Twin Angels BREAK – First Impressions

I don’t imagine many people remember Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel, I can’t say I did when I first heard news of this new series. The magical girl pachislot game adapted into a 2008 OVA and later into the 2011 TV anime Twin Angel: Twinkle Paradise took a break for a few years and is now coming back with a stand-alone sequel in Twin Angels BREAK. It’s called Twin Angel BREAK in Japan but for some reason they decided to pluralize the title in the west this time around so I’ll be going with that for this impressions post.

In Twin Angels BREAK we follow Amatsuki Meguru, a girl from a rural island on her way to Tokyo to attend her new school. On the day before she starts school she runs into a beautiful girl, Kisaragi Sumire, who she takes a liking to. Soon enough both Meguru and Sumire must start fighting together as the Twin Angels Rose and Sapphire to protect the hopes and dreams of their friends and loved ones being stolen by an insect-themed team of villains.

By no means is Twin Angels BREAK a particularly take on the magical girl genre. It has the mascot animal character, the transformation scenes, the girls love subtext, the middle school setting and a black and white sense of good vs evil that doesn’t stretch for new boundaries. But that’s not to say that it’s bad or not enjoyable, on the contrary in fact. While we always have the annual PreCure series, it was almost refreshing to see a magical girl anime that just wants to do a more classic style justice.

It does have some innovations to the general format of the genre however, which stops the first episode from feeling formulaic. That is its impressive supporting cast available right from the start of the series. Meguru immediately befriends a group of students in her class and they’re all shock-full of personality as well as well written, far more than I expected to give the show credit for going in.

These students include Kotobuki Urara, who’s a lightly goth themed fortune-teller, Ukari Koromi, who wears a sheep kigurumi to school and has sheep-themed sentence-enders and finally, and most importantly, Kawarumi Yuki, the boy of the group of friends. If you’ve read my extensive blog post about PriPara you’ll know that I’m a big fan of series displaying gender non-conformity as something healthy and accepted. Yuki might possibly be the next example of such a character.

Yuki dresses in the female school uniform and has beautiful long blonde hair like a fairytale princess, but he very much identifies as a boy and have no problem letting people know that fact. While Meguru is surprised by hearing Yuki’s gender, she doesn’t act disgusted nor does she question it. Yuki’s gender doesn’t matter and doesn’t change how strong his “feminine charm” is. The initial scene had me worried, as these reveals can often end up going particularly bad, but I was instead happy by his inclusion.

I guess the closest to a questionable comment would be from Iin Chiyori, another friend in the group, who adds that Yuki’s stronger feminine appeal can be a bit of a blow to her self-esteem at times, but even that is said in a complimentary way towards Yuki. Meguru accepts the fact and considers it an amazing thing that people in Tokyo can present in such a way. It’s charming and I hope it’s a good example on how his character will be handled in future episodes.

You’ll note that I’ve basically avoided talking about our main cast, Meguru and Sumire. It’s not that they’re dull or bad characters, it’s just that they somewhat pale in comparison to Urara, Koromi and Yuki’s amazing on-screen aura. Meguru is an adorable lead with a constant massive smile on her face who loves taking polaroid photos and Sumire, who I expected to be a rather stereotypical “dark and mysterious” character, is a girl with a ridiculous appetite who easily gets frustrated.

Where the show falls flat however is the lackluster action. While the Twin Angels have neat weapons, Angel Rose wielding a one-handed flail and Angel Sapphire wielding a naginata, there’s not really any sense of weight to the fighting or style to the presentation itself. It might be a one-off thing for this episode, but you’d expect them to try to go all out for the pilot since that’s when the most judging eyes will be on them.

Series composition is done by Itou Michiko, who previously wrote the original Kaitou Tensei Twin Angel, Bodacious Space Pirates as well as the severely underrated Day Break Illusion. While her work have certainly had its ups and downs, I think she’s more at home working on original material rather than her manga adaptations like The Hentai Princess and the Stony Cat or Ro-Kyu-Bu!.

I’m glad that M・A・O has two lead roles this season, voicing Meguru in this series and Hinako in Hinako Note, another series I should write about soon. She does a great job of course, I had no doubts otherwise after her spectacular performance as Papika from last year’s Flip Flappers. Joining her from Flip Flappers is Kayano Ai as her partner, Meguru, who also nails her role. She’s done some of my favourite voice work of all time in the past so I might be a bit biased here though.

Overall, I feel Twin Angels BREAK has a very solid start. The action is lacking, but also clearly not what the series wants to focus on. I’m hoping it continues to improve as it’s always nice to have a solid magical girl anime to watch, even while PreCure still exists in an ongoing endless series of episodes. I definitely recommend checking it out.

Twin Angels BREAK is licensed by Kadokawa Pictures and is currently being streamed on Crunchyroll.
Click here for more Spring Season 2017 impressions!

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