STEEL ANGEL KURUMI 2 (2002)

 

Format: 12 14-minute episodes on 2 DVDs

 

Rating: R (N, AC, V)

 

Type: “Pretty Girl” Action-Comedy

 

American Production: ADV Films

 

Japanese Production: Pony Canyon

 

Grading

 

Premise:

C+

Story:

C

Writing:

B

Character Design:

B+

Mecha Design:

C

Animation:

B

Artistic Merits:

B

English Dub:

B+

Musical Score:

B

Opener:

B

Closer:

B

 

 

Humor Content:

B+

Action Content:

B

Drama Content:

C

 

 

DVD Presentation:

B-

DVD Extras:

B-

 

 

OVERALL:

B

 

Synopsis

      Kurumi, who has apparently been dormant for many years, reawakens in the early 21st century with a new master – Nako, a 14-year old middle school student who is a descendant of Nakihito. As in the original series, Kurumi falls obsessively in love with her new master, who also awoke her with a new kiss, much to the chagrin of Nako. Uruka (aka U-Chan), a lifelong friend and next door neighbor of Nako, because intensely jealous of Kurumi because she had wanted Nako for herself, so she tries various schemes (with the help of her doting father) to try to supercede Kurumi in Nako’s sphere of existence. One such scheme involve waking another Steel Angel, who turns out to be Saki. Later on a revived Karinka also reenters the picture to complicate matters further. All the while the shy Nako tries to bear through the sudden overabundance of attention while preparing for a cello contest and helping her hip mother with temple-related activities. Oh, and this time around Kurumi has a pet-turned-combat accessory in the form of the dog Kyanwan.

 

Quotes

      “This really sucks.” (Or variations thereof; Nako, repeatedly)

 

The Long View

      This shorter follow-up to the highly successful Steel Angel Kurumi series dumps the overarching plot of the original in favor of pure silliness; there’s little here that can be or should be taken seriously. Little explanation is offered about how the Steel Angels came to be dormant or what ultimately happened to most of the characters of the original series, although apparently Nakihito had kids with someone. The only real connecting factor to the original series, beyond the three main Steel Angels, is the directive that the Steel Angels must be prepared to protect the Earth against threats in the future. This doesn’t keep them from obsessing over love interests just as much as they did in the original series, however. As before, Saki is the odd lesbian out in the love relationships, but this time the center of attention is a somewhat cute but mostly unassuming girl. In fact, there’s only two male characters in the whole series that have more than a handful of lines, and both are in relatively minor supporting roles. Kurumi 2 is an exercise either in Girl Power and girl-girl relationships.

      The three returning Steel Angels all hold true to their behavior patterns for the original series and Uruka and Nako’s mother Misaki are fine additions. Nako beats her trademark “this sucks” line to death in just a few episodes, however, and Uruka’s father is so obsessively devoted to his precious daughter’s happiness that it crosses the line between being funny and being annoying after a while. And Kyanwan? The series would have been better without him. The writing in general sags compared to the original series, and it seems at times as if it’s trying too hard to work in jokes, although it does sometimes work in some good ones. On the upside, the English voice work is as crisp as ever in the key roles; Kelli Cousins and Monica Rial continue to delight as Kurumi and Saki, respectively.

      The bright color palette and sharp character design that helped make the original series such a joy to watch are still in evidence in Kurumi 2, although there is a bit of a drop-off; both the curls of Karinka and the Princess Leia-esque hairdo of Uruka are simply atrocious. The overall technical merits are also off a bit, although they are still better than most series out there. The original opener has been remixed to a dance-beat version and set to new graphics (not an improvement), while the closer not only features a new song but actually uses some visuals this time around (which is an improvement).

      Finally, on the content: there is a fair amount of nudity in Kurumi 2, although there could easily have been more. The series isn’t especially racy beyond the lesbian affection shown throughout and lacks the swearing that sometimes popped up in the original. I have gone ahead with the R rating because the packaging recommends “Age 17+,” although I question the need to rate it that high.

      If you liked the original series then you will probably like Steel Angel Kurumi 2. Don’t expect a lot out of it and you should be sufficiently entertained.

 

DVD Extras

      Interior cover artwork is considerably racier than exterior artwork, and both DVDs include extra acetate artwork that can be inserted over the front cover artwork to change the way the characters are dressed. (In the second DVD a removable acetate sheet is already inserted in the front cover; removing it reveals the characters in lingerie.) It’s sort of a modern version of paper dolls. On the downside, the DVDs lack “skip to chapter” options and I noticed some flaws in the credits. Extras on the DVDs themselves include:

·  Company trailers

·  Extended episode previews

·  Clean opener and closer

·  Character Gallery (somewhat limited)

 

Principle English Voice Actors

Role

Voice Actor

Kurumi Mark II 

Kelli Cousins

Saki Mark II, minor roles

Monica Rial

Karinka Mark II, minor roles

Hillary Haag

Nako Kagura

Lucy Christian

Misaki Kagura

Allison Keith

Uruka

Rosie Curtis

Uruka’s Father (Tenkai)

Tommy Drako

Mr. Kizuki

Jay Hickman

Female teacher

Kira Vincent-Davies

Kyanwan

(uncredited in English)

 

 

 

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