Galaxy Angel Rune anime review

Galaxy Angel Rune anime review
Apricot Sakuraba and 4 new girls were now assigned as the new Galaxy Angels with the same mission: to search for the Lost Technology and keep peace to Planet Transbaal.

Pardon my language, but being a big fan of the original Galaxy Angel franchise, I was hoping for Galaxy Angel Rune to offer up another season of five spunky young ladies going on all sorts of wild misadventures. Unfortunately, director Seiji Kishi and his crew got nothing except the "five ladies" concept right.

In their defense, these new girls just aren’t as memorable as the previous bunch, mostly made up of archetypes that the original series didn't already use. But whereas the original series’ cast were tweaked quite a bit by MadHouse, often exaggerating their interests or personalities - and even adding new ones - for the better, the Rune cast try to follow their video game counterparts while also attempting to be funny. It’s like asking someone who writes for the Wall Street Journal to write an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, and it's as disastrous as it sounds.

So who are these new characters I speak of? Why they’re the new Angel Troupe, five girls who go around doing various missions to help out others, but usually screw up in the process.

First off we have Apricot, the series’ central character, and the little sister of the original series' heroine, Milefuelle. Much like her older sister, she is bound to strokes of fantastic luck at times, but she also has another trait: if any male touches her, she goes berserk, causing explosions in her wake as she throws the guys who touch her into the distance. Not cute or funny in any way, Kishi. Yawn.

Next we have Nano-Nano Pudding, an annoying little girl who also doubles as a cat-girl robot. In addition to being annoying and stupid, she also ends all her sentences with "no da" (as if she didn't already look out of place in the Galaxy Angel universe already). As the "moe" blob of the series, the writers - surprise! - love to exploit her “cuteness” as much as possible.

Thirdly we have Kahula, voiced by none other than the unfortunately cast Aya Hirano. Normally she’s shy, friendly, and womanly..until she drinks. When she drinks, she becomes a devious flirt, along with her hair turning purple, ner breasts getting bigger, and even a different name: Tequila (bad pun, I know). One of the running gags in the series is how Tequila likes to flirt with the 14 year old Apricot. Are you laughing yet? No? Well, let's continue!

In room number four we have Lily, the leader of the group who models her hair after Troy from Gundam Wing. She's the serious, no taking crap leader of the bunch, only breaking out of the mold when the story tells her to. Whee.

Lastly we have Anise Azeat, who's so cool that I actually bother to write out her full name. She's the only one of the new characters who vaguely recollects the quirky silliness of the original series. The writers know this, because she has no less than two episodes dedicated to herself. She's a tomboy treasure hunter of sorts, and she also humorously owes quite a debt to Galaxy Angel's Mint, unaware of the fact that every time she breaks something on her journey, Mint simply adds it to her bill. I applaud her voice actress (Satomi Hanamura) for actually stomaching her way through the other characters' awful, awful dialogue. I imagine that was quite a difficult task.

There are also some awful supporting characters: the girl's gay landlord (I'm not joking), a clone of Miss Bellum from Powerpuff Girls (their higher-in-command), and an annoying cat-head robot who makes the mascots from Futari wa Pretty Cure almost charming. Like everything in this series but Anise, they’re either all lame, inferior clones of characters from Galaxy Angel, or just plain bad characters. They're only memorable in the slightest because of how obnoxious they are.

Similar to the original franchise, Rune often does parodies of various movies and anime during its run itself, including an amusing, short Gunbuster parody and a whole episode that's a take on horror movies (actually one of the better episodes). There's even a few funny stabs at Broccoli's own Di Gi Charat, which are some of the funniest scenes in the series (I have never liked that obnoxious brat).

For the most part, though, Rune mainly sticks to its "own" material, which is usually awful. For example, one episode has Apricot and Nano-Nano Pudding babysitting an annoying princess who rules over a bunch of hideous-sounding egg people for 23 minutes. Fun. And for further "fun", this brat makes several more appearances during the series' run, which means you have to hear the obnoxious egg people several times. The only highlights of Rune typically revolve around Anise, who alone makes Lily and Nano-Nano Pudding have actual personality (Apricot and Kahula are lame either way).

There's also an episode in which the cast of both Galaxy Angel franchises meet, but it's as big a disappointment as the Road Runner / Speedy Gonzales cartoon "The Big Chase" that Warner Bros. made in the mid-60's. They look and sound like the original troupe, but they're barely funny at all. (Though seeing Chitose working an office job was pretty funny.) It is nice to see the original girls again, but only those nostalgic (and very forgiving) will care. To anybody else it will come off as a big "whatever".

Speaking of 23 minute episodes, that's another problem Rune has. It typically goes the same route the recent To-LOVE-ru follows: they make an 11 minute episode and then pad it out with stupid, infantile humor to fill a half-hour slot for the die-hard otaku who actually bothered to stay up at night to watch this filth. This leads to a lot of recycled gags, ideas, and animation in the same episode, and there's not variety in the heroines or in their misadventures to compensate. Perhaps dividing the episodes into two halves would've helped instead.

As if its bad characters and terrible stories aren't enough, Galaxy Angel Rune also has horrible art and mind-blowingly bad animation. Characters go off-model all the time, backgrounds are washed-out and dull, and there's tons of recycled animation. Not to mention the character designs, which range from generic (Anise, Apricot) to terrible (Nano-Nano Pudding). Even in comparison to other badly animated digital series it looks bad, killing off quickly for me what little there could've been for me to call a saving grace in this series, because its characters sure aren't! The music fares little better, trying way too hard to mimic Galaxy Angel's soundtrack. And unlike the original series' cute, inoffensive bubblegum J-POP, Rune's OP/ED are an agonizing pain on both the eyes and ears. Push that forward button and never look back!

Even the R1 DVD release has problems. The white subtitles are small and very difficult to read. It would’ve been fine if they stuck the subtitles to the bottom of the screen in the black borders, but instead they're raised above the black screens to blend right into the episodes, making them at times nearly impossible to read. The video quality also looks terrible for some reason. It's as if HONNEAMISE knew this series wasn't worth the effort to obtain better masters of or something, and I honestly can't blame them.

The extras are lackluster, with the only noticeable ones being live-action shorts featuring the 5 individual actresses of Galaxy Angel Rune in unrelated skits about love, school, and general waxing on of life. Though at $50 a DVD it would take a whole movie featuring Aya Hirano to make me even somewhat consider watching more of the series, much less the 4 minute short of her on one of the DVD’s. That was awful too, by the way.

In fact, “awful” describes Galaxy Angel Rune pretty damn well. It’s an unfunny, stupid, annoying series that does little more than drag the original Galaxy Angel's name in the mud. All of the quirky, fun hijinx of the original series has been violently tossed aside for lame characters and boring stories. Despite a couple of decent episodes and even a few funny jokes, most of the series is more a test of how much you can stomach before giving up more so than anything that could be considered entertainment.

Never before have I been so happy that Netflix didn't have the entire series of an anime for rental.

 

Better than review, is a Trailer video of: Galaxy Angel Rune. Watch it now:
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