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AKA: ネオ アンジェリーク Abyss -Second Age-
Genre: Action fantasy/reverse harem.
Length: Television series, 13 episodes, 24 minutes each
Distributor: Currently licensed by Sentai Filmworks, but also available on Crunchyroll.
Content Rating: 13+ (Violence, deaths.)
Related Series: Neo Angelique Abyss (prequel)
Also Recommended: Hiiro no Kakera, Story of Saiunkoku, Fruits Basket, Umi Monogatari.
Notes: Is loosely connected to a series of videogames under the "Angelique" moniker, "Neo Angelique" being a renewal of the main series itself.
Rating: Two StarsTwo Stars
 

Neo Angelique Abyss -Second Age-

Synopsis

Six months after the burning of Hidamari Mansion and the disappearance of the Purifiers, the residents of Arcadia faces an even more dire threat as the Thanatos attacks increase all over the land. Meanwhile, the hunters themselves remain in hiding, with Angelique -- the angel's egg -- remaining in a state of unconsciousness all this time.


Review

While the original show in its near-infinite goofiness did make me think some changes were going to take place near its end to allow for a second season to keep the momentum up, I'll admit I wasn't expecting the rather severe mood swing that came with it.

Thankfully, the show doesn't dwell in its own darkness (or Angelique's state of unconsciousness) for too long, and me and Tim could both delight in Neo Angelique Abyss returning to its charmingly goofy state of being in short order. The rest of the show then proceeds to dedicate itself to sorting out the problems its world already had as well as the new ones that came along, the main issue being Nyx's apparently turn of heart.

And, blessedly so, the absurd goofiness also made a return. In a scene in episode 3, the team needs to head out by ship, which is where they meet up with Sedona, the captain of a ship our heroes boarded. On this journey, as our heroes help out with ship duties as payment, two things happen. One; Angelique requests the captain to teach her how to fight with a sword (which is not the goofy part I was referring to), and two; the ship gets attacked by a Thanatos. However, the ship's crew, being familiar with how to handle the Thanatos, just harpoons the thing, tows it aboard, places it in a gigantic ship-mounted slingshot and fires it over the horizon. (Which is the goofy part, in ways that just has to be seen to be believed.)

This is the best thing ever.

In a sense, the whole of Neo Angelique Abyss runs the whole gamut of a typical older JRPG, almost to the letter. We have our team of heroes who set out on a long journey to solve their world's problems, which usually culminates in a battle against the ultimate of evils. Most of them start out rather lighthearted, but tends to grow more somber as they go along. Angelique's swordmanship is actually one of those parts where the show gets oddly realistic, and kind of at odds with RPG elements/general hero entitlements in general; she doesn't immediately get good at it. In fact, she can barely swing the thing at first, and has to do a whole lot of physical training because of it.

Which would have been fine if they actually took this plot element somewhere, but sadly, Neo Angelique Abyss -Second Age- eventually falls by the wayside. The fact that the show does come to an eventual conclusion does help, of course, but it's in the how that matters, and this is where the second season fails. It turns really boring, and the attempts at intrigue doesn't really help matters, mostly because most of the decisions the characters make in the show tend to come off as really bad ideas, with consequences they really should have seen coming.

Could part of that be blamed on the animation quality? It's tempting to think so, because most of the last half consist of so much talking. And it's not the good kind of talking either; Angelique is put on an endless "I want to go back to Hidamari Mansion" repeat (even though it's burned down), or just states that she wants to go back with everyone. The whole church organisation gets thrown into the crapper once Mathias does something stupid and launches into a whole set of speeches of his own, all the while Thanatos hover non-menacingly in the air. It's coming off more as a stage play rather than a supposed action series.

I'll try to keep the ending spoilers to a minimum, though; even if I'm not so sure I want to recommend this. Honestly, for all I had problems taking the first season completely seriously, it was a fun show to watch. This is only half true for -Second Age-, sadly. It's too chatty and lacking in actual activity, which is more in line with its poor animation quality, but still makes it a tedious watch. The resolution is also predictably bittersweet, with a truly ridiculous small character twist near the end that really take you out of it.

Neo Angelique Abyss -Second Age- is just such a disappointment all in all. Not being one of the target audience might make this a bit uncalled for, but the show lost me once it started taking itself too seriously. It still stays true to its reverse harem route (and by that extent, harem in general) by having the main supporting characters (I.E. said harem) still too unrealistically willing to sacrifice anything and everything for the sake of a girl they often just met. The vaguely homoerotic relationship between Mathias and Rene is at least realistic, seeing as they actually grew up together. (Well, Mathias was already an adult when they met, but you get my drift.)

So... I guess it's worth recommending this show as a whole, given how amusing it can get at times. Just brace yourselves for the possibility that the ending might drag a whole lot, and some aspects to it might not make a whole lot of sense. That's why I'm going to give this season the rating I feel it deserves.

A bit of a letdown after all this general amusement.Stig Høgset

Recommended Audience: The Thanatos play a generally lesser role in this season, so there's less onscreen deaths or results of Thanatos attacks. However, the overall mood invites to senseless acts of revenge from the general populace.



Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream from Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subtitles.
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Neo Angelique Abyss -Second Age- © 2008 KOEI, Yumeta Company, Neo Angelique Production.
 
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