Review: "Heaven's Lost Property: The Angeloid Of Clockwork" Half-Time Heroine
Tomoki and the New World Discovery Club are up to their usual antics! Fighting giant chickens isn’t the strangest thing they’ve done in their time as a club; that may belong to the giant wave of flying panties, the snowball fight to end all snowball fights, the wrestling contest, or the fact that perverted teen Tomoki has become the master to three Angeloids: super-powered angelic creations that have fallen into his life. Ikaros, Nymph, and Astraea range from quiet and subservient, loudmouth and intelligent, or ditzy, battle-ready, and busty. Their fight with Synapse, a sadistic organization that created the Angeloids, was well-documented, but everyone seemed to miss one girl. Hiyori Kazane has had a crush on Tomoki all this time, but remained in the background. How has she escaped everyone’s sight? Could missing her lead to the group’s downfall? Heaven’s Lost Property: The Angeloid Of Clockwork rewinds the clock and reviews the entirety of the series with a new focus, but is this a clock that’s only right twice a day?
The Angeloid Of Clockwork offers a unique premise. What if there was a girl present throughout the entirety of the two seasons of the show that nobody noticed? A wallflower, a quiet and shy girl that witnessed the events of the series from afar, crushing on the main hero? It’s a realistic notion; with the large-scale events that happen over the course of the series, someone had to witness much of it, get involved, and feel closer to the main characters than she honestly has the right to. The same concept was employed by Joss Whedon over the course of Buffy; one recurring generic student character became a main villain after a reality-warping episode made him more important to the plot than he originally was. Much like in Whedon’s story, the importance of the character is wiped out thanks to magic, but both shows feature a unique look into a It’s A Wonderful Life alterna-verse.
Heaven’s Lost Property was an interesting series. Season 1 and Season 2 were largely funny, but a bit unsettling in their nature. Humorous antics of a perverted lead with, effectively, many of his wishes coming true drove much of the laughs and strengths of the series, but the unsettling nature of Ikaros underlined it. Much like how I Dream Of Jeannie would be a bit awkward if Barbara Eden was played as autistic, Ikaros is played as a emotionally-detached wish-machine that is largely abused by her “master.” The other Angels, Nymph and Astraea, thankfully balance things out by being a smart girl who knows she was abused, and a ditz who can dish out the abuse.
Did it deserve a movie? The question, rather, did it really get a movie?
The biggest mistake the movie makes is that it’s not really a “movie.” For big budget, theatrical American productions of series that originated or expand a television story (such as Twin Peaks‘ Fire Walk With Me or Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie), you don’t spend half the production recapping the show. A few references or relevant flashbacks may be appropriate to catch the newbies up to date, the erstwhile dates or parents brought to the movie, but not half the movie. This could have been truncated and released as an direct-to-video special, or almost even a disc-exclusive extra. For a 95-minute movie, roughly 45 minutes seem devoted to replaying or recapping scenes from the series. It’s an effective narrative device to show how Hiyori was involved (or retconned to) the plot, but it wears on. Naturally, as the “recap plot” continues, the “movie plot” begins to unfold. Hiyori’s not exactly what she seems, and by the end of the movie, the rest of the cast is confronted with this fact. The climax is both all-too soon and much too late, coming quickly and wrapping up almost as fast, basically appearing like a knife wound (and as painful as one, emotionally). The series and movie did have their moments of sweetness, and as soon as a possible satisfying final ending for the series could be reached, it’s pulled away. Admittedly, a third season is in production (and would likely be released by FUNimation in America), so the story doesn’t need to be over at the moment.
The extras are decent, which can tend to happen with movie releases. A commentary with the English crew is entertaining for a once-over, but you won’t miss much if you skip it. Still, it’s a pleasant inclusion that needs to happen more often. The original Japanese commercials for the movie are accompanied by various trailers, promotional videos, teasers, and previews, coupled with the English trailer (and the standard set of FUNimation trailers for current releases). An extra that FUNimation has smartly been doing in the past year or so is including a DVD copy in the Blu-ray set when they can, and neatly pack the set in a Blu-ray case with a slipcover. Thankfully, it skips the cardboard “fluff” that makes it as tall as a DVD, a nonsensical physical piece that’s been included in a few releases.
In the world of comics, there has been much debate about one-shots that don’t move the plot, with the argument against them stating that they’re not “necessary stories.” The reactive argument is that comics, stories, and any tale of fiction are never “necessary.” While The Angeloid Of Clockwork is an enjoyable work, any importance it could have had to the series has been dashed by a poor ending and, by it’s very nature, forgettable events. Much like the characters, you can enter the story, enjoy it for a bit, but leave feeling that something that was special is gone. For Heaven’s Lost Property fans, it’s a must-see that you can hope to be followed in the third season. For people that haven’t made a contract with these Angeloids, give the series a shot first.