What They Say:
Tomoki’s life was normal until a wish-granting angelic android named Ikaros fell from the sky and started calling him master! Of course, thanks to his raging teenage hormones, most of Tomoki’s wishes have something to do with panties. And that makes things pretty complicated, because one simple wish can lead to a rampaging robot made out of frilly undergarments or turn bloomers into bombs capable of blowing up entire neighborhoods!
If Tomoki doesn’t learn to control his impulses around Ikaros and be more careful with his wishes, the chaos will only get crazier. Luckily, even with such a dirty mind, Tomoki’s heart is in the right place. His hands, however, are a completely different story.
The release of this television series contains two language options with the Japanese track having a 2.0 mix while the English one gets a boost with a 5.1 mix. For the purpose of this review the Japanese track was selected and it is a solid representation of stereo tracks as it splits the dialogue and other sounds nicely in such a way as to give a decent illusion of depth. The track also works well to provide directionality as it covers the low sounding effects, the more quiet ones as well as the higher pitched ones in a way that provides a nice balance. This is good as the series is one where the track has a lot of space to cover between some of the quiet contemplative moments and the extreme frenetic ones that occur.
Originally airing on Japanese television late in the 2009 season, Heaven’s Lost Property is presented here in its original 1:78.1 widescreen ratio and is given an anamorphic encode. The series animation itself is probably not going to wow anyone in terms of cutting edge images as it isn’t the most visually stunning series out there but it is solid and the action is presented well even if the picture itself is a bit soft which helps set a mood for the series when combined with its more pastel palette. The video encode itself is fairly respectable though there is noise present as well as some rather pervasive banding, some blocking, and a not insignificant amount of dot crawl.
This review is of the DVDs only but the packaging was covered in Chris Beveridge’s review of the Blu Ray portion of the releases review.
As for the DVDs themselves FUNimation makes an extra step to accommodate the extras as they place seven episodes on each of the two discs devoted to the series and include a disc just for the extras. The first disc features various background super deformed images of mostly Tomoki with a more colorful version of him in the center of the image while prominently a little over a third of the disc is black and includes the series title and wing logo. The second disc is much the same but it features more characters in the background and a larger, more colorful Ikaros stands out. The final disc skips having a prominent figure but uses another collection of characters with some secondary ones getting most of the space.
For the release FUNimation chose to go with a static image approach to all the menus across the set. Additionally FUNimation chose to feature a single character against a staple background that is either all white with blue used for the options or, in the case of the main menus, white with a blue banner in the center which includes the series logo and wing image and all the screens feature the flying panties that has become practically the calling card of the series.
As to the individual discs and images, Disc 1 uses Ikaros on the main menu while an upside down Tomoki on the episode select screen with the language screen using a creepy naked, sort of super deformed Tomoki with wings and a convenient censoring circle carefully placed. Disc 2 uses an image of Sohara for the main menu, an angry SD Sohara about to give a chop for the scene select menu and the language menu presents a somewhat SD and pudgy Ikaros in a bikini holding a camera. Disc 3 uses an image of Mikako Satsukitane with a gun for the main screen while the extra menu features an SD Tomoki holding a guitar in front of a microphone.
All of the menu screens use a musical track for their background which are different for each menu on the individual disc but which are used for the same menus on the accompanying discs. The menu choices themselves appear in a light blue font across the discs with the currently highlighted option being shown to have a pastel yellow color. The menus are quick to respond to selection changes and they implement those chosen with a very minimum of lag.
Normally the inclusion of a clean open and closing is something that is almost standard but in the case of this series that turns out to be an exception. While the series uses a single opening throughout its run the creators went the extra mile and created extra closings for the series-and not just one or two but thirteen in total. Due to this number of endings as well as the presence of fourteen episodes across the two discs FUNimation made the decision to include a disc just for these rather than sacrifice video quality by trying to stuff them- or an eight episode- onto one of the other discs.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based off a manga series by Suu Minazuki which started in publication 2007, the television version of Heaven’s Lost Property (original Japanese title Sora no Otoshimono) started airing in the last quarter of Japan’s 2009 TV series. It has since proved rather popular in its anime adaption as it has spawned a second television season, a feature length movie and there are also plans for a third season of the anime to air in Japan in 2012.
The series revolves around Tomoki Sakurai, a high school student who claims to value a peaceful and quiet life above all else. Just how much he values this is in more than a little doubt though as he will go to great lengths and take an enormous amount of abuse in pursuit of his lecherous tendencies which make him stand near the top of such individuals (even in the world of anime which has no small number of such characters) for his desire to see women in various stages of undress.
One thing does make Tomoki unique though- for as long as he can remember he has had a dream involving a girl that he loves but who sprouts wings and is taken into the sky away from him. For the most part this dream doesn’t seem to damper his perversions, though maybe they help explain the dichotomy he has in that he can also be a very kind and thoughtful individual at times in addition to being a slave to his perversions. Tomoki spends his days as peacefully as he can in the company of his childhood friend Sohara Mitsuki who usually tolerates his somewhat pervy ways. These two live in a smallish village of around 7000 people and the only really outstanding thing about it is its possesses an over 400 year old cherry tree. It is a town where one would be hard pressed to imagine an incredible series of events would occur, and yet they will.
Initially things are spun into motion when Sohara notices that Tomoki has woken crying up from the nap he took in school and she suggests they look into it as she has heard his stories of his dreams before. Tomoki decides to turn down her idea of going to a hospital and her next suggestion of meeting with an upperclassman named Eishiro Sugata is immediately shot down by Tomoki. The suggestion seems prophetic when a major commotion draws them outside and the see the upperclassman poised to jump off the multi leveled school building in a homemade hang-glider.
Despite Tomoki’s protests Sohara gets him to meet with Sugata who turns out to be obsessed with what he calls “The New World” and who suggests there may be more to Tomoki’s dreams than meets the eye. He introduces the pair to a strange phenomenon of a black hole which has been circling the Earth for some time which has baffled scientific explanation and which Sugata then connects to Tomoki’s dreams for no readily good reason- or so it seems at the time anyway. Through a stroke of luck (though convenient story telling is more likely) it just so happens that the unknown hole will be passing over the town by its cherry tree that night.
Midnight that night finds the most reluctant member of this group sitting under the cherry tree and pondering why it is he is there at all after his would be eager companions were unable to join him. As Tomoki is about to leave Sugata calls him to warn him that something has changed with the hole, but his warning comes too late as the hole appears above Tomoki and an angel falls from it. As much as he wants to just run away Tomoki finds he can’t leave the angel alone as a large number of pillars start falling from the hole around her unconscious form. Just when it looks like his efforts may doom him the angel awakes and takes him to safety. Once there she introduces herself as a pet-type Angeloid and declares Tomoki her master.
Suddenly Tomoki’s life will be turned upside down as he is now looking after the Angeloid who goes by the name Ikaros who appears to be a bit slow at times and who seems to have a great deal of memory loss about her past. Ikaros does however have a fairly sizable number of special cards which are a type of tool that can grant wishes which she retains the memory of how to use. Now Tomoki will find that peace will not be his as he chases down his perverted dreams with a tool that can make anything happen, though the adage of being careful what one wishes for will often be the theme of the day. As Tomoki now enjoys his new life he will discover that trouble tends to follow his somewhat depraved thoughts, though more trouble maybe in store for the young women around him as they suddenly find a peeping Tom with unbelievable skills at being invisible or just how dangerous a draft can be to modesty when all the panties near him suddenly leap off their wearers and take flight.
Tomoki also finds himself now an unofficial (until the school president Mikako Satsukitane forges things anyway) member of the New World Discovery club as they try to discover just what Ikaros is capable of. Things take a bit of a darker turn though when another Angeloid named Nymph appears who appears to know far more about Ikaros than she herself knows. This introduction introduces a new dangerous element when some of the past of the inhabitants of heaven is shown as well as Ikaros’ true nature becomes revealed. Will friendship and some perverse antics carry the day or will the final fate of Ikaros be a disaster to herself and all around her?
My introduction to the series came early in its broadcast as an online site was able to procure the streaming rights. I remember liking it but I never finished the series for some reason so when the opportunity to review the series was presented I didn’t pounce on it immediately. I’m not sure what it was that made me stop watching it online, but I am glad that I took the chance on it a second time.
The first thing that can’t be overlooked about the series is a good deal on the perverted side. One episode deals with the results of an errant wish when Tomoki hates Sohara’s choice in panties and suddenly a mad scramble ensues to try to find a pair that won’t fly off of her-and she isn’t the only one who has some trouble with undergarment along the way. In another episode his house becomes filled with the undergarments but a bit of revenge from Sohara with help of a card obtained from Ikaros turns this fulfilled dream into a form of a deathtrap sort of his own making.
Despite all of that though the series does still present Tomoki with some heart as his perverse nature is only matched by his compassion and ability to care, which will be tested when Nymph’s true purpose is discovered and Ikaros’ true nature comes to light. As the series progresses more and more about the Angeloids under his roof will be revealed along with that the pain they have endured and the secrets they have tried to keep. It is here the series finds its true heart and resonates with the opening moments from the dream of the angel Tomoki sees as the audience learns someone is sending these Angeloids to him with a purpose.
The greatest downside though is also wrapped up here as at times the series seems to be fighting with itself as if it can’t figure out what it wants to present. Does it want to run along the lines of a somewhat raunchy comedy or does it want to be more of a dramatic piece which shows the growth of its characters? This struggle is one that is probably the greatest test for a viewer as bridging the gap between the two widely divergent themes isn’t always done well by the series itself which then places the impetus on the viewer to carry that load, and it isn’t always easy to do.
In Summary :
Heaven’s Lost Property is a bit of an oddity in an entertainment industry that works hard to try to appeal to a particular subset of viewers. The title refuses to let itself be pigeonholed into just one category and follow just one path or another or limit what it can do because of other elements that appear in the series as tends to happen in many other titles. Instead of a single theme what the series presents is a blending of some rather lecherous humor with a sci-fi premise that also works in a very dramatic storyline as it slowly unfurls. It is a tenuous balance that at times slips a bit but which overall complements the other elements and allows for the characters to stretch their (metaphoric and actual) wings and breathe some life into events. It isn’t perfect and the pacing isn’t helped tremendously by the continuing nature of the series which leaves some events hanging (presumably just for now), but overall there is a lot to love here though some elements may really turn off some fans if they happen to really dislike them.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Textless Opening Song, 13 Textless Closing Songs
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: A-
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: December 20th, 2011
Running Time: 350 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Samsung 50″ Plasma HDTV, Denon AVR-790 Receiver with 5.1 Sony Surround Sound Speakers, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080.