From what I know, the first seven episodes were not done by Miyazaki. They tried to follow the manga, but they felt that wasn't a successful approach and opted for Miyazaki to come in and handle the rest of the episodes, changing the series to a more light-hearted approach.
It's good stuff, believe me.
Although I still prefer the second series.
"Breaker breaker, Sidewinder, this is Party Pooper, don't want to be a ratchet jaw, but looks like we got a seat cover feeding the bears in a chicken coop come on."