Episode One-Derland (Cartoon Edition) Angel’s Friends

Plot: Raf is an aspiring guardian angel working at the organization for both angels and guardian devils called VETO. Both angels and devils are assigned to a human during one of many moments in a human’s life when they have a choice between good and evil (Or, to be honest, good and slightly bad.) During this time, angels and devils take turns trying to lure the human to the side of good or evil without directly interfering with their lives or the specific turns of one or the other. Raf’s been assigned to a boy named Andrew with his guardian devil being the cunning Sulfus.

Breakdown: This is an Italian cartoon heavily inspired by magical girl anime. It stars a girl named Raf, though several other angels will come to join her later. Raf is a guardian angel in training who has recently started her work at VETO. Neither angels nor devils can be seen by humans unless they transform first, which is where the magical girl influence really comes into play because they really love the transformation sequences. Angels and devils cannot influence a human at the same time. They must take turns. To determine who goes first, the angel and devil go through a challenge in a room that can create any challenge that they come up with. Whoever is selected as second is left to wait to see if the first person fails to have their chance to swoop in and try their hand. They may not interfere in the situation while it is the first person’s turn.

This episode did a pretty good job of establishing our main character, the world they live in, how their jobs work, the antagonist and even teased a big baddy along with a looming omen which is the star mark left on the hands of Raf and Sulfus when they touched hands during the challenge as angels and devils are not allowed to make contact.

Raf herself is a very likable character. She’s responsible, she’s very optimistic, works hard and wants desperately to help the people she’s assigned to. However, it’s also shown that she’s a bit naïve, overly nice to a fault and has difficulty with the not-interfering part of her job.

Sulfus is very much a typical bully so far, though. He mostly just picks on Raf and tricks her while doing his job with a smug smile on his face. I have a feeling he’ll get more interesting as time goes on, but we’ll see.

Art and Animation: ….Ech. The art is passable but really rough. The line art just gets so sloppy sometimes. The colors are bright and eye-catching, though. The animation is horrid, however. It’s a very cheap Flash animation effect that looks like the animation for Sixteen only a lot sloppier. On that note, the lip-syncing is some of the worst I’ve ever seen. I don’t know exactly who dubbed this as the only information I found on the English version is that it’s owned by NBC, but the lips hardly ever matched the words in the least, and sometimes they were talking without the lips even moving!

Voices: So far so good. I see a few 4Kids alum on here like Lisa Ortiz and Dan Green. Despite never ever ever matching the lips, the voices are pretty decent.

Music: As poppy and girly as you’d imagine. From all I’ve seen, people are not fans of the songs and I don’t blame them. While I’ve heard a lot worse, the OP goes on for too long and they’re just generic girly pop songs.

Bottomline: I am a sucker for magical girl shows, I will admit. Plus this series has a really interesting and solid premise. It’s a bit kiddy, really seeming aimed at young children, but that’s okay. If they can keep the story interesting, then it’s worth sitting through the ech-tastic visuals. A nice surprise.

Recommended Audience: E for everyone!

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