Anime Review - Heaven's Lost Property Collection 1 (Blu Ray)

I must admit that the "harem" genre has never really struck a cord with me. Maybe it's the female servitude or ludicrously overt doses of fan service, but for some reason I absolutely adored Heaven's Lost Property.

"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."

Based upon the manga series by Suu Minazuki, Heaven's Lost Property starts with a bang. Instead of dancing around the fact, HLP proudly waves its freak flag and declares "WE GOT FAN SERVICE!". Realistically, the entire harem genre revolves around fan service and all things moe but all too often these series avoid the point and try to hide the fact whereas HLP pushes it into your face. Unlike Morisato in Ah! My Goddess, Tomoki Sakurai is a massive pervert and does exactly what anyone else would do if a beautiful angel promised to grant their every desire. Instead of going about his life being a nervous little school boy he roles around in money like Scrooge McDuck and pervs it up. This is without a doubt one of the most endearing qualities of the series overall, in embracing its absurdity and inappropriateness it manages to surprisingly earnest.

Another strong point of the series is the animation which is supplied by Anime International Company (Godannar, Ga-Rei-Zero). The animation quality is extremely easy on the eyes for so many reasons. Firstly, Madman's blu ray transfer is dynamite, incredibly sharp and vivid. I never really thought that blu ray made all that much of a difference but if you have the choice or the spare funds you should definitely go for the BD option, this is how anime is supposed to look. Heaven's Lost Property is hilarious and assisted by intermittent scenes with super deformed/chibi characterisations. This not only highlights the lighter, comedic moments but also highlights the moe aspect of the series. Thankfully HLP has so much more going for it than just laughs and ecchi. The character designs are unique and detailed with the exception of Tomoki who fits firmly into the hapless loser stereotype. 

Director Hisashi Saito shows some skills from his tenure on Bamboo Blade by managing to shift swiftly from laughs to action and back again without losing speed. This in itself helps to keep each episode from feeling disjointed and keeps a continuous flow, almost from episode to episode. 

The audio quality is just as great as you would expect from a blu ray release, and in particular from a Funimation localisation. Whether you decide to watch the series with Japanese audio or English you won't be disappointed. The english voice of Ikaros, the angel, is supplied by Brittney Karbowski (Chaos;HEAD, Soul Eater) who manages to do a great job considering how limited the characters emotional range tends to be. Sure, Ikaros may not be as one dimensional as Chi from Chobits but she certainly takes a while to develop. Unfortunately, Greg Ayres (High School of the Dead) as Tomoki has a tendency to be a bit whiny at times but overall he does a great job of bringing the funny. 

I've seen Heaven's Lost Property described as being a "guilty pleasure" on other sites but I tend to disagree. There is no reason to feel guilty about watching or enjoying it. This is a fun series which is well animated, full of interesting characters and a tonne of fan service. By embracing its naughtiness (sometimes literally) it manages to shave away the guilt that you may get from the likes of Highschool of the Dead or DearS. Heaven's Lost Property collection 1 snuck up on me and swooped from obscurity and straight onto my fun list, I've got my fingers firmly crossed for a snappy release of collection 2!

Heaven's Lost Property Collection 1 is available now on blu ray and DVD from Madman.


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