Saturday, September 8, 2007

Battle Angel [Gunnm] review

Plot Synopsis :

Scrap Iron City is a city of scavengers below the mysterious floating city of Zalem. Among the residents is a kindly and highly skilled cyber doctor, Ido. One day, scavenging the mountain of scrap dropped by Zalem, he finds what's left of a young cyborg girl--and she's still alive. He rebuilds her body, and, since she has no memory, gives her a name--Gally--and a new life as a sort of daughter for him. However, Ido isn't quite what he seems, nor is Gally, when she discovers that her calling is to become a Hunter-Warrior--a bounty hunter for The Factory--which she mysteriously has the skills for. But Scrap Iron City is a brutal place, and before long she and the hardworking young Yugo that she takes a liking to are trapped in the web of corruption of a Factory boss Vector and an old flame of Ido's, Chiren.

Quick Review :

Gunnm (or Battle Angel, if you prefer) has everything you could ask for in such a short OAV series--gorgeous art, engaging plot, nuanced storytelling, and characters as developed as the compact runtime allows. Based on the opening parts of the lengthy manga series by Yukito Kishiro, the only disappointment about Gunnm is that there isn't more of it. Though the series never resorts to lengthy exposition or unnecessary narration, the characters feel fleshed out beyond their basic stereotypes--the good doctor, the kid with a dream--and it clearly establishes the world as a decaying, corrupt place ruled by greed, inequity and the darkest parts of human nature. This is contrasted with bits of humanity and hope in the face of despair, and while the story is not uplifting, it does make its point. The visuals are simply beautiful--in particular the polished linework faithful to Kishiro's manga--as is the terse musical score. A quality Japanese voice cast supplies the finishing touch.

In all, whether you call Rusty Angel and Tears Sign Gunnm or Battle Angel, the pair are a masterwork among OAVs. Whether you like cyberpunk, dark action, or sci-fi drama, it is a singularly well crafted series that comes with my highest recommendation.

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