These days, it’s rare for a series not to get subbed- even the likes of Haruka 8 and the twenty year old Ginga Nagareboshi Gin are slowly but surely being released. With that in mind, it seemed only logical to expect the Angelique TV series to be picked up by someone sooner or later, but unfortunately, as the final episode aired, it became clear that such was not to be the case- if I wanted to watch it, my only recourse would be the raws. Driven onwards by a strange need to watch the series, I decided that I would have to rely on my basic grasp of Japanese to carry me through, but as I realised by the end, it hadn’t really been worth the effort.
From the early trailers, it had been abundantly clear that Angelique was more likely to be amusingly cheesy than actually good, but nonetheless I was certain of one thing- I had to see it for myself. After all, I had survived the entirety of Haruka 8 twice (some of it in French)- how much worse could this be? Perhaps even thinking such a thing was tempting fate, since as it turned out, Angelique was so pedestrian and dull that it made Haruka look like a deep and well-plotted series in comparison.
Based on the game series of the same name, Angelique is the tale of Ange, a young woman chosen to become the Legendary Etoile and save the fledgling universe known as the Holy Cosmos. In order to do so, she needs the aid of nine bishounen guardians (or arguably eight bishies and one character that looks too much like a woman to possibly be male), who must transfer their magical HARD GAY elemental powers to Ange’s bracelet so that she can use them to reconstruct the Holy Cosmos.
We are supposed to believe that Olivie is a man, but even though ‘he’ has a distinctly male VA I am of the firm belief that ‘he’ is actually a female prostitute included to fill out the numbers.
In all honesty, this isn’t a concept that sounds very interesting on paper, and unfortunately, it gains absolutely nothing in the execution. After an episode or so of angst in which Ange must decide whether or not to accept her inevitable destiny, Angelique turns into something akin to a game in which the player can only wander around the home world and never actually go out to complete any quests or dungeons. For over half the series, each episode consists of Ange chatting with one of the guardians until he reveals his true feelings and starts glowing with a special HARD GAY aura; after this, Ange and one or more bishies take a bizarre space-going boat to the Holy Cosmos to apply the collected HARD GAY power.
At a stretch, this method of storytelling could be interesting if it actually gave some sort of insight into the characters, but predictably, this is not the case; to continue with the game analogies, Ange’s interactions with the guardians are more akin to repeatedly chatting to an NPC until they finally give the player the desired answer. Even at the end of the series, there’s no real sense that we know the guardians any better than we did before- Clavis has a semi-tragic past, Luva likes books, Marcel is the obligatory blonde shota- beyond simple descriptions like this, there really is nothing more to say about them.
If the first eight episodes were poor, however, then the last five must surely rank amongst the nonsensical. The quest to save a universe that consists of one castle and one town goes horribly wrong when Zephel realises that having an odd number of bishounen means that he is left without a HARD GAY partner. As Zephel falls into despair, the Holy Cosmos becomes an evil lava-filled place with a badly drawn boss monster wandering around, whilst for reasons that I couldn’t discern, a wandering bishie swordsman named Arios randomly appears during this story arc. I’m not sure whether he was there to become the missing HARD GAY partner, replace Zephel, or just sacrifice himself to women so that other bishies could enjoy HARD GAY uninterrupted, but his purpose (if he had one) was entirely unclear.
Having set itself on this final arc of sorts, Angelique’s finale was nothing if not predictable. After realising that HARD GAY is possible in threesomes as well as couples, Zephel returns to the fold, Arios disappears, whilst each of the nine guardians summons the ultimate HARD GAY power in order to dispel the evil and save the Holy Cosmos (making you wonder why they didn’t just do that in the first place and skip all the preliminary wandering around). For some reason, however, it has been deemed necessary to continue the story in a second thirteen episode season that starts airing in January- the only question is whether anyone is actually going to watch it.
I started Angelique because I wanted some light fun, but what I got was something too awful to even be labelled as laughably bad; in fact, the only reason I watched to the end was so that I had enough material with which to create this rant (after all, I would hate to be accused of not being VALID). As to whether I will watch the second season; well, it all depends on how masochistic I’m feeling at the time.