Back in 2004, I was infatuated with a group called Under17, and one of their songs in particular, Tenbatsu! Angel Rabbie. It was around the tail end of the the kawaii boom in anime, and hyper-bouncy songs like this were all the rage (at least for me). I remember having this song set on continuous loop as I worked on my calculus homework. Little did I know that it actually came from an anime by the same name. In fact, I unknowingly had my desktop wallpaper set to an image of the main character from the anime (see above).
Tenbatsu! Angel Rabbie’s (TAR) music and artwork captured my interest 7 years ago, so I thought I should watch it at least once in my life and I did just that, yesterday. TAR is a 1 episode OVA that came out in 2004, and is based on the visual novel Angelic Serenade. As a pre-Haruhi era visual novel-based anime, I thought it defined its generation perfectly. Before the age of slice-of-life schoolgirl anime, female characters actually did stuff like beat up bad guys, shoot aliens, and slice up monsters. The main character in TAR is Lasty Farson (aka Angel Rabbie), who is an angel in training. In order to become a full-fledged angel, she must go to Earth and bring peace and happiness by, you guessed it, beating up some bad guys/aliens/monsters.
Despite being only 1 episode long, this anime is jam-packed with everything that you would expect to find in anime from the late 90’s to mid 00’s:
– a transformation scene
– clumsy main character
– cool headquarters
– a ship exploding after some minor damage
– lackeys that get blown up most of the time
– a mysterious antagonistic force
– and multi-coloured eyes.
In fact, I think just about the only thing missing was a cute stuffed animal-like creature.
There were a few nostalgic moments throughout the anime. First off, the set-up of the angels’ headquarters is reminiscent of many command centers like the one in Ah! My Goddess. Next, the fight scenes reminded me a lot of Bubblegum Crisis with the close-combat and the design of the armour. Lastly, the “auuuu~” that Lasty makes as she repeatedly tumbles down the stairs is exactly the same sound that Makoto from Kanon (2002) and Kanon (2006) makes (the voice actress is actually the same person).
Despite the nostalgia, the anime itself was very weak. The plot had no depth to it other than fighting bad guys, side characters are introduced only to say one or two lines, and a third of the anime was spent watching Lasty trying to make it to her angel test on time. As a stand-alone anime, it is not worth your time.
Taking these factors into consideration, TAR is more of a parody anime than anything. If you’ve been watching anime since the mid 90’s, then it’s a nice trip down memory lane as most aspects of TAR seem to be taken from other anime. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an engaging anime that will knock your socks off, then this definitely isn’t it.