Angel Heart – episode 2

December 12, 2005 on 12:13 pm | In Angel Heart | Comments Off on Angel Heart – episode 2

“Kaori has returned”

Considering that Angel Heart is easily my most anticipated program of the year, I really should have tackled this much earlier. However, if you consider how long it took me to get around to it you may understand the depth of my funk.

That aside, this episode shows that Angel Heart very explicitly states some things that City Hunter treated in an unspoken, but not exactly subtle, fashion. The tone that we may come to expect is set fairly well, and in all we’re given a satisfactory introduction to what comes after the fall.

Glass Heart breaks free from her monitors and destroys the mansion of her former employers, killing just about everyone in her path. Two weeks later, she’s in Shinjuku, looking for City Hunter. She tries to kill some more people, but her new heart holds her back.
Meanwhile, Ryo vows to check the chests of all the world’s beautiful women for transplant scarring …

It was clear from City Hunter that Kaori was the reason that Ryo had almost entirely stopped killing people. I complained about it last year, but since then I realise that it was the right way. It was never a secret, but it was never actually said.
Angel Heart is taking a much more literal approach, with Kaori actually stopping Glass Heart from killing a crime boss that she meets on the street. This naturally leads into the next “criticism” that is actually entirely logical: Glass Heart is blatant in all of her actions. In her day, she would kill someone so that no one would notice immediately, least of all the person who died. The way that she decimated the mansion is reminiscent of Kaori’s penchant for blowing things up (Kaori was always handy with a bazooka and grenades).
The heart transplant has led to much more rash behaviour for Glass Heart. I suppose that any behaviour at all, really, is rash: Glass Heart clearly never had any external emotions before now.

This episode was pumped up as being the introduction of Glass Heart and Umibozu. Because it’s been many years since Umibozu was declared legally blind, a nice dose of context was given. Umibozu has developed a sixth sense since going blind, so it is natural that he would pick right up on Kaori’s “presence”.
The meeting, then, is sweet. It naturally degenerates into tension and recrimination: what are these feelings, Glass Heart wonders. Umibozu has gone much darker since his prime, and Tessho Genda is undoubtedly 14 years older … but it’s largely the same.

My only problem is the absence of Miki, as she would not likely have abandoned Umibozu. Her strength in City Hunter was that she served the same purpose as Kaori for Umibozu yet, unlike Kaori, she was open about her feelings at all times. She’s not credited anywhere, nor does she appear in the OP. I can live in hope, but not much.

The OP and ED are set in place and, while the OP uses a lot of animation from episodes rather than wholly original animation, it gives an excellent sense of character. Saeko and Umibozu were frequently “pop up” characters in the past. but Angel Heart is serial rather than episodic; one of the things I wanted more of from City Hunter was relations between these characters, as that was when the series shone. Looks like it’s going to shine some more here, as I am particularly enjoying the slight flashes of Ryo’s pain beneath his joyous exterior.

Angel Heart isn’t perfect, but then City Hunter never was either. Give me a few more episodes and I will fall in love again, under the spell of Saeba Ryo.

Side note: Despite Ryo being depicted as a smoker in this episode, the number of instances that he smoked in City Hunter can be counted on one hand.

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