Click here to return to the main site.

DVD Review

Burst Angel
Complete Series Box Set


Starring (voice): Akeno Watanabe, Megumi Toyoguchi, Mikako Takahashi, Rie Tanaka and Yuji Ueda
RRP: £49.99
Certificate: 15
Available 25 February 2008

On the crime-ridden streets of Tokyo a new edict has been passed allowing ordinary citizens to openly carry and use firearms. The government body responsible for maintaining law and order in this urban war zone is the Recent Armed Police of Tokyo (RAPT). Deep beneath the city terrifying creatures are being created in secret labs, as organic cells are fused with machines to create a race of enforcers designed to ensure the citizens of Tokyo become devoid of free will. Into this dark world appear four "angels" – Jo, Sei, Amy and Meg. Enigmatic, beautiful, armed to the teeth and extremely dangerous to those who resist them, they represent the only chance Tokyo has of surviving the impending future of utter lawlessness...

Burst Angel features four of the sexiest gun-slinging crime-fighters ever to strut their stuff on the small screen. This futuristic, action-packed sci-fi spaghetti western plays loose and wild with genre conventions, pitting scantily clad, sharp-shooting heroines against tech-savvy villains and mecha-warriors on the streets of a near-future Tokyo. Adopting an "Annie Get Your Pulse Rifle" attitude and taking it to its ultimate extreme.

Kyohei Tachibana is a student at a catering school who dreams of someday becoming a patissier. He wants to move to France to learn from the best pastry chefs and fulfil his ambition, but he can't afford to. In order to save up the money he advertises his services as a chef hoping to do a bit of part time work as a cook. He ends up working for a group of four girls aged between 12 and 19; Meg, Jo, Amy, and Sei, who Tachibana soon discovers are mercenaries. Meg is a mechanic, Jo is a psychotic sharp-shooting prodigy (as well as the pilot for their mecha, Django), Amy is a computer whiz, and Sei is their boss, who in turn, works for Bai Lan.

Disc one features the the first four episodes (Hell Comes Silently; The Heartless Gunfighter; City Where The Beast Howls; and The Brothers Die at Dawn) of this 24-episode series. The first episode is a simple story designed to introduce the viewer to the world of Burst Angel and the main characters and social conditions. The other three episodes slowly immerse us into the dangerous working life of the mercenaries. It's also humorous to see that no matter how dangerous a situation the girls are in, they always manage to get away without a scratch even though they are scantily clad.

There are plenty of great little moments here, but one of my favourites was the homage in The Heartless Gunfighter to the drinking game in Raiders of the Lost Ark - the one that sees Marion Ravenwood in a drinking competition against a burly man.

Extras include original Japanese radio shows and an extra for the the original CD releases and textless opening and closing titles (including both the Japanese and English language songs for the closing titles).

Disc two: A secret society's conjured up the spirit of an ancient demon, and they mean to set it loose on Meg. And if that's not enough, a dangerous giant bird preys on young girls and snatches up Meg before Jo's very eyes! A secret weapon injected into Kyohei raises the stakes for Sei, and a deal to save Meg leaves Jo hanging in the balance. With traps and the authorities lurking behind every corner will Jo be able to save Meg this time? Or will the Crow Monster take Meg and Kyohei down with it?...

In episode five, Mansion Where Lurks the Demon, Meg goes undercover at an all girls' school to investigate the strange case of a young student's descent into insanity. Is the school harbouring a secret Babylonian society or is the girl just the victim of a bad dream?

This episode has some great humour - mainly revolving around Meg and the awful food the school serves up. Meg is trying to get into the exclusive Ishtar Club that seems to be at the bottom of the school's problems. On her introduction to the secret society she blows it. Later that night she lays in bed contemplating her dilemma... but not for long, as she's managed to sneak some sweets back to her dormitory.

Meg gets so fed up with the dire food she has to eat that on her nightly radio communication with her team mates she threatens to walk if she can't get any decent provisions. Enter Kyohei with a range of delicious foods. However, Meg can hardly keep any of it down, as poor Kyohei has had to dress as a schoolgirl in case he is spotted.

Wash this Garden with Blood: Meg has discovered that something sinister is indeed going on at the school. It's too big for her to handle on her own, so Jo is sent in as backup. A secret society has conjured the spirit of an ancient demon and it has its sights set on Meg. Can Jo break the curse before Meg becomes another helpless victim?

The start of this episode has an explanatory introduction which I thought would have been more useful if it had been included on the previous episode. Otherwise, this is a great conclusion to the story.

In Black Sky, a giant mechanical crow is abducting young girls on the streets of Tokyo. When it flies off with Kyohei's friend, the Angels set about tracking the monster down. Things don't go quite as planned and Meg is snatched by the giant robot. Coincidence is stretched to breaking point when the crow also attacks someone that the Angel's are currently employed to protect. It soon becomes apparent that whoever is behind the bird attacks is carefully choosing his victims. This time he is after a secret weapon of nanobots that are housed in a syringe. When this is injected into Kyohei all hell breaks lose. If they save Kyohei then Meg will die, but if they hand over Kyohei then he will die. Jo kidnaps Kyohei and goes against her bosses's (Sei) express orders. Can Jo keep them both alive, and will she have a job to come back to if she is successful?

The Wounded Outlaw sees Joe and Kyohei still on the run in Tokyo. Sei is hot on their trail with traps and cops everywhere they turn. Jo and Kyohei have to get to Tokyo Tower before they run out of time.

This episode also sees a switch over to computer CGI for the impressive crow attack segments.

Extras are pretty impressive for this disc too. We get an audio commentary (on the episode The Wounded Outlaw) with the voice director and cast of the USA soundtrack - there's a particularly funny bit of banter about the problems of finding loyal henchmen; radio sketches; textless opening and closing titles; and trailers.

Disc three: Following the announcement of Sei's arranged marriage to a member of a rival faction, the veil drops on years of old rivalries. If you think an arranged marriage won't sit well with Sei, well, you can only imagine what Amy feels like when a hacker gets his fingers into her computer... Meanwhile, terrorists hijack a train and a giant bug is unleashed upon the city. All in a day's work for Jo. But has even Jo met her match in Ms. Takane Katsu, an elite law dog from Osaka? These two have more in common than they realise...

In episode nine, Party of the Dragon, Meg and Amy accompany Sei to her grandfather's huge and expensive party. However they get a little more than they bargained for. Following the announcement of Sei's arranged marriage to a member of the Black Lotus clan, the veil drops on years of old rivalries. And it's only a matter of time before things turn violent.

There is a particularly stomach churning scene in this episode where Meg breaks a priceless vase. However the one witness to the accident, a dirty old man, promises Meg his silence - as long as she'll return the favour... sexually.

In Uncharted Cyberspace Amy is getting a little annoyed that someone keeps hacking into her computer and leaving pictures of creatures with her head grafted onto them. She manages to enlist Kyohei to take her into the city so that she can get hold of the technology she needs to track the hacker.

This episode shows that there is a little bit of a atmosphere between Leo, the girls' mechanic, and Jo. He's annoyed that Jo managed to damage Django on a previous mission. Some comic relief is offered when we finally get to meet the hackers that have been fooling with Amy's computer.

Eastern Angel, Western Hawk, sees Jo on a mission away from home. A terrorist is on the loose and has already shown what he is capable of - by crashing an empty train to prove that he means business. Meanwhile, at the DDD League wrestling tournament things are not going as they should. A carefully scripted fight falls apart when the villain suddenly transforms into a real monster and starts attacking anything that moves.

This episode takes us to a DDD tournament - about as close to a WWE event as you can imagine. Here carefully scripted fights between costumed actors, playing super heroes and super villains, are played out for the audience to enjoy. But what does this tournament have to do with a terrorist that is currently threatening the local authorities? More than you'd think.

Tower of Tears sees the terrorist move forward with his plans - by threatening to destroy the Osaka Tower. Before you know it there is a huge robot fight between Jo, controlling Django, and the mysterious gigantic robot that will stop at nothing to ensure justice fails.

This episode, along with the previous one, brings waves of 80s nostalgia flooding back. Robot battles in the middle of a busy city will no doubt have a special place in lots of viewers' hearts. But it's good to see this being brought up to date.

Extras are pretty impressive on this disc. We get an audio commentary with the American cast on the Uncharted Cyberspace episode; a number of really amusing subtitled Japanese radio drama segments; textless versions of the opening and closing titles (however on both the Japanese and English version of the closing titles you can't turn off the subtitle translation - which is a little silly); and trailers for other releases.

Disc four: The city of Osaka is under Siege. Takane finds herself against a wall, unable to defend the lives she's sworn to protect. With Meg serving as bait, Sei finds herself on a short leash dealing with the newest gun in town. Meanwhile, Meg and Jo are sent to stop a cold-blooded killer, but something unexpected occurs. Jo begins to suffer mind-breaking visions. Suddenly routine exercise with Leo and Django becomes a fight for survival as a violent attack leads Jo face to face with a ghostly warrior staring her down for the duel of a lifetime...

Showdown in Osaka: The city of Osaka is under siege by Iriki. With Meg being held hostage, Sei finds herself having to watch her step when dealing with Iriki, as the wrong move could result in the death of Meg.

I'd grown to love this series for it's humour, strong story lines and sparkling whit. Very little of that shows itself here. There's a lot of fighting and that's your lot really.

Wild Kids: This episode follows a young woman, who lives on the streets with three other homeless children, who finds an unconscious woman lying in the river. Convinced that this unconscious woman is an angel the young woman alerts her gang - who have been forced into petty theft to stay alive. When the unconscious woman awakes she claims not to know her name. She cannot remember anything, until she is placed in a dangerous situation - then it seems that she automatically knows how to defend herself.

This is the best episode on this disc. While it's impossible not to work out who the unconscious woman is, I thought that one of the other characters looked familiar - but put that down to the anime style. However, once the episode had finished I realised how clever the writers had been. By not signposting what kind of episode it was, or when or where it was set, a certain amount of mystery was allowed to play out.

Slingin' Oil: Sei and the gang are enjoying a relaxing break at a huge new adventure island which is packed with water park themed rides. Things go bad when someone decides to sabotage the official opening of the park.

This is a fairly average episode. It starts off promising but soon runs out of steam. It made me realise how much I miss the comedy dynamics of Kyohei and the girls he is employed to cook for. It's obvious he has a crush on at least Sei (as this episode illustrates) and who can blame him? And those awkward moments are priceless. This show seems to work best when the team are together - the banter is much more fun than seeing Django kicking some robot butt.

The Man With No Name: When Meg and Jo are sent on a mission, Joe starts to experience painful visions. A routine Django session with Leo leads to a violent attack and Jo is on the run. A formidable foe and a ghostly warrior send Jo into a battle for her very soul.

Hmm. The jury's still out on this episode. Whilst there are some interesting moments here, I found it, on the whole, a little bit boring.

Extras include audio commentary on Showdown in Osaka with some of the American cast. This is worth listening too, but only just - as they spend about 70% of the time laughing at the show and saying: "Wow! That's cool." When they do stop and poke fun at each other, or talk about the show, there are a few interesting tidbits worth learning. Also included are the usual radio sketches; textless opening and closing titles; and trailers.

Disc five: The streets have cleared for a showdown, and Jo will learn more about her past than she ever wanted to know. Will Jo rise to the challenge or will her own fate bring a dark cloud over her destiny? Meanwhile, a new cybernetic police unit is put into commission in order to patrol the highways and keep the peace, but the malfunctioning unit has set its lethal eyes on Takane! Will the girls be able to fight off the powerful force holding her under its control?...

Duelling Angels: A ghost from Jo's past forces her to battle for her life. To be honest I found this to be yet another rather dull robot fighting episode. Not only was it painfully boring, but also pretty incomprehensible - it wasn't really clear what on earth was going on. And, in the explosive climax, was it my imagination, or did someone use a couple of the Windows Media player graphics as a cheap effects shot?

The Immortal Classmate: Two brothers are at war after one decides to manipulate the other for his own selfish needs. The resulting battle pits man against machine in an explosive duel. Unfortunately Kyohei winds up being stuck in the middle of the battle as one of the brother's is a school friend of his. This is an interesting tale which sees the welcome return of Kyohei (whatever happened to those great episode dynamics where the girls would have fun at Kyohei's expense?) The plot that follows the two brothers relationship is engaging and makes up for the dullness of Duelling Angels.

24 Hour Strategy: Takane falls victim to a mysterious mind control device. It's up to the girls to find and rescue her. This episode features a technology that turns people (mostly kids) into zombies. To get to the bottom of everything Jo must battle against a virtual reality opponent.

Blood Red Highway: A new cybernetic police unit is put into commission in order to patrol the highways and keep the peace. But the unit goes haywire and sets its lethal eyes on Takane. This Robocop inspired episode also features a couple of homages to other well known movies. Did I spot lightsabres as well as a nod to The Terminator? This episode also sees a return of the brothers from The Immortal Classmate. It seems that their fight is not quite over yet.

Extras include Duelling Angels Commentary (with the USA voice cast. There are many funny moments, but I loved the notion that "diarrhoea" is a pretty word when you take away the meaning of it - that "it flows nicely." We also discover that Django is based on a character from an old spaghetti western - which is why the robot seems to be wearing a cowboy hat and spurs); there are three separate interview sections (covering Japanese cast, character design and CGI artist); and trailers.

Disc five: A new syndicate is in charge and Sei's teams is no longer needed. Another terrorist attack rocks the city and grips the citizens with fear. But the girls won't be saving Tokyo this time: they've been decommissioned. The truth behind Jo's existence is revealed and nothing seems to be the same. Meanwhile, Maria awaits the final battle she was originally programmed for. It'll be Angel vs. Angel as Maria and Jo face off in the ultimate fight of their lives. Meanwhile, Sei devises a plan to destroy not only RAPT, but the dominance it has commanded over Tokyo. All she has to do is reassemble the team to do it...

And so we reach the final four episodes in the Burst Angel series. It's been a wild ride, but I can't help but wonder if the producers knew where they were going with the show. For me, it's at its strongest with the humorous episodes and at it's weakest during the robot battle story lines. The show started with more humorous storylines and then began to get bogged down with more serious narratives. Personally, I felt it was a shame that more humour wasn't injected into the later episodes - even a small bit of light relief would have been welcomed - as the show was in serious danger of taking itself a little too seriously.

I was sorry to see that Kyohei was almost forgotten in the later episodes - the group dynamics where greatly heightened, not to mention the comedy, when he was included in the action. Sadly he is only seen briefly in the show's final episode and we never really learn what became of him.

The final four episodes revolve around Sei splitting up the group and then reforming it (minus Kyohei) for one last mission; Meg and Jo's relationship and Jo's origins.

New Sheriff In Town: As another terrorist attack causes devastation in Tokyo it's no use the inhabitants looking to the Angels to save them - Sei has decommissioned the gang.

Genocide Angels: Jo's origins are revealed. Meg is confronted by a strange woman from Jo's past - a woman who plans to finish something that was started a long time ago. Meanwhile Sei is deep underground Tokyo trying to work out why the government has joined forces with another agency.

Red Sea Gallows: While RAPT controls Tokyo, including the news media, Maria awaits the final battle she was originally born for. Only Jo can stop her, but at what cost?

Angels, Explode!: While Meg and Jo wash up on one of the Red Ocean's beaches, Sei is told by her Grandfather to follow her own path to happiness. Taking this opportunity for what it's worth, she devises a plan to destroy not only RAPT, but the dominance it has commanded over Tokyo. All she has to do is reassembling the team to do it.

Extras include an audio commentary on the final episode by the American voice director and the four actresses that provide the voices for the Angels; more radio drama segments; Japanese trailer for the series; alternate opening and closing segments (a bit disappointing as these are some rather badly put together clips to the opening and closing music); and a couple of trailers for other anime shows.

The series ends as it began - on a high. The last episode has everything - we've come to love about Burst Angel (minus the humour of the early episodes).

The fact that all five discs are now available in this box set for under £50 should be all the excuse you need to add this to your anime collection.


Pete Boomer

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£37.49 (
£35.99 (
£35.99 (
£39.97 (
£41.97 (
£41.93 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.