Genre: Action, Sci-fi, Fantasy
Aired: Jul 10, 2016 to Sep 25, 2016
Also known as: アンジュ・ヴィエルジュ
Summary: Five different worlds are suddenly fused together, starting the countdown to universal destruction since said worlds are now accelerating towards each other. “Progress,” which are girls with mysterious powers known as “Exceed,”have gathered together in Earth so that they can fight off Ouroboros and prevent the collision of the five worlds, which is known as “World End.”
Review: This was actually an anime series based off a card game, but I wouldn’t have known about that just by watching the series. They fleshed it out into an entire action show with no mention of cards at all. That being said, you better grab a chair because I’m going to be going on and on about how the show almost feels like a caricature of a shounen battle series (go ahead, I’ll wait).
For starters, there’s a plethora of erotic scenes since these girls only seem to do battle and soak their bodies in communal baths. You can expect many beams of light to spontantelously appear in order to censor the sensitive bits. The very first episode lets the viewers know exactly what they’re getting into with the first part showing the girls fighting Ouroboros, then showing the girls bathing and lying around naked, and then ending the episode with another fight. Each episode may not follow that exact order of events, but that’s more or less how each one plays out.
Furthermore, all the girls end up fawning over the primary main character, Saya, as if she’s a lucky dude in a harem romcom (technically there’s six main characters, but she is the viewpoint character for most of the series). She’s living the yuri dream for sure. Your mileage may vary as to whether or not she deserves the affection she’s receiving. I know that I was really put off by Saya’s behavior and mindset early into the series, but she definitely gets better.
And despite all the girls she ends up having at her beck and call, Saya only has eyes for Amane, the girl who’s basically in a coma. It’s just so like a shounen main character to pine after the one girl who is currently unavailable and in distress (but, as stated above, Saya is a girl, too).
Amane also dominates the series since she constantly appears in flashbacks throughout the entire series. This makes sense to a degree since she was effectively their commander / leader which meant she interacted with all of five of the combatants in the main character squad, but with how much she was praised by the others she started sounding like she was a faultless martyr. Thankfully that notion was proven false towards the end of the series, but it was a bit strange to see the damsel of distress to receive more screentime than the five combatants.
Said five combatants, our main characters initially start off as UC, which is the second lowest tier in regards to power (I believe it goes C, UC, R, SR, and finally EXR). When Ouroboros basically did a brainwashing operation in order to convert the strongest combatants (the main characters’ SR and EXR senpai), the UC flunkies are spared because their link to Amane, their “α-driver,” is weak. See, “Progress” unleash their true potential when they’re linked to their designated “α-driver.” The mysterious enemy that remains undeveloped basically attacked all the α-drivers and corrupted them as well as their Progress partners.
As a result, we have the whole “underdog rag team fighting superstars” dynamic. It’s a good thing that the only notable SR and EXR are their senpai or else it would have been a truly hopeless battle! While some may claim when our protagonists managing to defeat their brainwashed senpai is a cop-out, I found each defeat to seem rather realistic. I won’t go into the details about how each one occurs, but viewers will very quickly notice that it always takes two episodes for a brainwashed senpai to be defeated and come to her senses. Slightly predictable, right?
What I will say is that it’s a bit silly how the brainwashed senpai file in one by one to get defeated. I understand that the brainwashing apparently makes them fight for Ouroboros, but their inner desires manifest and actually become top priority (so that of course means they have some business with their respective kouhai). It still seems silly when the “bad guys” don’t all just rush down each world’s crystals in order to win through war of attrition. They’re probably too busy soaking in some baths to do so. Yes, even when they’ve turned evil, the brainwashed senpai are still lounging around naked.
What’s also silly is that our main characters never get harmed at all during these battles. That would have made for a more interesting plot, I feel. Imagine if they manage to defeat each senpai but they continue to take heavy casualties until there’s only one protagonist left standing, etc. Of course, it goes against the themes of friendship and bonds that the show espouses, so that kind of progression was never a possibility.
Phew. If you’re still around, I want to go over what the show didn’t blunder. I think the OP and the ED are pretty good. The name of the OP is pretty cool, even. “Love is My RAIL.” Wow! Still have to give the edge to ED, nevertheless. But I actually can’t remember the instrumental OST at all.
The character designs are nice, in my opinion. I didn’t get bored looking at the characters, at least. It was interesting to see a cyborg, a human, an angel, and humans basically team up, too. Some people might consider the cast of characters to be too bizarre, I guess.
I know I mentioned how it’s a bit predictable that each senpai is basically saved within two episodes and that’s repeated for the majority of the series. But the lessons that the main characters is actually meaningful. Maybe one could consider the aesops each girl manages to learn to be a shining point of the series. Maybe I’m too easily swept by the intention of a good message without caring about it’s being presented. You can decide on that.
There’s also the running gag involving a comedic sister act that pops up around the six minutes mark for half the episodes, more or less. Both girls are brainwashed and have silly training lessons where the onee-san instructs the imouto. They really disrupted the flow of each episode, but every episode always picks up the pace right after the sisters’ comedy act is over, so that isn’t too big of a deal. If the notion of a girl hitting her little sister for calling her onee-san while they’re out in the field as soldiers strikes you as ovelry harsh, then you’re not going to be a fan of them.
I have to say, though, those sisters are really too close to be just sisters. Heck, all of brainwashed upperclassmen are excessively fixated on their kouhai (our main characters) to the point that you’d think they’re all sexually frustrated. And then there’s the other girls fawning over Saya. I’m happy to say that they are all definitely gay.
The animation as a whole seemed solid. Since it’s a fantasy show, a lot of realism obviously goes out of the window so I couldn’t rightfully call out the fight scenes as being overly fantastical. I did notice they kept using the same footage when the girls sortied up. I guess it saves extraneous work for the animators.
I still stand by my belief that Ange Vierge is basically a shounen battle harem series, but the popular person happens to be a girl. Expect lots of action. Expect lots of fanservice. Be prepared for girls that are basically all over each other and for how the series follows a rather predictable format where each brainwashed senpai is defeated within two epiodes or less.
The show does have its good points, but I can see how the excessive fanservice could prove to be a turn-off for many viewers. If you’re wondering if the series is for you, just give the first episode a watch. It’ll basically be just like that for the entire series. Well, there’s the whole brainwashed (and sexually frustrated) senpai acting incredibly mean and cruel to our main characters and the whole important life lessons our main characters learn, but I would reckon most viewers aren’t watching the show for that.
I typed up a overly long review about a show about lesbians fighting brainwashed lesbians. Yay me.