Welcome, all, again. Our subject of discussion this time will be Twin Angel Break, the latest incarnation of the Twin Angel franchise. Past incarnations include: a 2011 anime series entitled Twin Angel: Twinkle Paradise; a two-episode original video anime from 2008; another two-episode original video anime from 2015; and several different manga series. Interestingly enough, this current anime series almost seems to be two separate shows, with the first composed of episodes 1-6 and the second beginning with episode 7. And while new characters shoulder the responsibilities of the Twin Angels (with guidance from a highly suspect hedgehog), the past is never far away. Indeed, returning fans of the franchise need not fear being overlooked or left behind; they just need to catch up.
But before we dive into our discussion, let’s briefly revisit a promise that I made my readers–I said that if I reviewed a show, that meant that I liked it. Such remains true. But let me also say that when I made that promise, I did not realize just how elastic the term like might become, nor how much I might occasionally need to stretch or contract it. Writing this blog is helping me discover and explore unexpected flexibility in my tastes, and sometimes even I’m surprised. Like now, with this schizo little show[s].
Episodes 1-6 comprise what I must consider a spoof of the magical girl genre in general; it’s certainly a comedy. From magical compacts much too awkward in size and shape to carry easily upon the person, to fight scenes so jerky that you swear you still see pencil marks, this first show achieves humor through caricature. We’re given our two requisite contrasting leads, the bubbly but flat-chested airhead and her serious, bodaciously endowed foil. But caricature, remember? These gals don’t just get dressed in the usual one-piece-at-a-time from nude, no! One must vigorously shake her derriere to extend the layered short skirt of her costume, while her partner must bend all the way over and fling up her own posterior in order to effect the tails of her outfit’s top. Complete fluff. Of course, so are most of the bad guys–and the entire first two episodes. All disposable. You could start with episode 3 and encounter the same uneasy protagonists, still standoffish and uncoordinated. I’d even go so far as to say that this entire half of the series could be condensed into a single episode, #4. That’s the one that will allow you to gauge your interest, showcasing the series’ humor at its broadest and best. And as a spoof, the show works brilliantly! (I just can’t imagine it working as anything else.)
Then episode 7 arrives and somebody suddenly flips the script! Humor, while still present, fades into an unstructured background noise. Instead, serious themes now dominate, such as: friendship; loyalty; duty; trust; betrayal; compassion; remorse; and even, despair. And perhaps the most amazing thing of all about this change in direction and mood is the complete artlessness with which it is enacted. The fact that it’s done so sincerely only adds to the discomfiture and shock, rather like witnessing a young child interrupt a meal with her family to suddenly ask where babies come from. Everyone else at the table experiences a jolting what just happened, here?! moment. Only inquisitive she is unaffected by the fact that she just tossed a live grenade into the proceedings. Frankly, I have to wonder if this wasn’t done purposefully just to give the series itself its own magical transformation sequence–that, dear readers, would be a spoof indeed! From happy-go-lucky anybody to serious, dedicated hero mode. . .were they really that clever, or just that clueless? Either way, you’ve got your second show of this series. And so far, it’s been pretty good, too. But where does that leave us?
Begging for more, mostly. But let’s step back from the series itself for a moment to celebrate the creative genius so evident in the closing! Friend and fellow anime enthusiast/reviewer edsamac stated within his recent article about Wataru Uekusa [https://animananime.com/2017/05/26/wataru-uekusa-the-existential-crisis-and-anime/#more-15480], that: I remember a time when watching the opening and ending themes of a television anime show was a necessity. Along with this was the nagging realization that the animation quality of these minute-and-a-half segments far surpassed the quality and inventiveness of all of the main content of the show combined. So true! I repeat my own advice from reviewing Flip Flappers: if you watch no other part of this series, watch the closing. That brief sequence more than covers the price of admission!
To be perfectly honest, I like this series. And I’m still not really sure why. It’s weird and wired, kind of out-there for my usual viewing. It’s hilarious, until it’s not; nor is it serious, until it is. (Anybody else here remember Fairy Musketeers?) It’s your mom telling you how proud she is of you for telling the truth, even while she whips you for accidentally breaking her vase. Mixed-up and messed-up, matching together just like that things that don’t necessarily sound agreeable or even compatible. Sort of a happy serendipity of the peanut-butter-and-jelly variety. But it works, so stop trying to figure it all out. Instead, just sit back and enjoy.