Most jarringly, the characters look exactly like they do in the anime, but they're much more serious; they have a war to win, after all.
The manga and games stand in stark, frankly ridiculous contrast to the anime, which ran just as long as the games and comics (five seasons) and completely tosses out the spacebound drama and romance angles in favor of more jokes. Mari Ijima's urgent hymns are replaced with giddy, pun-laden sing-a-longs by the Brigade themselves, and the characters, who are mostly named after food, star in episodes also named after food, occasionally engaging in longer story arcs that mostly involve food.
Season 2 introduces Kokomo and Malibu, twin boy geniuses who are ostensibly reinforcements for the Angel Brigade, but the TV series staff treats them more like Poochie from The Simpsons; after all, they were basically just cooked up for drama CDs.
It gets even funnier when the pair realize they're gimmick characters, a gag that gets pushed even farther with the later introduction of Chitose, a new brigade member.
In one episode, the Brigade discovers the Salt of invisibility, which Milfeulle promptly places in a salt shaker, so the team doesn't accidentally use it on themselves.
This gag itself is a transparent callback to that Young Ones episode where Vyvian creates a homicidal-mania-inducing potion and puts it in a Coke can.
As for the , I'm happy and a bit relieved that it's coming back into print.
After all, it's not streaming online, and while I was fortunate enough to collect the whole thing when it was coming out, there's always a danger that my DVDs will somehow get damaged.
If you've played , Tact is basically the Ichiro Ogami of this series; he's in charge of the Angel Brigade, a team of five elite pilots, and in his role, the player of the video game gets to choose story routes, take tactical command of his troops, and most importantly, decide which member of the Angel Brigade to start dating.
It'd be easy to say that dating sims were a quaint artifact of the late 90s and early 2000s, with megahits like Sentimental Graffiti and the aforementioned , but let's face it, even the Mass Effect games are dating sims at this point.
Given the contrast in tone and content, it's incredible that Director Asaka and his team achieve this by shelving the dating aspect and making the show an ensemble comedy; player-character cipher Tact is replaced by dumb-dad archetype Colonel Volcott, and the Brigade's personality quirks are writ hilariously large.
We end up with situations like one where Milfeulle, the show's signature good-girl heroine, has her famous good luck turn bad, so the viewer gets to see her get set on fire, sucked into space, her clothes wrecked, her ship crashed, her cakes burnt. Mint doesn't rein in her odd hobbies (most prominently: dressing in huge, puffy mascot costumes), Forte carries more guns, and Vanilla is even quieter and meaner.
That's too bad, because the video games are really the foundation of universe, and until I finally picked up the manga years after watching the TV series, I had no idea who he was.