Manga Reviews

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Galaxy Angel

Galaxy Angel By Kanan, supervised by Ryo Mizuno
5 Volumes
Licensed Broccoli USA

Topic: Science Fiction, Comedy, Romance

The Transbal empire is the biggest empire in the known universe, spanning hundreds of systems across the galaxy. It's governed by the Transbal royal family and protected by the moon goddess Shatoyan, who lives in the White moon -- a strange artefact, known as lost technology, which was left behind by a previous human civilization. This civilization was destroyed 600 years ago by the Chrono Quake, a space phenomenon which nearly destroyed the entire galaxy and threw humans back to an age without space travel technology. After a 200 year dark age, the moon goddess appeared and gave the survivors the gift of lost technology, allowing them to reclaim what was once theirs.

Eonia Transbal is a former member of the royal family. He was exiled 6 years ago for "a terrible crime." Years later, he returned with a strange new fleet and lost technology of his own. He then proceeded to execute every member of the royal family. Fearing for the fate of the empire, Shatoyan took Prince Shiva Transbal, the last living member of the ruling family and placed him on the Elle Ciel, the biggest and most powerful lost technology star ship. She told him to flee, to prevent Eonia from killing him.

The Elle Ciel is home of the Angel-Tai, the Moon Goddess' elite guards -- Milfeulle Sakuraba, Ranpha Framboise, Mint Blamanche, Forte Stollen and Vanilla H. They are the only girls able to pilot Emblem Frames, special lost technology ships that require harmony between the pilot and the craft. The story follows Commander Takuto Meyer, a rather fresh military officer, who is given command of the Elle Ciel and the mission of escorting Prince Shiva to the white moon. This manga series is based on a series of video games created by Broccoli, and unlike it's well known anime counterpart, it tries to remain faithful to the game's original story.

Before we go to that review, it's my duty to inform you, that even though I try to be very objective and non-biased in this review, I am the biggest fan of the Galaxy Angel franchise, and I live, breath, and eat Galaxy Angel. Therefore it would be a good idea to take my review with a whole spoonful of salt.

When you take it for what it is, a bishoujo romantic comedy based on a video game, Galaxy Angel is an excellent manga. It doesn't delve into all the terrible stereotypes this types of series tend to resort to. Not everybody falls in love in Takuto, and the relationship between Takuto and Milfeulle is not stalled during the whole series. In fact, it evolves, and Takuto himself doesn't fit into the typical cookie-cuter type of male lead these series have. He's neither the wussy loser, nor an angry jerk. Takuto is pretty cool and manages to have a personality of his own, even if he can be a bit dense.

The story is interesting enough, with a few twists, and a bit of depth into the characters. The GA series' popularity comes from the unique character design, and naturally, the characters in the manga are drawn by Kanan herself, the original character designer. The art in the manga is superb, sometime cute and silly, sometime beautiful and detailed, and sometime downright sexy. All the characters are lovely, even though my favorite, Vanilla H, doesn’t get as much attention as I wish she did.

If I had anything to complain about, it's that the space battles can sometime feel a bit rushed and lacking in the fireworks department. But that's only natural, it's hard to take a video game and translate its game play into a static manga. Galaxy Angel is the first part of a two-part manga and therefore doesn't get a full ending. It ends at Volume 5, but the story picks up in Galaxy Angel Beta, the second manga series, which has also been licensed by Broccoli and is currently being published by them. I thoroughly enjoyed Galaxy Angel, especially because it had a lot more substance than its anime counterpart. For anyone who wants a good romance series that doesn't succumb to all the genre's stereotypes, and delivers a good story with lots of charm, you can't go wrong with the Galaxy Angels!

Rating: 9.0/10.0 -- Reviewer's Choice

-- Review Submitted by Ribonizer


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