They sound trite, and also kind of hypocritical coming from a man who makes it his life's mission to peek on as many girls and grab as many boobies as he possibly can get his hands on.
The weird part -- and this is the part that made me antsy about giving this show a chance in the first place -- is that Ikaros pledges herself to Tomoki in the first season, which means that if he wanted to, he could use and abuse her in the worst of ways. Yet, for all the antics he directs at girls who's more than happy to chop-socky him for it, he never once does anything of the sort to her. That's one bullet dodged that could have taken on a very sour note, very fast.
But he doesn't, and so, lots and lots of slapsticky violence happens. But for what it's worth -- and, like I mentioned -- most of it happens as a direct consequence of his actions, and most of it is delivered through Sohara's special brand of dark-aura hand chops. And sure, it's played for comedy, but it never feels particularly mean-spirited (as too much of this kind of comedy tends to do, involuntary or not.) She's also often counter-pranked by Tomoki, so this endearing aspect of their relationship swings both ways. (He never hits her, though, because that would be in poor taste, right?)
Another thing that surprised me was how well the show handled its dramatic contents, though I guess it would be a bit of a backhandled compliment because I didn't really expect much of Heaven's Lost Property. Instead, the first season got surprisingly hearty with Nymph's situation, and Forte escalates this, as well as provided some more background material on the angeloids and Synapse, their place of origin.
Then again, this addition does raise a lot more questions than it answers. We do learn who the blue-haired woman who appears in Tomoki's dream is, but it still leaves the question about what the synapse is, and why it's still being run by a sadistic two-bit villain who still doesn't give any indication of why he's doing what he's doing other than just for kicks.
So, with Nymph's failure to retreive Ikaros, he sends Astraea to kill Tomoki instead. One has to wonder about the wisdom of this decision, since Astraea is sorely lacking in it, meaning her many attempts to do so meets with spectacular failure, often with her target being blissfully unaware that any attempts have been made. (Seriously, when Ikaros and Nymph finds out who's been sent to kill Tomoki, they don't even bother to go rescue him, mostly because they know it isn't necessary.)
Much as I like this show, there were a few aspects to it that I didn't appreciate as much. Some of it is relatively minor stuff, like the collars with broken-off chains that the trio of angeloid girls seem to wear at all times. Granted, they're an indication of their past, and has no real bearing on either of the girls' relationship with Tomoki and his friends, so it's a minor quibble. The fanservice is also more than prevalent, but the girls are so ridiculously buxom and cartoonish that I have a bit of a problem taking that aspect of the show seriously, though it using that fact as a means to have Tomoki make fun of Nymph's small chest was also in poor taste, but it is at least being used to portray his less admirable qualities.
The many games Heaven's Lost Property: Forte seem to showcase are a little more frown-inducing, though. Tim mentioned in his review of the original that he didn't care much for the actions of Mikako, which I found myself disagreeing with, if slightly. None of her actions are necessarily evil or mean-spirited, but she IS highly selfish and tends to put her own entertainment first and foremost, often to the detriment of the students in school, the girls in particular. This does lead to a needlessly large number of her arranging various games, be that quiz shows, snowball fights and fishing competitions, and tends to take up most of that episode's runtime. The quiz show was generally fun and was a direct result of the "Tomoki is the least popular person in school" gag I mentioned earlier. However, the fishing game I mentioned? That's where she basically lured the girls in school into a room, had them all hogtied and thown into a huge water tank and made a game out of having a fishing competition based on the cup size of the girls being fished out of the tank. (Which Tomoki gladly participated in, of course.) The snowball fight also nearly lead into something less admirable, but threw in a surprise angle I appreciated near the end.
A third season for this show has been planned (as of the time of writing), and the manga is still not finished, so it's hard to tell where they plan on going with this However, the seasons are mostly pretty self-contained, so the various open plot elements doesn't hurt as much as they probably should have. Just embrace the fun of it all.
If you're in it for the slapstick or the cheesecake, award this show one more star and have fun. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: The sheer, ridiculous amount of fanservice alone make it unsuitable for the kids, but the show can also get surprisingly dark. The treatment of Nymph is questionable enough alone, but the angeloid sent after Astraea fails her mission also makes one wonder. The show is rated as it is for a reason.
Version(s) Viewed: Region A Bluray (bilingual)
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Heaven's Lost Property: Forte © 2010 AIC, Kadokawa Shoten.
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