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An Anime Novice's Take on... HEAVEN’S LOST PROPERTY

Is this the real meaning of "fan service?" A convoluted story that's just kind-of there to showcase big-busted angel warriors and “pervy” jokes that don’t even push the limit?

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

ShadowKnight508 moderator on March 6, 2013 at 11:04 a.m.

Interesting read. Well, the manga (Sora no Otoshimono) does a much better job than the anime has ever done in my experiences with the franchise (which is why I gave up watchingHeaven's Lost Property: Forteon Episode 7 and stuck with the manga ever since). The anime (which tries to follow the source material as closely as possible while adding various tweaks and other minor things) just does not capture the true brillance that the manga portrays. Here is why:

1. The manga has much more character development, allowing the characters to evolve over time and makes it easier for fans of the franchise to like or care about the characters. From the time you first meet a character to when they become involved in the grand scheme of things that makes up the story, you feel much more connected to them in the manga than in the anime. The anime just never gets this right, although I will give them credit for trying. You just don't develop a great connection with the anime's version of the characters like you do in the manga.

2. The plot/story in the manga spans many themes, goes into more details, and is more diverse than the anime portrays. The manga touches on many themes in it's chapters, from funny moments in which Tomoki's elaborate perverted schemes backfire in hilarious ways to moments of action in which the entire cast in one way or another becomes involved, the manga prevails over the anime in many ways. The anime, sadly, does not capitalize on what makes the manga so awesome and fails to cash in on what could have made for a truly awesome anime.

3. The "side stories" that the manga offers are refreshing, fun segments in which various characters (mostly the Angeloids themselves) tackle various subjects or try to become more "normal" in the world of humanity. I can not speak for the anime (since I only watched the 1st season and quit roughly halfway through Forte), but I'm guessing that they worked in some of the side stories from the manga into the show somewhere.

4. As pertaining to the movie Heaven's Lost Property: The Angeloid of Clockwork (2012), it follows the Hiyori Kazane arc from the manga. While the manga does a great job working in Hiyori into the story from when she is first introduced all the way until she becomes an free Angeloid in the events following the Man of Synapse's latest failed attempt to kill Tomoki and the Angeloids who betrayed Synapse along with her infrequent appearances in later chapters, I'm guessing from what I have read in the article that the movie (just like the anime series) does not successfully captures what made the Hiyori Kazane arc in the manga so enjoyable. This is a true shame, for more effort should be put forth in a movie than what is put into the normal anime series.

Overall, it is a shame that what you saw in this movie has most likely turned you away from how awesome the franchise really is. This is why the manga far outshines both the anime and movie in so many ways. It just gets it right, even when the anime and movie fall short in their attempts to do so.

dtolsonon March 6, 2013 at 7:51 p.m.

@ShadowKnight508:

Pretty much sums up 90% of all manga adaptions out there unfortunately.

ShadowKnight508 moderator on March 6, 2013 at 8:26 p.m.

@dtolson: Sadly, yes. It is a real shame that it turns out this way with most adaptations. Just imagine how many series that ended up being lackluster (due to changes, overload of fanservice, filler, etc) could have been better had they followed the manga and it's source material that inspired it's creation more closely.

takashichea moderator on March 6, 2013 at 9:30 p.m.

@ShadowKnight508:

I haven't watch the series, but I read your comment. It reminds me of Rosario Vampire whose manga is much better due to the characters maturing and the story line is getting more serious. The anime version was all fan service filler stuff.

ShadowKnight508 moderator on March 6, 2013 at 9:37 p.m.

@takashichea: Agreed. You might enjoy the anime, but for the sake of seeing the franchise as it was meant to be, stick with the manga. Trust me, you can not go wrong with the manga xD

sotyfan16on March 7, 2013 at 7:10 a.m.

@takashichea: @ShadowKnight508:

Rosario is a prime example of a poor job, though. I liked the show when it first aired but once it was dubbed, I couldn't stand it. I've gone to reading the manga and do enjoy it better thus far.

As for the franchise at hand, I haven't started the manga yet but I do love the anime. I have not seen this movie but I will buy it at some point because I enjoy everything about the show despite the story taking a backseat. Maybe it could take a page from Sekirei and find a better balance of both.

Dig Deeper into Heaven's Lost Property

Tomoki Sakurai is haunted by a re-occurring dream in which a mysterious girl is taken away from him by the sky. His hopes for a life of "peace and quiet" are shattered when a falling Pet-Class Angeloid Ikaros falls from the sky and into his life.

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