The story arc is pretty simple. Aliens have invaded for the sake of claiming Earth for the corporation they work for. Their efforts are being thwarted by a large mecha shaped like a woman, ARIEL, so an old friend of the invasion force’s leader shows up to provide assistance. Things aren’t going smoothly on Earth, however. ARIEL’s pilots decided that they don’t want the job and it’s up to their Grandfather/Uncle, two of the girls are his granddaughters the other is his niece, to persuade them otherwise. The story itself is pretty standard and kind of weak, but the execution is great. It’s very light-hearted and it’s clear that the story is more of a subtle parody of these types of stories than a serious attempt at writing one. The biggest problem is that it suffers from massive exposition dumps. There’s one at the beginning of each episode. I know that this is based on a light novel series but show, don’t tell. There are better ways to get this information across. Even with the time constraints.
The characters are kind of under-developed. We get a few personality traits for the major characters, but they’re pretty two-dimensional traits. Aya is an especially interesting character, but she’s really the exception.
The art is pretty good for 1989. It’s better than some later anime from the 90s or in some rare cases, anime from the 2000s. It’s almost as good as the art of Gundam Wing which came out six years later.
The voice work is stellar. Mizutani Yuko, Koyama Mami and Hayashibara Megumi all give strong performances. The music flows well with the action and helps establish atmosphere.
There is no yuri in this. Which is good since the female characters who interact are closely related. The yuri factor is a 1/10.
My final rating for Ariel Visual is a 6.5/10. The story and characters have some issues, but the whimsical tone makes it a lot of fun to watch and the music and voice acting are both spectacular. If you enjoyed Gunbuster or All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku, you’ll probably enjoy this. If you can find a copy, go ahead and check it out.