Starting life as a manga running 1991-1994, Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai! is an 8-volume, 1 OVA series written by Yazawa Ai. Yazawa is best remembered for titles such as Nana and Paradise Kiss, but Tenshi was her first major hit and really sparked her career. For those like me interested in her works, Tenshi is also the first of 3 series set in the same world, the others being Gokinjo Monogatari and Paradise Kiss.
|A trip-fall-panty shot is a great first impression.|
Tenshi follows freshman Saejima Midori as she starts high school life in a newly-constructed school, and gets elected to the student council as the vice president. Joining her is classmate and student council president Sudou Akira, who Midori has a crush on. The manga follows the ups and downs of their lives as they become friends and eventually a couple.
On the other hand, the Tenshi OVA is just a small part of it. It came towards the end of the run (in September of 94'; the manga ended in November) and covered a small portion at the beginning of the series, before Midori and Akira are together. It sort of speeds through the plot, attempting to cover as much ground as possible in half an hour, but otherwise was rather cute.
|Daw, lookit dat Full House style 90's bonding.|
The art style is early Yazawa fare, typecast by the circular eyes, large lips and semi-long limbs, but unlike its successor Gokinjo Monogatari it stays a bit in the realistic pool of things, as much as an anime can be. By now, it also shows a bit of its age; Yazawa works are always chock full of linework, but it's still rather typical of series of the 90's (thicker lines, flatter colours), leaving it squarely in the past. That isn't to say it wasn't good, it's just aged slightly.
|This Chibizilla seems benign....until you realize it's the same one in Gokinjo Monogatari.|
The anime wasn't really long enough for me to get a feel on anything regarding music, plot, or animation style, but the ending theme was okay. A bit corny given it was a country-esque acoustic guitar with vocals, semi-typical of early 90's anime, but otherwise not much stuck out. Reading the manga may give me more insight as to why the series got so popular, but for the time being it's a bit....average.
|The teeny-bopper vibe is strong with this one.|
Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai! is available from BakaBT (with an unknown sub; i think it may have been Hana Yori) in english, from NanaOne/Himitsu in German, and Mugetsu no Fansub in French. there seems to have been subs done by Ah Juansu in Spanish and Mina Fansub in French, but the torrents are now unseeded.
|Be warned that Hana Yori (or whoever BakaBT got their subs from)'s subs are a little rough.|