It’s time for another card-game-turned-anime: Ange Vierge. In Ange Vierge, there are five worlds with extremely strongly define themes – for the most part. For example, the Black World is full of demons and vampires and the white world has an extremely defined tech theme. The Blue World is our Earth as we know it, a mixed bag of everything, and is the only world among the five that doesn’t have one defined theme. One day, out of nowhere, all four of the other worlds are suddenly connected to Earth and start gradually converging, destined to collide destroying everything. At the same time, strange forces known as the Ouroboros appear, determined to speed up the process, hastening all worlds towards destruction.
Fortunately, girls from all worlds start developing special abilities. These ‘Progress’ girls are gathered together on Seiran Island, a remote island isolated in the Pacific which has been turned into an academic facility devoted specifically to their training. You see, it was discovered that these girls possess the powers to not only defeat the Ouroboros, but also that the energy generated by their abilities help to delay the inevitable collapse.
The story of Ange Vierge starts a little weird. We get a glimpse into our main cast’s life, seeing what it means to them to be among the lower ranks on Seiran Island, before things go to hell and circumstances force them to step into the limelight. I won’t go too far into specifics, but suffice it to say that the whole event feels awkward and contrived, and the consequences of the event never feel quite real. Their safety net – as it were – is removed, but nobody ever really feels at risk. In fact, the story itself never seems to impose any sort of permanence or consequence to anything. Everything just seems to magically sort itself out, and it kind of feels hollow.
And so are the characters. They’re little more than silly clichés. They’re not exactly bad characters, but they’re also not reasons to watch the show. There are two redeeming factors to the characters… first of all, the silliness does help keep the show fun. The second is that there are a few characters who do show some real development over the course of the series. It’s not exactly the most natural development, but it’s still some growth. There is a downside to it all, and that is that what development happens is very, shall we say, focused. In Ange Vierge, characters grow in perspective of their relationship with the two protagonists, and that’s about it. No other relationships really show any growth, and the characters don’t really change much overall… and two of the characters received so little attention that my wife and I couldn’t even remember their names, just the annoying parts of their personality.
What could have been the show’s great redemption were the various characters’ special abilities. Each character has a distinct and unique specialization, and these specializations could have created some fantastic fight sequences. There were a few fights where you saw hints of this, and if they’d really doubled down on the ‘team’ dynamic and made some extensive fights surrounding that…. we could’ve really seen a fantastic show here. But we didn’t… what we saw were a lot of fights that barely showcased their abilities, and didn’t showcase any of the really cool potential here. It was just such a letdown overall.
While we’re talking letdowns… the reason I didn’t go into too much detail about each of the worlds themes is that you get a full description of the entire history at the start of literally every episode. Between the wordy introduction and the opening, we’re talking several minutes before the shows even start. To keep with the theme of mixed opinions… while the introduction was lengthy and annoying, the music of the opening and closing were both quite good. Fortunately, I can listen to the music without watching the show. The show’s visuals were decent enough, but they didn’t go quite far enough in exploring the interesting identities of each world. We got to see a lot of one or two of them, but almost nothing of some of the others.
There were also a few odd elements to the show. The first one… there were these two characters who had these rather lengthy scenes in each episode – usually at the end, but not always. What made it really weird is these characters really played no role in the story, so they were literally just filler in every episode. Additionally, they never really seemed to care about the tragedy of what happened to everyone else. This horrible occurrence I mentioned before happens, and all we explore are these six girls. I promise you, the event affected a lot more than just them, but nobody else matters. The final really weird thing I wanted to mention… for some reason whenever the cast were back at the academy, they were almost always naked – usually in large communal baths. It was more than a bit creepy.
In the end, Angie Vierge is a show that squandered what good potential it had. There were good abilities, which we rarely saw. There was some interesting character development, but they didn’t have interesting enough characters for that development to matter. The visuals were pretty good, but they wasted it by spending a ton of time in communal baths or watching these two random characters do nothing. They had this great tragic event, yet they never really give it any impact or consequence. For every good thing I have to say about Ange Vierge, there’s a bad thing that more than counters out any good created by the positives. I really do think that if they’d added a bit of consequence here and focused more on the team elements of the show, we could be having a totally different conversation right now… but they didn’t. And we’re not.