Heaven's Lost Property: the Angeloid of Clockwork (Blu-ray/DVD) Review
Those who know me know that I hold the series Heaven's Lost Property (Sora no Otoshimono) in high regard -- it's one of my favorite series that's come out within the past few years. With its often perfect blend of ecchi comedy, sci-fi action, and mystery along with a sprinkling of melodrama, it's the type of series where you can check your brain at the door and simply enjoy it for what it is. So when I heard that there was a movie, Heaven's Lost Property: the Angeloid of Clockwork coming out on DVD/Blu-ray from FUNimation, there were plenty of reasons for me to get excited. After watching the film, I can say that it's a great microcosm of what makes the series great, but occasionally frustrating at the same time.
Since it takes place immediately after season two, you will be completely lost if you haven't had a chance to watch the series until now. Heaven's Lost Property gives viewers a lot of information to take in: there's the entire premise behind the angeloids, the history of Synapse, and the entire crew of the New World Discovery Club. It takes two seasons to fully explain everything. Although the director attempted to curtail this by dedicating the entire first forty-five minutes of the one hour and a half film as a series of recaps, it largely fails as an attention grabber for new viewers, and is a bit of a put off to those who have already seen the series.
Told from the perspective of Hiyori Kazane, one of Tomoki's classmates who has developed a crush on him, the flashbacks show highlights from the first two seasons of Heaven's Lost Property and how she followed the New World Discovery Club during all their misadventures. Although it is presented a bit of a tongue-in-cheek, Kazane seems like a stalker at times since he just happens to follow Tomoki during the entirety of the first two seasons. It's an interesting way to present flashbacks on paper, but ultimately fails in its execution because it just drags on.
Although my mind wandered during the first half of the film, the pacing quickly picked up once Hiyori decides to join the New World Discovery Club much to the dismay of Tomoki. Trying his best to dissuade her from joining so he can maintain his peaceful way of life, he of course gets her to try to complete a series of ridiculous, often perverted series of club initiations including getting her to snuggle with a pair of "pure" panties to dressing up as a magical girl.
With her determination to get closer to Tomoki, she begrudgingly completes each of these "trials" and along the way discovers why Tomoki is always surrounded by cute girls. His lust for life often affects others and shows them new ways of living and finding their own happiness. Things suddenly begin to take a turn for the worse towards the last half hour when Synapse becomes involved and everyone's three favorite angeloids, Ikaros, Nymph and Astrea, have to face a new threat to their beloved town to protect the Downers. Hisashi Saitō and his production team once again does a marvelous job with their fight scenes, despite the fact that it's not the primary focus of the series. With its frantic pacing, it's enough to satisfy any shonen mech-loving fan.
As a result of the film's uneven pacing however, it often feels at times that they could have just chopped the first forty-five minutes and turned it into two or three high-quality OVA episodes as a lot of footage is recycled. Although I watched the film on Blu-ray, there was a noticeable dip in quality between the recycled footage and what was drawn specifically for the film. It's easy to see that they invested a lot more budget into creating the news scenes for the movie without retouching the old scenes, which is a bit of a disappointment, but is understandable given AIC's production budget.
While the majority of the film focuses around Hiyori, the series' two incumbent moe angeloids Nymph and Ikaros get plenty of screen-time which should satisfy fans of those two characters. Other characters such as Sunohara, Astrea and others appear to be nothing more than prop characters, and are there largely to take up space and help round out the plot. They seemingly pop in and out throughout the film which, depending on whom you like in the series and why you're watching it, may be a bit of a turnoff.
In the end, I really wanted to love the movie, but its uneven pacing prevents it from ever reaching the same level of quality as season one and two of Heaven's Lost Property, despite the fact that it exceeds them emotionally at times throughout the film. If you're a fan of the series like me, Heaven's Lost Property: the Angeloid of Clockwork still remains entertaining enough, despite its inherent flaws, to give it a decent recommendation and serves as a nice bridge between season two and this year's upcoming season three. Just be sure to hold your expectations at the door.
What I Loved:
- More character development for Nymph and Ikaros
- The second half of the movie features one of the series' most emotional scenes
- The jokes remain comedy gold
-Serves as a nice bridge between season two and this year's upcoming season three
What I Hated:
- Uneven pacing
- Not enough character development for the rest of the cast, excluding Nymph, Ikaros and Hiyori
- Felt like it could have been edited down to two or three OVA episodes
- The first forty-five minutes of the film were nothing more than a series of recycled footage from season one and two
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the distributor