- RECENT REVIEWS: SHAKUGAN NO SHANA *** FREEZING *** SHANGRI-LA *** ERGO PROXY
- STRIKE WITCHES *** KING OF THORN *** STEINS GATE *** GA-REI-ZERO *** DEADMAN WONDERLAND
- TENCHI UNIVERSE *** ONE PIECE *** WOLF CHILDREN *** RUROUNI KENSHIN *** [C]-CONTROL
- BLACK LAGOON *** SERIAL EXPERIMENT LAIN *** MASS EFFECT *** BOOGIEPOP PHANTOM
- A CERTAIN MAGICAL INDEX *** TORIKO *** RENTAL MAGICA *** BOOGIEPOP & OTHERS *** EMMA
- BLOOD C
Just to be clear, up front - - the chained-up, full-bodied angel warriors with a pervy, asinine love interest and the lovesick teenagers, so desperate to please, make it next to impossible to care about the actual story of THE ANGELOID OF CLOCKWORK by the time a decent action sequence comes along.
Set after the HEAVEN’S LOST PROPERTY TV series, this movie spends its first 45 minutes on a slight recap from the point of view of Hiyori (though the recap itself is a little fuzzy)...
A shy young girl who works on a farm, Hiyori watches Tomoki and his friends from afar. Tomoki is clearly the star of the show, a somewhat bratty, immature guy who just wants to be left alone. A self-proclaimed pervert, Tomoki has a troupe of angel-slaves running after him, celestial beings sent to kill from some otherworldly place called "the Synapse."
By the time Hiyori starts essentially stalking this group of angeloid/human friends, their love for Tomoki has broken their programming such that they follow him around like a harem, each one more scantily clad than the last.
Their back story is mashed together with Hiyori’s obsession with Tomoki and her interactions with his friends at school; leaving the vague idea that these angels had been tortured and mistreated by the Master of the Synapse before their arrival on Earth. In the midst of all this plot-wrangling, Hiyori decides to join the group’s club - - the New World Discovery Club - - in order to get closer to Tomoki.
Tomoki, true to form, doesn’t want Hiyori to join, or he’ll have to participate in more events after school. He proceeds to give Hiyori various “purity tests” to embarrass her out of joining. But join she does, and the group quickly welcomes her with open arms.
The problem with ANGELOID OF CLOCKWORK is that Tomoki is so unlikeable, and the angels so submissive, that there isn’t really a character to identify with by the time a random plot twist is thrown in. It turns out that Hiyori is some sort of "Synapsian," and when she’s hit by a car, everyone’s memory of her is erased... sort of.
The memory erasure really doesn’t matter in the long run, since the entire movie's a plot vehicle to simply showcase big-busted angel warriors and a number of “pervy” jokes that don’t even push the limit.
Hiyori’s death sends her back to the Synapse, and the Master of the Synapse - - a clearly creepy antagonist who initially sent the angeloids Icaros, Nymph and Astraea down to Earth - - turns Hiyori into an evil Angeloid. The last fifteen minutes or so of the movie feature the angeloids donning their sluttiest warrior outfits and trying to keep Hiyori from the destroying the world. She and Icaros bond over their unfathomable love of Tomoki and angeloid programming, and a sacrifice is made.
Saying ANGELOID OF CLOCKWORK should only be viewed by fans of the original is putting it charitably. The whole story is a mess, and I say that even putting aside this whole notion of "fan service."
Without a concrete explanation as to what the Synapse really is, why we should like these angeloids (who insist that they want Tomoki to be their “master” out of love, and not from the obvious psychological and physical abuse they suffered in the Synapse), and above all, why anyone would love Tomoki... this movie is a total bust.
Rachel Heine is an anime novice, film buff and food blogger based in Los Angeles. She writes and edits for arts & culture online magazine, Buzzine, and runs her own personal blog at PopandSizzle. Follow her Twitter: @RachelHeine