Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Majestic Prince (Ginga Kikōtai Majesutikku Purinsu)

This summer there were three fairly well-known mecha anime to come out. Those three being Valvrave the Liberator, Garantia on the Verdurous Planet, and Majestic Prince. Although we are already into November, I can say that I have finally watched all three of those shows in their entirety (with the exception of Valvrave because the second season just started airing last month). I can tell you right now that Majestic Prince is probably my least favorite of the three, but that doesn't necessarily make it a bad show. It's just not my favorite.

All of them a fairly similar in terms of basic plot elements, but each of them handle the subject matter in different ways. How Majestic Prince chose to differentiate itself from its competitors is by its use of humor. Sure, Valvrave the Liberator started out kind of goofy, but once shit got real shit got real. Majestic Prince is a bit more playful and maintains its goofiness throughout the majority of the series. Toward the end it gets a little bit serious, but there are still punchlines and goofy faces being made even when the most intense battles are being fought. Mostly. 

Have I gone over exactly what a mecha anime is? It'd probably be a redundant explanation (chances are if you are reading this then you already know), but I will take some time out to do so now. 

If you are familiar with say Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (the Americanized version of Super Sentai, the Japanese franchise that began way back in the 1975 and still continues) then you are familiar with at least the concept of a mecha anime. Generally, kids or older teenagers are chosen or bred to pilot robots in order to fight aliens to save earth or a conglomeration of spaceships or what have you. Why kids? Well, I don't know. Those are just the rules. However, every mecha anime doesn't necessarily follow that formula. Take Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion or The Big O as examples. 

In Majestic Prince the kids were brainwashed and trained into piloting mechas that would only respond to their DNA (not exactly the most original concept, but then what really is anymore?) so no one else could really pilot them. That also means that if those kids were washouts then the mechas would be a washout, too. Wouldn't that just be a huge waste of the spending budget? You think we got problems with pointless government spending now? Just wait. 

The enemies that the kids fight against an enemy called the Wulgaru. And these Wulgaru pilot mechas that look like something out of Green Lantern. In fact, I suppose you could call this show Gundams Vs. Green Lanterns if you want to get snarky. The Wulgaru are not introduced until about episode seven or eight so I won't really focus on them right now. I'll just say that once they are introduced the show starts to get a little bit more focused. Although it does seem kinda like a fourth wall moment. I mean, isn't it annoying when a show changes its POV once you finally start getting into it? Or is that just me?

Our six kids are Izuru, Tamaki, Kei, Asagi, Suruga, and Ange (the sixth member who joins halfway through the series). Izuru is the leader of this ragtag group known as the "Fail Five." Officially, they are known as "Team Rabbits." Now there is nothing more terrifying than rabbits, right? Okay, maybe not. Their team names suck, but that is because the team itself sucks. They weren't dubbed the Fail Five just for kicks. As individuals they are very talented, but they just suck as a team. When they are first given their suped-up mechs (anime logic: these kids suck so let's give them multi-billion dollar weapons and hope they learn how to use them effectively and find a way to mature in the process). 

However, the Fail Five soon establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with after a few growing pains. To be fair, I like the fact that it took more than a few episodes for the kids to become really skilled at their mechs. Sometimes it seems like they become all beast mode after just one episode and after a while that just gets annoying. It is so refreshing to see the heroes suck when they first start out and get whipped by the enemy. And everyone saw them get whipped thanks to the wonders of the internet. 

But the Fail Five gradually progress. Maybe not enough to make anyone cringe in fear at the name of Team Rabbits, but enough to earn the undivided attention of the Wulgaru. 

At 24 episodes this show is a fairly short one, but it is one you just got to kind of bear because it does get silly at times. There also are not a lot of really cool mecha fights. In fact, there really is only one and that one is so awesome words almost can't describe it. The duel between Izuru and Jiart of the Wulgaru in episode fourteen is epic. Beyond epic. I mean, holy shit! Practically made the entire show worth it. 

All in all this is a pretty good show that could be followed by a second season. The story suggests that might happen, but it is tough to say these days. This show isn't exactly a homerun, but I have seen worse shows get sequels that had less room for development left in them. 

P.S. - A quick note about Ange. I don't know if Ange is a boy or a girl. No one on his team does either. Certain ones refer to Ange as "him" and others refer to Ange as "her." It is tough to say. But once Angie is in mecha-mode the dude (dudette?) doesn't screw around. Anyway, these characters occur throughout a lot of anime and are considered "trap" characters because you never know if they are a boy or girl based on outward appearance. When a few of the members try to ask him (or her) they get sidetracked and we the audience as well as Team Rabbits never find out. 

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