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Angel Heart [エンジェル・ハート]

Drama Details
Title:Angel Heart
Season:Fall 2015

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TV Station:NTV


Saeba Ryo, the lead character of "City Hunter," comes off as an easily flattered guy. His true identity is that of a city hunter - a brilliant sweeper. Upon request, he sets out on the streets to "sweep" away the bad guys and teach them a lesson. This is how he earns a living. His partner Makimura Kaori takes care of him and they do everything they can to be there for each other. "Angel Heart" begins where these two find themselves in a desperate situation - Kaori suffers a freak accident, which leads to her untimely demise.

In the midst of all this, a mysterious beautiful girl named Xiang Ying enters Ryo's life. It turns out that Xiang Ying is a heart transplant recipient, and the heart that she received belonged to the brain dead Kaori. Xiang Ying got another chance at life, thanks to Kaori's heart! Just what is Xiang Ying's true identity? As Kaori lives on within Xiang Ying, what will become of her relationship with Ryo?

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Soundtrack and Theme Songs (1)
1. Save me [Nishiuchi Mariya 西内まりや]

Actor/Actress Cast (15)
Kamikawa Takaya
Saeba Ryo
Miyoshi Ayaka
Xiang Ying
Aibu Saki
Makimura Kaori
Miura Shohei
Liu Xin Hong
Brother Tom
Mickey Curtis
Izumi Souji
Yamadera Kouichi
Takahashi Tsutomu
Komiyama Shinobu
Saito Megumi
Tozuka Junki
Watanabe Konomi
Takashima Reiko
Nogami Saeko
Ryu Raita
Li Jian Qiang

Cast Correlation Chart
Angel Heart [エンジェル・ハート] Chart

Related Links (4)
1. Official Site
2. D-Addicts Wiki
3. Japan Wikipedia
4. AsianWiki

Drama Reviews (1)
The review section may contain spoilers! Please understand
that you may find out about this drama's endings and plots!

1. Half Serious, Half Comedy - Unfortunately [Rating: 6/10]
[Formerly available on Crunchyroll.]

This is one of those dramas that can't take itself seriously, even though it could be far better if it dropped the throwaway comedy and just played it straight.

I suspect the original manga had that 50-50 mix, and rather than making some adjustments in the direction of seriousness necessary for a live-action drama, the producers just copied it verbatim. Fans of the original manga maybe prefer it that way, but for anyone looking for good drama the comedic half is overblown and diminishes the series as a whole. It helps if you imagine it as manga while you're watching, but that's not why people choose to watch a TV series. If I want the manga I'll just... read the manga. A TV series needs to be a little less goofy, unless the show is a straight-up comedy to begin with.

Obviously there is a big suspension-of-disbelief needed as a matter of course in the concept of "cell memory" - the idea that a transplanted organ imparts some faint form of the donor's consciousness to the recipient. That's easy to play along with and would lend an interesting dimension of fantasy-melodrama to an otherwise serious show (the romantic relationship between Ryo and Kaori is a good one, unfortunately truncated by circumstances,) but the screwball comedy element is overdone to the point that it spills over to the rest, and cheapens the more serious half.

The blind bartender Falcon/Umibozu is left as a manga caricature of extremes: one moment a comically fierce, armed-to-the-teeth mercenary, the next an emotional sap who melts whenever his adopted daughter Miki enters the room; the trio of transvestites hanging around never plays any significant part in the plot, so they're just throwaway comic relief that only end up being grating and annoying; in a number of key conflicts we have to accept the hero Saeba Ryo doing that classic Bruce Lee thing - he's facing down a veritable army single-handedly, and walks away with little more than bloody lip, with dozens of defeated enemies piled three-deep behind him.

What all of that boils down to is a mass of tongue-in-cheek comedy that undermines the attempts at serious drama, which in turn leaves the whole thing as "light entertainment" rather than something meatier. The "city hunter" concept - Ryo and his fiance Kaori are unofficial adjuncts to the police, who infiltrate and neutralize organized crime activity - is the most interesting aspect of the plot and should have been the core of the story, but it gets diminished and a little buried in all of the silliness. The conflicted villain Carlito gains depth of characterization far too late in the series to develop as a fully fleshed-out character, even though his inner conflict has a lot of dramatic and moral potential.

I give it points for excellent acting and characterization - the more serious characters like Ryo, Xing, Saeko and Kaori. But I found myself wishing the show were more about those characters and about the "city hunters" fighting for justice.

Ok as entertainment, but don't go into this looking for any lasting themes or any inspiring "moral to the story."
Reviewed by Sakebitosan on 22 December 2017

Comments From Users (3)
This section may contain spoilers! Do not proceed if you
do not want to read about this drama's endings and plots!

1. Comments by Sakebitosan [Rating: 6/10]
A manga adaptation that left too much of the throwaway goofball comedy in the way of the serious drama. The show doesn't take itself seriously enough, so neither can the viewer. Ok entertainment, but that's all. [No longer on Crunchyroll]
2. Comments by nickylynn [Rating: 6/10]
I wasn't all that impressed with the story, but I did enjoy Kamikawa Takaya as Saeba Ryo.
3. Comments by Elf Elf [Rating: 8/10]
Took awhile to get through this
4. Comments by Omren [Rating: 8/10]
5. Comments by jessiesoon [Rating: 7/10]
6. Comments by lynn [Rating: ?/10]