Sixteen year old Li Meifon is the head of an interplanetary conglomerate, the Links Group, in the business of protecting free trade by escorting merchant vessels and eradicating pirates...for free! Set in the same universe as Outlaw Star, Angel Links follows the adventures of Meifon Li and her stalwart (if slightly odd) crew as they mercilessly stomp just about everything that gets in their way.
As a spin-off of Outlaw Star, there is not really very much that connects these two series other than the consistencies that appear relating to their shared universe (Tao magic, grappler ships, sub-ether drives, etc). In fact, there is little to no mention of the Outlaws at all, so if you are expecting the continued adventures of Gene Starwind and company, then you will be disappointed. However, taken by itself, Angel Links is an action-packed, fun-filled anime. At times it is slightly cliched as anime goes, as it draws on themes of honor and revenge that have been played out time and time again since the olden days of kabuki. However, the colorful characters, nicely rendered CG, and awesome space battles and sword fights more than make up for any trite material in the plot.
The series kicks off with a bang. The first few episodes do little more than give all the various heroes a chance to pose and flex as various pirate scum get their tails firmly kicked. Numerous bad guys get vaporized by the "Links Cannon" and everyone gets to look cool as you learn a little about each of the main members of Meifon's bridge crew. Then, the main villain is introduced (and if you can't tell he's going to be the villain after the first episode he appears in, you haven't watched enough anime!) and things begin to get more interesting. The story itself in a way reminds me of a Hong Kong gangster film. Betrayals, lies, revenge, and an ending that leaves you with a sense that justice has been served and good has triumphed, but is slightly melancholy at the same time.
And I would be remiss if I didn't make mention of the main characters themselves. My personal favorite was Duuz, the big lizard that was in command of Boarding Operations (Platoon Commander). In fact, Duuz and the Tactical Officer, Valeria, make cameo appearances in Outlaw Star (the episode with the captured cruise ship). The other two characters worthy of note are Kosei, the public relations lackey (and professional tea server), and of course, Meifon herself, who is, to put it mildly, quite bouncy. Rejoice fan service fanboys, for great detail has been paid to this bouncy-ness. Honestly, I often found myself wondering exactly *what* kind of weird science held the front of her outfit up. And then, there is Taffe. Meifon's "pet" cat-demon-Kero-chan thing that is both incredibly cute and turns into a sword upon command. (Oh, and did I mention it spends most of its time hiding in her cleavage?)
The spaceship CG and CG effects scattered throughout the series are very nicely done. The giant halo left by the "Halo Cannon" is especially neat. The Angel Links launch sequence is cool the first couple of times, but gets kind of old. Thankfully it stops being a once an episode thing around episode 4. And finally, the intro song, performed by Naw Naw and written by DJ-Cool, is very cool for those that enjoy J-pop.
In all, Angel Links rates well with other anime in its genre. With lots of fast paced action, bouncy anime heroines, and smooth colorful animation it's worth a rental at the very least, especially if you enjoyed Outlaw Star or similar space-action anime.
Remove one star if shameless cleavage shots or small furry animals that turn into swords offend you. — Jason Bustard
Recommended Audience: As previously mentioned there is LOTS of cheesecake. No full nudity or sexual situations, just lots of cheese. Also quite violent from time to time, so this would probably be best for the teen crowd and up.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Angel Links © 1999 Morning Star / Sunrise / Bandai Entertainment
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