Galaxy Angel AA Vol. #1 (of 4) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, June 25, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, June 19, 2007
What They Say
The wacky adventures of the Angel Brigade continue as they spread mayhem and mischief across the galaxy. As always, Milfeulle is so scatter-brained that she rarely has a clue to what's going on, but her infinite good luck gets her out of trouble. She's accompanied by her teammates, the gun-crazy Forte, man-hunting Ranpha, cosplay-obsessed Mint, ever-so-pious Vanilla and her AI companion Normad.
Join the Angel Brigade as they perform their normal duties searching for and protecting the Lost Technology, dieting to prepare for an evacuation drill and forging a pilot's license. In their spare time, they still manage to give a tour of the base, take a hot springs vacation and play a deadly game of volley ball to avenge a fallen comrade.
The second half of the season continues on in AA which I have to suspect is really talking about Mint's cup size.
Bandai Entertainment has continued with the dual language presentation for Galaxy Angel AA with a pair of 224 kbps stereo mixes. This isn't a show that really needs a stereo mix for the most part as it's a full sounding mix that doesn't have a lot of real directionality to it. It is a good mix in that it's clean and problem free but there isn't anything to really let it stand out. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2003, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Though a few years since its release, the series continues to look very bright and colorful while maintaining a solid feel to it. Outside of a few noisy backgrounds here and there, often in the problematic dark blue colors, this is a good looking transfer that showcases the vibrancy of the series' design. Cross coloration is essentially absent and there's only a bit of aliasing going on during the various panning and zooming areas. Though Galaxy Angel isn't a show that stands out among some of the more vibrant ones out there, it looks very good here and pleasing on the eye.
The varying colors of keepcases among the Galaxy Angel seasons continues with this one as it comes in a bright green keepcase. The cover artwork itself is solid with a great looking piece that features Milfeulle taking up most of the space while small sized versions of the other Angels are hanging all about on her. Lots of pinks and other soft yet good looking colors combined with a sleek design in her uniform make this a good eye-catching piece. Even with a green keepcase. The back cover provides a few headshots worth of character artwork but is more focused on the text as it has a decent summary of the various stories found in this volume as well as a clean listing of the discs features and extras. The extras actually come up a bit short in not listing the concert pieces though. The episodes are broken down well to illustrate the titles of each of the half length pieces while the remainder is done up with the production information and the most basic technical information. No insert is included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design for the release is rather simple but not unexpected. With little more than a series of scattered headshots of the main girls on top of a multicolored background, it doesn't exactly excite as there isn't any animation to it or even any music. It's a decent enough looking menu but it feels pretty basic. Navigation is quick and easy however and access times are solid when moving about. We didn't have any issues with language selection either as the disc properly read our player's language presets and defaulted to Japanese with English language subtitles.
Not too surprising this late into the series but the extras are fairly standard. The opening and closing sequences have their clean versions here and there's also a pair of music clips featuring the voice actresses performing. Both are pretty short overall, especially after coming off the nearly hour long concert footage on Galaxy Angel Rune, but they're a good inclusion.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Coming into Galaxy Angel AA so long after Galaxy Angel A but after seeing Galaxy Angel Rune has been interesting. With a bit of time between A and AA and the fact that A was done as a season box set, it's easy to forget some of the charms of the show. Seeing the Rune series with its different cast reminded me how the franchise works in general. With AA, the feeling of familiarity is what makes it all work as the characters are ones I've known and watched for so long now and continue to enjoy, albeit in small doses.
What becomes apparent is that the familiarity of the cast does indeed help in making the show work "better." Knowing the kinds of quirky things that Mint will do or knowing how Ranpha or Forte will overreact to a situation has a kind of ease to it. The expectation of Normad coming up with something witty in a deadpan situation is obvious. But the stories themselves are fairly traditional in respect to what has come before. Galaxy Angel AA doesn't offer anything really new here but it carries on with a strong tradition of standalone comedy entertainment. It's easy to envision this show running in the 6pm timeslot on Cartoon Network right next to something like Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends or the Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. The pure episodic nature of it allows for easy reboots as well as taking the show to bizarre new levels each time.
Take the episode on this volume where Mint and Ranpha end up stranded on a planet. Mint's furious but even more so after Ranpha gives her a nut to eat that turns her into a tree overnight. The situation is bad enough and Ranpha makes it worse by playing up the idea of Mint as a god but it gets even worse when Mint ends up sleeping away hundreds of years over the course of the twelve minute storyline. Something like that just wouldn't fit inside any other normal series structure that revolved around an ongoing plot. Similar to this is the volleyball game episode wherein the various Angel's are taken out one by one in deadly attacks by the competition, resulting in a row of caskets with their pictures on top of them. The nature of the show is simply very reminiscent of the kinds of cartoons I end up watching regularly with my kids. No wonder they enjoy Galaxy Angel for much the same reason.
There are plenty of episodes that are just plain fun as well, some of which play on the geek sensibilities. The first one of the volume as the high command bringing in a heavily guarded new piece of Lost Technology that needs to be stored in the Galaxy Angel HQ for awhile. Nobody is quite sure what the mysterious device will do but the belief is that it's a powerful weapon that can grant the person using it whatever they want. The device, a magical wand of all things, has the girls all frantically trying to curb their embarrassment in the ritual that's required to activate it. The possibility of getting their dreams answered outweighs such concerns though as they go through ballet training and more.
The weight issue also shows up in an episode which has a rather fun play on things. The cheap escape pods that the HQ uses causes some trouble when it refuses to launch during a simulation because the girls weigh too much. Likely owing to Milfeulle's tasty treats, they decide that they can conquer this problem and go on an intensive weight loss program before the next simulation in a week. The episode avoids specifics of such things like who is actually overweight and how much needs to be lost overall but it does get into strong specifics of what kind of sweat suit they must wear. With all of them donning massive pig suits and then trekking across a vast desert to the delight of onlookers, the gang engages in a lot of comedy along the way that's very sharply written.
Long overdue considering when the first half of this season came out, Galaxy Angel AA continues with what has come before. While I am disappointed that they didn't release this as a collection right off the bat like before, getting more episodes with the familiar and comfortable cast is a plus. The stories here click well while showcasing some solid animation with lots of vibrant colors. Galaxy Angel has found its niche well enough and it exploits it very well. As much as I enjoy it though, it is a show I can only take in smaller doses across a couple of days. The fun and energy is definitely here however and it carries on in the tradition of what has come before. A welcome addition for any fan of the franchise.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Opening and Closing Credits
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 480p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and 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
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Galaxy Angel