It could almost be a drinking game, where you take a shot every time you see something that is a copy of Mamoru Oshii, like the shots of spent casings piling up on the floor, or all the semi-mystical talk of things that have to do with the nature of man.
It would be easy to blame this on its director, Kenji Kamiyama, who also directed the Ghost in the Shell – Stand Alone Complex series. However, the episodes I saw didn’t feel like such a slavish copy.
There’s a certain promise to this one, talk of a mysterious series of bombings, of people being seduced by the mysterious “his voice”.
But it somehow all gets tied to some notion of God – perhaps as a mere hidden part of man’s brain that somehow has a separate existence – with the idea that this “god” is responsible. Or maybe just misunderstood.
And of course, real angels wouldn’t leave skeletal fossils.
Well, you do have your cyborg action, and by the end, they do all end up wearing the familiar uniforms from the 2002 series they’re rebooting. The angel fossils, while absurd, are also nicely done (whatever you may think of them), deliberately evoking images of the original archaeopteryx fossil (I should note here that angels as winged men is a purely artistic trope which was originally symbolic and not linked to specific scriptural descriptions). The opening shots of falling towers are also notable, which seem more or less believable and even familiar – without merely copying the familiar 9/11 images.
But somehow this one just doesn’t quite manage to fly – and probably because it can’t survive the absurdities at its heart.
And, let’s face it: its suspiciously happy ending just doesn’t help.
(For more about Mamoru Oshii, see here).