Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Is there a more perfect food that Ramen noodles? I seriously doubt that there is anything as glorious as a two-pack of well prepared ramen noodles if handled by an expert. Why yes, I AM an expert at preparing ramen noodles since youíre asking. Drop in a couple of eggs, a dash of Frankís, a few raw chicken squares and little extra Lawryís and once all done you have a meal high in simple carbs, sky high in sodium, cholesterol going through the roof and mighty, mighty tasty. And all of this heart-stopping goodness is yours for way less than a buck. If you really give a damn Iíll e-mail Chrisís heart-stoppingly good Ramen Recipe for absolutely free, 8-bucks shipping and handling though. Of course the obvious question is Ďwhy is this lunatic droning on about Ramen Noodles in a movie review?í Ramen figures somewhat in this family film straight out of Nippon in ĎArch Angelsí (Warau Mikaeru) which is aboutÖ wellÖ something having to do with three girls with super powers and white slaveryÖ I guess.

Based on a manga by Izumi Kawahara (so Iím told), ĎArch Angelsí tells the tale of pretty Fumio Shijo (Juri Ueno) who after the death of her loving, working class mother discovers that she has a very wealthy brother that she was not aware of in Kazuomi (Yuseke Iseya). Her older brother has now assumed the role of Fumioís primary caregiver and as such the previous working class life that Fumio has known and loved has elevated itself into mansions, servants, and private schools. Welcome to the St. Michaels Academy for girls, an upper crust catholic school run by priest and Jesuits that the extremely talented but still very grounded Fumio finds a little too stuffy and stilted for her much more meager tastes. Young Fumio meets the pretty schools student body president in Yuzuko (Aira Taira) and the equally pretty vice president Kazune (Megumi Seki) Ė yes, there is a theme building here. Fumio thinks that these girls are just stuck up catholic school robotrons, but she learns that they all hail from working

class backgrounds just as she does and the three soon become fast friends, learning that above all things they all love eating working class Ramen noodles. Little did I know that sophisticated people donít eat Ramen noodles. I knew there was something about sophisticated people that rubbed me the wrong way, and now I know what it is.

Somehow, someway these three friends acquire some super powers. Fumio has gained super strength, Yuzuko can zap you with electricity and Kazune has super speed. Why would they need these powers? It seems that someone is kidnapping well to do, well heeled Asian girls for some unknown purposes as the kidnappers arenít even asking for ransom demands. As it turns out, the culprit of this dastardly deed is closer than the girls could even imagine which leads to them combining their newfound super abilities and laying down a load of whoop-ass on some low down Asian girl stealing, white slavery selling, extradition bypassing Italian sum-bitches and save the day.

ĎArch Angelsí is mixture of just about pretty much everything. Itís a comedy, itís a family drama, itís an action flick, itís a superhero movie, itís a grrll power film and more. Thereís a CGI dog that floats around for some reason and a lot of the background and images in this film are CGI, but obviously so as director Issei Oda wasnít going for photo-realism here for symbolic reasons that Iím still trying to figure out. However all of these divergent elements come together quite nicely and ultimately works out quite well for this film, mainly because Oda keeps everything fairly consistent throughout the proceedings. As weird and as jumbled and as potentially confusing as ĎArch Angelsí could have been, it ended up being a very entertaining, albeit somewhat surreal film experience. If you go into this movie without knowing what itís about, itís going to be a while until you finally figure it out as it starts out looking like one of those strange occult catholic school films, but itís not that, but then it looks like it may be rebel girl takes on the establishment film, but itís not that. Then it looks like it may be a brother-sister love film, but thank goodness THAT didnít develop into anything, until it finally settles in to what it eventually became which youíre going to have to figure out for yourself.

You may also want to Google actress Airi Taira if you have some spare time as I did while retrieving information on the cast of this film for this review. She plays the sweetest, most innocent thing in this film, but there are quite a few pictures of the young woman that she has floating around which certainly belie that image. Whoa, Itís looking like Chris has some new wallpaper baby. Yes, even in Japan they have grown ass women playing high school chicks. Actually, I think this practiced originated in Japan now that I think about it. Anyways, ĎArch Angelsí combines elements of practically every available genre, throws into a big pot, puts in on boil and has come up with a mighty tasty chicken Ramen dish. mmmmÖ. RamenÖ

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