Neo Angelique Abyss

Neo Angelique Abyss

neo-angeliqueIn the fictional world of Arcadia, life-draining monsters named Thanatos terrorise the land. Those with the power to fight them are Purifyers, but they are few and far between. Normal schoolgirl Angelique is approached by Nyx, a well-to-do gentleman and also a Purifyer, and invites her to be a part of an organisation he is forming – one made up completely of Purifyers to help battle the threat of the Thanatos. Angelique realises that she would have great potential as a Purifyer, but she refuses to acknowledge her powers in favour of a ‘normal’ life. However, when her school falls prey to a Thanatos attack, she awakens her Purifying powers in order to protect her friends. It turns out that her Purifying powers are so strong that she just might be the legendary ‘Queen’s Egg’, foretold in prophecies to be a female Purifyer with the capability of healing the world. And so, Angelique embarks on a journey with Nyx and fellow Purifyer Rayne to realise her full potential.

This anime has been on my ‘to watch’ list for a while as it piqued my curiosity. It’s not usually my ‘go to’ type of anime, but the drawing style attracted my attention and I noticed that Neo Angelique had two seasons – a good change of pace from the 12-episode flash-in-the-pan animes that I have been favouring recently.

Neo Angelique is essentially what is know as a reverse-harem anime, where a female protagonist is surrounded by a group of good-looking guys (bishonen). At her school, Angelique stands out from the beginning as a beautiful and stylish girl, particularly when accompanied by her average-looking friends who do nothing to steal the leading lady’s spotlight. Then, when she is seen amidst her all-male entourage she suddenly becomes a little overshadowed by all the extra (and sometimes flamboyant) personalities. As can often happen with reverse-harem animes, the protagonist is usually a cripplingly shy-but-gorgeous girl with the personality of a potato. Such is Angelique’s role – at least to start with.

The highlight of the story by far, and my main reason for continuing to watch this, is Angelique’s ‘harem’: namely their character designs and their clashing personalities. The male-to-female ratio does increase a little absurdly, but I was happy to give them all a chance. As a rule, I really enjoyed the antics of the ‘core’ harem – namely Nyx, Rayne, Jade and Hyuga – but I wasn’t so keen on the slightly-rushed newcomers such as Bernard, Jet and Roche. As much as I love some good-looking guys in my anime, the ways in which in which they appear and ‘stay’ in Angelique’s life become a little thin (in particular I found the story behind Bernard a little contrived). It might have something to do with the manner in which she calmly accepts that she now has to live in a mansion surrounded by hot guys who wish to protect and dote on her and her fluffy white cat (which, from the very beginning, I thought had a sinister air about it. The most unfounded character to not take a liking to, but there was just something about that furball. Most suspicious anime cat ever. And I’ve seen a lot of anime cats. Nya =^.^=).

Why have I never had a group of guys fight over who gets to cook me dinner?

Having said all that, I do think that Neo Angelique has a certain charm to it. I did enjoy the group’s antics whether they were fighting Thanatos or just generally having a random wander in a random town (which they were wont to do despite the apparent urgency of saving Arcadia). The pace was rather leisurely, which is what happens when you have a large male cast that all need a certain amount of screen time in order to establish their varying personalities.

I think Jade was my favourite. He looks surprisingly good in a pinafore.

I found that things picked up in the second arc – Angelique gains some personality, the story picks up pace and has an actual ending objective in sight. The final two episodes take on a more serious note which is an alarming transition from the light-hearted, sauntering pace which is usually the norm – but at least this brings everyone’s blind adoration of Angelique into some perspective (she actually does something which is impressive visually, rather than just clasp her hands together and prey). She even reaches the conclusion that she may need to actually defend herself and undertakes some lessons in handling a sword.

If taken with a pinch of salt, Neo Angelique Abyss is worth a watch. The animation isn’t the best, but it doesn’t take itself seriously and has some great character designs. I never got tired of watching the antics of the good-looking harem, whether it was Hyuga’s brooding, Jade’s penchant for maid aprons, or even Rene’s ridiculous Wile E. Coyote-esque (and unbelievably successful) attempt at hiding Angelique and himself from a journalist by pulling up and standing behind a sheet with a brick wall pattern on it.

If this were a real-life trick to avoiding the paparazzi newspapers like The Sun would be out of business.

Some of it is so far out of sync with its original fantasy elements it borders on ludicrous, but one has to remember that the ‘silly stuff’ is what really makes a harem anime, and Neo Angelique really embraces this.