Director: Yoshiaki Iwasaki
Writers: Michiko Itou
Starring: Yukari Tamura, Mamoko Noto, Rie Kugimiya, Saori Sakura, Nobuyuki Hiyama
Genre: Magical Girl
Anything can be an inspiration for anime: light novels, manga, video games, card games, spinning tops… slot machines? Yes, slot machines. Believe it or not, that is the origin of the Twin Angel duo. Whether the slot machines had some sort of story to them or just used the Twin Angel characters as an attraction, this author can’t say, but it is certainly one of the more unique origins for an anime series that I have come across. Twin Angel Twinkle Paradise is also preceded by a semi-connected OVA. Anyway…
Haruka and Aoi are two friends with a secret: together, they are the magical duo known as Twin Angel. Along with Aoi’s cousin Kurumi (voiced by the Queen of Tsundere, Rie Kugimiya), they fight to defend the Seven Amulets–mystical items that, when brought together, are capable of summoning great power. Between protecting the Amulets and living normal high school lives, the girls more than have their work cut out for them!
Spiritual Content: None besides the “magical” nature of Twin Angel. The girls transform using special devices that seem to be some combination of technology and magic. In addition, the Seven Amulets appear to have some sort of magical power of their own. Aoi’s attacks involve the use of magical arrows.
Language: Profanity and questionable language counts are as follows: 8 uses of “jeez,” 7 uses of “p*ss,” 5 uses each of “h*ll” and “*ss,” 3 uses each of “heck” and “crap,” 2 uses each of “d*mn” and “darn,” and 1 use each of “d*mmit,” “my God,” and “b*stard.”
Alcohol/Drug Use: There is a scene where two adults drink wine at a restaurant. Saijou-sensei is shown drunk.
Sexual Content: When the girls transform into Twin Angel, their clothes rip off and they are briefly shown naked. The nudity is equivalent to that of a Barbie doll; however, it should also be noted that the girls are high school age and younger, despite Aoi having a mature figure. Aoi’s Twin Angel costume shows ample cleavage. There also appears to be several close ups of Aoi’s clothed butt, both during transformation and when she fights as part of Twin Angel. Aoi stores her Pokoten in her cleavage, and her breasts are shown bouncing several times. Episode 2 features a long sequence of scenes depicting female characters in bath towels because their clothes were stolen. In one episode, a man is shown photographing a girl as she changes—you briefly see the girl’s bra. The series also contains the obligatory beach episode, meaning that male and female characters are shown in their bathing suits.
Elsewhere, Haruka seems to have an interest in striped panties. There’s also some off-color humor. For example, in one episode Haruka finds out she isn’t wearing panties because Poketen forgot to give them to her during transformation (nothing is shown, though).
Violence: The violence is pretty standard for the magical girl genre. Haruka’s skills are mainly melee-based, meaning she engages her enemies with her fists and special attacks directly using her body. Aoi, on the other hand, specializes in using a bow that fires magical arrows. The enemies make frequent use of robots, which use guns and projectiles to fire at people and to destroy buildings. All fighting is bloodless.
Other Negative Content: There are a lot of scenes suggesting something more to Haruka and Aoi’s relationship. The two are frequently shown holding hands, for example, and the opening credits show numerous scenes of this nature, such as the two girls feeding each other. However, this may be little more than pandering to shippers, as Haruka is shown to be bashful around a certain male classmate from the first episode onward.
Positive Content: Some of the show’s central themes are duty and teamwork. Haruka and Aoi take their job as Twin Angel seriously, putting their best efforts into protecting the Seven Amulets. The two work together to compensate for each others’ weaknesses, allowing Twin Angel to be a formidable duo. When Kurumi joins the team, there is initially a lot of friction between her and Haruka (though it is all caused by Kurumi), but the two eventually sort through their differences, allowing them to work better as a team. The girls also go out of their way to help their friends, which can be seen when they aid Nyan with the giant salamander that she discovers. Sacrifice and forgiveness play prominent roles when Twin Angel tries to help a pair of villains, Tesla and Nine.
Twin Angel Twinkle Paradise is your fairly typical “magical girl” series. Girls with magical powers transform and gain abilities to fight off foes with the help of a mystical creature (though, to be fair, this one resides in their transformation devices) and, ultimately, have to bring down an evil empire. There is even a mysterious male hero known as “Misty Knight,” who bears more than a passing resemblance to Tuxedo Mask (of Sailor Moon fame)–though whether this is a rip-off, homage, or parody isn’t clear. To be fair, though, the girls are fighting against an empire that uses technology instead of evil magic, so in that sense the series does break the mold a bit.
In terms of its story, Twin Angel Twinkle Paradise is mediocre at best. While it does a good job of setting up the basis of the plot (the protection of the Seven Amulets), the series muddles around for about half of its 12-episode run before starting to focus on the importance of this mission. It’s a shame, too, because there seems to be a lot of lore to the Seven Amulets and even quite a bit of background to the main villain, but none of this really comes to light until late in the series. Even the most challenging villains, Tesla and Nine, aren’t introduced until close to the end, and the tension between them and Twin Angel really adds a new dynamic to the story. Unfortunately, instead of this tension providing an ongoing plot thread, it feels rushed because of how little runtime the show has left. Add to that the deus ex machina at the end (the girls can suddenly fly into space… What?!), and the execution of the plot leaves a lot to be desired.
All of these complaints can be summed up as “pacing issues.” While not spectacular, Twin Angel Twinkle Paradise certainly does provide a story with some interesting lore and a bit of a twist on the magical girl origin (the Twin Angel powers are inherited, as opposed to being randomly bestowed), but rather than teasing most of the details throughout its 12 episodes, the series instead meanders around before finally deciding to get serious. There is also the fact that Kurumi becomes the third member of Twin Angel (even the villains call out this inconsistency), even though she is initially introduced as having not been chosen to be the second member of Twin Angel. In the same episode, she transforms, yet no explanation is ever given as to how she manages to obtain these powers. The only hint of explanation is that Kurumi’s powers seem to be somehow separate from Haruka and Aoi’s Poketen-given powers.
Lackluster story aside, the presentation of the series is beautiful. The artwork is bright and attractive, and the characters well-drawn and consistent. While the plot could have been executed better, the character relationships are engaging and strong, which does help to make up for some of the shortcomings brought on by the poor plot execution. These positives may not be enough to completely salvage the damage done by the main storyline, but they do help to drive viewers back to the show.
The series also deserves a pat on the back for its humor. While the last handful of episodes do get serious, the show doesn’t take itself seriously for the most part. This is a positive mainly because it distracts attention from the show’s poor handling of the plot. Had the storyline details been fleshed out more, I would have expected a different approach to its humor. As it stands, though, the humor does help make up for lackluster storytelling to an extent. For example, the first time we see Kurumi transform, she is very self-aware that she is briefly naked, causing her to freak out and try to cover herself. This is not only humorous, but also a nice tongue-in-cheek jab at a typical magical girl trope, as most shows feature the girls in some state of undress while they transform, but none of them ever seem to give it any thought. Granted, this then becomes the stock footage for Kurumi transforming, causing it to lose its humor, but it is still funny the first time. Other bits of humor include Saijo-sensei’s perpetual state of hunger (to the point that she wants to steal Nyan’s crayfish), and Saijo-sensei’s inhuman strength, which causes her to first be confused for a member of Twin Angel and then later recruited by the main villain.
At the end of the day, Twin Angel Twinkle Paradise may not break any ground in the magical girl genre, and it may ultimately be a forgettable ride, but it is a fun ride while it lasts. If you are a fan of the magical girl genre, then it is at least worth a once-through; otherwise, I would recommend looking elsewhere for your magical girl fix.
The Bottom Line
Twin Angel Twinkle Paradise is a fun magical girl experience, but nothing spectacular. Fans of the genre will likely find enjoyment in the series, but fans of any other anime genre should look elsewhere.