Steel Angel Kurumi Vol. 1 – Angel On My Shoulder
Released By: ADV
Release Date: 5/21/02
Special Notes: Review originally published here
After watching Volume 1 of this absolutely delightful anime series, I have to say that if I didn’t understand what ‘Sci Fi Romance’ meant before‚ I sure do now!
Our story begins in the Tashio era (1920’s) of Japan with 11 year old Nakahito being drug off towards a mansion by his ‘friends’ as they are trying to get him to enter an old mansion that was rumored to be the home of a man who killed his wife in it and her head is still inside yelling out for someone to help her. Well, since Nakahito is the smallest and is also a member of a family that studies mysticism, he is the one that is elected to be pushed into the mansion and find this head and bring it out for everyone to see.
Nakahito isn’t exactly pleased with this but he does his best to find his way around inside only what he finds isn’t a disembodied head at all. Instead he finds a beautiful maid who appears to be completely unconscious. So, there he is in the basement of a creepy old mansion with this beautiful unconscious maid in front of him when the army above (oh yeah, did I forget to mention that the entire mansion is supposed to be off limits because the army is right outside??) causes some shaking to happen which causes the maid to fall forward and plant her lips right against our young hero’s for his very first kiss. But that one little kiss is all it takes as suddenly she is brought back to life.
Soon after we learn that her name is Kurumi and now that Nakahito has kissed her, he is her master and she must follow every single one of his commands! Things only get weirder from here as soon we get introduced to the doctor that made her, the army that wants her as a weapon, the rival doctor who just wants the technology and the rival maid who is a lesbian.
The Good And The Bad
When I first popped this disc into my player, I already knew that I was going to like it. I have this weird sixth sense about anime. Almost always, I can just put a disc into my player and know right away on if I’m going to like it even before I’ve watched any of it and in this case my anime instinct was right on! I watched, I loved!
Originally airing in 1999 (and lasting until 2000), this anime has absolutely gorgeous animation that constantly switches in style depending on what is going on in the scene and the mood that is being set by the character’s actions and words. The characters and story is great as well, I am absolutely loving Kurumi already and can’t wait to see more of her. Saki and Nakahito are also very quickly gaining love from me as they have yet to show me any real unforgivable flaws. Both characters are showing absolutely wonderful room for growth and there is plenty of time for them to do it in!
The biggest complaint I have about this series is that each episode is only 15 mins long! Just when they reach that big huge climatic scene of each episode that you’ve been waiting for. The ending credits roll and you gotta wait for the next episode to start. This series is already incredibly addicting and so this is incredibly frustrating for me at times but I am willing to wait because I have found a series that I absolutely adore in this one.
There is tons of great music used in this series including one of the best opening themes I’ve heard in a very long time. The opening theme is called ‘The Miracle That Starts With A Kiss’ and is sung by three of the voice actresses and is done very well. I’m already getting to the point where I am trying to remember enough of the lyrics that I can sing along in my own mangled Japanese.
The songs played during the episodes themselves are also very well done and were a welcome addition. They were somber in all the right moments and really played up the relaxing moments when needed.
Another fabulous job was done on the closing theme simply called ‘Steel Angels’ which was sung by three of the voice actresses again. I’ve really enjoyed the music thus far and I am looking forward to adding them to my collection!
Dub vs. Sub
I listened to both volumes of this DVD and I really had no problems with either. I did myself a bit more entertained by the English track because of Kelli Cousin’s wonderful, enthusiastic performance as Kurumi but I did notice that there were a couple of jokes that just kind of fell flat and were much funnier in the Japanese language. So, it’s kind of a win some, lose some situation but both tracks are enjoyable and I had no problems with either one.
This DVD is just packed with extras! Starting with Behind the scenes feature Conversations with Angels. In this behind the scenes feature, we get to talk to the director of the English language version plus 5 of the voice actresses (Kelli Cousins, Monica ‘my goddess of voice acting’ Rial, Hilary Haag, Kira Vincent Davis and Claudia Black) about their characters. This feature is over 30 minutes long. If you’re into the VA’s at all or if you find yourself really liking this series and want to know more about the voices behind the characters, you’ll love this extra.
Next up would be a Historical background of Tashio era Japan (1912-1926) and Onmyou Information. These were also very cool to read as they provided so much background information, not only about the time period that this anime is set in but also the belief system of Nakahito’s family.
Then of course we gotta see the Production sketches. I do like seeing these occasionally but often times they bore me.
The last extras would be the traditional clean opening, extended episode previews and translators notes. These were also good to watch and I found them all entertaining and helpful.
The very last extra though is something that you can only look at if you have a DVD rom on your computer. It is a Fortune Teller PDF file. Remember those little fortune teller things that you would make when you were in grade school that would fit over our fingers and you would count out a little rhyme? Well, this is the same thing and it’s actually kind of cute though I’m curious to know how many people actually printed theirs out and used it since this series is obviously not meant for anyone under the age of 15 or so.
Because of the short episodes, I can only give this volume 4 stars but I still highly recommend this to anyone who likes their anime to be sweet and funny with a bit of a sci fi twist. If you enjoyed World Of Narue then I’m sure that you’ll enjoy this series as well!