The last season of Galaxy Angel hits in a triple disc collection with the franchise taking yet another hit from Bandai Entertainment.
What They Say:
The Angel Brigade is at it again and with this new set of adventures comes a brand new brigade member! On a humanitarian mission the Angels visit a sick and dying girl. In an out-of-character move of compassion the Angel Five actually recruits the ill Chitose Karasume. After the sympathy wears off how will the Angels react? Will they be the best of friends or the fiercest of rivals? Both! So check out this exciting new installment of Galaxy Angel for another series full of zany misadventures and the Brigade’s “Thirteen Special Moves of Rock Paper Scissors”!
Bandai Entertainment has continued with the dual language presentation for Galaxy Angel X with a pair of 224 kbps stereo mixes. Due to what’s been described as a budget issue in that there wasn’t enough money to justify it, only the first disc of this release is dubbed. This is a real shame overall as GA fans have been sticking with this release for several years now and through numerous release patterns and to essentially shaft them at the end is disheartening. 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 released in 2004, the transfer for this special episode is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Galaxy Angel X has a really strong feel to it as it 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 and the quality feels like it’s reaching close to where Galaxy Angel Rune was at.
The front cover is one that fits perfectly with this release as it features the entire main core cast of girls running along with happy and excited looks in their faces. With a soft yellow background, all focus is on the bright and vibrant character designs. The logo is nicely unobtrusive while the “Complete Collection” banner along the top doesn’t stand out badly either. The back cover provides a couple character pieces 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 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 is changed up slightly for this release and it’s one that is a bit more awkward with its layout. The navigation strip is done sideways which makes it a bit more difficult to read considering they use yellow, blue and white around each of the sections. The main section of the menu is using character artwork of the group while placing it against a much stronger light blue background while the logo is against a silvery blue part. What’s problematic is that in the language selection menu, it’s angled a bit there and difficult to tell what’s really been selected because of the color scheme and the lack of identifying what’s actually set for use. Beyond that, the disc is fairly decent for its menus but they left me a bit less than happy with how it’s all laid out, especially since it didn’t read our players’ language presets..
As is to be expected of just about any Galaxy Angel release, there are a lot of extras to be found here. First and foremost – English audio for the first four episodes shouldn’t be considered an extra as they list it on the cover. Bah. Beyond that however, we get a lot of stuff that will make Galaxy Angel fans very happy. There’s a good chunk of promo clips for the show and the usual round of commercials and the clean openings and closings. Music clips continue to be trotted out and are certainly fun enough since a lot of the appeal is the voice actresses themselves. There’s also a brief live concert clip which runs only a couple of minutes and makes me wish there were more lengthy concert pieces like we saw with earlier pieces of the franchise. What makes up for this are the fairly lengthy Galaxy Angel Quiz Double pieces in which the voice actresses come out to do Q&A sessions of sorts about the series. With Chitose’s voice actress really only getting this series to shine in, she makes good use of the live action segments to get some face time in so she can gain something of a following.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The last season, at this point in time at least, of Galaxy Angel arrives with the “X” series. With thirteen episodes in total (or twenty-six half-length episodes if you really want to make this seem like a bigger show), Galaxy Angel X is more of the same for fans of the franchise. That isn’t a bad thing however as the show has certainly earned itself the reputation it has and this season manages to up the visual value rather nicely. In comparison to that first season, this is a much slicker looking production and one that hits its marks rather expertly which should be expected. Though I don’t know that the show is going out on top, it’s going out on a solid note.
For the bulk of the episodes in this season, the series really is more of the same. That more of the same is a bunch of simple short plot trappings that feature the girls getting involved in silly things or causing entire planets to get blown up or otherwise troubled in a major disaster way. There are good ones and there are some less than amusing ones, but the cast is so familiar now that their antics are fun to watch because you know how they’ll all react to a particular situation. The take good aim at long time anime and manga institutions, such as a really solid piece that works over Ashita no Joe really well as Forte and Normad both go through extensive training in order to have a proper one on one boxing match.
There are plenty of stories that revolve around the characters particular traits and personalities. You know there will be romantic comedy found with anything that Ranpha does, but that she has her best moments when a Lost Technology tatami mat? Mint goes through a severe trauma when all of her cosplay outfits are burned out and it’s all the other Angel’s fault but they try to cover it up. That of course leads to violence in an unpredictable arena. A story about Milfeulle’s incredible luck saving her from various dire situations that end up putting Volcott in serious jeopardy? Definitely there. Forte has a really good background episode as we see her dealing with her home planet in a way that was almost a bit uncharacteristic for the series. And naturally, Vanilla is the god to whom we all must bow down to as she takes revenge to a new level when someone ruins her favorite umbrella.
So what can the series do that’s new this time around? Well, they go for the idea of introducing a new member to the Angel Brigade. Early on they go to visit a young woman in a hospital named Chitose who doesn’t have long to live. She is so enamored by the girl’s sense of camaraderie and friendship that she desperately wants to be friends with them. This causes her to work extra hard and join up and work with the group. Everyone is impressed by her and happy to see her. For the first few minutes at least. It doesn’t take long for them to tire of her and it doesn’t take long for Chitose to think that they’re all out to get her. She ends up going through all manner of plots over the course of the series to either try to win their friendship or to destroy them entirely .That she ends up with the Twin Stars and works under Major Mary throws a wrench in her plans at times as well.
The introduction of Chitose into the show is certainly pleasant enough and she’s a fun character who has an active reason to dig into all the Lost Technology. So many of her problems stem from grabbing such devices and trying to figure out a way to use them against the Brigade that it obviously causes a lot of issues. She’s completely earnest in her desire to be liked by people and have friends while at the same time she’s driving them away like crazy. She’s also got a great method of getting out of as much work as possible by using her illnesses whenever she needs to. It’s quickly apparent that she really doesn’t have any issues with her health though and continues to work it so that nobody else finds out. As scheming as the other girls get at times, they don’t compare in a lot of ways to how Chitose handles herself.
Galaxy Angel X is a good deal of fun overall and the consistent piece throughout it with Chitose trying to find her place in it enjoyable enough. The franchise in general is certainly predictable in many ways but I like that each episode essentially reboots the whole thing to a degree and that they can destroy everything and die off only to keep it going a minute later after the amusing Janken Pon eye-catch gag. There isn’t anything really new here but Chitose adds a nice new angle to much of it and the show has a great deal of polish now that it moves smoothly and with solid timing and precision. The only mark against this otherwise top notch release is the lack of a dub for two of the three volumes. Beyond that, Galaxy Angel fans who enjoy the series original actors will find lots to like here as the show ends on a solid note with one of the better mind game episodes.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language (episodes 1-8 only), Promo Clips, Commercials, Clean Opening, Clean Closings, GA Quiz Doubles, Normads Secret Meeting, Music Clips, Live Concert Footage
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.