Majestic Prince ep5: setting a bad example is better than having none at all.
Here we are at the fifth episode for the first of several series I’m watching this season. Majestic Prince is a show I mainly started watching only because of two factors, the character designer. Hisashi Hirai, love him or hate him, has a signature style that can’t be missed. And it’s been a staple in anime for over ten years. And also, I’m a pretty big mecha fan, especially Gundam. Hirai is probably most famous for doing the character designs for Gundam SEED (though my favorite work of his is probably s-CRY-ed), so this title doesn’t have a whole lot going for it, but I’m intensely attracted to what it’s got. As for the actual show, and whether it’s been a fun ride, that’s a complete separate issue. Though it may not be one short on high points.
If Team Rabbits is anything, anything at all, it’s an unorganized mess. For a group of teenagers who have been practically raised together, you’d think there’d be a bit of chemistry, and there is. But you have to almost literally put the team over a fire to get it to come to the surface. The start of this episode is a perfect example. It mirrors what we saw when we were first introduced to them in episode one. The five members of Team Rabbits (shouldn’t it be just Rabbit?) are sparring with Team Doberman (Dobermans, Dobermen?), and it it’s not looking good for the rodents. A completely ugly, messy failure, as their seniors pick them apart with only the most basic of tactics, and a minimum amount of effort. Spectators rightfully wonder how a collection of screwballs like them could get cutting edge equipment. There’s also an onlooker who appears to be important, simply because the show focused on him, even though he had only one or two lines of dialogue. I wonder if that guy is an alternate member of Team Rabbits, waiting for his opportunity to join, or maybe he’s a member of a different team that was looked over for action in favor of them. Either way, I don’t get the impression he’s full of malice, just a patient onlooker.
Not long afterwards, both teams are in a meeting for a new co-op mission against the alien threat. Details are sparse really, the real importance of the meeting was seeing the real personality of Team Doberman. The leader, Randy is apparently a bit of a loose personality who loves women and drinking. His second in command, Rakesh seems like a bit more of an uptight personality, seeing himself as someone with a duty to keep the leader in line. And the last member, Patrick seems to have a pleasant, get-along type of personality. As quiet as they were in these past two episodes, their personalities just pop out here. They’re not the robotic group I initially thought they were. They’re a surprisingly regular bunch of guys, who apparently have a bit of a reputation. They even appeared to have a worse reputation in the past, one very akin to what Team Rabbits had. This brought a smile to them, and even their instructor, too. I’m sure Rin was happy to see her team realize that they weren’t alone, and that a goofy team like them could still have a future. One where they’re actually good pilots.
After the meeting, Izuru goes to see Randy. Randy gives him some good advice, and some bad advice. And all the time he’s ribbing him and drinking. He reminds me a tad of Takamura from Hajime no Ippo, though not nearly as rough and violent. Randy sees himself as more of a pretty boy, and perhaps rightfully so, an excellent leader. He tells Izuru to take a memory device with him (three guesses for what’s inside), and tells him to watch it only with the male team members. Of course Izuru isn’t worldly enough to get it, and shows it to everyone. This ends up earning him a slap from Kei, and some funny lines of dialogue from Tamaki. The real surprise is seeing a serial flirt like Ataru completely freak out when seeing the material. Ha! Truly, he is still a child. *smirk*
Goofiness aside, the next day is mission day. Both teams assemble for the news that they’ll be attacking lightly defended enemy base (three guesses for how lightly defended that base won’t be). It’s pretty clear to the Doberman pilots that this is a mission to boost their junior team’s moral. They’ve nearly been murdered twice, and would definitely not be alive right now if not for Doberman. Though the objective is simple, infiltrate the base and place a bomb at a sensitive location, things aren’t simple anymore as they find the base heavily defended. To make matter worse, they’re too far away from mission command to get orders or direction. It’s a foreseen problem, too bad they couldn’t foresee their intel being wrong!
The call is made to have Doberman act as decoys while Rabbits goes in to plant the bomb. After shaking off some jitters (honestly, the sight of these hulking mechs quaking in their exoskeletons is just more ridiculous each and every time), Rabbits splits into two teams. Izuru, Ataru and Kei will go in to plant the bomb. Tamaki, since her mech is too damn
fat big, will guard the entrance with Toshikazu as her backup.
Izuru, Kei and Ataru really come together as a team, despite Ataru constantly freaking out. They fight their way to the base’s artificial gravity control room, but the bomb’s been knicked and won’t function. Izuru makes the call to not bug out of the situation and defend the bomb while Ataru fixes it, using Randy’s advice to inspire the team. His plan pays off too, as they blow the base and barely escape. Things couldn’t have ended better, as Randy calls Izuru a hero.
It’s nice to see things turn around. Even the characters had mentioned that they hadn’t done anything successful since episode one. And the moping would’ve been tiresome for much longer than this. Rabbits has a victory they can be truly proud of, as this wasn’t a fluke. They had to sink or swim on their own.
Through five episodes, this show has been reasonably entertaining. A lot of average material early in the series, but some that I really enjoyed, too. While the mecha designs aren’t really that great to look at or memorable, they aren’t too bad. Not everything can have that lovable Gundam mug, or the iconic designs of a Macross series. I just don’t have a favorite at the moment. The characters are actually a group of three-dimensional people. Though it doesn’t pop out too often. They tend to stay in their assigned roles until they get their butts kicked badly, then good thoughtful dialogue seems to come out. But I am seeing decent character development, it’s just not even across the whole cast, yet. And in a series that’s running for twenty plus episodes, that’s not too big a deal. There’s still plenty of time.
Like I said in the beginning, the character designs are by Hisashi Hirai, so you either love that style of very rounded, smooth characters with noses often so faint that they’re made noticeable through shading, or you don’t. Though I think this show better than most others does a good job of differentiating character designs more. Sure there will be some very similar looking characters, some you may even think resemble ones in Gundam SEED or Fafner, but there is decent variety.
And that brings me to the animation, not a problem in the world with it. As far as shows that I’m watching this season, it’s not near the top. Gargantia, Attack on Titan and Valvrave are uniquely better looking in my opinion. But this show still looks and animates great.
As for the music? This may or may not be a bad thing, but I don’t really notice it. I’m not excited about the opening or ending themes, and the background music for the show doesn’t stand out to me either. That can be a good thing, as at the very least this music won’t get in the way, or ruin any good moments. I’m sure some people’s views on this will vary greatly. I don’t seem to have the same taste as many fans when it comes to their anime anymore.
Taking five episodes into account, I’m genuinely enjoying this series. It’s an easy watch. Aspects like the machines linked to pilot DNA are a bit weird, but not bad. And I’m quite interested in how this show will turn. It can be quite uplifting, but also a bit dark when it wants to be. Also, aside from the intense episode four, I don’t think this show has pushed the intensity very far, yet. I’m anticipating some real intensity, and hopefully a rivalry in this series. I think those two aspects, along with the ethics of turning these kids into super pilots after wiping their memory, will give this show the potential to be something great. Or at least a memorable series that people will want to come back and watch. This show is young, and it’s not nearly to that apex, yet. So I’ll anxiously keep watching to see if something sets my heart on fire.