Reviewby Theron Martin, Apr 15th 2013
Heaven's Lost Property the Movie: The Angeloid of Clockwork
Hiyori Kazane attends the same school as Tomoki, but though she sees him every day as he walks to school and has one class with him, she is too timid to work up the nerve to approach him or do anything to get his attention, for she has a deep, deep crush on him. Despite what others think of him, she admires the fun he always seems to be having with the Angeloids and other New World Discovery Club members. After months of watching him from a distance and occasionally peripherally getting caught up in the events that transpire with the Angeloids (in other words, while parts of the two TV seasons are playing out), Hiyori works up the nerve to apply for membership in the New World Discovery Club, and soon gets brought into the fold. Eishiro knows that there has to be more to Hiyori than meets the eye, though, for he remembers seeing a sleeping version of her up in Synapse, and Ikaros and Nymph also separately seem to be aware that she could be a threat to Tomoki and everyone else. And, indeed, the Master of Synapse isn't done with his nasty machinations.
As series-based movies go, The Angeloid of Clockwork is an odd beast. After starting with a bizarre sequence involving a giant chicken (which is an allusion to something that happened in one of the TV series), most of the rest of its first half is a summary of events from Heaven's Lost Property and Heaven's Lost Property Forte told from an alternative perspective, one that stands outside of Tomoki and his supporting ensemble. The second half, though, is an entirely new extension of the main storyline, one which squarely deals with probably the biggest lingering question from Forte: what, exactly, was the deal with the mysterious girl who said she liked Tomoki and yet seemed to also be present in a sleeping capsule up in Synapse? This is her story, told against the backdrop of Tomoki's group and its activities.
The first half, which mixes new animation with some clips borrowed from the TV series, is the more awkward of the two, as it combines fleshing out Hiyori's character with trying to shoehorn her into previously-established scenes; she is shown being one of the many girls to lose panties to the “flying panties” incident, for instance, or as one of the random people “killed” in the squirt gun war in the first series, or the person who sold Nymph a candy apple in one of the festival episodes. The novelty of doing this wears off quickly, however, and eventually impatience to get to the fully new material can kick in. The new content finally happens around the halfway point when Hiyori musters the courage to apply as member in the New World Discovery Club. Tomoki's efforts to dissuade her are just as crass, crude, and panty-obsessed as ever for him, but putting a new and gentler face into the mix gives a fresher element to the group dynamics. Of course, from that point on watching the antics with Hiyori in the mix cannot be done without waiting for the other shoe to drop, and when it does it hits in such a harsh way that it reminds viewers that the franchise is not above being mean-spirited. Once that happens and Hiyori's circumstances are explained, the play-out of the story from that point on is formulaic and predictable; these exact circumstances or something similar to them have been done more than a couple of times before.
No one really watches any part of the HLP franchise for its story, characters, or compelling emotional content, though. The main things that matter are its humor and panty-centric fan service, and in the latter aspect at least the movie succeeds just as well as any of the previous installments. Some of the panty antics in the new content are just as tasteless as ever (edible panties on a plate of rice as Tomoki's dinner special at a particular restaurant?), while other shots and fan service gimmicks are typical for the series and genre. The latter part of the second half also has a healthy dose of the high-powered action which occasionally popped up in the TV series.
As movies go, the technical merits are a disappointment. Even the completely new content hardly looks any better than the TV series do at their best; chop this up into 22 minute chunks and one would be hard-pressed to tell that they are not just further regular episodes. Hiyori, the only new character of any prominence, looks fine and the bells-in-hair motif used for her works well as a device that is both endearing and vaguely ominous, but the only visual aspect which actually impresses is the CG clockwork effect in the climactic scenes which partly gives the movie its subtitle. As per the norm for the series, Tomoki is frequently shown in SD form here, too. The music does not do anything noteworthy, either, beyond a parody of a sentai show opening theme during the chicken scene at the beginning, although the Blu-Ray side pumps out a good sound mix.
The English dub carries over the entire cast from the TV series, which means that this is another very solid dubbing effort from top to bottom. Colleen Clinkenbeard steps up to handle the role of Hiyori, and she does very well with her softer tenor and more timid personality. No significant faults can be found in the new minor roles, either, and nothing in the script seems out of line; English takes on the jokes rarely stumble any more than the original did.
Like the TV series releases, the movie is being released by Funimation in a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack which all comes in the same case and is bolstered by bonus interior art. The bulk of the Extras are a collection of teasers, promo videos, and commercials, with the most prominent one being an English audio commentary which covers the whole movie. It features ADR director Christopher Bevins talking with Greg Ayres (Tomoki) and Carli Mosier (Astraea), but is not particularly insightful and mostly just involves the trio (mostly the first two) commenting about scenes.
Despite its abnormal structure, The Angeloid of Clockwork is ultimately a very ordinary effort, with a feel and approach somewhat similar to a perverted (in more senses than one) version of the Ah! My Goddess movie. Although it does technically expand the franchise's story rather than just provide a side story, it is mostly a throwaway 90 minutes that will not harm or limit one's appreciation of the franchise if one skips it.
Overall (dub) : C+
Overall (sub) : C+
Story : C
Animation : B-
Art : B
Music : B-
+ Hiyori is a likable character, some good jokes, resolves one of the franchise's biggest unexplained mysteries.
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