Galaxy Angel II- Zettai Ryoiki No Tobira: A New Dawn

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Galaxy Angel II- Zettai Ryoiki No Tobira: A New Dawn

Two Summers ago, I sat in glee while I downloaded and installed the first trilogy of the Galaxy Angel series. While I sheepishly admit I did not do a good job at conveying and introducing them to any readers who might have been interested, I’m prepared to give my full thoughts and a half-decade late talk on the second series. For the past month, I have been sitting in my scorching room playing the series day in and out after work and I honestly never felt such an exhilaration of playing a set of games before in my life.

Why was I so excited to play the games? Other than wanting to see and experience more of a series I loved, my old PC wasn’t able to handle the PS2 emulation and now with a new laptop, it is now possible for me to play without too many audio and video hiccups.

Enough of that, let’s talk about a series I’ve been wanting to play for quite a while. This is Galaxy Angel II with the first game being Zettai Ryoiki no Tobira (roughly translated to “Door to the Absolute Territory”)

It’s time for a near-full analysis on the game since I know you won’t play it.

As I mentioned, I didn’t do a good job about explaining what the first trilogy covered and why I loved it so much. I’ll attempt to be brief here. In terms of story, the first game of Galaxy Angel covered a bastard prince’s coup against his home empire after he was ostracized for reasons that escapes me. Using ancient technology, the bastard prince Eonia is able to subdue the empire that despised him. Tact Mayers and Lester Coolduras, commanders of a rather insignificant fleet are then put into the heat of the Imperial counter attack by escorting the young crown prince to safety to regroup with the remaining fleet. Mixed in with that is the romance element of the game featuring the titular “Angels”, the girls of the Moon Angel Wing. If everything went right in the end, the chosen girl is taken to a dance by the halfway point and becomes your lover. This is of course, if you play your cards right.

Moonlit Lovers, takes 6 months after the first game and acts as an introduction to the real enemies of the first trilogy, the Val-Fasq, while introducing the 6th member of the Angel Wing. Building off ML, Eternal Lovers fully ensues the war between humanity and the Val-Fasq. Ensuing in one final battle against their leader, Gern. While that’s going on, Tact’s and his chosen Angel go through one hell of a romantic compromise.

Galaxy Angel II begins 3-4 years after the events of Eternal Lovers introducing a brand new cast while making sure the cast from the first trilogy are a big part of the plot. After the Val-Fasq were subdued, a strange gate was found connecting to a strange hub dimension that had other gates leading to other dimensions. The current dimension is named EDEN, the newly discovered universe is called NEUE, and the hub dimension is called ABSOLUTE with the Central Globe acting as its operational center. EDEN decides to advance the rather primitive technology of the NEUE inhabitants and commissions a new ship and crew to assist in the process. Now that the focus of the universe has shifted towards technology and diplomacy, the Moon Angel Wing are disbanded.

Looks

We’re introduced to Kazuya Shiranami, the newest member of the Angel Wing of the NEUE universe: the Rune Angel Wing. Kazuya is recruited and transported to the new ship, the Luxiole commanded by none other than Brigadier General Tact Mayers, to pilot the Braveheart, a special Emblem Frame designed to merge with the other Emblem Frames of the NEUE universe and increase its capabilities. The plot begins around Chapter 2-3 where multiple things go horribly wrong (as in very nicely in terms of plot). Milfie happens to be one of the extremely rare entities that can operate the gates of ABSOLUTE and open the gates to connect the universes together. Contact is lost within the Central Globe and ABSOLUTE while Forte who was working as the military guard of the capital planet of NEUE, Seldor, announces that she has forcefully taken over planet. Stating that EDEN is not doing enough to help advance NEUE’s technology. Tact wastes no time in mobilizing the Luxiole to see what is really behind the coup and the disconnected communication with Milfie. Thus begins Kazuya Shiranami’s adventure that only leads down to a very deep rabbit hole.

The direction of the story is extremely similar to the first game of the first trilogy. The introduction chapter comes first while spending the next 5 introducing the new girls. 4 out the 6 original Angel Wing show up before the halfway point of the game, usually showing up to help with the situation at hand. The halfway point of the game acts with Seldor’s freedom with the true enemy revealing himself while the more important thing is Tact ordering Kazuya to pick a girl from the crew to take on a one week vacation. Tact fully knows the power of an Angel in love and decides to help Kazuya out while simplifying the mission for everyone’s safety, two birds with one stone. After the date, romantic conflicts arise, get solved, and we move onto the final chapter filled with combat.

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Gameplay wise, the game has not changed too much. It’s your regular dialogue scenes, ship exploring, and combat sequences. If anything, the dialogue scene adds the Jump button in the backlog, allowing the player to move back to some previous dialogue, it helps out with making the correct choices to get everyone’s mood up. Ship exploring is much the same, only new thing is being able to have smaller dialogue scenes with characters without taking up the number of times you can socialize with the ship’s crew. In the combat sequences, Kazuya is able to directly partake in the fights using the merging feature of his Braveheart. While boosting passive speed and attack ratings, Kazuya’s chosen Emblem Frame can also enter Attack Mode where you can manually aim your shots to deal extra damage and build up the special meter faster. Attack Mode adds a bit more depth into combat as certain parts of enemy ships can be blown apart, rendering them unable to attack.

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If anything, a few things I have noticed is that everyone loses the Energy bar a lot faster and resupplying at the Luxiole is a lot more frequent then getting gunned down. That being said, it feels like every Emblem Frame is a lot more armored than the previous generation of Emblem Frames. The game is also more forgiving in terms of Special Attacks being used. Back in the first series, you’d be lucky to get any from your non-chosen Angel but in the second series, you’re guaranteed a few special attacks every mission. Similar to the 1st trilogy, special attacks gain a few new properties in the sequels. That being said, the specials in ZRnT are guaranteed to kill at least one enemy ship. Also have to mention the special attacks being yelled out are pretty lackluster in this one while the sequels have the correct enthusiasm going into it.

Save-Load

When taking a look at the Save-Load menu, one might be surprised to find only 6 slots available. The 10 given in the first series’ first game was tough while ML and EL gave us a good number of saves. While 6 might seem a bit harsh, a new feature remedies the problem. On the sidebar, there’s essentially what can be considered a Chapter selection screen for the route. Each Chapter is comprised of 4 intermissions and the game can be loaded to these checkpoints. The game also begins and ends with the game’s Opening and ending themes (with a chapter preview to boot) which really makes the adventure feel like an anime. That being said, the number of cutscenes/animated scenes are significantly increased.

First off, the story works well because the characters from the previous game are involved. What that means is that they’re already developed so the game has an easier time working with the new characters since the overarching story is supplemented by already developed characters. That also means that the game is infinitely more enjoyable if you liked the first series, but that should be a given if you’re playing a game like this.

Stealing

Kazuya Shiranami is our protagonist for the 2nd trilogy and his position and rank helps him befriend the other shipmates on a more regular basis than Tact could. That reason alone makes Kazuya a more entertaining protagonist as our eyes for the new series. Since he’s not the Commander, he has a more diverse relationship with the ship’s crew and that makes the new side characters all the more likable and memorable since respect is ultimately not mandatory. Kazuya also partakes in fights and is out in the field putting his life at direct risk. This means more drama possibilities than Tact could ever experience. So while Tact has to deal with misunderstandings galore and deal with surmounting some unreal amounts of problems, Kazuya’s sort of drama involves getting hurt at times.  A fundamental difference is that Kazuya isn’t a freeloader. Helping out engineers with his Emblem Frame or helping out his buddy in the kitchen are a few things that Kazuya helps out with. In the end, Kazuya makes for a more active protagonist at the cost of less wittier dialogue and pissing off Lester.

Unlike the first series where our protagonist meets all the girls at once, ZRnT starts us off with 3 girls, Apricot Sakuraba, Nano Nano Pudding, and Kahlua Majoram. Anise Azeat shows up in Chapter 3 while Lily C. Sherbet joins in Chapter 6. Each girl has a connection to their corresponding Moon Angel Wing members. Apricot is Milfie’s sister, Nano is Vanilla’s “daughter”, Forte was Lily’s (but pretty much everyone else’s) instructor, Anise owes a debt to Mint, and Ranpha’s love for mysticism leads her to befriend Kahlua. Kazuya as an extension could be seen as Chitose’s counterpart but 2 more parallels show up in the next game.

Apricot (or just Rico) is nearly similar to Milfie in terms of general character nature. She’s hardworking, honest, and is generally the nice-regular girl compared to everyone else. Unlike her sister however, she’s not an absolute klutz as she is comparably more trustworthy in handling tasks and organizing things. Fittingly so, she’s assigned to organize and tally the storeroom when shes not busy blowing shit up. While she doesn’t share her sister’s passion for baking or extreme luck, she inherited a strange quirk that makes her very fearful of coming in physical contact with males. Within minutes of her introduction, Tact attempts to introduce Rico to Kazuya and as soon as he touches her shoulder, she throws him over her shoulder. Once more like her sister, her Emblem Frame, Cross Caliber, is the most balanced in terms of speed and firepower. If you thought the Lucky Star’s single barrel Hyper Cannon was devastating, Rico’s Hyper Blaster involves two.

We’ll be going by the Rune Angel Wing order so the next up is Lily. Like Forte, she’s very militant and always carries a weapon around (in her case being a sword). While it is not important yet, her eye covered by her bangs mirrors Forte’s monocle. Lily served as a member of Seldor’s Royal Guard and treats many things very seriously and orderly as possible, an example being her referring to  nearly everyone except Kazuya by their last name and rank.  So unlike Forte, Lily does mess around too much. If anything she acts like Chitose, only being more adaptable to the situation but also taking things a bit too seriously.Unexpectedly though, Lily is prone to cry a lot in emotional events. She puts Tact and the Moon Angel wing in high regard and in her introduction chapter, she decides to employ every method used by her predecessors to strengthen her bond with Kazuya (all of these methods calling back to the original crew’s antics). To liken the similarity to Chitose, Lily’s Emblem Frame is the Eagle Gazer, that specializes in sniping. While the Fatal Arrow shot around 3-5 shots and eat an ungodly amount of Energy, Lily’s Extreme Lancer always shoots 4 shots while keeping energy intact.

Nano Nano follows her “mother’s” footsteps and takes the role as the healer of the group which means the resident nanomachine user onboard. While Vanilla had to suppress strong emotions to control nanomachines, Nano is actually a cluster of nanomachines given sapience and allows her to freely control a set amount of nanomachines to help others. For this reason and her relatively young mental age, Nano is the liveliest and happiest “person” on board the Luxiole and frequents the Medical bay to help the doctor while playing around with everyone. So while personality differences are present, the will to help others seems to have been passed on. As such, Nano’s Emblem Frame, First Aider is there to heal everyone’s ships with a Repair Wave but also has the option to switch to an offensive special called Needle Flechette.

Rune Angel

Kahlua Marjoram is an interesting case in terms of personality. Kahlua is a native of the planet of sorcery known as Magiic and happens to have a second personality named Tequila who more or less takes over the body whenever Kahlua comes into contact with alcohol. Kahlua is calm, easy going, and is a very relaxed person who rarely ever shows too strong of an emotion other than elated happiness. While she’s not the most adept at magic, Tequila’s personality is the more dominant in terms of magical aptitude and takes her place when piloting their Emblem Frame, the Spellcaster. Just to show you how powerful Tequila’s magic is, her special Hexa-cross break is a magic based attack that pulverizes whole ships. Tequila herself is a more playful, aggressive, and all the more assertive form of Kahlua. What’s interesting to note is that Tequila remembers whatever Kahlua experiences while the reverse does not apply, so most of the time, Kahlua has no idea what’s going on whenever Tequila changes forms.

Finally we have Anise Azeat, the self proclaimed Treasure hunter. She first appears as an enemy who holds up the Luxiole to give them their valuables but gets wrecked by Kazuya’s first mission. She then gets a loan from the Blamanche company and sells her a ship in which she gets onboard the Luxiole to steal the Braveheart to enhance her Emblem Frame. Her contact Dieta doesn’t prove to be the most savvy person to make a deal with and her bought ship gets destroyed and she is helped by the Angel Wing to repel Dieta’s ships. Mint happened to be in the area and instead of giving her a new loan for another ship, Mint and Tact suggest that she temporarily enlist as a member of the Angel Wing to officially pay off her debt. Anise is given the chance for freedom when one of Mint’s department store ships gets itself in harm’s way and Anise is able to fend off the attackers. While given the freedom to leave the crew, Anise decides to stay. Brash, flippant, and generally disrespectful, Anise is a tomboy by every means of the word. While gender oblivious and competitive, Anise has a rather sharp senses and realizes few things the crew doesn’t. Her Emblem Frame is the Relic Raider, the fastest fighter in the unit. The RR has the only true AOE special in the game, in form of the Genocide Bomber that functions exactly as it sounds, a compact nuke.

If anything, the lackluster anime the Rune crew has had don’t make them as memorable as the original Angel crew’s anime help boost their popularity. That being said, I didn’t expect to be too attached to the new crew just yet but they are starting to grow on me at the point of the first game.

H-On the same ride

Of the returning characters, Tact and Coco make the bulk of the appearances compared to the rest. Tact remains as cheerful and carefree as ever but has gained some sense of responsibility without Lester bossing him around every step of the way. It’s a strange feeling seeing a near-silent character you played as for 3 games become a side character who’s also fully voiced too. There’s a sense of charisma knowing that you’ve seen what this man has gone through. Understandably enough, Tact acts as a matchmaker for Kazuya and his chosen angel with Tact mentioning before Kazuya asks a girl out for the vacation that Kazuya had 5 beautiful girls to romance and that Tact was standing in that same situation many years back. Coco isn’t as comedy oriented without Almo or Lester but she remains the amiable bridge operator she always was. Unfortunately, since Kazuya isn’t captain, there are little times when the bridge is visited outside of plot progression. While the Moon Angel Wing are dispersed, they still hold a big place in the order of things. Milfie is the gatekeeper that keeps dimensional travel possible, Ranpha acts as an ambassador, Mint succeeds her father, Forte remains in the military, Vanilla pioneers nanotechnology, and Chitose remains onboard the Elsior with Lester and Almo (and their relationship hasn’t changed either)

Everything culminates in a battle between the main villain and the Luxiole’s crew inside ABSOLUTE where they are isolated from outside help. A finale that is pretty nice since it doesn’t emphasize the “love conquers all” thing going on in ML and EL. This level of “semi-realism” and being somewhat grounded to conventional, regular fighting really help add to the series atmosphere.

Lunti

The Luxiole’s crew is no forgettable matter either since not everyone has to treat you with the highest esteem. Take for example, Lunti Fiadone, the head chef of the ship and former classmate of Kazuya in culinary school. While he is friendly and the only other guy onboard, he gets visibly angry at the fact that you of all people get to play around with the girls all day. At one instance, the girls decide to help him cook and when Kazuya steps in the kitchen to help too, he kicks him out saying that this is heaven for him. Another rather disrespectful character is Steline, one of the three engineers and she is in charge of handling the engine room. She gets at anybody who happens to enter in her engine room and chases them out. The only person she doesn’t seem to chew out is Lily. Other than that, you got the cafe maid Melva, the doctor Mordent, nameless shopkeeper, and the two other engineers Croix and Coronet.

In the end, a great start to a new generation of characters.  Look out for another post of it’s sequel: Mugen Kairo no Kagi

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