Released Year : October 2, 2003 to December 25, 2003
No of Episodes : 13
Genre : Adventure,Fantasy,Sci-Fi,Shounen
Plot : Mars has been colonized and is a world where children have been replaced by robot servents known as 'dolls'. Layla is a skilled fighter with a tragic past who travels about the world. Her companions are Nei, a strange and unique doll with some unknown ties to Layla, and Speedy, who is a doll breeder. The founders of Mars see the trio as a threat to their world, and each time they attack Layla and Nei a bit more of their mysterious past and future is revealed.
Our Review : The critically acclaimed movie, Children of Man, had the idea of the end of the human race due to the inability of humans being able to reproduce. Avenger, released a few years before that, had a similar plotline, but has little to no enjoyment that can be garnered from it.
Taking place on the planet Mars, humanity is at the end of its rope. Because Earth is no longer inhabitable, humans fled to the Moon and Mars. Resources are scarce and domed cities enlist delegate gladiators to fight in tournaments to decide who gets what, with the loser’s assets transferred to the winner. Furthermore, a decade has passed without a single child being born. In order to compensate for this, the Martians created dolls, androids that resemble children. Our protagonist is Layla Ashley, who can best be described by this. If Sasuke Uchiha and Squall Leonhart had a man child, who was born prematurely and dropped on her head, that child would be Layla Ashley. She has no personality and little dialogue other than silence followed by “Volk…” or “Try and kill me”. Layla travels mars to eventually face Volk for, you guessed it, revenge. Volk is the gladiator delegate and the person who shot down the ship from the moon that carried Layla and numerous other people in order to keep them from taking up any more of Mars’ low resources. Joining Layla is Speedy, a “Jack-of-all-trades” doll breeder who travels with Layla out of curiosity; and Nei a human child who poses as a doll to avoid being taken and researched. Why the human society has lost the ability to reproduce and why Nei is an exception to this is never explained. This isn’t the only thing wrong with Avenger’s story, as plot holes pop up numerous times throughout.
As said before, Layla is not a good protagonist. She not only possesses no likable characteristics besides the ability to fight, she also performs several nonsensical actions. Take one scene where Layla beats up a man who has been using dolls as punching bags. That’s all fine and dandy, especially when this particular scene could almost be summed up as self defense, but for no reason she turns her weapon to the man’s girlfriend and an old lady, only stopping her assault moments before actually striking them. This is made even more ironic, as Layla herself beat up dolls for no reason in the very first episode. Inexplicable scenes such as this are present throughout the anime, but Layla seems to perform most of them. It’s not just Layla, but the cast overall seems to lack any personality or realism, with the exception of Speedy.
Avenger suffers not only from laughably bad writing, but a very noticeable lack of animation. Scenes seem to be drawn out through long drawn out silences in a desperate attempt to build drama. It should not have to be mentioned that these scenes fail completely in the attempt.
Well, if the story and characters are mediocre at best, then perhaps the fight scenes are good, right? Wrong. Here, the clarity of Avenger’s budget is pronounced. Speed lines are and random cuts are prevalent throughout the show. There are only a select few fights that are fairly enjoyable. As for the music, it’s the best part of the show. While the OST overall is fairly forgettable a number of songs, including the score and especially the opening are actually pretty catchy.
Combining one-dimensional characters, confusing writing, and numerous lines of dialogue that read “…” Avenger makes for a boring anime. Do yourself a favor and look up the opening on youtube, as it’s the only enjoyable part.