Tenshi ni Narumon! (or Tennimon in short) is a story of a girl who wishes to become an angel for her loved one - to put it simply. But although this premise might sound silly and cheesy, fear not - this anime is an offspring of Revolutionary Girl Utena, which means it is just as surreal, mindfucking and dark as the former one. And nothing is what it looks like in the beginning.The whole story starts with a boy named Yuusuke who just recently moved in to a new house with his father, but because his parents are divorced and his father is mostly busy with his work Yuusuke may as well as live alone.One day on his way to school he decides to take a shortcut through a forest and there, to his utter shock, stumbles across a naked girl and accidentally kisses her (sic!). He then rushes to school where he's greeted with the very girl he met in the forest (fully clothed now!). Her name is Noelle. She follows him back home where Yuusuke founds out that Noelle's family, which basically resembles an Addams Family on crack, has just moved from the Monster World to live in the Human World and turned his house into something akin to a plastic castle from the Toys"R"Us line. And all of this because Noelle decided that Yuusuke is her husband so they are like a family now and should live together.Yuusuke is not amused. He is already in love with his classmate Natsumi, who unfortunately thinks of him as nothing more than a pervert. When he tears his love-letter (stating that for Yuusuke, Natsumi is like an angel), Noelle, who was listening to the whole conversation, decides that she will become an angel for Yuusuke.And that is how the whole mess starts. All along, the villains Dispel and Silky will appear, who will try to prevent Noelle from becoming an angel. Noelle will also have a kind of a mentor figure named Mikael, who will encourage her on her path to angelhood.The anime was produced by Studio Pierrot and aired in Japan in 1999 with total of 26 episodes. There is also 2-volume manga which loosely follows the anime plot.Character sheet is here.
Anime First: There is also a manga, but it was second to the anime, which was an original idea of the director.
All Love Is Unrequited: ( Noelle loves Yuusuke, who loves Natsumi, who loves her deceased brother Fuyuki-meaning Raphael, who loves Mikael, who... seems to be interested in Noelle in 'that' way, but is he? There's also Muse, who loves Eros, who loves Silky, who... has weird fixation on Noelle. And it's just the beggining Yeah.)
Be Careful What You Wish For: This is a very important theme in the series. The strength of one of the main characters' wish almost erases him and other two individuals from existence.
Beta Couple: Raphael and Mikael are somewhat an inverted Ho YayBeta Couple to Noelle and Yuusuke as it's implied that they have been in a relationship long before the series actually started and their relationship is *ahem* a lot less innocent that Noelle and Yuusuke's. Though arguably, Raphael and Mikael's relationship has a lot more problems to work out than a pretty straightforward relationship of the main couple.
Also, Muse is Betty and Silky is Veronica for Eros.
Beware the Nice Ones: Mikael is usually an epitome of calmness, kindness and politeness when dealing with strangers and people he's not close to, unless he's with Raphael then he's just a very stubborn, irritable and insecure boy. But when the stress proves to be too much for him and things are not going the way he wants them it tends to NOT end up very well.
Mama is usually a kind and carefree house lady that is until the stress of housework starts to wear her off and she decides she wants to chill herself out with some broom-flying. Or when she comes across something round - just RUN!
Miruru looks like a cute, harmless cat-girl and acts like a total ditz most of the time but at least in the first season she was one of bad guys' henchmen and did some pretty nasty things. She Got Better but her selfish attitude didn't really changed
Muse is totally moe and looks like she's always on the verge of crying, but being one of Silky's henchmen means she's also actively plotting how to prevent Noelle from becoming an angel - although it's true that she did most of it for Eros
Sara when dieting like crazy
And also Ruka beating poor Eros to death in episode 19
Bishōnen: Most of the male characters, but especially Mikael
Cute and Psycho: Mikael is usually a cute, easily agitated boy, but when under great stress and when things don't go they way he wants them, can turn into a really scary and obsessive Cute Psycho though it can be argued that it's a side effect of his halo falling off.
The same can be said about Silky - very moe and doll-like but tends to smash everything apart and set on fire when enraged. Only she was a scary Cute Psycho for most of the time during the series and again it can be argued that it was mostly a side effect of her halo falling off.
And Mama who can turn into a very crazy witch when under too much stress.
Sara had some shades of this in episode 15 when she was dieting like *literally* crazy.
Dogged Nice Guy: Yuusuke tries to win Natsumi, his aloof classmate's heart to no avail, and at least throughout the first season, she generally treats him like a crap. Likewise, Noelle's is this for Yuusuke.
Also, Raphael can be considered this (mixed with Chivalrous Pervert) for Mikael. Although it is a little more complicated in their case, because they really do love each other, but let's just say that Mikael has some... serious problems.
Embarrassing Nickname: Mikael totally hates when people misspell his name, calling him 'Kaeru-san' (Mr Frog) and he always tries to correct them. His teacher, on the other, doesn't seem to mind at all being called 'Haeru-san' (Mr Growing Out)
Evil Twin: Silky is this for Noelle. Arguably, Mikael is this for both Noelle and Raphael, especially by the end of the series
Everyone Is Related: All the main characters and even villains turned out to be connected to each other in some way: starting with Yuusuke and Noelle, Yuusuke is in love with Natsumi who is obsessing over her dead brother Fuyuki. Fuyuki is really Raphael, who a teacher and a lover of Mikael, who in turn is a part of Noelle, who as you know, is in love with Yuusuke. Mikael, Noelle and Silky are parts of one angel soul, which makes something akin to siblings. Eros, Muse and Dispell are Silky's toys, living because of her power. And there's Noelle's family where no one is really even blood-related..
Eye Catch: An interesting case in that throughout the whole series the eyecatch featured always Noelle and Yuusuke - the main couple, but in the last episode, it was switched to one with Mikael and Raphael, implying that THEY were the main couple, because Mikael was the real main character.
Face-Heel Turn: I think by now you may as well as guess who. Yes, Mikael... and at the same time, he is also
Heel-Face Turn: Yes, again, Mikael. Boy really has some serious issues.
Incompatible Orientation: Sara develops a big crush on Mikael in the second season but it never goes anywhere because first, Mikael has only eyes for anything related to angels and second, he's already in love with his male teacher, Raphael - even if he has problems admitting the fact to himself
Similarly, Natsumi has some questionable feelings towards her deceased older brother Fuyuki over whom she obsesses throughout the whole series, but again, it never goes anywhere because first, Fuyuki is well, dead and he turned into an angel Raphael and second he's in love with his male student, Mikael
Inexplicably Awesome: Raphael even though he's not really doing much throughout much of the series can be considered this - he's an angel professor from Angel Academy located somewhere in Heaven, has only one wing (the reason for this is probably the series's biggest unexplained mystery), has very laid back and mischievous attitude and is in a relationship with his male student. For many fan(girl)s he's just Awesome incarnated.
Intelligence Equals Isolation: Mikael a textbook example of an intelligent loner - in the first season, he is mostly seen alone with his Book of Chaos and only occasionally talking to Noelle. In the second season, it's slightly subverted, but only because Raphael makes him go out more and actually interact with people (well, in this case, just Noelle's family]. Still, his favourite pastime seems to be... studying. His isolation doesn't do him much good, as evident later in the series
Love Transcends Space Time: in the final episode Noelle and Yuusuke's love for each other makes them able to touch each other again, after Noelle became full angel. Also, strongly hinted to be basis of Raphael and Mikael's relationship.
Love Triangle: Tenshi Ni Narumon, for majority of the series, something akin to 'love quindrangle' Noelle-Yuusuke-Natsumi-Fuyuki/Raphael-Mikael-Noelle, but it turns out Mikael never was interested in Noelle in that way (he is in fact in love with Raphael), so here the chain breaks. And poor Natsumi is the one left out..., as well as more traditional triangles Muse-Eros-Silky-Noelle, kinda tragic, because Muse and Eros are just dolls and Silky expresses weird fixation/hatred towards Noelle. Also, Miruru-Gabriel-Sara-Mikael - where the one with poor luck is Sara.
Mother of a Thousand Young: It might be a bit unusual, but Mikael is this for Noelle and Silky. Originally, they were one angel soul, which, due to accident, fell to the ground and split into three imperfect souls. It is lampshaded heavily that Mikael was the original source from which other two were created, particularly in episode 13 when Baba was foretelling him his future and her crystal ball showed one string from which other two sprouted out. Mikael even wanted to kind of absorb Noelle and Silky into himself or fuse with them, so it fits with the devouring mother image.
No Export for You: The English dub and North American DVD release were dropped halfway through the series. For many years, the only way to see the second half with English translations was through VHS fansubs or digitizations thereof.
No Sense of Humor: Mikael if we're not counting the last three/four episodes that is - although in that episodes it's not what one would call 'a healthy sense of humor' either
Red Herring Shirt: Mikael. In the first season he was nothing more but a background character, sometimes appearing only at the very end of episode or not appearing at all. In the second season, it was revealed that he is one of the three main individuals, then he got promoted to a final villian and at the end, it turned out that *he*, in fact was the main hero of the show - confirmed by Word Of God.
Replacement Goldfish: Kai knows that Natsumi, who he is in love with, sees him just as a replacemnent for her dead brother Fuyuki, over whom Natsumi obsesses constantly since his death. He eventually decides that for her own good it would be the best if they parted away.
Sealed Good in a Can: This is what Mikael and Silky did to themselves - they sealed their fallen halos, in a box (well, more like three boxes) in Mikael's case and in a drawer in Silky's case. Given that a fallen halo means losing potentiality of becoming an angel (losing any goodness) and is basically an expression of self-hatred, it's no wonder why they both turned into such psychos at the end.
Secret Test of Character: The entire subplot/main plot concerning Mikael is based on this. Mikael who believed that he was sent with a mission of making Noelle (and Silky) angels and in the process become one himself, failed at it and none of them became an angel in the end. And that was in fact Heaven's desired outcome all along - because if Noelle, Silky and Mikael did become angels they would have fuse into one angelic being, in other words, they would die as individuals. Mikael believed that he was testing Noelle when in fact Raphael (and Heaven) were testing him - and the entire point of this test was to make Silky and Mikael redeem and accept themselves for who they are, to bring their fallen halos back above their heads and to promote Mikael to a position of an angel teacher.
Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Mikael and Raphael mostly play it straight - visually, Mikael is of slight build, feminine looking and Raphael is more muscular and manly looking in comparison. In terms of personality though, they have lots of shades of their opposite spectrum - Mikael is mostly cold, stubborn and shows that he can be pretty aggressive and determined when the need arises, while Raphael has rather mellow and carefree attitude and shows lots of kindness towards not only Mikael, but also Noelle and Natsumi. That said, the last episode plays it straight again, though - in the climax scene, it shows that Mikael is totally dependable on his teacher and helpless without his help, while Raphael appears as a strict and unbending, leaving his student to clean up the mess his responsible for.
Status Quo Is God: This is in fact a very important plot point Noelle who throughout the whole series was aspiring to become an angel for her loved one, upon gaining her much-awaited wings decides she doesn't really want to be an angel anymore. This applies to the majority of characters. The message is that you don't have to change when your loved ones love you the way you are and that change may sometimes lead to losing all that you held precious to your heart.
Stepford Smiler: Mikael is a weird mix of Type A and C He usually tries to act all calm, cool and composed - like in the first 13 episodes of the series - smiling gently when talking to Noelle and being all nice and polite when dealing with her family. But when his teacher, Raphael showed up, it turned out that Mikael, when indoors, is just a very serious, uptight and insecure boy. And then he went all insane and evil when things didn't go as he planned and ended up just pathetically broken.
Surprise Creepy: Painfully sweet, cutesy, silly, and looks like it was made for some toy store line. By the end of the series, the darkness, creepiness and mindfuckiness will make many cringe. And there's a pretty explicit yaoi innuendo going on there too.
Teacher/Student Romance: Raphael and Mikael - believe it or not, it's not as squicky as it sounds, although they are also angels, which may make it sound even worse. And it's pretty much consensual on both parties (Mikael may have problems admitting it, though)
The Power of Love: This is probably the reason why Yuusuke was able to catch Noelle's hand when she turned into a full angel in the final episode and stopped being able to touch him.
Also the reason why only Mikael can touch Raphael, who is an angel and is supposed to be untouchable to humans (well, Mikael isn't a human himself but he did lost his halo and yet still could see and touch him, while when Noelle lost hers she couldn't even see Raphael anymore).
Geez, there's even an episode named like that - episode 19.
The Reveal: In the last episodes it was revealed that the Big Bad Silky who hates angels, is a 1/3 angel herself and has her fallen halo hidden in the drawer.
Similarly, it was revealed that Mikael who was supposed to be an angel-in-training, lost his qualifications to become one and also hid his fallen halo in the boxes.
In the last episode, it was revealed that the whole plot of the show revolved around Mikael and not Noelle.
Troubled, but Cute: Mikael is a very, VERY troubled and unstable pretty boy. You wouldn't guess that because for the first 13 episodes he acts very little and even when he does, he's usually calm, polite, always smiling gently - an epitome of sanity in crapsack world. Then in the second season, we get to see the real him under that mask - a very stubborn, obsessive and insecure boy. And at the end, he goes all evil and insane and has an epic breakdown - and then he returns back to his former self. Still stubborn as hell, unfortunately
Tsundere: Mikael is a Type A with Raphael and Type B with anyone else with a mix of Cute and Psycho. He usually acts like a nice, kind and polite gentleman that is until everything goes according to his plans - if not, he might turn into a full-blown Cute Psycho). And when around Raphael, he's a straight-out Type A Tsundere with VERY occasional dere side popping out in critical moments
Also, Natsumi is mostly a Type B she's genuinely sweet and kind, but especially in the first season often acted very tsunderish towards Yuusuke - slapping him, tearing his love letter and being an overall bitch. She might be more of Defrosting Ice Queen since by the end of the series she almost completely mellowed down.
Unequal Pairing: Raphael and Mikael are teacher and student respectively although at the end of the series Mikael kinda ended being promoted to a teacher himself - but he still uses a highly respectful "sama" when talking to Raphael
Unflappable Guardian: Mikael fits this trope to a T, mostly in regard to Noelle even going evil later on in the series.
Raphael, on the other hand, while may not look like it at first glance, is this trope (albeit well-intended) to Mikael.
Yaoi Guys: Raphael and Mikael they sleep together naked in the same bed while holding hands - how much more straightforward can it be?
What Is This Thing You Call Love?: Noelle many times asks people around her about stuff like love, hugging, kissing, happiness etc. because she's a 1/3 third of an angel soul and doesn't understand the concept of love. The same can be said in case of Mikael and Silky. This is a major theme of the series as well