Mania Grade: B+
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- 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: 24.98
- Running time: 87
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Galaxy Angel
Galaxy Angel AA Vol. #4
By Chris Beveridge
December 15, 2007
Release Date: December 04, 2007
Galaxy Angel AA Vol. #4
What They Say
© Bandai Entertainment
The Angel Brigade is at it again in another frantic search across the cosmos for the dangerous and unpredictable Lost Technology! When Milfeulle and Ranpha are dispatched to a distant planet in order to aid Mint in her recovery of one of these lost treasures they encounter a strange king with an even stranger string attached to his head. No one in the kingdom seems to acknowledge the string but it’s definetly there. Why can’t anyone else see it? What exactly does it do? Is it a light switch? Does it do any tricks? Or is it a self destruct trigger for the entire planet? Forget the consequences! These two angels are just desperate to find out! Things take a turn for the serious when the Angel Brigade and the Twin Stars are tasked with the recovery of an escaped psychic super criminal known only as Rebecca. Who is this mysterious woman and if she’s capable of destroying an entire continent, how will the brigade bring her back to
serve out the remainder of her two-thousand year prison sentence?The Review!
Three more episodes with a bit of a bonus story at the end has the girls acting more as an ensemble than they have in recent memory.Audio:
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.Video:
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.Packaging:
The varying colors of keepcases among the Galaxy Angel seasons apparently ended with the third volume as this one is in black. The cover artwork itself is solid with a great looking piece that features Normad as the main character while small sized versions of the Angel Brigade are hanging all about on him. Lots of greens and whites are combined with the simple bright pink that is Normad, which means there isn't quite as much detail here as usual but it still looks cute. 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.Menu:
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 both as the disc properly read our player's language presets and defaulted to Japanese with English language subtitles.Extras:
Not too surprising this late into the series but the extras are fairly standard. There's a music clip featuring the voice actress for Forte performing which runs a couple of minutes. A clean version of the ending sequence is provided for the special episode, which includes plenty of dialogue with it as well.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The AA portion of the franchise closes out with this volume in which we get three more full episodes of material. The mix of stories for this release is pretty strange as it kicks off with four half length stories that work quite well before it delves into a full length episode that's mostly serious, boring and uninteresting. Thankfully they cap it off with a bit of a bonus half length episode that actually made me like Forte.
The half length episodes are pretty cute and for the most part really works up the ensemble aspect of the cast. There are episodes here and there and runs worth of them at times that focuses on the individual characters as the centerpieces. Here, we get them acting together a bit more often, sometimes at odds, but in concert. The opening episode is quite amusing as it features the military deciding that due to the way the girls take vacations so often that they need to bring in a few more members. This fails horribly on their part, and quickly at that, which then leads it to being something of an open call for civilians. Before any of that can even happen though, there's a concerted effort by people close to the various members of the Brigade to bring in their friends. Nepotism at its best, especially with the candidates being almost identical in nature to those promoting them.
One episode that shifts the focus away from the cast and to the twins surprised me by actually being quite good. Malibu and Kokomoro aren't among my favorites here, but seeing them discover that they're actually from the future and sent to the past as young children gives them a bit of a comedic edge. That they go to Normad for help in finding their mother is a bad idea but it leads to comedy gold as they believe that she may be someone on the base. That means a lot of time spent checking over the members of the Brigade in trying to find the one with a particular birthmark. The twins alternate between being scared of certain candidates being the mother to becoming rather thrilled, if in a creepy way, over what they believe the results are. The main cast doesn't get a lot of play here, but the way that they're tweaked into showing off the required spot on their body is cutely amusing.
Almost everyone gets some good time during the first four episodes. Volcott has a great series of scenes when the show takes a turn for the Sentai and he has them donning bracelets in order to become the Angel Five. They all get to dress up silly, parody various Sentai elements and have goofy battles while Volcott and his "relatives" continue to appear and provide guidance. Another quite fun episode involves Ranpha and Milfeulle stopping off at a planet to help Mint out but getting caught up in a sticky situation with the King. The King has a strange string that's bouncing out in front of his face that he apparently can't see. Nobody else on the planet will talk about it, but it's like a string in front of a cat for the two girls. The situations that they end up in while trying not to draw attention to it drives them nuts until they reach a breaking point.
What surprised me about this volume was the last main episode, which was a two part piece. The story is surprisingly serious for the entire thing with only a few light moments scattered about. Revolving around an escaped convict, the Brigade is brought in to track down the notorious yet little known Rebecca. Some five hundred years ago, she was responsible for the death of half of planet Transvaal and sentenced to a two thousand year prison term. She's made her way out and due to the sensitivity of the crime, the military has to get it done on the quiet side of things. It's more a mystery that's played out as we start to understand more of the events of the past. The girls break up into two teams to figure it out which is nicely done as it showcases some of their talents in a minor way, but it feels out of place in the franchise in general. The series has shown us some serious episodes in the past, but this one reminded me more of Galaxy Angel Rune in how the stories really can't sustain an entire episode.
Thankfully, we get a bit of a bonus episode after that which involves Forte, who is sent to a tourist planet as punishment by the rest of the Brigade. She's sent there to get her picture taken with a couple of guys she hits on while wearing a very Southern Belle outfit. With Normad there both as camera and caretaker, the situation goes from bad to worse and then on to hilarious as she truly gets into it. Forte has been the weakest of the characters for me but this episode just worked wonderfully in humanizing her more and making her fun to watch, mostly because it plays against her type.In Summary:
Galaxy Angel AA has been a lot of fun, but I'm still disappointed that it didn't get the same kind of sweet release that the first half of the run did. That said, the four volumes here were a lot of fun overall and left me smiling, laughing and generally quite pleased. This final volume is the weakest of the offerings if only because of the full length episode but even that's mitigated by the great half length bonus episode after it. The strength in the franchise continues to be the characters and their predictability/archetypes and the majority of the stories here play well to that. While Galaxy Angel will never be high art, it's great simple fun and this run just cemented that all the more, which is really surprising considering how many episodes have been produced so far.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Secret GA Concert Clip,Final Episode Textless Ending,Bonus Episode: Shamefully Over-fried Fried Oysters
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.