Galaxy Angel Z Vol. #2 (of 3) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Thursday, April 14, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, April 26, 2005



What They Say
The Galaxy Angels have been chosen to be pilots for a new weapons development by the army. When combined the vehicles will form into a super robot! Now they must take on a galactic monster headed towards the base. But wait, has Ranpha left the team to tie the knot! Jeez, who can you trust? Well, unfortunately not the girls since they are accused of robbing a safe of the Dream Foundation. Can they find these culprits who are splitting images of them?

We next journey into the great wackiness as a piece of the “Lost Technology” was recently delivered to the Galaxy Angels. The girls and Colonel Volcott soon find their bodies switched! Maybe this body switching isn’t so bad? But they soon find out that this “Lost Technology” is trying to send their souls to the next world!


The Review!
With another six half length episodes of wacky adventures, things just go in all directions as it usually does when it comes to the Angel Brigade.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series features a decent sounding stereo mix that has some solid directionality throughout the episodes, usually during the sound effects but also with some dialogue sequences as well. The track isn't really excessive in any way and comes across as a good mix with no noticeable problems during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2002, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ration. While the first season was done as twelve-minute episodes that had their own openings and endings associated with it, this season is done more in the way of a single opening and ending but with the eye-catch being a bridge between the two separate stories, much like how the original Urusei Yatsura ran. The transfer for these episodes looks good with sharp and vibrant colors. There's a hint of some cross coloration trying to get through on our setup, noticeably mostly in some slight shimmer around the edges of some characters hair, but it's not strong enough to be all that noticeable. Overall, this is a really good-looking transfer that will please most.

Packaging:
Matching the layout and style of the first set of releases but dropping the Platinum strip and adding a Z to the logo, the cover here looks really good with Vanilla and Ranpha taking up most of the space along with Normad floating around them. With the orange background, the colors here can be a bit garish at times since it is such a mix but that's been the way of Galaxy Angel from early on so it works. The back cover is having problems as it thinks it's a Donkey Kong game as there's a strip of summaries for all six episodes where at the side of each there's a small character shot from it. The discs features and technical information is all sort of randomly placed along the bottom and is fairly easy to find but ends up looking a bit messy. The insert replicates the front cover while changing some of the color shading from the background and opens up to a two page spread where they have a word search game pretending to be cryptography. The back of the insert is filled with tiny text that covers the credits, where as a change of pace, the English actors get their credits tied to their names.

Menu:
Going with a theme used in the end credits for the show, the menu is designed the same way with a row of names changing in the background while random cut shots from the series playing along the right to the upbeat music. Selections are lined along the left, including individual episode access which takes you to scene selection instead of immediately starting the episode. With the episodes being so short, I'm not sure scene selection is really necessary (I'm not saying chapter stops aren't however). The menus are nicely done and laid out well and very in-theme to the show. The language selection correctly read my players default settings which are also a big plus.

Extras:
This volume continues with one of the Japanese extras that looks to be a constant. Each episode originally came with a "Galaxy Angel Lecture" called "Now I Get It!" The six of those are on this volume, which allows you to select the lectures individually or do a play-all on them. These are cute little pieces that basically take parts of the show and break them down into quick little summaries as read and performed by the voice actress for Milfeulle, complete with her wearing the Galaxy Angel uniform.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Much like a lot of popular series that find what works for them, Galaxy Angel pretty much sticks to that formula though they are allowed enough creative freedom to move around and try to expand upon those boundaries. The middle chunk of episodes from the second season, this batch plays around with the kind of fun we've become accustomed to with the show and I'll admit that it's almost seemingly like most of the good stories have already been told.

One area that's covered a couple of times in this volume that I was glad to see was more attention being paid to Volcott. We get some tales from his youth through both flashback and stories told by others. During one particularly fun segment, the Angel Brigade is out on a mission playing up their Robin Hood part by attacking the Dream Foundation company which has been found of massive corporate fraud but hid it well enough to avoid prosecution. The girls hit them at different areas and basically swipe a ton of money so they can keep a share for themselves and then return the rest to the people on the street.

While their identities are unknown when they do this, Volcott is visited by some fellow officers who want to study what he's doing so they can understand why he's managed to become so accomplished. They quickly put two and two together and find that the women in his brigade are basically thieves but they can't outright accuse him of it. Their expressions of horror as more events get carried out by the girls and Volcott's nonchalance about it has them believing he's become an incredible mastermind and can't believe how cool he is about it. But as he's said before and reminds the two officers, he learned long ago to not worry about such things because they always work out in the end. Especially since Milfeulle has been around I'd say. Volcotts position and legend grows nicely here and he gets some badly needed personal time on the screen.

The slapstick material gets well played here also. One episode has the obvious dues ex machina about the latest piece of Lost Technology that they've brought back where it's starting to cause problems. These things always cause trouble and you'd think they'd stop leaving it around but this one does the fun job of switching everyone's body who then get overly protective of their original bodies and some amusing bits of interpersonal play about it. Particularly fun is Milfeulle who gets stuck in Volcott's body and takes in everything with such a positive spin, which is nicely contrasted to Ranpha in Mint's body and her complaints about losing her breast size and about feeling like she's practically being ignored by a lot of people. Most of the others just play up various character traits but it's fun to watch them all deal with new body types that alters their basic view of the world and of each other..

In Summary:
With six half-length episodes, this release goes by really quickly if you skip the openings and endings but I think this does still work to its advantage since there seems to be only so much of it at a time that I can sit down with. My favorite part of this volume has to be the greater knowledge gained about Volcott and the entire robbing from the rich gig that the girls had going and how nobody realized it was them the entire time, even with such full descriptions. Galaxy Angel has really found what works and is sticking hard to it. I find that I like it but it has to be in doses otherwise it gets to be just too much.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitle,Galaxy Angel Lectures

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 90
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Galaxy Angel