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animefringe october 2003 / web showcase
Animefringe's Web Showcase:
The Layer

Welcome once again, to the Animefringe Web Showcase! I hope you'll notice that this month has a sort of angelic spin to it as we get to shed some light on a fansite to an Animefringe staff favorite, Angelic Layer. Not a fan of the show? Come to the site and that just might change your mind.

First impression...
I just have to say, as a big fan of the earthy tones, I absolutely love that this site is all in GREEN. It's easy to look at and its just cool over all. Anyway, back to the site. The Layer has a really well designed layout for information, (Any kids out want to know how to make a good fansite? Start taking notes...now.) the navigation is easy to figure out, everything fits in their window and you just want to click, click, and click your brains out. The image on the layout, if you're curious, is an "Angel", a sort of fighting doll, belonging to the main character. Interested yet? So yeah, the affiliated banners get in the way a bit while you're navigating but itís easily ignored. One thing about this site is that the loading is a wee bit slow, so don't worry, its not you - it's them.

Let's get down to business...
The Layer is a huge fansite in general, all devoted to the fairly recent CLAMP series, Angelic Layer, a show about people who have little dolls whom they can customize and use to fight in arena-like battles. You know how I knew all of that? I read the synopsis! To get a good idea of what the show is about, the site has a wonderful synopsis and dictionary which can help even the most helpless learn the lingo of the show. Along with those preps are some cute character bios which help us know who is who and include what 'dolls' each of the character owns. For those more hardcore, there is a longer "spoiler" history of the series which I didn't dare to glance at for more than a second. If you're not up for spoiling the entire series for yourself, however, there are summaries of all the manga volumes and most of the tv episodes. A respectable addition to the informative pages of the site is a small page dedicated to CLAMP, the creators of this series, and it includes mini-bios about the members.
The multimedia section of the site boasts a small but credible and high quality image gallery from the show, as well as selected snippets from the manga. There are a few selections of wallpapers and icons to choose from, as well as some winamp skins. But the redeeming part of the multimedia is the extensive music section. You are able to download full songs from the soundtracks from the series, directly from this site. (Just be sure not to abuse their server!) I recommend the mellow song, Angelic Child for starters. :) If you become interested in purchasing these soundtracks or other items relating to the series, you can head over to their merchandise page which includes stats on the mangas', dvds' and cds' from the series. They also list you places where you can purchase other Angelic Layer goodies from, whether itís a keychain or a plushie.
When it comes to fan interaction and fan stuff with this site, they have an underdeveloped section devoted to fics, art and miscellaneous 'stuff' to the series. It includes art that goes from average to really interesting, an ongoing work of fanfiction, and a few other wallpapers. Not much else is here and it hasn't been updated in awhile, so I'll let it end at that. The forum 'Piffle Cafe Boards' that the site links to reveals a popular board with different forums for different conversations. It seems very active with daily posts in most forums and I believe itís worth a look if you want to converse with other fans.

In the end...
The Layer offers a variety of things which would appeal to fans and non-fans of the series Angelic Layer, the most positive things about the site include the generous introductions to the series and the characters, as well as the music section and the web forum. It creates interest in the series through the enthusiasm and informality of the writing. There are a few sections which need more work (fan related mainly) but it appeals to most of the senses and keeps you interested. A great starter for the series.

Think you know a website that deserves some publicity? Read on.
This is a shout-out for anybody who believes they know a site that deserves to be the next Animefringe Web Showcase. If you think you have, or know of a website that could be the next one, email Danielle and include the website's name and url. Who knows? Maybe it'll be next month's feature site.

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