Japanese Title: Tenshi Kinryouku
Similar: Koi Kaze
Ceres, Celestial Legend
Watched in: Japanese & English
Genre: Supernatural Action Drama Romance
Length: 3 episodes
- May be the worst anime of all time.
- The writing.
- The art.
- The acting.
- The romance.
- The lore.
- The characters.
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We may have done it. We may have found the worst anime, dear readers. I don’t want to make a definitive statement without seeing a few other candidates first, but Angel Sanctuary may be the slurry of the septic tank.
This is a story of a guy, Setsuna, who may really be a woman – an angel woman called Alexiel – in love with his sister. Every supernatural entity seems interested in him, for reasons that aren’t made too clear. One character – a princess, apparently – wants him because his previous angel incarnation saved her life. Alexiel’s brother, who looks more like her sister, wants Setsuna to revert to his angel self so they can fight, for some reason. The story throws in random thugs to fight Setsuna as well, as if this wasn’t bloated enough already. And of course there’s the “romance” with his sister.
The immediate problem you notice with Angel Sanctuary, after supressing the bile in your throat at the animation, is the muddled nature of the story. It never bothers to let events sink in – it is one scene, one concept to the next, one after the other in a ratatatat, each said to be of great importance, yet not treated as such. The manga is 20 volumes long, which I imagine expands upon proceedings and likely lessens the ridiculousness of having everyone chase Setsuna at once by spreading out events. I haven’t mentioned several sub-stories either. It’s a mess.
Some guy’s father “has a premonition” that turns him around to see his son before he dies. Where did he gain this power? Why are you asking me?
The writing is something else. The credits for the edition I watched had behind the scenes of the VO recording and Crispin Freeman, the one good dub performance, is reading one of the lines but stops, asking what it even means. “The only thing of beauty to come out of God’s refuse that I am…” You’ll often find yourself asking that same question.
Angel Sanctuary loves its weird lore, dumping specialist terms you will never remember and fantasy names you won’t care about at a dozen per scene. You can’t overload three episodes like this and expect the audience to remember.
Giving the characters actual character and personality to associate with the lore would help. No one develops throughout this story. The development is so bad that I expected the incest sub-plot (or is it the main plot? Never clear) to have no conflict, but to my surprise, it had some. Now, don’t mistake this for praise – I would never praise Angel Sanctuary. The conflict is terrible. “I’m so conflicted about my feelings. It’s tearing me apart [Lisa]!” Two seconds later: “Oh hey, I’m no longer conflicted.”
The romance is, predictably at this point, one of no substance. Why do these two love each other? Haven’t the foggiest. I suspect that with the angel versus demon battle alluding to Christian mythology, the incest romance is just to complete the theme. Like everything in Angel Sanctuary, it doesn’t make sense or work towards the overall cohesion of the narrative.
You would have to see this anime for yourself to believe how bad it is. Too difficult to put into words.
How did Angel Sanctuary even get on my list when it is so obviously bad? It was advertised in one of the first anime DVDs I bought ages ago and I, for some reason, had to watch it at some point, on principle. It’s worse than I could have ever hoped for.
Art – Very Low
This low key frame animations, inconsistent anatomy, digital light effect using, no cinematography, eyesore of an anime is painful to witness.
Sound – Very Low
No level of acting could make this awful writing work. The dub is something special.
Story – Very Low
A guy with a supernatural secret grapples with feelings for his sister as angels and demons want a piece of him. What is this story trying to show?
Overall Quality – Very Low
Recommendation: So baffling that you have to see it to believe it. Angel Sanctuary is garbage – the sort of garbage that is fascinating to watch, like a fireworks factory on fire.
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5 thoughts on “Angel Sanctuary – Anime Review”
LOL I had a good laugh, thanks for sharing. I remember trying to watch AS but then the guy says he has “animalistic intentions” for his sister, and I was like NOPE. The phrase has become quite the joke amongst me and a friend.
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This anime is so weird that the sister complex isn’t even the strangest part!
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Which is worse, this or Gantz? (I haven’t seen either yet.)