Thanks to Anime Festival Asia, I and many Sora no Otoshimono fans had the opportunity to watch the movie, Sora no Otoshimono: Tokeijikake no Angeroid. As a Sora no Otoshimono fan, it would be a gross understatement to say that I went into the movie with HIGH expectations.
…unfortunately, I felt that the movie was a let down due to a number of problematic issues.
Without any preamble, let’s get straight into the review. Throughout the course of the review, I will be assuming familiarity with the two television series and an understanding that there will be spoilers for the movie and the series in this review.
Before I do begin, however, explanation of some of the plot details is necessary.
The first third is a kind of recap which was mainly footage from both television series with some added scenes from Hiyori’s point of view. This is done to introduce Kazane Hiyori, who is a pivotal character in the movie.
The second third begins the story proper and we see Hiyori join the New World Discovery Club to get closer to Tomoki, who she is in love with. Perversion and comedy ensue.
The final third begins when Hiyori is tragically killed as she gets hit by a truck while crossing the road. We did see Hiyori in the series as an Angel/Person of the Sky in a pod. It is then revealed that these Angels can project an ‘avatar’ of themselves on Earth to ‘dream’ to enjoy themselves. Distraught that she is unable to see Tomoki again as her ‘dream’ was destroyed, Hiyori takes up the Master of the Sky’s (the Angel who enjoys torturing Nymph) offer to be remodeled into an Angeroid, as this is the only way that she will be allowed Earth. Unfortunately, being remodeled also means that she falls into the Master of the Sky’s hands as Angeroids have an obligation to obey their master’s every command. She begins attacking the town and our three Angeroids, Ikaros, Nymph and Astraea fly into battle.
After Tomoki delivers one of his superbly worded speeches, Hiyori eventually regains her senses. She then sacrifices herself to save everyone when the self-destruct device in her collar goes off.
After the credits, we have an ambiguous ending. We are left to assume that Hiyori returns to Tomoki as feathers fall from the sky behind him.
…and that’s pretty much it for the gist of the story. Now for the review proper.
The main issue that I had with the movie was its horrendous pacing on a number of levels. As you can probably tell from reading my story summary, the movie was divided into three very distinct segments that did not flow well together and created a very disjointed viewing experience. I personally believe that even the television series fared much, much better in terms of mixing the comedy and drama.
Also, I personally felt that the entire first third of the movie was a complete waste. They reused far, far too many scenes from the television series in the first third. Other than the few added scenes with Hiyori in them, they were literally cut-and-paste from the original. A blatantly obvious money saving tactic? On one hand, I do agree that the Fallen Down concert scene was gorgeous to watch on the big screen. On the other hand, I don’t think they needed to show the scene off in its entirety.
I understand that they wanted to establish the character of Hiyori as being always present throughout the entire first two seasons, but I don’t think that she needed that. Instead, they could have started off with introducing her character right from where the two television series left off, creating some new situations that allowed us to get to know her character and her motivations. Instead, she was very awkwardly shoehorned into preexisting footage. This really isn’t a viable option as I don’t suppose they planned on making this movie from the very beginning, but in my opinion, it would have been best if they could have established the character of Hiyori from the very beginning, in the television series. That way, they would not need to waste any time doing so in the movie and the audience would be familiar enough with her character and feel sufficiently attached to her.
Perhaps the cut-and-paste scenes were the writers’ attempts to fill in the newcomers on what had already happened. If that was the case, they did a terrible job as well. Most of the cut-and-paste recap scenes were from points in the series that didn’t contain any major plot points or developments at all. No Synapse, no Tomoki’s dream, no Angeroid introduction, nothing. But then again, with movies like these that pretty much require people to have already seen the television series, I say, forgo any attempts at re-establishing characters and past events and just get into the story proper.
So that is the pacing issue on one level. On another level, because of the segmentation and wasted time in the first third, the movie was not able to handle the plot and character development of Hiyori well.
The first third had way too many reused scenes. The second third was far too short to fully develop Hiyori’s character and allow the audience to get attached to her. The transition to the final third by way of Hiyori’s death was also too sudden and I don’t think we were able to get attached enough to her to fully feel the impact of the scene. Finally, the last third was again too short to do justice to the plot, emotion or fighting. In short, the plot progression and sequence of events in the final third was just too fast and hurried.
There was precious little buildup to Hiyori’s Angeroid reveal. Without that buildup, there was no feeling of dread nor was there any emotional stake in the battle. Contrast this to Chaos’s portrayal in the second season. From the very beginning, she was made out to be a real, credible threat and this was amped up gradually and considerably throughout the course of the second half of the second season. This ended with a satisfying climactic battle. With Hiyori, we get none of that. She appears, they do battle, The End.
Not to mention, there was very little to no explanation of various aspects of Hiyori’s Angeroid form. What was that big circular thing on her back? Why does she have such a strong weapon as time control? Why didn’t they use it any sooner? What was that pod that she was in? Was she tricked into becoming an Angeroid?
I was also quite irked to find out that Chaos saw absolutely zero action in the movie. Having seen her released and reunited with Tomoki at the end of the second season, I was really looking forward to see that devilish loli kicking some ass. But alas, that was not to be as she needed ‘further adjustments’.
To tell you the truth, I have no idea how many of the movie’s issues were the fault of the Manga, as opposed to the Movie’s writers, as I have never read the original Manga. From what I understand, the Manga featured a different ending that I felt was superior to the movie’s. Hiyori also has control over weather instead of time…
Still, I wouldn’t say that the movie was all bad. Some of the highlights for me were the comedy and gorgeously animated action sequence of the final third.
Finally, I would like to give a special mention to the brilliant audience whom I watched the movie with. Surprisingly, or should I say, not so surprisingly, there were only 10 girls in the audience versus hundreds of guys.
Being in conservative Singapore, I hardly expected the audience to react at all, especially to the ecchi stuff. But it would appear that (male) Otaku are (male) Otaku, no matter where they are from. All of the guys in the audience clapped, cheered and cried in awe at all the panty shots, cosplaying Hiyori scenes and perverted antics of Tomoki. I would say that the audience made the movie experience that much more enjoyable.
In conclusion, I don’t think Sora no Otoshimono: Tokeijikake no Angeroid is a horrible movie by any stretch of its imagination. However, it does have significant problems that will let some fans down. Not only is the movie awkwardly segmented, the first third of the movie takes up way too much of the run time and, in turn, affects the pacing and character development.