Rather than wipe the slate clean after the original Galaxy Angel and have Moonlit Lovers be a polished retread of the typical ‘Man+ladies+almost-magical-machinery vs Evil Things’ formula, the writers instead dared to asked the question ‘So what happens after these two idiots have finally admitted they love each other?’ and the result was a game that ditched the chase-the-girl aspect that normally goes hand-in-hand with these adventures and replaced it with an incredibly sweet story where friendships deepened and cute people were all really lovely to one another. This final entry in the first Galaxy Angel trilogy poses a different question - ‘What happens when (anime) relationships go wrong?’ and the answer, depending on who your favourite Angel is, ranges from daft to outright heartbreaking.
To avoid giving any of the established characters a sudden uncharacteristic flaw or for Takt to change overnight from brave Mr. Positive to an unlikeable moron (take note, Resident Evil 6), the wrinkle in your star-crossed lovers relationship arises from two new characters introduced early on – the way Takt’s previously unbreakable bond with his Angel helplessly unravels is downright chilling, and while it would have been easier for the writers to bring in some super-hot ‘vixen’ type to steal Takt away it instead all plays out as an insidious string of ‘innocent misunderstandings’ deliberately designed to tear the team apart from the inside. But even here things aren’t quite as they seem, with mysteries inside mysteries that eventually round out these unwelcome newcomers into full and interesting people, and managed to stop me from shrieking ‘MILFEULLE MADE THAT CAKE FOR TAKT, YOU WAFTY-HAIRED CUCKOO!’ at every opportunity.
The good news here is that the game doesn’t leave you wondering why nobody else can see what’s happening to the happy couple for long, and before you know it the other Angels cotton on too – but sadly not before Takt’s relationship with his love is pushed to breaking point, and they’re left traumatised and in some instances unable to be around him without lashing out, or in Milfeulle’s case unable to remember anything at all about their time together. Eternal Lovers doesn’t deviate so far from the standard ‘Date your favourite’ formula that things don’t all work out in the end, but the lead up to this point is played absolutely straight and the thought of there even being a possibility of ‘Happily ever after’ not happening in a series that’s bold enough to follow through with a real (happy-anime ‘real’) relationship shocked me because it was so unusual.
As always the game’s not just about endless chinwagging with adorable people, and Eternal Lovers once again brings a pile of exciting if not terribly in depth real-time battles to the table. The only thing to say here that hasn’t been covered before (and this might also apply to PC Moonlit Lovers anyway, if only I could buy it to find out) is that they really went to town on the graphics, with the PC release supporting 1080p out of the box and a whole host of fancy additional effects and shaders to really send this trilogy off with a bang. Of course there’s still no actual need for you to look at anything other than the overhead tactical display when you’re fighting, but in this case there’s no question you’ll want to have a peek at what’s going on anyway. While I remember to mention it – unlike the original Galaxy Angel, Eternal Lovers works just fine on Windows 10(!) without any fiddling needed.
Galaxy Angel may have started out as not much more than a decent-but-budget ‘Space Sakura Taisen’ , but it certainly didn’t stay there for long (not even until the end of the first game, in fact). Over the course of the trilogy Broccoli refined their style, took a formulaic genre down some lightly-trodden paths, and created a series that I’m very glad to have played through. If anything you’ve seen or read about the series looks like your sort of thing I’d recommend getting started as soon as you’re able – just make sure you buy the complete trilogy in one go, because once you start you won’t be able to stop!