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