Burst Angel is one of those anime shows that I never finished watching. Years ago, when the DVDs were coming out, I watched around half the series before dropping it. I had a bunch of other things to see so I decided to take a break and never got round to going back to view the final few episodes. Was it a bad series? No, but it wasn’t anything special either. It sounded like a fun “chicks with guns” cartoon, set in a crime ridden futuristic Japan, with some good looking character designs. Alas Burst Angel proved to be mediocre filled with ideas the average anime fan has seen a million times before and done better.
Despite not being wowed by the twenty four episode series I decided to check out the OVA (basically a direct to DVD release not shown on TV) titled Burst Angel Infinity. Judging from the synopsis Infinity sounded like a movie prequel set before the main characters (Jo and Meg) joined the mercenary group they are part of in the series. After watching the feature, in its entirety, I was however surprised to learn that this prequel was no longer than your run of the mill twenty two minute episode. Not exactly great value for money, but perhaps we can forgive the short running time if it’s any good right?
Jo an Meg return to their home town to visit Shirley, an orphan they grew up with, to celebrate the youngster’s birthday. An amusing start to the show sees the pair earn some reward money by rescuing a cat that is stuck up a tree. With the funds they acquire they purchase a birthday gift and set off to see Shirley, only to learn that the youngster is battling to stay alive after getting attacked by a blade wielding cowboy cyborg the night before. The police don’t seem to be too bothered about tracking down the mechanical murderer so our heroines set off to dish out justice themselves.
There really isn’t much else to say due to the wafer thin plot and short running time. The sexy duo don’t have to investigate too much to track down the cyborg as it ends up seeking them out. In the end Meg gets kidnapped (not much of a spoiler as it is a recurring theme in the show) setting up the action packed finale were Jo tries to rescue her companion. It’s hard to get too excited as this is a prequel so you know that they will ultimately get away unscathed. The potentially interesting conspiracy of why the cops aren’t pursuing the cyborg gets explained away in less than a minute moments before the credits roll. Hmmm I think I am starting to remember why I gave up on the show.
Infinity’s heroines are drawn beautifully, but alas their appeal is only skin deep. In terms of personality both Jo an Meg are stereotypical anime characters. Jo is the silent silver haired badass who is a fan of horror films. She comes across as cold, but is extremely loyal to her childhood friend Meg. On the flip side Meg, the red haired cowgirl, has an upbeat disposition and serves as the comic relief of the group. With just over twenty minutes to play with there wasn’t any chance to develop the characters although I suppose they were restricted in that regard (as the OVA is set prior to the series.) Fans of the show will be disappointed to learn that other popular characters from the series, such as Sei and Amy, fail to make an appearance.
Normally anime DVDs are lacking in extras, but this release has the unusual honour of having extras that last longer than the main feature! The main extra is a battle record of the series which shows fights from all twenty four episodes. You also get some adverts and previews for each of the anime’s episodes. It’s nice to see that they tried to make up for the short OVA, by providing us with lengthy extras, but it’s a bit of a hollow gesture. The extras are basically just clips from the series, which I expect anyone interested in Infinity already owns. Why watch a selection of clips when you can see the whole thing instead?
I cannot recommend Burst Angel Infinity as you are basically paying for just one mediocre Burst Angel episode. If they didn’t have the budget to make a movie they could have at least tried making this into a two parter so anyone picking it up wouldn’t feel so ripped off. I pity fans of the series who originally collected the separate volumes. If they wanted to complete their Burst Angel collection they would have to fork out full price for this short OVA. If you are a fan of Burst Angel and still don’t own Infinity you at least have the hope of finding it at a bargain bin price. Your best bet however, if you don’t own the series, would be to pick up the box set which brings the whole series and OVA in one package.