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Avenger
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
I wasn't quite sure what to make of Avenger when I sat down to watch it, I'd heard so many bad things about the series I was expecting something awful. The mediocre show that is considerably weaker than both Noir and Madlax. So it was with a due sense of dread that I took in the first episode, incidentally followed by the rest of the series!


Welcome to Mars! Just like Total Recall the place is an absolute dump, although we wont see anyone with their eyes bulging out of their faces as the atmosphere is breathable. Earth has been destroyed and a moon that's come close to Mars has caused widespread destruction resulting in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity is dying due to children being unable to be born. A happy fun loving care free place overall! Now because natural resources are in short supply Mars holds gladiator tournaments to decide who gets what in shares of natural resources. Each city has a gladiator delegate, and this is where the cast step in.



Layla Ashley (it seems to be an unwritten rule of Avenger to say her full name 90% of the time like her surname is something special) is a Gladiator with attitude (read, serious mental health issues), who is a wandering warrior. She goes from city to city on a quest for revenge! Against Lord Volk, who did something to her in the past and is now King of Mars. Layla is the strong silent type with the personality of a thorn-bush, that can beat up (usually while having hallucinations of her past, I told you she had issues!) the best of them with her rather impressive martial arts skills. Layla also is voiced (in Japanese at least) by my personal favourite voice actress, so I am permitted a few moments of rampant fangirlism to tell you what an amazing voice Megumi Toyoguchi has.
*pause for fangirl moment*
There. Thank You.

Moving on to the rest of the cast we have Nei who is a 10 year old "doll" (To much information about Nei would sadly give away a rather obvious plot twist which I shall leave to those watching it to work out), dolls are robot substitutes used by the adults on Mars as servants, or replacements for the lack of children. Nei who is very intelligent for a robot (*hint**hint*), and Layla travel together. Layla protecting Nei. Thirdly in "Layla's Happy Traveling Troupe" (as I like to call them) is Speedy, a rather irritating but fairly useful "doll breeder" (don't ask me, look in the "Ladybird Book Of Robot Reproduction") who joins the team early on. He has a knack for getting out of doll related scrapes and a skilled hacker, fortunately they are two skills that frequently come in handy in the world of Avenger.



The final two "main" cast members (main in that they appear in every episode) are Lord Volk and Lady Vesta. Vesta doesn't exactly do much in the series except mournfully look out across the Mars landscape and lament about the world and perhaps how stupid her hat is. She is key to the story later on, but really doesn't do "that" much. Volk is technically the baddie of the series, walking around in his big armored suit which makes him look like robocop. It should also be noted that Volk's name should be said as many times as possible in an ominous way through the course of each episode. "Volk", is perhaps the most said word in the entire series, and its quite frankly hilarious how its said when all you would need to defeat this "ominous" character would be a tin opener.

The story unfolds as Layla travels from place to place with speedy and Nei. Volk sends out guards to kidnap Nei (why would be a spoiler!) and kill Layla. As the story progresses we discover why Layla hates Volk. It's a simple plot and simple concept with characters that don't actually develop in any way shape or form, but everything is shrouded in a veil of ambiguity that is slowly revealed. It's not original by any means but it does make the plot seem deeper and more entertaining than it should be. The characters overall are good to watch, despite being shallow.



Action sequences are what Avenger does best and the battles do flow very smoothly and spectacularly. The final battle in particular was just as impressive as anything Bee-Trains projects of Noir and Madlax have provided and the animation is really top notch. Sadly most of the series budget was probably spent on the action sequences as the rest of the time the show seems to revolve around panning across characters eyes or bits of their faces as they stand still brooding. Not that you can ever really be sure what they are brooding about either as the main fault at the core of Avenger is the script. The script in fact was probably written by monkeys, for disc 1 in particular the dialogue is so hilariously bad I was nearly falling over laughing. Characters say things that make little sense, and as a result situations are not well explained leaving a very "wtf are the cast doing here?" type of feeling to things. I felt like leaping into the screen and ranting at the cast to stop talking such drivel and actually make sense! Fortunately the penchant for crap writing does improve and by the third disc the dialogue is a lot better.


So what does Avenger do write? Great action, decent characters, decent plot, fairly decent ending marred by crap dialogue once again. What does it do wrong? Awful script to begin with leaving you totally confused, long panning shots over characters faces that seem to last days and a tendency to have characters stare at each other for what seems an age repeating one-another's name menacingly. Hurry up and fight! We all know your going to!

That said, I did enjoy Avenger in its own right. Its above average, cheap to buy and comes in a shiny tin if you get the Ltd Editon. Layla is like a cross between Chloe from Noir and Jo from Burst Angel which certainly is a plus for me and you cant fault the action sequences, and great soundtrack.

Overall Score: 6.5/10
posted by Mangaminx On Wednesday, November 30, 2005  
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