Angelic Layer (エンジェリックレイヤー Enjerikku Reiyā?) is a manga series released by Clamp. The manga is published in Japan by Kadokawa Shoten, and in English by Tokyopop. It is the group's first work to use a quite different art style unseen in any other CLAMP series, which uses a more distinctly pared down style. There is less emphasis on detail and more on accentuated posing and gestures. This kind of artwork would later be used in series like Chobits and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle.
The manga was adapted into a 26-episode anime series produced by Bones titled Battle Doll Angelic Layer (機動天使エンジェリックレイヤー Kidō Tenshi Enjerikku Reiyā?, lit. Mobile Angel Angelic Layer) which aired on TV Tokyo from April 1, 2001- September 23, 2001. Seven volumes of videos were released by ADV Films on VHS and DVD in 2003. It was re-released in 2005 as a five volume box set.
Angelic Layer takes place in the same universe as Clamp's later work Chobits, which similarly deals with the relationship between humans, human-created devices, toys, and godlike power. Several characters also appear in Clamp's Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle including most of the main characters, as well as the angel Blanche.
The primary protagonist of Angelic Layer is Misaki Suzuhara, a seventh grader who just moved to Tokyo to live with her aunt, Shouko Asami. After arriving in the city, she watches the battle doll Athena on a big screen television outside of Tokyo Station and becomes interested in learning about Angelic Layer, a highly popular game in which players (called Deus) buy and custom-design dolls known as Angels. Angels can move by mental control when on a field called the "layer." Layers are very expensive; most users rent them by the hour in establishments resembling cybercafes.
An eccentric man wearing a white lab coat and glasses, calling himself "Icchan" (いっちゃん), encourages Misaki to purchase and create her own angel. She names the angel Hikaru, after Hikaru Shidō from Clamp's Magic Knight Rayearth (a manga in Angelic Layer's world), which she was reading on the train to Tokyo, because she wants the angel to be "a short girl, but strong and happy" like Hikaru and herself. In the anime, Misaki names her Hikaru after her favorite doll from her childhood. Even though she's clueless about the game, Misaki soon competes in tournaments and is assisted and watched carefully by Icchan. Later, Icchan's identity is revealed as Ichiro Mihara, the co-creator of Angelic Layer.
Misaki also begins studying at the Eriol Academy, an educational institution which includes grades from kindergarten through high school. There she becomes friends with Hatoko Kobayashi, a very intelligent and mature kindergarten girl who is a famous Deus and an Angelic Layer expert. Her incredibly fast angel Suzuka is a favourite contender in tournaments. Misaki also befriends Hatoko's older brother Kōtarō Kobayashi and his friend Tamayo Kizaki, a girl fascinated by martial arts. Both turn out to be Misaki's classmates.
While adjusting to her new surroundings, Misaki is also gripped by her past. Her thoughts often dwell on her mother, whom she has not seen since pre-school. Eventually Misaki learns that her mother was key in the development of Angelic Layer, which she worked on in an attempt to develop a perfect prosthesis for her multiple sclerosis, which has confined her to a wheelchair. Her mother is also the Deus of Athena and the champion of Angelic Layer.
In the manga series, Misaki's mother does not have multiple sclerosis, nor is she depicted in a wheelchair. The ending to the manga also has different couplings.
The manga series is set a few years before Chobits, a Clamp work in the same universe as Angelic Layer. In the manga, Icchan plays an important role in the Chobits storyline, but this connection was reduced to a single scene in the anime; the Chobits anime was also made by a different company. Likewise, in the Chobits anime, Icchan has a brief cameo but is not mentioned by name for the same reason. Kaede's younger brother Minoru (a common Japanese name) is also a Chobits character.
Angelic Layer has received mixed reviews. The Nihon Review, an anime review website rated it a 6 out of 10, saying that the plot had too many "holes" in it, despite how well thought-out it was, but that the combat scenes and choreography were well animated. THEM Anime Reviews on the other hand gave Angelic Layer a 5-star rating, noting that the character designs were well presented and the animation was colourful, also that Angelic Layer portrayed the concepts of friendship and how "through common interests, even very different people can be friends". Angelic Layer won the Animation Kobe Award for TV Feature in 2001.
Chobits and Clamp Crossovers
Clamp is known to reference their various works in different publications, including attempting to unify all of their works together through later publications Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle and xxxHolic. :
Connections to Chobits
- In the manga, the pre-story pages show faux newspaper articles that mention tidbits from other series.
- Piffle Princess is the store where Misaki buys supplies for Hikaru. This store is also found in other Clamp creations such as Cardcaptor Sakura, Legal Drug, xxxHolic, and Chobits, but is also Tomoyo's company in Tsubasa:Reservoir Chronicle 
- In page 16 of volume 7 of Chobits, Kaede Saito's story of her death was told by her brother Minoru. Misaki, Sai, and Ohjiro are in the background, standing by her bed in one panel and crying with her back turned after she dies.
- In volume 7 of Chobits, silhouettes of the legendary Angelic Layer dolls (Shirahime, Blanche, Wizard, Suzuka, and Hikaru) are shown as Chitose tells Motosuwa the truth about her husband's earlier work with the Angelic Layer game.
- Mihara is a known last name to be used by two popular Clamp characters. Chiharu Mihara of Cardcaptor Sakura and Icchan Mihara. Chiharu's last name Mihara is used by Icchan Mihara, who is also the late husband of Chitose Hibiya of Chobits. Chitose used the Mihara last name in another Clamp work Kobato.
Crossovers in other series
- In volume 9 of Cardcaptor Sakura, Kero is reading an Angelic Layer book, which appears to be one for a computer game.
- Tamayo, Oujiro, Shouko and the Angelic Layer announcer appear in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle in Piffle Country, while Kaede and Sai appeared in Rekord Country.
- In the country of Infinity in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, there is a tournament with similarities to Angelic Layer battles, where the Deus sits on an egg-shaped chair and telekinetically controls the players (in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle they are called "chess pieces" instead of "Angels", however, and often normal people are the pieces.)
- Hikaru is introduced in Chapter 144 of Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle as an "automata", a chess piece which Eagle (a crossover character from Magic Knight Rayearth) uses in a one-on-one battle with Sakura and Syaoran.
- In Volume 1 of Angelic Layer, Icchan Mihara sings the opening song to Season 1 of Cardcaptor Sakura, "Catch You, Catch Me", at a karaoke machine.
- In volume 4 of Angelic Layer, Misaki sings cheerfully to herself as she is making breakfast; the words of her song are, "A field of peony pink..." She is singing "Peony Pink", the theme song to Clamp School Detectives.
- In Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, Sakura and Syaoran wake up in an Angel Egg after being in the Ōto Country and they're met by Chitose Hibiya. Also, in one panel in volume 6 Misaki, Tamayo, and Ohjiro can be seen being served by Sakura in the Cat's Eye Cafe.
- Eriol Academy is a Cardcaptor Sakura crossover, Eriol being the name of Clow Reed's reincarnation.
- In Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles, in Ōto Coutry, the lady at the city hall is based on the angel Blanche.
- In Exam 9 of Kobato., Misaki and Tamayo make a brief cameo giving out beers.
- ↑ "Angelic Layer Complete Collection". ADV Films.com. A.D. Vision, Inc. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Script error
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "Manga+Comics: Book Catalog". Tokyopop. Retrieved 18 August 2009.
- ↑ Taleweaver. "Angelic Layer". The Nihon Review. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
- ↑ Jason Bustard. "Angelic Layer". T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
- ↑ "Angelic Layer Episode 03". ADV Angelic Layer Website. A.D. Vision, Inc. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2 January 2009.