Angel Sanctuary

Setsuna Mudo always knew he was different from other people- after all, you can hardly be said to be normal when you’re tortured by improper feelings for your own sister. What he doesn’t know, however, is that he is also the reincarnation of Alexiel, a powerful angel who was cast out of Heaven. Now, even as he struggles with his own inner conflict, Setsuna finds himself drawn into a war between Heaven and Hell; a battle where the angels may themselves be more corrupt than the demons they pursue.

With its themes of incest and heavenly battles, it is no wonder that Angel Sanctuary made a name amongst more conservative viewers for being a controversial title, but personally, my attraction to it was based entirely on the beautiful artwork. And fortunately, unlike most short OVAs based on aesthetically pleasing yet long-running manga series, it also proved to be quite satisfying to watch.

Although a lot is left out even from the one volume of the manga that I’ve read thus far, Angel Sanctuary does a much better job than most short OVAs in communicating its themes and characters in its limited runtime. Everything from incest and heavenly wars to cross-dressing demons somehow finds its place, yet rather than feeling confusing or dull, the OVA manages to flesh out each element enough to make it worth watching. Yes, it’s still just an extended advert for the manga, but it’s one that proves enjoyable rather than frustrating.

Visually, Angel Sanctuary may be showing its age a little, but nonetheless the beauty of the character designs shines through, with fantasy and reality woven together into one seamlessly attractive blend. Background music is largely forgettable.

Final Thoughts
A three episode OVA could never do a twenty volume manga justice, but Angel Sanctuary does the best it can, standing head and shoulders above other brief OVA adaptations such as Grandeek and its ilk. It will almost certainly leave you wanting more, but the time spent watching it won’t feel like a waste of time.
Tier: Bronze+

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One Response to Angel Sanctuary

  1. j.valdez says:

    I had to do a google to make sure this was the same anime I was thinking about. I recall watching it a long time ago, but I don’t quite remember the story.

    From what I can remember, I think it was the way the show tackled the incest aspect of the plot that kept the title in my mind. It was done more seriously and emotionally. Of course, the show isn’t a ecchi-comedy or hentai, as is the case when incest is usually part of the plot; so, we could say that would be expected. Still, I think they handled it well…again, from what I can recall.

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