Appellate Judge Rob Lineberger was stranded without laughter in his second foray into this galaxy.
Recipe for mayhem!
The Galaxy Angels are back, passing time while they await their actual mission of unearthing lost technology. As usual, a series of small-time quests falls into their laps, and the Angels tackle this trickle of minutiae in 15-minute doses of fun. Whether they are seeking a trinket someone dropped on the sidewalk or chasing a runaway tank, the Galaxy Angels confront adversity with aplomb.
In revisiting the Galaxy Angel gang, I found Volume Three less amusing than What's Cooking?. Volume One tickled me with its outrageous humor, sly tone, and proper balance between energy and restraint. It had undercurrents both coy and melancholy that added sophistication to otherwise ludicrous situations. It hit the right notes and came across as a breath of fresh air in the increasingly stale "frantic anime parody" genre.
Volume Three is the same on the surface. It creates absurd situations for the Galaxy Angels and plucks the same comedic strings. I had a few decent laughs; nothing like the first disc provided, but laughs are laughs. From government agents hunting down a robotic chef to a crash landing on a deserted paradise, Volume Three cooks up wacky plots. Given the brevity of the episodes and the nature of the punch lines I can't be too specific, but chances are if you love the series this volume will please you.
Nonetheless, it felt like I'd heard the same tune before, played with more enthusiasm. What's Cooking? had surreal situations that landed big: a missile that didn't blow up because he was afraid to die, or the need to go undercover in a chicken suit, or a cute little hamster that erupts into a biotech terror. Faux gravity and implied destruction gave it an edge. Stranded Without Dessert treads the same water, but it feels like the safety of the sand is inches below our feet. The first episode in this volume shows a distraught Vanilla: She dropped something and is on a starvation diet until it is recovered. Milfeulle and her luck go in search of the lost object, bringing back treasures worth millions. But nothing is enough to sooth Vanilla. This gag fell flat for many reasons. First, why didn't Vanilla go looking for the object instead of starving herself in punishment? Why didn't she tell Milfeulle what to look for? Why didn't the gang stop Vanilla from discarding priceless treasures? These plot holes are too obvious to ignore, and it made the gag feel forced. Forte is the brunt of the most jokes, which may help explain my tepid response: I find her to be the least interesting of the bunch. Even so, the situations are not as complex, surreal, or multilayered as in What's Cooking?.
On the brighter side, Stranded Without Dessert amends some of the audiovisual issues that plagued What's Cooking?. The previous volume's blurriness and cross coloration is gone. Unfortunately, it has been replaced by copious amounts of interlacing artifacts. It seems like every fine line and curve has strobing pixels around it, and the effect is more prominent that in most anime DVDs I've seen. I view DVDs via HTPC, which is unforgiving of interlacing errors. Those with standard televisions may not have as much of a problem.
The audio shows a marked improvement. The dullness and volume warbling have evened out. Volume Three has a nondescript audio track, which is better than "noticeably bad" audio. The extras are nearly identical. Shintani Ryoko (the voice actress for Milfeulle) is back with her minute-long lectures about the Galaxy Angel universe. The promo clip and textless opening have been replaced by an extended series of Japanese commercials, which are amusing.
The bottom line is that Stranded Without Dessert serves up six more doses of Galaxy Angel humor, and that should be enough for fans. The veneer has worn off a little bit for me, which made this volume seem run-of-the-mill instead of inspired. But humor is highly individual, and I do not begrudge the enjoyment of anime lovers looking for some rapid-fire comedy.
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