If you were given a sexy, busty, female android who would do anything for you, what would you do with her? If you’re anything like me, you would make her get down on her knees and give you fanservice. Not that kind of fanservice you sick minded person, but rather “fan” service as in using a traditional bamboo hand fan to cool off. Hey, it’s hot here in California and I have a robot that will do whatever I want! That’s the premise behind FUNimation’s fourteen-episode ecchi series, Sora no Otoshimono or Heaven’s Lost Property, where run-of-the-mill protagonist Tomoki Sakurai gets the chance of a lifetime to experience true bliss and yes, he’s a lucky bastard for it. At first, though, he finds the idea rather repugnant.
Even though he wants to maintain the status quo of a peaceful and quiet life with his busty childhood friend/neighbor, Sohara Mitsuki, his life is suddenly interrupted by an unidentified mysterious animal (U.M.A.), an angeloid by the name of Ikaros who falls out of a sky and begins to call him “master.” From here, the series begins to spin a well-paced story with a nice balance of heartfelt moments, outlandish comedy, and flying panties that make it a true shonen series in every sense of the word.
Hailing from the elitist sky world of Synapse, angeloids serve as nothing more than pets and machines with which to wage warfare against humans or downers. Subjugated to nothing more than war machines designed for pleasure and to obey their masters every grotesque whim, these androids are chained via an explosive collar to ensure civil obedience.
Tomoki, being the pacifist that he is, instead uses the power of Ikaros as the Sky Queen, and her technologically advanced Aegis system, to seek “humanly pleasures” by sneaking into the girl’s bathroom at school and transforming him into a girl rather than using them for violence. Before you dismiss this as just another typical dirty harem aimed at hormonal adolescents, Tomo has one very likable quality that makes him more likable than Hideki from Chobits or Keitaro from Love Hina: he's a humanitarian and recognizes the potential for angeloids to be equal with humans. He convinces them to break off from their oppressed disposition and to learn and think for themselves, a far cry from the mysterious dictator of the skyworld of Synapse who hasn’t been completely revealed in season one. Of course, this being primarily a harem, causes the two angeloid leads to fall for him and to start doting on his every action.
Together, Tomo and his group of friends, including the enigmatic New World Leader Eishiro Sugata and their sadistic Yakuza-daughter compatriot Satsukitane Mikako, help the two angeloid characters Ikaros and Nymph find their place in the world. From acclimating them with local Japanese culture to helping them make friends in high school, expect a lot of fanservice and misadventures as they teach the angeloids the meaning of being human. And most importantly, how to smile.
That’s where the series’ greatest flaw is: although it moves at a brisk pace, interweaving drama with comedic bits, the fact remains that it’s nothing more than an exposition. In fact, the very last ending sequence of the series is a direct tie-in to the film Heaven’s Lost Property: Forte which has been scheduled for release later this March by FUNimation, so to say that the series ends very abruptly is an understatement. Finishing the series was more along the lines of promising someone a pie and giving them nothing but the crust: while it does an effective job at leaving the viewer wanting more, there really isn’t any meat to the storyline as there are a lot of unresolved plots that have yet to be touched upon.
While it’s easy to draw comparisons between Heaven’s Lost Property and Chobits, along with both suffering from the same clichéd Asimov-ish tropes, the series is still a uniquely entertaining exposition on Suu Minazuki’s vision of dystopia and exploration of the human consciousness; so much so that you’ll want to watch more. Sure, the ideas of repression and female submission gets lost amidst its copious amounts of boob jokes and high school hijinks, but they’re still wedged between shots of cleavage and panties. You just need to take a peek. That said, the series may never receive an award for pro-feminist commentary, nor would it want to. It knows exactly who its targeted demographics are, making it a perfect way to spend a lazy weekend for any male anime fan who wants to watch a series that won’t beat you over your head with its pretentious messages.
As the only announced season available on Blu-ray format to date, the series looks great in high-definition showing the artists unique visions on separating the exotic from the familiar. Where the country of Synapse is presented as a majestic, Greek-inspired land full of rich forests and high-end technological advances, the human world retains a much more subtle color palette consisting of basic brown, green, and red hues. Each of the vibrant colors pop out in the transition from standard definition which shows the power of anime in high-def.
Overall, Heaven’s Lost Property is a flawed and predictable series, but its characters make it an easy recommendation for any harem anime fan out there. So come for the adolescent humor, but stay for the character development of the future installments. There may just be more than meets the eye to this one.
Two things I loved:
+ For a series that I initially dismissed as just another harem, there's a surprising amount of depth to it.
Two things I hated:
- Season one serves as nothing more than an introduction to the characters and themes for the series, leaving season one largely without a sense of urgency or interesting twists.
- The series is often predictable at times relying on a lot of typical harem cliches.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the distributor, Images copyrighted:FUNimation/AIC