The manga was adapted into a 26-episode anime series produced by Bones titled Angelic Layer: Battle Doll which aired on TV Tokyo from April 1, 2001 – September 23, 2001. Seven volumes of videos were released by ADV Films on VHS and DVD in 2003. It was re-released in 2005 as a five volume box set. North American publisher Dark Horse Comics re-releases Angelic Layer in omnibus format in 2011. Sentai Filmworks will re-release the series under their Sentai Selects label on November 24, 2015. Anime Limited announced they would release the series in the UK in 2018.
Angelic Layer has received mixed reviews. THEM Anime Reviews on the other hand gave Angelic Layer a 5-star rating, noting that the character designs were well presented and the animation was colourful, also that Angelic Layer portrayed the concepts of friendship and how “through common interests, even very different people can be friends”. Angelic Layer won the Animation Kobe Award for TV Feature in 2001. Anime News Network however, was less kind, comparing it to Pokémon and Digimon, and calling it a glorified tie-in to “a toy you can’t purchase.”
- is a timid, sweet-tempered, and kind 12-year-old girl who has just moved to Tokyo to live with her aunt. In the manga she is more overreactive and easily excited. She had been living with her grandparents in Wakayama while she went to elementary school, but saved her money so she could afford to go to middle school in Tokyo. She worries about the fact that she is small and unathletic, and is sometimes mistaken for an elementary school student. She sees Angelic Layer as a way to prove that there is nothing wrong with being small. She started playing Angelic Layer after seeing the white angel Athena on a video screen outside of Tokyo Station (she was unaware that she was seeing her own mother’s angel). Her angel is Hikaru, and she is known as the “Miracle Rookie”. She is nicknamed Misakichi by her friend Tamayo.
- In volume 7 of the manga Chobits, she is seen with Minoru and two other visitors at the hospital visiting Kaede.
Ichiro “Icchan” Mihara
- nicknames himself Icchan to hide his true identity from Misaki. He is 28 years old and often acts eccentric, spontaneous, and immature for his age. He often jumps out of random places, shouting “Icchan go BOOM!”, to scare Misaki and Ogata. He is ingenious and dead serious when it comes to Angelic Layer. In the manga, Icchan is the president of the Piffle Company, creators of the Angelic Layer toys. In the anime, Icchan is the “father” and creator of Angelic Layer, having developed the game over seven years with the help of Shuko Suzuhara. Icchan was an employee at a hospital that was trying to treat Shuko’s neurological condition. They were developing the angels as part of their research into creating prosthetic limbs which could be controlled by brain waves. When the research funding was cut off, Icchan and Shuko created Angelic Layer in order to help fund further research.
- According to volumes 7 and 8 of the Chobits manga, it is heavily implied that Icchan is the late husband of Chitose Hibiya and the creator of the persocoms. Since he and Hibiya could not have children, he made two special persocoms, the Chobits, to be their children. They were named Freya and Elda (later known as Chi). The Chobits were created using information gathered from the research performed for the Angelic Layer project. In the Chobits anime, Icchan only appears in one scene but is not explicitly named.
- In a letter on Clamp’s website about Mugen no Yami – echo of the past, Clamp mentioned their “long time friend Ichirou Mihara”, who is the vice president of the video-game company Arika, so this is most likely the source of the character’s name.
- is a 5-year-old known in the Angelic Layer world as the “Miracle Kindergartner”. She is Misaki’s best friend and Angelic Layer mentor. Even at a very young age, she is intelligent, mature, and hard-working. She is an expert at Angelic Layer, often winning her games in mere seconds. She wins all ten of her games at the Tokyo prefecture games, and is the defending champion of the Kantō regional games. She is fiercely competitive, and often works to increase her angel’s speed and power. She likes to poke fun at her brother Kotaro for his apparent ineptness when it comes to his crush on Misaki. Hatoko treats Misaki like her student rather than her nee-chan (sister). Hatoko’s angel is Suzuka.
- is a 13-year-old middle school classmate of Misaki, whom he has a crush on, and Hatoko’s elder brother. He is always being assaulted by Tamayo and her various martial arts techniques, of which he has been a victim since he was four years old. He becomes jealous of Ohjiro’s advances towards Misaki, going so far as to try to attempt to play a quasi-match of Angelic Layer against Ohjiro, despite the fact that he had never played it before. His family owns a karate dojo. Kotaro has practiced karate himself, showing Misaki some of his knowledge in hopes that Misaki can use it to help Hikaru win. In the manga, he and Misaki fall in love and date. He resembles Hiromu Shinbo from Chobits.
- is 13 years old, and is a friend and classmate of Misaki. She nicknames Misaki “Misakichi” and is rather eccentric. One of her favorite activities is practicing her martial arts techniques on her unwilling friend, Kotaro. She always cheers for Misaki at Angelic Layer matches and defends her against those who question her ability. In the anime, it is revealed that Tamayo has always held intimate feelings for Kotaro, while in the manga, she only sees him as a close friend. She offers to be Misaki’s “second” in her national game match against the Angelic Layer Company’s angel when Hatoko is ill. Misaki accepts Ohjiro’s offer instead.
- The martial arts Tamayo has mastered are wrestling, karate, K-1, kenpō, boxing, judo, capoeira, and taekwondo.
- In the anime she ends up with Kotaro after telling him how she feels. In the manga, Tamayo falls in love with Ohjiro Mihara.
- is 15 years old and is Icchan’s younger step-brother. He has been involved with Angelic Layer for many years, in large part because it was what brought him and Icchan together after their parents married. Ohjiro competes in Kobe, and was the champion of the Kansai Regional games, as well as being the runner-up in the national tournament for two consecutive years.In the manga he is reassuringly asking what color are Misaki panties then running away. He has a desperate desire to defeat Shuko Suzuhara’s angel, Athena, to get over a childhood crush he had on her. His angel is Wizard. In the anime, he falls in love with Misaki.
- is Misaki’s aunt and Shuko’s younger sister. She is 26 years old. Her hairstyle bears a resemblance to that of Takako Shimizu in Chobits. She demands that Misaki and her friends call her “Miss Shoko” instead of “aunt” (“obasan” in Japanese) because she is still “an attractive young newscaster.” She often covers Angelic Layer events for the local news station, where she works. Misaki lives with Shoko when she moves to Tokyo.
- is Misaki’s mother and Shoko’s elder sister. She is 31 years old. In the anime, it is explained that Shuko left Misaki at the age of five to be taken care of by her grandparents under the guise of work, when in reality she was going to Tokyo to search for a cure her neurological disease. This disease inhibits nerve signals from reaching to or from her legs. Ichiro Mihara was a doctor attempting to work with her to find a cure when the two started Angelic Layer as a way to do research and raise funds. Shuko, or “Shu” as she is called when playing Angelic Layer, is the undisputed champion with her angel Athena, having won the past three national championships. Over the past seven years, she has avoided meeting Misaki, as she is afraid of what Misaki would think of her. In the manga, Shuko has extreme anthropophobia / social anxiety disorder about socializing with those she loves. She works for the company behind Angelic Layer.