"Heaven's Lost Property": Don't Take In Strays
One night, an angel crashed from the heavens and bonded with a perverted teenage boy; and thanks to her magical wish-granting technology, this angel will shake the lives of high schoolers who just want to be left alone. If Jeannie were secretly a world-destroying monster, nobody would exactly dream of her. Nor would Larry Hagman likely have wished to have the panties fly off the women across NASA, or turn into a girl so he could ogle the girls in the locker room, or watch Jeannie fly off to battle other genies. If he had, though, he might have been the first man on the moon.
Heaven’s Lost Property is largely entertaining, if only because the main character is such an unrepentant pervert, whose moments of sincerity and kindness are as surprising as the characters within. At the same time, the series seems to be a mishmash of various plots; the show could function fine as a comedy series about a magic wish-granting semi-slave that echoes I Dream of Jeannie, and it would interesting to see modern-day Japan tackle such a story. On the other hand, the darker side of the story sees this genie destroying countless lives (and her effective sister is forced to do cruel acts to please an even crueler master) in storylines more akin to something out of Elfen Lied or Rin: Daughters of Mnemonsyne. The combination isn’t a delicious mixture of chocolate and peanut butter. It’s like AMC airing Jingle All The Way followed by Breaking Bad.
The biggest fault of Heaven’s Lost Property (originally released in Japan as “Sora No Otoshimono”) is that it is one of the titles riding the wave of moe: big eyes, big breasts, childlike demeanor, all contrasting features that, for some reason, have become the almost-dominant style for series being released. Long gone are realistic proportions in both height and face; eyes are as large as they can be; breasts strain to become perfect globes. (Unless the character is intended to be flat-chested to help cater to that special “loll” crowd of pseudo-pedophiles that would never do anything to a real person, but might just paint a plank of wood to resemble their favorite fictional female.) The lead female is sullen, and the supporting females equal parts violent and confused, or violent and “broken”, two archetypes that are just pandering. Neither that aspect nor its visual style stand out; in a different decade, maybe the series would be the odd-one out, but these days it’s the primary stuff coming to America, so it’s disappointing. Given that many other series in Japan can function with realistic or unique art styles ([i]Trapeze[i] for intermixing real life and animation in a way unique to itself; Astro Fighter Sunred for turning out something ten-times better than you’d expect with a near-zero budget; and Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 thriving with the realistic style that makes the story all too heartbreaking in the end), it’s a shame that this fast food, generically successfully unoriginality is what’s available in America.
One of the biggest disappointments with this set is its “Extras” disc. Full disclosure: the review copy contained just the three DVDs, while the retail copy includes two Blu-Ray discs, so content may vary in the final, boxed version. But with the DVDs, a whole disc is devoted to Extras. This is almost unheard of from FUNimation. But while a whole disc has been devoted to extras, there really is nothing truly “extra” about it. The only thing that makes it stand out is that each episode has a story-specific ending theme, making what would be one or two normal endings on a normal set extend by an absurd amount for such a short season. It’s nice that FUNimation remembered there are multiple endings to the series (instead of just putting one on there and ignoring the others), but it’s almost a false promise. Still, the other option–leaving them as Blu-ray extras–would have been worse.
Heaven’s Lost Property has its few strong moments, but honestly it could have stayed lost and nobody would have noticed. Supporting it just seems like encouraging more to come. It’s not horrible by most standards, but we shouldn’t wish to see it become the new normal. Insofar as we have the power to shape the world, let’s not shape it to include more of its kind.