Burst Angel – The Complete Collection (A J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
October 18, 2009 by Dennis Amith
“An anime series with high level action, guns ablazing, mecha destruction and a tremendous amount of fan service. ‘Burst Angel – The Complete Collection’ gets the High Definition treatment and looks and sounds magnificent on Blu-ray!”
Images courtesy of © 2003-2007 GONZO/Project BAKUTEN.
TITLE: Burst Angel – The Complete Collection
DURATION: 24 episodes +1 OAV (600 Minutes)
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16×9), English and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English subtitles
RATED: TV 14
COMPANY: Gonzo/FUNimation Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: September 29, 2009
Directed by Koichi Ohata
Series Composition by Fumiko Shimo
Music by Masara Nishida
Character Design by Kanetoshi Kamimoto, Osamu Horiuchi
Art Direction by Aki Makoto, Toshikazu Ishiwata
Mechanical Design by Kanetake Ebikawa
Character Conceptual Design by Ugetsu Hakua
3D Director: Tomoaki Kaneko
Sound Director: Yota Tsuruoka
Director of Photography: Sei Kitaoka
Anime Production by GONZO
Akeno Watanabe/Monica Rial as Jo
Megumi Toyuguchi/Jamie Marchi as Meg
Mikako Takahashi/Alison Retzloff as Amy
Rie Tanaka/Clarine Harp as Sei
Yuji Ueda/Greg Ayres as Kyohei Tachibana
Takayuki Sugo/Mike McFarland as Leo Jinno
Kyoko Hikami/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Maria
Susumi Chiba/David Trosko as Hayao Ichimonji
Jerry Russel as Governor Glenford
Kent Williams as Ishihara
A new law and a dark underground syndicate have delivered devastating chaos to Tokyo. The city’s only chance for survival is a fearless mercenary, her dangerously beautiful comrades and a massively armed and armored mech. In this land where war has spread like a disease, they will have to put their very existence on the line and fight to be the cure.
An anime series with high level action, guns ablazing, mecha destruction and a tremendous amount of fan service. ‘Burst Angel – The Complete Collection’ gets the High Definition treatment and looks and sounds magnificent on Blu-ray!
In 2004, GONZO featured the 24-episode anime series “Bakuretsu Tenshi” (aka “Burst Angel”) on TV Asahi followed by an OVA titled “Burst Angel Infinity” and a manga series titled “Angel’s Adolescence” which served as a prequel and released in Japan in 2005 and a first volume released in the US in 2008. With the DVD released in the US, this time around, FUNimation Entertainment has given the popular series its first entry to High Definition via Blu-ray.
“Burst Angel” is directed by Koichi Ohata (who directed the “Ikkitousen”series, “M.D. Geist” and “You’re Under Arrest: Full Throttle”) and features series composition by Fumihiko Shimo (“Air”, “Gravion”, “Clannad” and the “Full Metal Panic” series). The anime series would feature character conceptual design by Ugetsu Hakua (“Tower of Druaga” TV series), character designs by Kanetoshi Kamimoto (“Mushi-Uta”, “Taisho Yakyu Musume”) and Osamu Horiuchi (“Full Metal Panic” series, “Knights of Ramune”, “New Cutey Honey”) and mechanical designs by Kanetake Ebikawa (“Blue Submarine No. 6″, “Mobile Suit Gundam 00″, “G.I. Joe Sigma 6″ and the “Full Metal Panic!” series).
“Burst Angel” takes place during a time when crime has risen to a very high rate and it’s become so bad that firearms in Japan is legalized, so that citizens can take protect themselves. Meanwhile, the government courtesy of Tokyo Governor Ishihara and Ricky Glenford has established a group known as RAPT (Recently Armed Police Taskforce) who work to eliminate criminals and bypassing arrests.
The anime series focuses on a team who take out monsters that have mutated, mechas on the rampage or the typical bad guy criminals in the city. The team consists of:
- Sei – The leader of the group who belongs to a Chinese group known as Bai Lan run by her grandfather who has tremendous power in city politics. But when her grandfather stepped down from their organization, those running it have decided to partner with RAPT to preserve the clan and instantly disgusts and pushes Sei away from the organization that her family has run. She is rebellious against Bai Lan secretly and her grandfather helps finance her secret activities.
- Jo – The mysterious white haired girl who excels as a mercenary and guns and is the primary force from the group that rises against the opposition and takes them on with guns ablazing. Has unknown powers and she pilots the mecha known as the Django. Jo doesn’t know too much about her past but she wants to protect the people closes to her. She’s a no nonsense person who enjoys sleeping and watching horror films.
- Meg – Megumi is Jo’s BFF. She found and took in Jo and also good at firearms but she’s very emotional and is often kidnapped which Jo ends up having to save her. She is attracted to Jo and can be seen getting close t Jo quite a bit. She is also a character that is always hungry.
- Amy – The computer hacker and genius of the group. A young girl and often in odds with Meg. Loves to eat and play video games. But loves hacking into computers.
- Kyohei Tachibana – A culinary student who is hired by Sei to cook for the team. Doesn’t understand too much about the group but tries to make their lives happier with good food.
- Leo Jinno – The mechanic who is always working on Jo’s Django and will fight with weaponry if the situation requires it. Also, has an attraction towards Sei.
The episode listing of “Burst Angel – The Complete Collection” are as follows (spoiler-less summaries):
- EPISODE 1: “Hell Comes Silently” - A culinary student named Kyouhei is nearly attacked by a monster who is then killed by a girl with white hair. Kyouhei then gets a big job to become the cook for a group of women and finds out that one of the women he cooks for is that girl with white hair.
- EPISODE 2: “The Heartless Gunfighter” – Meg saves Kyouhei but ends up being captured. Now the group must rescue her.
- EPISODE 3: “City Where the Beast Howls” – The group go after a drug user who gets captured by another group. As they look for this drug user, they realize that someone else is looking for this same guy.
- EPISODE 4: “The Brothers Die at Dawn” – Continuing from the last story, Meg and the man go after the drug user.
- EPISODE 5: “Mansion Where Lurks the Demon” – Meg goes undercover at an all girls school where mysterious things are happening.
- EPISODE 6: “Wash This Garden With Blood!”- Continuing from the last story, Meg learns that the school may be harboring some monster.
- EPISODE 7: “Black Sky” – A big giant crow kidnaps Kyouhei’s friend and also Meg.
- EPISODE 8: “The Wounded Outlaw”- Jo and and Kyouhei search for the crow.
- EPISODE 9: “Party of the Dragon” – Sei decides to partake in a political marriage for the sake of Bailan.
- EPISODE 10: “Uncharted Cyberspace” – Someone has been using Amy’s face in Cyberspace and thus she and Kyouhei go to the electronic district to figure out who is responsible.
- EPISODE 11: “Eastern Angel, Western Hawk” – Jo must protect the Japanese wrestler, Mega Rider.
- EPISODE 12: “Tower of Tears” – RAPT tries to take over the Osaka police.
- EPISODE 13: “Showdown in Osaka” – Takane Katsu arrives in time to save Meg and now both Takane and Joe take on a cybot.
- EPISODE 14: “Wild Kids” – A flashback episode about how Meg and Jo met.
- EPISODE 15: “Slingin’ Oil” – The group takes a break from all the action and go to the beach for some R&R.
- EPISODE 16: The Man With No Name – Jo goes after a cybot and meets up with a mute samurai.
- EPISODE 17: “Dueling Angels” – A cybot is being piloted by a woman named Maria who has similar abilities to Jo.
- EPISODE 18: “The Immortal Classmate” – Kyouhei runs into an old friend named Akio but this friend is no longer the same kind of guy he once new.
- EPISODE 19: “24-Hour Strategy” – Takane and Leo visit the filming of a drama but something happens to Takane and she goes crazy.
- EPISODE 20: “Blood Red Highway” – A RAPT police cybot goes crazy and attacks innocent people.
- EPISODE 21: New Sheriff In Town – The Bailan partners up with RAPT.
- EPISODE 22: Genocide Angels – Jo is captured and we learn about her and Maria’s past.
- EPISODE 23: Red Sea Gallows – Jo and Maria fight to the death.
- EPISODE 24: Angels, Explode! – The group goes on a mission to take down RAPT. But will it become a suicide mission?
- OAV: Burst Angel Infinity – An OVA that relates to episode 14 (“Wild Kids”) in which Meg and Jo go back to where they first met and visit their young friend Shirley and give her a birthday present. But they learn that Shirley was attacked by a monster and is now in critical condition. Now Meg and Jo want revenge.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“Burst Angel – The Complete Collection” is an anime series that definitely looks very good on Blu-ray despite being an upconvert. So, far FUNimation Entertainment has shown us how anime that was not originally created for HD looks so beautiful and vibrant on Blu-ray (the last release “Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid looks phenomenal) and “Burst Angel – The Complete Collection” doesn’t disappoint at all.
In fact, one of the positives of the anime series is that for a TV series, there is high production value with the way the anime looks. From the many scenery that are painted gorgeously to the vibrant and colorful animation, I admit that I was impressed because due to the tight schedules of anime companies (especially since they tend to work on several series at the same time), I was amazed by how much effort and detail the artists put on the actual series. And also surprised to see how much fan service-driven the animation gets during the series midway.
As for audio, the series is presented in Dolby TrueHD English and Japanese 5.1. The lossless audio for “Burst Angel” is fantastic. The action segments really take advantage of your soundscape as sounds can be heard from your front, center and surround channels and also a bit of LFE. With so much action in this film, this series is one of the most immersive anime on Blu-ray TV series released in the US thus far.
The mecha battles and the zoom and clashing of metal can be heard to Jo (or Jo in her Zango) as you can hear the machine gun bullets and the action quite loud and well. In fact, there were a few times (mainly in the English soundtrack) that I felt that perhaps the action may overshadow the actual vocals. But everything worked out and audio is one of the strong points of this anime on Blu-ray release.
For the most part, both dubbing is well done although, I could not stand the South Western twang given to one of the supporting characters on the English dub but overall, the English voice talent is as solid as the Japanese voice dub. A key difference is with the character of Meg in which the Japanese voice dubbing makes you feel that Meg is a young teenager, while the English dub gives the feeling that she is a young woman.
English is the only subtitled presented.
“Burst Angel – The Complete Collection” comes with the following special features (in 480i Standard Definition and Dolby Digital Japanese 2.o):
- The Brothers Die at Dawn Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for episode 4 by Chris Bevens (Voice Director), Nathan Harrison (Audio Mixers), Monica Rial (Joe) and Jamie Marchi (Meg).
- The Wounded Outlaw Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for episode 8 by Chris Bevens (Voice Director), Monica Rial (Jo) and Clarine Harp (Sei).
- Uncharted Cyberspace Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for episode 10 by Chris Bevens (Voice Director), Alison Retzlof (Amy) and Greg Ayres (Kyouhei).
- Showdown in Osaka Commentary – Audio commentary for episode 13 by Chris Bevens (Voice Director), Monica Rial (Jo) and Caitlin Glass (Takane).
- Dueling Angels Commentary - Audio commentary for episode 17 by Monica Rial (Jo) and Colleen Clinkenbeard (Maria).
- Angels, Explode! Commentary – Audio commentary for episode 24 by Chris Bevins (Voice Director), Monica Rial (Jo), Jamie Marchi (Meg), Clarine Harp (Sei) and Alison Retzlof (Amy).
- Japanese Staff and Cast Interviews: Featuring interviews with Japanese Cast (16:02) hosted by Mai Morishita who interviews the Japanese voice talent, CGI Artist (2:09) featuring behind-the-scenes footage of the CG artist working in the office and Character Designer (3:48) featuring the various painted designs but the character designer Ugetsu Hakua. Featuring an interview with Mai Morishita and Ugetsu.
- The Lightness and Darkness of Jo – (23:21) An Anime Expo 2005 special showcasing Jo from clips from the TV series.
- Usetsu Hakua (Character Designer) Special – (2:40) – A special showcasing the art of “Burst Angel” courtesy of the character designer Usetsu Hakua. Featuring animation of the characters a few years after the TV series with Meg as the lead fighter of the group and how the main characters look years after the series.
- Battle Record of all 24 Episodes – (1:23:52) Battle record of all episodes. Featuring a portion of the battle sequences for each episode.
- Previews of the TV Series – (5:46) Japanese next episode previews for the “Burst Angel” TV Series.
- Previews of the OVA – (2:14) Japanese preview for the “Burst Angel Infinity” OVA.
- Japanese Trailer – (2:25) Original Japanese TV trailer.
- Textless Songs - Textless songs for “Loosey” by THE STRIPES, an alternate OP for “Loosey” by THE STRIPES, “Under the Sky” by Cloudica and an alternate version of “Under the Sky” by Cloudica.
- Outtakes – (10:30) English dub outtakes
- FUNimation Entertainment Trailers
There is no doubt that if you want a series that combines action, mecha action and fan service, “Burst Angel – The Complete Collection” is definitely for you.
If one thing can be said about “Burst Angel”, this anime series is action-packed and for a TV series, it’s probably one of the few anime television series that I have seen released in this decade with this much fan service. It’s one thing to get your typical panty shots but “Burst Angel” is quite interesting as the show progresses, all of a sudden the series starts to feature characters (primarily Sei and Meg) in interesting situations. Not sure if there was like experimenting with the animators during the second half of the series because it seems like the Sei and Meg’s boobs get larger and larger. It was like “Dead or Alive” (the video game) with the jiggle. And although not as out there as Satoshi Urushihara’s OVA “Plastic Little”, somehow during mid-season the artists seem to start having a nipple fetish and it becomes more prominent during the second half of the series. Also, to make low rise clothing more prominent and thus we see quite a bit of butt crack as well. So, fans who enjoy fan service, will definitely get their money’s worth with this anime series.
But what about the overall series? Is the plot any good?
When I began watching the series, I realized how “Burst Angel” almost resembled a classic anime known as “Bubblegum Crisis”, in terms of four women having to take on corruption in the city. But throughout the 24-episodes, you start to realize how many episodes are stand-alone episodes that really don’t have a connection to a major storyline. In fact, you can go from episode 1-2 and then to episode 12 and you wouldn’t miss much of a storyline since episodes 3-11 are more stand alone episodes of the group going on missions. Granted, you get to see more of Kyouhei and Amy but that leads me to wondering why the character of Kyouhei is even in the anime series. He’s just a cook and aside from providing the group with meals, if anything, it seems like if he was created just to ensure that the series can have more filler episodes. And by the final leg of the series, he’s hardly even shown.
So, that was my main peeve about this series is that you feel like you’re watching too many stand-alone episodes and you wonder when are we going to see something significant that contributes to the main storyline and a build-up to whatever is happening.
But as for positives, you have to give GONZO major props because this anime series looks fantastic. A lot of detail in the background art, the series doesn’t have that waxy look like most animated television series shown, nor is the animation and background art anything but simple. This anime is quite detailed and very vibrant. Nice use of reds, yellows and blues.
Although an upconvert, the series looks very good on Blu-ray and the lossless audio soundtrack is even more exciting as the series is full of action and you hear those action sequences become quite immersive all around you.
Also, another positive is that this series has a good number of special features including audio commentary for a complete collection. Typically you get only the textless opening and closing themes but it’s great to have several audio commentary and also other special features on the Japanese side. Especially the “Ugetsu Hakua (Character Designer) Special” which I’m not sure if it’s meant to be a glimpse to the future of “Burst Angel” but if it is, I definitely like what I see.
Overall, “Burst Angel – The Complete Collection” is not a great anime but there are a lot of positive things going for it that I can see a group of fans who would be happy enough for the fact that it has a lot of gun action, mecha battles, monsters but most of all, those fans wanting plenty of fan service will probably enjoy this series despite a lot of the episodes being stand-alone. And also, it’s a pretty good looking anime series as well and definitely is much more enhanced over its DVD counterpart, especially with the lossless soundtrack.
If you are looking for an anime series on Blu-ray, “Burst Angel – The Complete Collection” may definitely be for you.
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