Majestic Prince ep4: someone to hold, someone to strangle
I definitely prefer it when a show tells me a story clearly and in a linear fashion. A few flashbacks are acceptable, but they need to be clearly differentiated. Last episode ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. This episode starts on a flashback. Alright Majestic Prince, let’s not try to be Eva here. Anyway, there are far worse things in this episode to hate. And definitely more appears in this episode to enjoy, and even think about.
This episode actually starts with a flashback to Rin’s past, and I guess the team’s past, too. It shows Commander Metalface (I might just give him a new nickname every episode) reassigning her to be an instructor for the future prototype pilots. She laments her reassignment, she laments that he piloting days are over, she laments having to care for these test tube children, and she laments the way they are raised. But it is all for good reasons, it’s a generally sad time. But somehow she doesn’t seem to come across as whiny or annoying to me. And when she comes across the quintuplet of pilots in that will eventually become Team Rabbits, she laments Commander Metalface assigning her to be their instructor. It’s oh so lamentable.
And once we come back from the flashback, we see that Rin may soon be about to lament their current situation. The flashback, while nice, had gone on so long that I forgot that Team Rabbits was in a losing life or death struggle. It’s utter chaos, especially since their own chaos bringer, Tamaki has gone down. Here we see the same trick that worked for the team at the end of episode one, not be so effective this episode. Izuru tries to power through using his survival instinct and hero complex, and the team seems to rally around it. But it’s all still a losing battle, and only buying them time. The real problem is their command, and I’m not talking about Kei, either.
The vice-commander is turning out to be a supreme incompetent/douchebag of Feddie proportions (Gundam reference). For some reason, while these kids are fighting for their lives, he’s panicking and thinking about how much money the military has invested in the pilots and his reputation. It’s all so disgustingly childish and selfish that I was hoping for a random laser to come through the bridge and kill him and only him. All these competent women underneath him, and he’s just talking nonsense! He makes the huge mistake of talking about how little pilots mean to him over the loudspeaker, too! It literally almost kills the pilots as they’re stunned at the sheer callousness of his words.
It’s quick thinking and sheer will from the pilots and Rin and Amane that pull them through. Hell, they had to beg the vice-commander to get him to retreat! Unfortunately, Izuru’s machine is badly incapacitated saving Kei (he gives a great line by the way about wanting to live and eat her terrible cakes during this battle). The vice-commander is about to leave him for dead when Commander Metalface shows up with some pilots we hadn’t seen before, Team Doberman! They help seal a successful retreat, though several of the machines are near totaled.
The show seems to like its bars and restaurants. In Rin’s flashback we saw her talking to Dumbo Boobs (you can guess which character I’m referring to here) getting drunk in a restaurant. After the battle we see the team meet up and lick their wounds in the bar. While they do that, we get a bit of a history lesson from Lt. Amane. We’re told about how the Wulgaru (probably misspelling that) clashed with us in the future year of 86 something-something. And they’ve been steadily kicking Earth butt for quite a while now. The inevitable conclusion is that they’ll eventually reach Earth. And it won’t happen in their distant future either.
We also get another, this time present, scene of Rin and Dumbo Boobs drinking together after this latest battle. Though Dumbo Boobs is usually quite upbeat, she’s not really able to calm down the drunk and somehow adorably hysterical Rin. She’s quite the bad drunk.
Back at the bar, Ataru starts talking about a recurring dream he has, and he wonders if that’s a real memory that has escaped him, or if it’s just a latent desire. It touches a cord with Kei and Toshikazu, probably because they have the same wonders, too. Meanwhile, Izuru is steady drawing on his own. Ataru mentions how it’s a tranquilizer for him.
This is easily my favorite moment of the episode. The show is steadily beating this drum about the piltos memories, and the humanity that’s attached to them. And each episode it seems to be getting louder and louder. Ataru’s comments about being a baby held by someone… anyone probably, is a very touching moment. To me, it was a bit like those scenes where a character cries, but they don’t know why. It’s usually in reference to either someone getting in touch with some piece of humanity that they’ve long ago buried, or as a sign that someone they care about has died without them yet knowing it. I’ll definitely remember this scene, and hope it’s put to good use later.
Now then, we get a scene with the mysterious rich couple from the previous episode, the white haired beauty and her handsome dark haired butler. It’s crystal clear now that they’re from the Wulgaru empire (the more I type that, the more it seems like an especially made up word). It’s all in the dialogue, as she talks about being unable to understand “them”, and her lamenting the misunderstandings. The butler doesn’t seem to care too much about that. She’s shown quite thoroughly holding a copy of Beauty and the Beast, and I wonder exactly what that may be a metaphor for. Is it pointing to the different races understanding each other, like Beauty and the Beast had to do? That’s my safest bet, though I guess it could reference the woman and her butler.
The episode ends with the team taking an orbital elevator to Earth for some more R&R while their machines are repaired. And with them meeting the people who saved them, their seniors and fellow prototype pilots, Team Doberman.
Another quietly enjoyed episode, there was plenty of action, but I enjoyed the quieter (relatively) scenes the most. Obviously, Ataru’s talk about dreams first of all. And learning a bit more about Rin was nice, too. Turns out she’s one of those “only survivor” types. She doesn’t seem to be oozing with the guilt those types seem to have, but she definitely seems vulnerable enough. And her anxieties are real and understandable. She’s not my favorite character, yet. But I’m looking forward to seeing her in a scene more and more with every episode. Lt. Amane and Dumbo Boobs both seem to be good female characters, too. They’re both a bit one-dimensional at the moment, but I have hopes that they’ll have slightly expanded roles that will develop them more as the season rolls forward.
My hopes for the upcoming episode are that the team gets more time to develop among themselves outside of combat. Right now, some of them are getting decent development. But Toshikazu and Tamaki still pretty much do the same things over and over without much making me think they can do more. At least Ataru, Kei and Izuru have shown some insight. And I was sincerely hoping Toshikazu would turn into a decent rival character (think Falco and Fox McCloud from the Star Fox video games). And most of all, I want to know about Commander Metalface. Why does he have that metal face plate? Why is he so quiet? Why is someone as competent as him not ranked higher? For now, he’s his own mystery masked man. He’s far from a Char clone, but fulfills a similar role in making us want to know more about a masked badass.