October 20, 2009

Mystery Meat -- Angel's Tail

Today's Mystery Meat is "Angel's Tail". It isn't really quite a mystery; I downloaded it because it's something I've thought of watching, and I remember the general idea behind it. Still, today I decided to give it a try.

A guy who is maybe in his 20's seems to have hard luck. His pet fish dies. (No, really!) And then he misses his train, and it's raining even though it wasn't predicted, and he trips and falls and and gets his suit soaked. Sitting under the awning at the closed pet shop, he muses about how things go for him.

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Suddenly there's a fortune teller next to him. She says, you're always late to catch the train. When you don't have an umbrella, it rains.

Actually, it turns out his troubles run a lot deeper than that. He's out of work, and behind on his rent, and can't find a job. He's never had a girl friend. She tells him these things, and he admits to them. She says, "Soon, luck will find you."

She does something to his phone, which he doesn't notice. Later, at home, he leaves his phone on the table and goes to take a bath. And it starts to ring, then spontaneously opens, and starts to glow magically. The same magical symbol she created appears.

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As he comes out of his bath, wearing only a towel and not wearing his glasses, he sees three cute girls, though not very well. Putting on his glasses, he sees these three:

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His reaction is, "Who the heck are you?" The three of them turn around and consult. "I knew he'd be surprised." They turn back around and introduce themselves. The soft-spoken redhead is Lan. The one with blue hair is Tsubasa, and uses boku. The little one is Kurumi. They say they are angels of protection. "We've come because the Goddess told us to protect you."

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Well, they do magic. And his towel falls off. And everyone screams. And he passes out. He wakes later. The others are sleeping with him.

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Cut to a bit later. He's locked himself in the toilet. They're knocking on the door, trying to convince him to come out. They tell him they were originally animals -- that being the setup for the show.

The concept is of a warped harem. Eventually there are going to be 12 of them, all animals who knew him, that he was kind to, when they were alive. He's freaked. But his phone rings. Tsubasa gets it, and he rushes out. Turns out he's got another intervew at 2:00 -- and presumably it's a job he'll get this time.

Later we learn that Lan, the redhead, was the goldfish we saw at the beginning. And she's now afraid of water. Looks like the one with blue hair is afraid of heights. She originally was a parakeet. The little one was a hamster.

It looks like they themselves don't know that he is the one they all knew when alive. They have been assigned to help him, and if they succeed they've been told they'll be reunited with their respective masters.

He got a job offer, but Tsubasa caused a problem and he lost it again. They follow him home, and he tells them to leave him alone.

They walk away, sadly. But then they hear him playing his harmonica. And all of them recognize it as being something their masters played. They run back. He's sitting on the stairs outside his place. Tsubasa (the ex-hamster) runs to him and hugs him, and recognizes his scent. They all tell him who, or what, they had been.

He's shocked, needless to say. He doesn't believe it. "Don't say such foolish things about them. They'll never come back." That last quite sadly; it seems he does remember, and still misses them.

They all start humming the same piece of music. And he starts seeing memories -- of the gold fish, the parakeet, and the hamster.

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He finally agrees to let them stay. And they get a heart-warming reunion. Pan back, and it's an image in the fortune teller's crystal ball. She would seem to be the goddess the girls referred to.

As to why the goddess has decided to bless him in this way? I think the presumption is that it's because he's been kind to animals, even though each of them broke his heart by dying or disappearing unexpectedly. As described, he was a on a trip and the air pump in the goldfish's tank stopped, so she was dead when he returned. (And that's why she's now afraid of water.) He found the parakeet with a broken wing, and cared for her, but her wing never really healed. One time she tried to fly in order to show him the beauty of her flight, but she lost control and crashed and died. (And now she's afraid of heights.) The hamster broke out of her cage, and got lost and couldn't find her way back, and starved. (And now she becomes frightened if she's hungry.) In each case he seems to have mourned them, and maybe the Goddess is thinking that someone as goodhearted as him really deserves better karma than he's been getting.

But that's just a wild ass guess. I'm not really curious enough to look later in the series to find out. (Feel free to fill me in if you want.)

The teaser makes clear that most of the eps will be "new angel of the week". The next one has glasses and twintails.

So, the decision? Not for me. Entirely too sentimental, for one thing. It's a harem show, in a sense, but it isn't a comedy. And waaaaay too sentimental. Just not my kind of show, especially since the cast is going to be far too crowded given that there are going to be nine more of them before it's all over.

It feels a bit like Sister Princess did, which started with four sisters and went up from there. If they'd stuck with just the initial four, it might have been a better series. Same thing here: if they stuck with just those initial three angels, it might be OK depending on the kind of story telling they chose to do. But 12 is just too many, especially for a series which is only 12 eps long (not counting the two OVAs).

How many pet animals did this guy have when he was a kid? Looking at the credits, it seems that the entire pantheon will eventually be: a tanuki, a monkey, a turtle, a cat, a snake, a hamster, a frog, a goldfish, a fox, a parakeet, a dog, and a rabbit.

This was done in 2000, and Hirano Aya is in it (as the monkey). It must have been one of her very earliest parts; she would only have been 12 or 13 when it was made. It has an A-list cast: Chiba Saeko (fox), Tanaka Rie (goldfish), Nogawa Sakura (parakeet), Kawasumi Ayako (turtle). (Though they may not have been considered A-list when it was made.)

But it just doesn't feel like my kind of show. I'm not a big one for shows that ladle on the sentiment, and this one looks to be heavy on the heart-warming tear jerking.

UPDATE: The original Japanese name is Tenshi no Shippo which means "tails of angels" (assuming an implied plural). It isn't a pun in Japanese. It makes me wonder if they started with the English pun.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Mystery Meat at 05:13 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
Post contains 1259 words, total size 7 kb.

1 How many pet animals did this guy have when he was a kid?

I know I had a couple of hamsters, three gerbils, a dog, a parakeet, six cats, a few goldfish and a turtle over the years, and I'm fairly certain that list isn't particularly out of the ordinary as far as quantity goes.

So, yeah, I can believe 12, though the fox and the monkey seem a little 'out there' as pets.

Posted by: Wonderduck at October 20, 2009 07:05 PM (ZgXc1)

2 I'm not sure just how good of a pet a tanuki would make, either.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 20, 2009 07:37 PM (+rSRq)

3 I only had a turtle, and my daughter had a guinea pig. That is all.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at October 20, 2009 08:25 PM (/ppBw)

4 I think you called it quite right, about the sentimental part. But I'm not completely sure. Guardians arrive mostly in batches and assemble before the end of series, so there must be some kind of mini-arc in the end. It's like To Heart this way. Only in To Heart the arc was worth the wait, and I don't think it would be in this case.

BTW, the second season starts with all 12 animals pre-assembled, and then the landlady threatens to evict Goro for illegal housing. It was kinda... overdone.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at October 20, 2009 08:27 PM (/ppBw)

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