In the near future, the death penalty has been revoked worldwide. Therefore, criminals are sent to an underground prison set in the impact crater of a nuclear site somewhere in the United States, known as Neo Purgatory. (Hold on, this gets better.) A group of women, known as the Guard of Rose, is caught in the crossfire when the mysterious villain Donn Canyon launches his mission to "purify the world" with radiation, or something like that.
Can Maki, Naomi, Doris, Marilyn, and Katherine save the human race from utter annihilation? Will the Canyon family succeed in browbeating the world's superpowers to accept their fate? Will the President of the United States ever find a decent spell-check program?
6 Angels is what happens when you get some mecha designer schmuck to conceive and direct a full feature-length film. Sure, director Kobayashi Makoto of Z Gundam and Giant Robo design fame knows how to draw large hunks of metal. Unfortunately when it comes to actually choosing to base an entire story around them, Kobayashi and equally untalented creator and scriptwriter Akimoto Yasushi fail in a way very few have deigned to fail before.
No, this is not the *same* Kobayashi Makoto who created the charming comics What's Michael and Club Nine. We swear. Granted, Kobayashi was not actually supposed to be the director in the first place: the original director for this project was Kouson Akira, who was involved in Macross, but also had a hand in the disastrous Yamato 2520. Smelling another disaster in the making, Kouson bolted after producing the trailer of what would've been a much better film (conveniently included as one of the many extras on the questionably legal DVD we acquired of this movie). Kobayashi Makoto (whose sole previous directing credit was for the obscure OAV Dragon's Heaven back in 1988) proved a loyal second-stringer, and therefore delivered this stunning failure of a movie.
Just imagine MD Geist as acted by the cutesy cast of I'm Gonna Be An Angel (incidentally, one of Kato Hiromi's previous character design jobs), with a cutesy, last minute tag-along mecha that looks suspiciously like Meroko, the bunny angel from Full Moon o Sagashite.
Can't wrap your mind around those comparisons? Here, I'll make it simpler for you.
6 Angels features cute, cute girls with bizarre hair colors and odd eye highlights, ugly, lantern-jawed villains with scissors randomly stapled to their outfits, intrigue involving the cabinets of both the United States and the inexplicably resurrected Soviet Union, heavy-handed anti-nuclear environmentalist preaching, heavy-handed promotion of domestic violence awareness, buckets of blood, and pointless bare-booby shots. Anything you could ever want in an anime is slapped together in this single movie, which, for ninety excruciating minutes, vainly tries to tie all of these hopelessly disparate subjects together into a single coherent message.
If there was ever a film in which we, as viewers, had NO FREAKING CLUE WHAT THE CREATORS ARE TRYING TO DO, 6 Angels is it. Bounty Dog made more sense. Baoh had better, more believable villains. And MD Geist ... well, it's still crap, but 6 Angels only surpasses it by virtue of having spiffy (if utterly wasted) CG sequences.
So where do we even begin to dissect this beast of a film? For starters, we can tackle the film's soundtrack, produced by Amano Masamichi (Battle Royale), who really, really ought to know better. The BGM sounds eerily similar to the background of the Care Bears Movie, ethereal and fluffy and jarring and likely the result of a five-year-old banging on a synthesizer. A theatrical release should not have music this crappy. I don't even remember there being an opening or ending theme ... I guess the creators couldn't really have given a crap about whether we had the speakers on during this film.
Okay, maybe that's not true. The creators want you to listen to the irritating Mamiya Kurumi (Hamtaro, Hamtaro). She plays the annoying and incredibly pointless mecha mascot, Link, who goes from alarm clock to tactical battlefield war machine during the course of this film. It's Jar-Jar all over again, but with a squeaky Japanese woman's voice: sheer hell. Thanks to the DVD extras we screened, we learn that this entire character was a last minute addition by our second-string director Kobayashi Makoto, who has to be incredibly stupid to think that inserting a character like this into a war film would be a really good idea. Coincidentally, Yasushi Akimoto is also incredibly stupid, which is the only way to explain him giving Link a major role in his hastily rewritten screenplay.
That's right, kids. The creators COMPLETELY rewrote the film around Link. This is NOT a good thing.
The voice actresses who play the Guard of Rose girls are uniformly mediocre and less interesting than the girls of the Gall Force, which is especially dismaying considering the talent among them. These aren't total nobodies here: we have Neya Michiko (Rally Vincent, Gunsmith Cats), Shiratori Yuri (Cherry, Saber Marionette J), Okamura Akemi (Myao, Carried by the Wind: Tsukikage Ran), and Asano Mayumi (Hisoka, Descendants of Darkness). The worst of the lot is the lead, Orikasa Tomiko (Meia Gisborn, Vandread), who is reduced to voicing a character who chases off men by insinuating that her breasts are actually bombs.
Obviously, these ladies are not given much of anything to work with, especially considering that character development was the last thing on director Kobayashi's mind, a fact we also learn from the handy-dandy DVD extras.
The incredibly sad thing about this movie is that, while the character animation isn't great, there are gobs and gobs of well-executed CG that seems like an utter waste of this studio's resources. You see CG pans of Neo Purgatory, CG pans of the American space nuclear missile platform, CG pans of the Deus ex Machina "angel" who shows up for no good reason halfway through the flick (remember this), and even a CG pan of the office of the Guard of Rose. You get CG pans of everything short of the Rose Guards' underwear closet.
Unfortunately, for all the money they spent on animation computers, they didn't spend a dime on an English language spell-checker. Even Windows Word could have caught the gross spelling errors in this film. Neo Purgatory is consistently misspelled as "Neo Pagatory" ... no, not in the dodgy (possibly Chinese) subtitles, but in the actual movie screen text. Dead people are "decased". And stunningly, "nucrear missiles" are "exprosioned". The kicker? All of these are displayed on screens that are supposed to be the computer system for the President of the United States! It's mass Engrish of a magnitude greater in scope than any single feature ever made. Even Bubblegum Crisis did English better ... and 6 Angels is actually supposed to be set in America?
Yeah, back to that character animation. Whoever thought it would be cute to have a character with blonde hair and purple highlights named Marilyn Moreau has been watching way too much Tank Girl. All of the girls have eye highlights that neither match their eye colors nor ambient light conditions. Sure, there are wild and wacky hair color designs in good anime (even in The Animatrix) but these "Guard of Rose" girls look like they belong in a circus, not a mercenary outfit.
What the hell kind of name is "Guard of Rose", anyway?
As if the character designs weren't bad enough, the characterization is even worse, especially the "lead character", the inexplicably Japanese Aoba Maki, who goes around blowing stuff up in the name of curing domestic violence. Of course, there's the obligatory stowaway / catalyst character, Katherine Hawke (misspelled all variety of ways), who is really there is kill off one of the "sub-bosses" by cutely plugging him between the eyes with a pistol while whining. Oh yeah. Classic cinema.
Strangely enough, this movie is broken up into chapters, as if it's really supposed to be a six episode series of ten-to-fifteen minute Internet shorts. As it stands, even converting this movie to an OAV series wouldn't help this anime a damn bit. Kobayashi Makoto's sense of pacing is about as good as his sense of characterization - this thing wouldn't be well-paced in any viewing format.
The convoluted, confused plot simply defies comparison with other anime; it's just really, really bad. An actual scene from this movie has the Neo Purgatory baddies hacking the United States orbital nuclear missile platform by way of Soviet satellites. That's one of the least nonsensical moments of the film, and I'm not exaggerating. Less than halfway through the film, the entire audience of three THEMers had long since given up trying to make heads or tails of this damn thing. So will you.
How about those villains who want to "purify the Earth with radiation"? They're a singularly Evil (TM) lot of nutcases drawn from the dregs of the MD Geist-era stock set of characters - their insistence on polluting the Earth to destroy the human race makes them sound a whole lot like those villains on Captain Planet, and about as hilarious in their obvious, ridiculous amounts of Theatrical Evil.
There's the Evil Donn Canyon (isn't that a porn star name?), who is big and imposing, with hair stolen from Street Fighter II's Guile, a left eye snagged from Midnight Eye Goku, and an outfit accessorized with barber's shears. (Eh?) Note that the creators couldn't even get his name right, misspelling it "Cannione" on various occasions.
There's the Evil Ed Canyon, his second-in-command and eldest son, who randomly has veins bulging in his temples while looking like an Evil Salaryman, or a reject from X.
There's the Evil Sam and Terry Canyon, who look like Evil Twin Metallica Roadies, chasing girls around with giant bots, while prancing around half-naked in bondage gear, and listening to second-rate music that wouldn't cut it at Zia Records. For no good reason halfway through the film, the dastardly duo try to sexually abuse one of the Rose Guards in a scene lifted from every other post-apocalyptic movie ever made.
And there's the Evil Akira Canyon (what is it again with these random Japanese names?), the boyish-looking and transparently psychotic computer hacker who manages to get himself capped by Ed. For no good reason halfway through the film.
Oh yeah, and there's two random guys (JC and Mike) whose entire purpose in this film is to run in fear from Maki's naked breasts. Because, like, they're bombs, you know! They carry the Rose Guard's luggage, act as inept spies against the bad guys, and randomly grow wings. For no good reason halfway through the film.
Screw it. Here's the rest of the plot.
Through this entire crisis, the Russian, oops, Soviet Air Force inexplicably shows up in the form of mutant mecha variants of Beriev jet flying boat bombers (with Mazinger lifting arms) that drop off carbon copies of Jung-Freud's mech suit from Gunbuster (lawsuit! lawsuit!) complete with hammer-and-sickle emblems emblazoned on the front. These armor suits, in turn, promptly battle an army of random police robots in a singularly pointless show of well-animated metallic carnage that goes to show that Kobayashi Makoto really, really doesn't have any talent outside of drawing mecha designs.
Unsurprisingly, one of the Russian girls (of course they're girls!) named Tereshkova (anyone who knows Russian history may groan at the reference now) turns out to be the psychic twin of Maki, and urges her to finish the fight when she has her obligatory Crisis of Faith after blowing up large chunks of the moon with the aforementioned "nucrear missiles" (hey, let's save Tokyo and Sydney by altering our planet's tidal patterns!).
Finally, in an anticlimactic, unbelievably stupid ending that steals liberally from The EYES of Mars, Nadia Secret of Blue Water, Gundam Char's Counterattack, and Castle in the Sky, the entire Neo Purgatory complex rises into the air and into space, as the Rose Guard team arrives at the enemy lair just in time to blow up Donn Canyon's scissors outfit, then watch the inexplicably crucified Angel (which, as I stated earlier, showed up for no good reason halfway through the film, like everything else in 6 Angels -- and yes, this movie is really paced like this) casually flick aside Donn Canyon's spiritual flame wannabe-Pyro-from-Darkstalkers body (hahaha I'm invincible- NOOOO!), and then Angel makes a five-minute long speech about how the Canyon Clan wasn't really Evil, and that we all just need to get along and love each other, and then Neo Purgatory blows up, and everything is metaphysical for thirty seconds, and then all the good guys go home safe and sound to their computer-generated domiciles, and that should be the end of everything ...
... except that the very last scene of this anime features flighty, stubborn, cutesy Maki Aoba entering the Oval Office as the first Japanese cosplay President of the United States.
There. I spoiled it for you. You will now never have to watch this movie. Feel free to thank me monetarily if you wish. I've got PayPal.
Do you get the point, folks? 6 Angels is crap! Festering, steaming, pulsating crap! I can't believe big-budget anime movies can be created in this day and age and suck so bad. But they can, and here's the proof.
Who can we thank, err, blame for this? Well, we've got mecha-nut Kobayashi Makoto and his complete and utter lack of directorial talent, the idiotic Akimoto Yasushi for coming up with the stunningly dodgy concept and original story, the creatively bankrupt Jpec System Co. for being suckered into bankrolling this thing, the obscure studio Ark Trues for actually wasting time animating it, and Groove Corporation for actually bothering to disseminate this massive waste of digital media to the outside world.
Here's the ultimate culmination of three and a half pages of review: If you see this thing on the shelf anywhere, run the hell away as fast as you can.
Unless you've got a pair of trash-talking robots to back you up, and you're trapped in a satellite orbiting a planet in deep space with nothing better to do, you should never, ever watch 6 Angels.
As a postscript, I tried rewatching this with a larger audience to see if I was merely overreacting.
I take back what I said earlier. This really IS the worst anime I've ever seen.
6 Angels has all the elements that could have made a great movie, except for the greatness. As it stands, it's a black hole of SUCK. — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: Anyone actually willing to watch this movie after finding out its utter lack of quality scares me. There are several scenes of torture, pointless nudity, and graphic violence, so even if this movie were actually watchable, it would be relegated to an audience of older teens and above. However, even the most fanatical and undiscerning otaku would be hard pressed to sit through all ninety minutes of this exercise in masochism.
Version(s) Viewed: R2 DVD, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (1/1)
6 Angels © 2002 Groove Corporation / Akimoto Yasushi
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