Standing on top of a building, a shadowy figure remembers an assassination she carried out: one where she killed a man whose daughter came running, unaware that her father has been killed. The assassin can’t stand doing this anymore and jumps off the building to be free. Two days later, a heart transplant is stolen en route to a hospital. Another year passes, and somewhere in Taiwan, the same assassin lies in a coma, despite having received a heart transplant. The security guards watching over her body start talking about her and one of them tells the other about how assassins in their organization are trained to be killing machines. The girl they are guarding is the elite assassin Glass Heart. In her comatose state, Glass Heart is dreaming about all of the assassinations she’s done. Each time she killed someone, she felt that a part of her own self died. She remembers committing suicide, and wonders why she’s still alive. Another voice arrives to tell her that she must not die, that she must live. As a warm feeling surrounds her, she feels the embrace of a man.
Meanwhile, Saeba Ryo is hitting on girls at the pool when Nogami Saeko comes looking for him. She’s in the police force working on the stolen transplant case, but she tells Ryo that the case is all but closed now though still unsolved. Ryo, turning serious, says that he believes that Kaori, who was the donor of the heart and Ryo’s former fiancé, is still alive. Back in Glass Heart’s dream world, she finds and opens a door that leads to another woman: Kaori. Glass Heart starts to experience Kaori’s memories, including fond ones of Ryo and the memory of the night Kaori died saving a child from oncoming traffic. In the real world, the organization doctors have been ordered to let Glass Heart die if her condition worsens. Still dreaming, Glass Heart again thinks that she wants to die, but Kaori’s voice tells her again that she must live. After remembering Ryo embracing a dying Kaori that final night, Glass Heart decides that she wants to live because she doesn’t want to be separated from Ryo. And with that, the Glass Heart of the real world opens her eyes, awakening from the coma.
Angel Heart, for those of you who don’t know, continues the saga of City Hunter, a series from the late 80s/early 90s about a gun-for-hire named Saeba Ryo who had a partner named Makimura Kaori. That’s the same Ryo and Kaori of this series, except now Kaori has died (well, only kind of). If you’re a bit confused by the above summary, that’s normal. I tried my best to get the plot points, but there are a lot of things that get developed little by little. For now, it’s sufficient to know that Glass Heart is channeling Kaori’s mind and spirit from the transplanted heart, and that’s what’s keeping her alive and guiding her thoughts.
I am quite impressed by the first episode of Angel Heart. It follows the first two chapters of the manga extremely closely, and delivers each scene quite well. The art style, which is quite mature, may not be for everyone, but it also resembles the manga. The only difference is that they added the final scene with Ryo thinking about Kaori at the place where she died. I thought that scene was incredibly well done, with the music (especially that saxophone) setting the mood quite well. It almost felt like a movie at the end there. Speaking of music, there is no opening or ending song this episode; I assume that’ll come next week. If you’re curious, the OP is 「Finally」 by Sowelu and the ED is 「誰かが君を想ってる」 by Skoop On Somebody.
Anyway, I really liked the first episode, so I’ll definitely be keeping up with this series.
Glass Heart is channeling Kaori’s mind and spirit from the transplanted heart
Where did you hear this…
The truth, according to the doctors in the story, is that there are cases where organ cells other than brain cells retain memories of the donor. Thus when an organ is transfer to another person, the new person recieves those memories as well as the organ.
Something like that.
Yes that’s what’s written, and that’s essentially what I’m saying. Because Glass Heart has Kaori’s heart she experiences Kaori’s memories, and Kaori’s feelings are what keeps her living on (at least in the beginning). There are times when she even acts like Kaori would. Hence why I call it “channeling” her spirit for lack of a better term.
Wow, the art style looks very nice – I like those character designs a lot. It’s very mature and looks quite realistic, actually. I wonder how much the animation director is paid to correct the drawings so that they look so good. And I wonder how long it’ll stay this good…
Yes, this storyline kind of shocked me after not having touched anything in the City Hunter universe in about 15 years.
The character design is pretty typical of Hojo, it’s the same character design/art-style and highly realistic…. at times. It can be normal one moment and then go completely into super-deformity for comic usage. There is only one screen shot here that captures ‘Mokkori-mode’ of Ryo, which as far as I can tell, was one of the earlier uses of super-deformed/exaggerated characteristics in an animated series. It’s similar to what you may see in ‘Kare Kano’.
Glad to see the Hojo-verse back in action, will be interested to see how the rest of this story plays out.
Would you have to be familiar with “City Hunter” to enjoy this anime?
No, but I’m sure having seen that will make you enjoy it even more.
sweet! Love Hojo and have been following Angel Heart in the manga form. This is looking great!
the biological explanation from the doctor is that the heart holds Kaori’s memories, but from tha manga itself, it’s quite apparent that Kaori’s personality/spirit is held in the heart inside Glass Heart. They even talk to each other from time to time. maybe a split personality is developed based on the memories held in Kaori’s heart, but as far as the manga stories go, which is more about romanticism and drama than biology, Kaori lives on inside Glass Heart, and can even show herself to some other people at times.
I just started reading this manga and boy, I just love it. I won’t say there’s a lot of romance in it, but even if there is, most of the time, its in the form of Kaori/Xiang Ying aka Glass Heart. I still find it sad that Ryo’s still pretty much single in this story arc.
I have never seen City Hunter and I don’t have any interest in doing so given the enormity of episodes, movies, and ovas. However, I immediately fell in love with this new series. It’s very mature, though I could do without Ryo’s leacherous antics. I will also be reading this blog as a preview for each episode. It’s good reading and very rich in screenshots.