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L/R: Licensed by Royal

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Genre: Action
Company: Pioneer/TNK
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 1/8/2003 to 3/26/2003

Jack Heffner and Rowe Rickenbacker are “L/R,” the two smoothest agents in Cloud7. The organization takes special jobs from the Royal Family of Ishtar, which are conducted with the utmost secrecy. Can Jack and Rowe figure out their latest mission find Ishtar’s mysterious “Fifteen Year Princess” before it’s too late?

summary by Ender

 

Reviewed: 11/30/2005 by
Grade: 68% av-Ender

Highs: Story grows more and more interesting; likable leads

Lows: Thoughtless animation; repetitive soundtrack; not as grand as it can be

You don’t see a lot of James Bond in anime. That makes sense as the Bond movies come from an entirely different influence, time period and country that the majority of anime does not cater to. But with changing times, it’s only a little while until one attempts to stylize the other. L/R makes a valiant shot for the “kiss-kiss, bang-bang” artery and comes pretty close to hitting it. But pretty close only counts if you’re the best, which this show is certainly not.

This show follows the Bond course quite well without falling into parody. The overall plot involving Jack and Rowe’s search for the princess (and the conspiracies that spring up as a result) gradually builds up and plows towards an appropriate conclusion. And at 13 episodes, there is very little time for filler. The problem is that even with their “British cool” and ability to get out of any situation, this show seems very, well, dull. It’s not that Jack and Rowe are bad characters, they’re just not very exciting ones, managing to reduce most of the action that the series promises into just a few tugs on their jackets and one shot from a gun. Although this is a nice change from more ammo-packing action series, having the characters spend more time with their hands in their pockets than shooting things can be boring, especially for a spy show.

Looking back, I guess the move away from heavy doses of action was a conscious decision by the animators. There are several scenes where the animation tends to cut corners; instead of seeing someone actually punching another person, we’re treated to a gallery of still shots and flashing lights. That is very, very sloppy for a series as short and (supposedly) well produced as this one. The music doesn’t help in the slightest. Though I did like some of the songs, I would have liked them a lot better had there not have been just four in the entire soundtrack. Of course, it doesn’t help matters that most of the songs feel inappropriate for the moments when they are played.

There is a lack of swanky spy anime out there, with the closest competitor being Lupin III. But if you absolutely need to watch an anime with Ocean’s Eleven archetypes, then go right ahead with this one. Though to be honest, you’re better off watching The Spy Who Loved Me or some Get Smart reruns.

 

L/R: Licensed By Royal  can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.

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