In the not-so-distant future, the people of earth have expanded their frontier into the solar system. And now, we’re under attack! Advances in physics and genetic engineering have created astonishing new flying war machines and pilots with a wide array of enhanced abilities. Young Izuru has been chosen to lead the hapless Team Rabbits into battle against the sinister Wulgaru forces. Spearheaded by the cold and savage Prince Jiart, these dark invaders possess both superior firepower and technology, as well as an unwavering thirst for earthly destruction. It will be up to Izuru and his brash band of misfits to vanquish the enemy and save us all… if they don’t kill each other first.
The order of the day here is Big Eff-Off Robots…in space! They’re here to look and be awesome to fans of the genre, as is the dependable norm. The people who pilot them? Well, first of all, you’ll notice they look awfully familiar; Hisashi Hirai (character designer for Gundam Seed/GS Destiny and Fafner) finally got the notice to stop giving all his characters the exact same facial features, but there’s no mistaking his style. Second, well…one particular quintet of young students of academy city Grandzahl has some enhanced skills thanks to the genetic engineering they underwent through the “MJP (Military Junior Pre-Academy) Project.” Despite being “evolved children,” shorn of such unnecessary things as their memories before entering the academy, they’re still all too human. Izuru Hitachi (Pollyanna-ish manga hero wannabe who somehow became the leader), Toshikazu Asagi (who could be The Man if his stress wasn’t killing his stomach), Kei Kugimiya (coolish woman with a fierce mind, but quite uptight), Tamaki Irie (childlike, high-spirited, over-endowed, romantically desperate) and Ataru Suruga (deeply nerdy and annoying military otaku—especially when trying to chat up women) make up Team Rabbits, who are known to the other students as the Fail (Zannen) Five due to what their lack of teamwork results in during mock battles. Unbeknownst to them, they have been brought together for a reason: All five of them have highly-measured survival instincts. This is perfect for the “JURIA-SYSTEM,” which operates the ginormous mechs known as AHSMB (Advanced High Standard Multipurpose Battle Devices). That is, the SYSTEM works using said instincts, which means that the machines will occasionally override the pilots’ conscious control. This is made evident when the Rabbits are sent out in the snazzy new weapons to hold off Wulgaru forces while people are being evacuated from the Undina Base. Izuru notices that there are still quite a few civilians in the base, is told that there are no more vessels to get them out and chooses to fight the Wulgaru fleet rather than abandon them. His more obedient teammates are
not happy about suddenly being placed in such a high-risk situation, but they manage to succeed and become heroes…who still feel like losers when they have to deal with the subsequent media attention, as a very embarrassing press conference vividly shows.
This is only the beginning. Lots of things happen to them afterwards, including a fast-track graduation into the GDF (Global Defense Force), during which their instructor becomes their superior officer; more moments of glory alternating with humiliating experiences; dealing with people ranging from the indispensable (chief mechanic Reika Saionji, who just happens to be a kind and attractive woman with breasts bigger than her head) to the immensely detrimental (Commander Komine, an incompetent egotistical blowhard who should have faced the firing squad the first time his actions directly caused losses of life); encountering a young woman during a brief bit of R&R who is stamped from the same mold as Gundam Seed’s Lacus Clyne; actually seeing what one of the enemy Wulgaru look like (who just happens to be the creepy Prince Jiart); eventually, they wonder just what their lives were like before their memories were wiped, helping them to start relating to each other better than before and to become more than just mere stereotypes. However, the story really picks up in episode 10, when the aforementioned young woman turns up again. Mindless eye candy, she isn’t; several things that the GDF and Team Rabbits depend on are results of her efforts, and she illuminates that and much more with a massive info dump, which also reveals that she has defected from the Wulgaru. After more seriousness and intensity, this collection wraps up with a comic relief episode where the enthusiastic Tamaki and the visibly uncomfortable Kei spend a day taking part in an insane number of PR events, wearing a similarly crazy variety of different costumes. A nice little pick-me-up, but chances are good that this is just a bit of a breather before stuff goes down again in Part 2.
Action is definitely not shorted on here. Some bits of CGI can look a bit clunky, but that’s because they concentrated on making the fight sequences look fast and fluid, so, fair enough. I’ve mentioned the female fan service a couple of times, and, while it’s pretty gratuitous, at least it’s not explicit or omnipresent. Toshiyuki Watanabe’s musical score works hard to dependably cover a number of different scenarios, from light-hearted pokes at Team Rabbits being the Fail Five again to Wagnerian symphonic music during the battle scenes. Natsumi Kon’s OP theme “Watashi wa Souzou Suru” (“I Imagine”) is a pretty nondescript Nu-Metalish number, while the ending, “Sayonara tte iu” by Chiaki Ishikawa, stands out a bit more by working mainly from a soft snare drum tattoo and echoing guitar. Episode 6 has a mid-tempo acoustic guitar-led insert song also performed by Kon, “Kokoro” (“Heart/Soul”), which is nice (love those bluegrass mandolin touches), but is unfortunately cluttered by the amount of dialogue over top of it. For some weird reason, Sentai left out the song titles in their English credit sequences.
Sentai Trailers. That’s all. Hopefully the clean OPs and EDs will be on the second collection, since that part of the series has several more theme songs.
No one is going to confuse Majestic Prince with something radically original, but so far, it’s proving to be highly entertaining, which is still notable. The second half is showing the potential to be even better, and I look forward to watching it.
- Released By: Sentai Filmwokrs
- Aspect Ratio: 16.9 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Audio: English and Japanese 2.0
- Running Time: 300 minutes
- Rating: TV – 14
- Release Date: 07/15/2014
- Reviewed By: Neil Ellard