Heaven's Lost Property
There's an old chestnut of a 1970's disco-era song "Heaven Must be Missing an Angel" and that's basically the premise (sorta) to Heaven's Lost Property; an angel falls from the sky and becomes the fanservice chick for the male protagonist, but there's a twist, which is that this angel can pretty much grant any wish, and our young man with an overactive libido lets it go to his head, and I don't mean the one above his neck, if you know what I mean.
This of course, leads to a considerable amount of flying skirts, exposed panties and boobies for every girl in the high school, far too many episodes taking place at bath houses and beach-bimbo bikini-blitzkriegs, and yet, while this show manages to be some of the most depraved viewing short of absolute hentai, it amazingly accomplishes a true heavenly miracle; it's a show with a plot, a sweet cast of characters, and a meaningful, heartfelt message about true friendship.
If you've ever seen DearS, it's a little similar in that the "Angeloid" here is a slave-like creature with a chain around her neck and everything, who's only desire is to please her master. But of course, there's a dark secret she's hiding. Interestingly, she appears incapable of showing emotion, and half the series seems to revolve around just trying to get her to smile.
And kind of like Chobits, as she seeks to become more "human" so there's a good amount of comic material as she attempts to grasp human concepts like "lying". Combined with her expressionless manner and deadpan delivery (shades of R. Dorothy), the result is actually quite hilarious. Ikaros also shows a penchant for odd behavior as she adopts a watermelon, which bizarrely enough, no one finds strange. But then those moments appear when she shows her hidden nature, and suddenly, we're thrown back into plot-driven drama.
Scattered throughout the series are little, almost subliminal, touches that help define the characters and may not make any sense until later on, but overall, hints at the series' skillful direction and scripting. However, there's an awful lot of dialog that may require reading the Wikipedia entry for this series, as things like the "Synapse" are mentioned but never explained.
And if you think you can get away with scanning through the closing credits of each episode, DON'T!!! Unlike any other anime series I've seen, each episode ends with a completely different closing sequence (which relates to the content of the episode), and then there's a post-credits sequence which is sometimes more relevant to the overall plot than the episode itself was!
Considering I was so put off by the misogynistic premise, I found myself laughing out loud often, as the series turns out to be well-balanced and a good blend of humor, drama, fanservice and character-driven interaction, thanks mostly to the wildly bizarre supporting cast. What I find so interesting is that this group of people should never have been friends in the first place, but through their connection to Ikaros, you can't imagine a group of friends could ever be closer to each other.
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, February 2012
Below: Scenes from Heaven's Lost Property.