Visual Novel Spotlight: Galaxy Angel

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They say you never forget your first, and this was my first visual novel. But good gosh, has it really already been 3 years since I first played this game? Mayne, time flies by so fast, next thing I know I’ll blink and my niece will be ten years old! Anyway, Galaxy Angel is great! From the first moment, I was gripped by this story’s space setting, drama and comedic moments, as well as the romance, which develops as the story goes on.

I actually saw the anime first, which was originally based off the game, but Broccoli (the company that created the series) had a problem. Like Finding Nemo, the game was a delay fish causing delays which eventually meant the anime aired well in advance. The anime staff had the designs and basic personality traits of the characters and not much else so they decided to scrap virtually everything about the game and it became the random, zany, light-hearted anime it is known as today. If you didn’t already know, the anime and game are set in alternate universes. In fact because the anime released first, and it was a popular hit, it can be argued it overshadows the games themselves. Shame because Galaxy Angel is awesome and my favorite visual novel series by far.

 

Synopsis 

Galaxy Angels are from the “Special Guardian Division” and they work closely with the “Imperial Special Guards” and the “Satellite Defense Teams”. They are the guardians of the White Moon, the sacred planet of the Transbaal Empire, and the personal protectors of the White Moon Goddess Shatoyan. The story begins with Prince Eonia attempting a take over of the Transbaal Empire with the aid of the mysterious Black Moon, counterpart to the White Moon. To counter Prince Eonia, the Angel-tai along with their flagship the Elsior are placed in the hands of the kind and ever-capable Commander Takuto Meyers. (The Visual Novel Database)

So in other words, a young man by the name of Tact Mayers becomes the commander of the Elsior and its five ace pilots, the Angel-tai. Their mission is to protect the last heir of the Transbaal Empire, Prince Shiva, from certain death as they retreat from the evil usurper of the throne, Eonia. The game differs greatly from the anime because of its intergalactic war story and the presence of the male protagonist, Tact. The “Galaxy Angels” are part of the military assigned to protect the Transbaal Empire. Each member of the Galaxy Angels are assigned one personal “Emblem Frame” which are the spacecrafts used to fight and defend against enemies like they did in the anime.

 

Gameplay

As the title reads, Galaxy Angel is a visual novel so most of the gameplay is going to be reading dialogue and making choices which affect the flow of the story, but what I really like about Galaxy Angel and what I would argue makes it unique is the battle gameplay segments. The player commands all the Emblem Frames in a “real-time” strategy mode similar to other real-time strategy games, like Homeworld and Age of Empires. You will have six ships to control: the Emblem Frames and your flagship the Elsior (if the latter’s health reaches 0 it’s game over). Despite its look and apparent status as top of the line battleship, missions usually involve protecting the Elsior, which can rarely do anything useful in a fight due to its low speed, low durability, and the fact that the Angels’ ships outclass it by a mile. Each ship has varying amount of attack, defense, speed, acceleration, etc. They all have the abilities to move, attack and defend, but only the Elsior and Harvester have the ability to heal other ships. Also, the Angels will move by themselves if no command is given.

In every chapter, Tact will have the freedom to move around the Elsior, visiting various rooms and meeting the Angels. Tact can only spend 30 minutes touring the ship at a time, and each room visit takes five minutes. The decisions you make affect the morale and trust of the Angels toward Tact, in turn affecting their combat abilities since Emblem Frames apparently grow in power in relation to their pilot’s mental state. For this reason, you should really try to keep the Angels happy.

Since you only get six picks on your downtime I’m sure you’re aware that time is of the essence. There’s often a multiple choice question in each of the girl’s scenes and choosing the correct response is what causes them to like you more. Naturally, getting a positive response is what we’re aiming for. As affection goes up, the Angels get better and better at combat, and the lady you eventually select as your girlfriend becomes a lean, mean killing machine!

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If you’ve seen the anime, you should know who the girls are, but here their personalities aren’t exaggerated for the purpose of comedy so I’d like to discuss them and their Emblem Frames, going top to bottom, left to right:

Ranpha Franboise is the modern tsundere, yearning romantic and my favorite character in the series (she’s even voiced by my favorite 声優/seiyuu, Yukari Tamura). She has an affinity for physical activity and fortune telling and is an expert at martial arts/hand-to-hand combat. Being a proud young lady, she doesn’t like showing weakness to anyone and initially openly dislikes Tact. She does however, an amusing 180 if you choose her route and even if you don’t she eventually grows to respect Tact and sees him as a competent commander.

Her Emblem Frame is the Kung-fu Fighter, which is a close-combat fighter and possess high agility at the cost of defense. It’s best described as a glass canon and Ranpha can easily run into problems on the battlefield ’cause her ship is the fastest, but this means she can also rack up kills and it’s not unusual for her to have the most by the end of battles. The Kung-fu Fighter’s special attack is Anchor Claw where the two gigantic claws are launched at the target for massive damage (it will pretty much destroy the enemy’s ship).

Mint Blancmanche is the telepathic お嬢様/ojou-sama and sole heiress to the affluent Blancmanche Company. She ran away from home and enlisted into the military due to her father’s mercantile lifestyle and the fact he wouldn’t allow her to choose her own path in life. She has a strong penchant for tea and sweets and has a secret hobby of dressing up in animal cosplay outfits. Her calm and rational demeanor usually makes her the voice of reason among the members.

Trick Master is her Emblem Frame capable of both omnidirectional and highly accurate attacks. Mint can attack multiple enemies from any direction and it’s best to use her as support to weaken groups of enemy ships with her special attack and finishing off the enemies with the lowest health since the Trick Master is slower than the other Emblem Frames. Speaking of special attack, hers is Flier Dance where the ship’s fliers swarm all enemies in a specific area. If there’s only one enemy the damage output is very high, but if there are more of them they will each receive only modest damage because the fliers are spread out evenly across all targets. It can be the best special attack since the enemies usually move in groups.

Milfuelle Sakuraba is the kind-hearted, optimistic, air-headed girl who possesses extraordinary luck which is both a blessing and a curse. She has a passion for cooking and loves making other people happy. While “stupid” wouldn’t be the best word to describe her noetic abilities, she’s quite slow to understand situations unless it’s spelled out for her. She is extremely slow to anger and isn’t ever shown to be angry toward others, only mildly irritated or disappointed at best.

Her Emblem Frame is the Lucky Star (the irony), the most well-rounded of all the Emblem Frames that has high speed and is above average in everything else so it can fight in just about any situation. Lucky Star’s special attack is the Hyper Canon, a giant pink laser that literally destroys anything in front of it, across the ENTIRE map! It’s best to use at long range because sadly it’s not likely the enemy ships will happily line up to get blasted.

Forte Stollen is arguably the most attractive (I might just be saying this ’cause I’ve recently realized I have a thing for strong women, lol), mature, wise and “big sister” character. She has the most military experience, is the oldest by age and the leader of the Angel-tai. She also loves gunpowder guns in a time where such weapons have been superseded with light sabers and laser guns. She is perhaps the most sensible out of all the members.

Her Emblem Frame is called the Happy Trigger (tee hee), a heavy assault ship that has all kinds of weapons, armory and obviously contains the greatest attack/firepower of all the Emblem Frames. It’s the slowest of course and most of the enemy have already been defeated by the time it arrives on the scene. Its special attack is Strike Burst where Forte’s entire arsenal is unleashed on a single victim.

Vanilla H is the youngest member who is quiet but hardworking and has the ability to control nanomachines which allows her to treat wounds. Because nanomachine usage requires immense concentration, Vanilla suppressed her emotions to the point of being stoic and speaking in a monotonous voice. She still cares much for her close friends and loves interacting with animals. She becomes more expressive and vocal as the story goes on, especially in her route.

She pilots the Emblem Frame Harvester, which has the highest defense and is the only one with the ability to repair the other ships (but she can’t repair her own ship, the Elsior or ally ships that are not Emblem Frames). She also has the lowest attack and and is average in all other attributes. Her special Vapor Wave is invaluable though, by sending a huge wave of repairing nanomachines the Harvester is able heal all of the Angai-tai to full health, no matter where they are on the map.

 

Why I like this visual novel

Before playing this visual novel I never really cared for romance in fiction. Nowadays it’s one of my favorite genres, I just love seeing happy couples (whether real or fictional), I’m all like “Mayne, I hope you two stay happy and continue to treat each other well”. Anyway, the fact I was reading a story which makes love seem like the greatest thing since sliced bread was an interesting one. At the time, it blew my mind I could choose whom I want Tact to date since he wasn’t in the anime series. Tact is a protagonist worth investing in and the rest of the Elsior crew are wonderful. I especially love the banter between Tact and his best friend Lester. Despite being a visual novel, its battle field part was something different, fun to play and while there were challenging parts, I never found it to be frustrating. Besides the usual CG events the game also has fully animated cutscenes, usually happening during important moments in the story. Anyone who is a fan of the anime should definitely play this, it looks better, sounds better, feels better, the drama is genuine, the characters are more dynamic, and of course no friggin’ Normad! The main theme is catchy as well. I’m glad this was the first visual novel I ever read.

 

Ranpha x Tact

 

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If you ask me, Tact and Ranpha are not only one of the best couples in anime, but in all of fiction.

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Starchaser’s Favorite Visual Novels

I never have time to read visual novels nowadays. It’s a shame since they have some of the best stories I’ve ever been exposed to. Maybe when I graduate university I’ll get back in the game, but until then let me not waste any more time and instead tell you about some of the best visual novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading.

 

Muv-Luv Alternative 

Muv Luv Alternative

Muv-Luv Alternative is a true beauty. It’s difficult to talk about any of it without getting into spoiler territory though. Alternative is the third and final part of the Muv-Luv series. It takes characters you’ll be familiar with (it goes without saying if you want to read Alternative you SHOULD start with Extra and Unlimited first so you can appreciate it in its entirety) and puts them in a world where an alien invasion has humanity on the brink of extinction and human-piloted mechs are their only hope for survival.

This visual novel did a lot whilst making me feel a swirl of emotions and succeeded in doing so. I can’t understate how heavy the plot is though, and I wouldn’t recommend it for the weakhearted and those who can’t deal with depression. The ending is the definition of “bittersweet”, and calming songs such as this were able to hit me in the heart every time I heard it. Oh yeah, and it’s because of Alternative Ayamine Kei was solidified as one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. The only other character I hold in high regard is Miles “Tails” Prower. Her moment with Chizuru and reading her letter had me burst into tears.

 

Galaxy Angel 

Galaxy Angel

My community college days were fun and I have the Galaxy Angel trilogy to thank for that. It’s no secret Fullmetal Alchemist got me into anime and manga, and this is what got me into visual novels. There are probably better introductions, but make no mistake, Galaxy Angel is one of the best visual novels I ever read. The story is straightforward and the theme mostly centers around romantic love. It actually makes for a good amount of heartwarming moments no matter which girl you pair Tact Mayers with.  It’s one of the best romance stories I’ve ever experienced. Some people talk about Beyonce and Jay-Z being “relationship goals” but for me, I would want a relationship with a woman the way Tact Mayers has with Ranpha Franboise.

For me, this visual novel oozes with charm thanks to its pretty art style, sci-fi and futuristic setting and wonderful soundtrack. I should also mention “Eternal Love is one of the grooviest themes I’ve ever come across in any media. The moments where it plays is always fitting and a delight to hear. The actual battle gameplay mechanics are great as well even if they are on the simple side. The ending to the third and final installment is a happy one that’s bound to bring a smile to the reader’s face.

 

Grisaia no Kajitsu 

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This visual novel really tested my patience, both in a good and bad way. If I can encapsulate what Grisaia no Kajitsu is about I would say… everyone has their own story, everyone has their own struggles, and everyone makes mistakes, regardless if you can see any of them or not. Also, no one’s perfect. Anyway, the dialogue, writing, execution and unique heroines are what makes this piece of fictional work stand out.

This has the longest common route I’ve ever read and that’s what I mean by testing my patience in a bad way. What keeps it going though is the copious amount of comedy thanks to the girls’ quirks and Yuuji’s serious and stoic disposition providing a lot of hilarious moments. Once one of the heroine’s route starts, the tone of the story takes a turn for the more serious. I started to find a deeper meaning in why the woman in question is the way she is now. There are quite a number of plot twists in each route that kept me guessing and engrossed throughout.

 

Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!

Majikoi

This and Muv-Luv Alternative are the only visual novels I have given a 10/10 to. So yeah, I think it’s really damn good. Unlike the previous entries, Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai (usually shortened to Majikoi) is more lighthearted and over-the-top, and I’m a forgiving person especially since there wasn’t one character here I didn’t like. The story is about life, growing up and making memories with the people you love. It’s a story about family/friendship between a group of childhood friends. Considering I’m a happy person who loves his family and friends to death, I was able to get a lot from this visual novel.

It might be not plot heavy, but this is where the characters come in. All the characters are lovable, entertaining  and memorable. Besides the main characters, there’s also a bunch of supporting characters and they’re all great. They contribute to the comedic dialogue and each have at least one moment to shine. If there is one visual novel I would recommend, it would easily be this one.