* AmericansHateTingle: The anime, definitely. It was critically acclaimed in Japan and even won 2 "Best OVA" awards. But viewers everywhere else found it a disjointed mess of a {{Mindscrew}}. When the novels were released in English, they received some pretty positive reception, and it's common to find non-Japanese readers saying that the anime made a complete mess of the novels. Japanese fans don't seem to think so; general consensus among them appears to be that the anime is a perfectly acceptable alternate version of the story.
** Most clips & [=AMVs=] of the show on Youtube are uploaded by ''Japanese'' users. Again, this is on ''Youtube'', not Nico Nico Douga.
* CrowningMusicOfAwesome: The opening theme.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbMZDo3Q9Pg "Apotheosis"]], the last track played in the entire series [[spoiler: as Rei makes his HeroicSacrifice to collapse the Passageway]]. It's quite dark and depressing, but still awesome, and considering the show's limited music, arguably the best track in the entire OST.
* GeniusBonus: Probably half the technical terms and acronyms used among the pilots in flight (and even terms that simply appear on computer screens) won't make much sense unless you are a pilot yourself, know someone who is a pilot (preferably a military pilot), or look it up.
* HoYay: There's a reason why the OVA is nicknamed "Brokeback Air Force."
** In an interview Jack's voice actor even comments on poor Jack [[spoiler:ending up with his heart broken]].
** There are a couple of occasions early in the first novel when Jack jokingly tells Rei to "break up with Yukikaze and come work for me." The novels, though make it clear he views Rei as a friend and more importantly, he stops telling Rei things like the above once he accepts that Yukikaze is ''not'' JustAMachine.
* {{Narm}}: In the second novel, Ansel Rombert calls [[spoiler: the JAM human copies]] "Jammies." Say it out loud and try not to think of pajamas.
* ParanoiaFuel: TheReveal of [[spoiler: JAM human duplicates infiltrating the FAF.]] The FAF nearly self-destructs after this becomes known. In the novels, [[spoiler: it ''does.'' The Intelligence Forces attempt to manipulate the clones and use them as ways to communicate with the JAM and learn more about them, even if it means betraying the rest of the FAF to do so. But they get OutGambitted by the JAM who use this to [[DivideAndConquer drive a huge wedge between the SAF, the FAF, Intelligence, and the System Corps.]]]]
* StrawmanHasAPoint: Despite his {{Jerkass}} & {{Eagleland}} tendencies, Andy Lander does bring up some good points regarding the FAF's relations with the UN, such as the UN forbidding the FAF from growing food. This makes them wholly dependent on a UN food exchange program and may well be a means to prevent the FAF from rebelling against Earth. Rei is mildly surprised at this: he knew the FAF imported food but had no idea it wasn't allowed to actually produce its own food.
* UncannyValley: [[spoiler: Rei immediately senses something ''off'' about nurse Marnie & Major Yazawa at TAB-14. Yazawa's uniform is the wrong shade of color per FAF regulations, & Marnie's disposition is [[StepfordSmiler too cheerful.]] They are both JAM copies with minor flaws in their assembly.]]
* TheWoobie: Jack, oh poor Jack. [[spoiler: And arguably, ''Copy'' Tom "Tomahawk" John]].
** StoicWoobie: Rei