‘Avenger’ (2003) Sci-Fi Anime Review

Avenger‘, often stylized as AVENGER, is a science fiction anime directed by Koichi Mashimo. It was produced by Bandai Visual, Bee Train, and Xebec. The show ran for one season of thirteen episodes in 2003 and was given a dub by Elastic Media Corporation though it was released by Bandai Entertainment.

Sometime in the future, Mars has been colonized by humanity, but the Earth’s moon is approaching, threatening an apocalyptic outcome for those not living in domed cities. Humanity has been rendered infertile with parents adopting childlike robots called “dolls” as kids. In the wild, the people are known as Barbaroi and the one called Layla Ashley (Deborah Sale Butler) seems to be the strongest. She is a gladiator climbing the ranks and defeats Garcia (Scott Burnett) so she can fight in the upcoming battle at the capital.

She befriends a doll named Nei (Elisa Fiorillo) and a doll “breeder” named Speedy (Rick Robles). They travel across Mars encountering friends and foes. As they travel, the planet’s leader Volk (Jamieson Price) and Westa (Wendee Lee) are keeping tabs on her, knowing she actually wants vengeance due to them causing the death of her parents years earlier when they destroyed the ship that was carrying them. Layla will face down anyone who gets in her way and will protect Nei no matter what.

This show has a theme song titled “Lunar Eclipse Grand Guignol” by Mikiya Katakura and Arika Takarano that was performed by the Japanese rock duo Ali Project. It is a very memorable tune and one that is considered iconic by anime fans, including this one.

I will say, the show has two flaws. First, is the origin of Nei. She is just sort of found by Layla, but no context is given on why she appears or how she got there. You learn more about Nei as the show progresses, but have no clue as to why she was at her starting point. Secondly, the show just kind of ends. While most of the plots were closed, the show just sort of says goodbye with no clue what will happen. I imagine the ambiguous ending was on purpose, but it would have been slightly better if we got some hints.

That being said, I thought the show was awesome. Outside of the flaws I mention above, I actually enjoyed the show. It provided a lot of tension, thrills, action, and dramatic stories that were really cool. Layla is a really sleek character and I liked watching the animated sequences of her fight scenes. They were animated very well, especially the choreography. Her relationship with Speedy and Nei definitely had my attention. At first, she sees Speedy as an annoyance, but his dedication to guarding their precious cargo warms her to him. That was some good writing.

From beginning to end, I was hooked on the anime and I can see why it developed a cult following. It might not get the name recognition of some other popular anime, but it definitely deserves a spot.

Check out the trailer below:

PARENTAL CONCERNS: Violence

This review is based on the dub.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my review of Kaze No Stigma. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.

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This article has been updated from a previous version.

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