Galaxy Angel Vol. #1 Limited Edition - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 59.98
  • Running time: 105
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Galaxy Angel

Galaxy Angel Vol. #1 Limited Edition

By Chris Beveridge     February 26, 2004
Release Date: March 16, 2004


Galaxy Angel Vol. #1 Limited Edition
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
Milfeulle Sakuraba is the newest member of the Angel Brigade, a branch of the Transvaal Empire military whose primary mission is to search for relics known as ?Lost Technology?. The only problem is?no one actually knows what the Lost Technology is! Relegated to performing menial tasks of the highest priorities: a search for lost kittens, defusing of a talking missile, and delivering an old school I.D ? The Angel Brigade?s here to save the galaxy?one planet at a time!

Episodes
1. Resort-style Angel Preparation
2. Gamble Milfeulle Sauce
3. Vanilla Flavored Asteroid Trash Stir-Fry
4. Assorted Angel Fruits Shipped Direct
5. Pirate-style School Memory Terrine
6. Forte?s Ruinous Stew and a Dash of Trouble
7. Fun Park Specialties with Chicken Mint Compote

The Review!
The usually serious releases from Bandai take a right turn to science fiction oriented comedy with this series, providing a lot of fan service as well as a lot of laughs.

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 2001, Galaxy Angel is a series that was done in the twelve-minute episode format. The transfer for these episodes look good initially, but as you progress towards the middle and end of the disc they look much sharper and much more colorful. The first episode looks a touch dull in a few places, but later episodes don't have the same feel. The colors after the first episode are very vibrant and lush without being over saturated. 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:
Part of Bandai's Platinum Edition line, the cover for the opening release uses the same character artwork as the Japanese release, showcasing all five of the lovely ladies, but changes from the original dark blue cover to a yellow one with Normad in plushie form lined across it. The artwork here is nicely detailed and has a lot of very vibrant colors that really shine well, especially against the green keepcase.. The back cover goes for a traditional SF menu style layout with a mix of shots from the show and the summary of what to expect. All seven episodes are listed by their episode number and title while the features and extras are nice and clearly listed. The insert replicates the front cover without the Platinum part or the volume name and opens up to a two page spread character profile for Milfeulle Sakuraba. It's a cute piece that uses her portion from the cover artwork and a number of shots from her in the show with different faces. The back of the insert is filled with tiny text that covers the credits, where once again fans of the English actors get shafted by not having them tied to their roles.

With this release, you also get the box that will hold the entire first season of the show. The box is a good sturdy type, though not the most solid we've seen, but one of the better ones. With a light checkered background, each of the main panels of the box has a great cast shot. One is a mid range shot of the crew while the other is a more close-up version of them. The spine has the series logo along it with no character artwork while the top has the logo and the "doll" that gets adopted late into the show here. It's a slightly busy and brightly colored box and it looks good, very much giving a feel for the show.

For the limited edition release, there's more inside the keepcase. There's a Broccoli Books "Special Fan Book" that's about sixteen pages long that talks about the shows other forms, such as dramas and video games as well as the manga. Various toys are shown off and some of the differences between the anime and manga. There's also a small preview of the manga release coming from Broccoli. It's a cute book and I admit that I like how they show off a lot of the goods. Now I just wish they'd port the Xbox game.

Two pencil boards are included. One of them is from the close-up shot on the box itself with the cast together and Milfeulle reaching out towards you while the other is a more mid-range shot of the cast but different from the other panel on the box, so you do get something new.

What really got us excited about this limited edition release as the inclusion of the five figures. Theses little guys at about 4.5 inches are simply adorable. Each has their own base, though I haven't taken them out yet to see how well they stand. These are headed for my office next week. It's the novelty extras like this in these limited edition sets that make these releases oh so much fun.

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.

Extras:
The first volume to the series has a solid number of Japanese extras. Each episode originally came with a "Galaxy Angel Lecture" called "Now I Get It!" The first seven 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 at that. The opening sequence makes a textless appearance here, but the other interesting extra is the promo clip for the series. This runs a few minutes in length and looks like it was made to fool people into making the series on one premise. The promo is 99% serious in its style, giving the backdrop of the galaxy at the time of the series. It goes on about coups, science and technology and all the things that make up the series background, but pretty much doesn't come across as a comedy in any way. Watching it afterwards, you could almost mistake it as a trailer for some other show.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Galaxy Angel is the kind of SF comedy series that manages to place the right amount of fanservice mixed with cuteness and comedy into a package without going too far over the top to being annoying. When the series was first released on DVD in Japan, its popularity with people I knew was strong, so I had picked up that release since it was cheap, came in a box and had figures. Three years later, Bandai replicates it pretty much almost perfectly with the added plus of things like subtitles and an English language track. So instead of just chuckling at the images and admiring the shiny transfer like I did a few years ago, I actually get to know what they say now.

From the promo clip, there's all sorts of background about how this is a time far in the future where there's something like 128 populated star systems that humanity has reached out to. This has allowed for planets to become specialized, such as pleasure planets, casino ones and so forth. During the time between everything happening, a lot of high technology has become lost, so the current ruler in an effort to keep the throne has created the Angel Brigade to handle things like finding the lost technology and handling special situations as they arrive.

Not that you really find that out in the show. The Angel Brigade is made up of four women initially, with a fifth that joins up after we meet her in the beginning of the series. Like any cast show, you've got your ensemble stereotypes. The team leader is Mint, a cute blue haired elfin type who is the daughter of a very powerful galaxy-wide businessman. She's young but smart and decisive and oh so very cute. Usually at her side is the quite member of the team, Vanilla. We don't get to know much about her here, but she comes across as unshakeable and the real rock of the team. On the more actionable side of the team, there's the beautiful blonde Ranpha, who is overly outgoing and highly confident in her self. She's matched well with Forte, the eldest of the group who comes across as serious most of the time but can panic like the best of them. She's also the manliest of the group, which confused at least one person who watched this show with me, especially since she's voiced so low.

The newest member of the group is someone we get introduced to in the first episode via Ranpha and Forte. The two of them are assigned to a job where they have to find a missing cat on the planet they're at. They think they find him quickly but realize that almost all the cats in the area look the same, so they go on a mad dash to capture as many rogue cats as possible so their odds look better. This causes them to end up meeting a young woman with pink hair named Milfeulle. She's not the brightest person in the world, but she's got a really special ability ? things always seem to go her way. When Forte and Ranpha realize that Milfeulle had found the missing cat a few days prior, they have to protect them both from a group of assassins that are after them. As it turns out, the cat is actually the ruler around here and there's a coup attempt underway. But it's Milfeulle's special luck ability that happens to keep the situation fluid enough for them to save the day.

As it turns out later on, Milfeulle had just been waiting to be accepted into the Angel Brigade and is the newest member. Her luck ability turns out to be a handy asset when she ends up with Forte and Ranpha who have just tossed their lives into hock on a casino planet, so they use Milfeulle and her luck to try and get out of debt. And later on when a sentient missile that doesn't want to die needs to be disarmed, who better than to try and do it than her? Milfeulle becomes the glue that starts holding the team together more and more as well as providing a lot of cute and innocent naďveté moments throughout the show.

The first season of Galaxy Angel runs twenty-six episodes and from what I've gathered, there isn't any real over-reaching storyline to be told in it. The first seven episodes here are all nicely self-contained once you get through the first two that provide the set up and introduction for Milfeulle. Some of the comedy doesn't work too well, but a lot of it had me smiling and chuckling over it. The series works very well within the time allotted to each episodes since it's not forced to carry a gag too far or for too long, instead letting them do a rapid number of quick ones or giving one just the right amount of time to play out. Once each episode is done, it feels complete and solid and ready to move on to the next gag.

In Summary:
Galaxy Angels is a series I've long wanted to really see. The show is a real change of pace from the usually serious shows Bandai puts out but they've done a bang up job here with it. It's a light comedy that's got a bit of smartness to it and lots of fun fanservice without being over the top. If you skip the openings and endings, it's like going through a series of short skit gags since it brings each episode to under ten minutes a pop, providing a quick hit of goodness. If you want to break out of the routine of what a lot of series have been like lately, Galaxy Angels is probably what you need. This was a lot of fun and I can't wait to see more.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Opening,- Now I Get It! GA Lectures, Promo Clip,LE Item: Entire Galaxy Angel Figure Collection 4.5? (5 figures), LE Item: Collector?s Art Box,LE Item: Pencil Board Set, LE Item: Exclusive Broccoli 16 Pg Galaxy Angel Booklet

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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