First Impressions – Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince

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My initial reaction when I saw the synposes and trailer for this series was that it might be a spoof.  After seeing the premiere, my reaction is “it better be”.

It doesn’t get any more old-school than the premise behind Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince: a bunch of teens at a pilot academy trying to pilot giant robots to save humanity from slimy invaders.  I’m not sure it would be possible to pull that off with a straight face in this day and age, and Dogakobo isn’t trying here – this is a romp all the way.  And while the humor in the first episode is pretty hit and miss, at least it has the merit of not being a cookie-cutter series in a season where a lot of shows seem to blend together.

This is yet another “round up the usual suspects” cast – Sawashiro Miyuki (also in Devil Survivor, seemingly continuing her quest to appear in every anime in every season), Itou Shizuka, Itou Kanae, Iguchi Yuta…  But those tend to work better in satirical series than serious ones, and we do at least have relative newbie Aiba Hiroki (though doing a remarkable Akira Ishida impersonation) as the leader of “Team Rabbits” Hitachi Izuru.  They’re also known as “Fail Five” because they consistently have the worst scores of any unit at their pilot training academy.

Naturally (don’t ask, believe me) this is the team selected to take to skies to battle a fleet of enemy Wulgaru ships, buying time for the Earth forces to evacuate their base before abandoning it to the enemy.  Fortunately they have the JURIA system (encoded DNA, directly linked to the brain, blah, blah) to help them.  This has every cliche in the book – the five personality tropes among the team, the sexy blond training officer with a riding crop, the GAR older commander…  It’s all there.   Even the ED is hilariously retro – close your eyes and you feel as if you should be watching Candidate for Goddess.

None of this would have a chance in hell of working if anyone involved was taking it remotely seriously.  Fortunately they’re not, and it sort of works, some of the time.  There are funny moments, though some of the comedy is a bit forced.  There’s also some very odd, oatmeal-faced character design, sort of Gundam mixed with silly putty.  As for the animated space battles they’re pretty good – mostly standard CG but with nice color shading and a decent sense of style.  None of it really stands out as exceptional, but at least Majestic Prince isn’t bland – it does stand out in a hugely-crowded mecha field this season, for better or worse.  I don’t see a lot of greatness here, but it could be a competent lark – we have the extremely experienced Yoshida Reiko writing, and Motonaga Keitarou certainly makes a better impression than with his other Spring offering, Date A Live.

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  1. A

    This one's getting a hell of a lot of mixed reactions, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. I liked the cast, the CGI was actually good and I love the mech designs. Plot is still a bit vague and formulaic but it's the first episode and we have 23 to go so I'm really eager to see how things develop.

  2. f

    Although the 'cutesy' designs look like they would be cute, I CANNOT STAND Hirashi Hirai's char designs =02, most of his chars look the same as every other except hair style + eye color. Strangely enough, I think Infinite Ryvius sports his best work, and that predates most, if not all, of his series with that particular style. I think I'll stick to Valvrare and(moreso) Gargantia for my mecha fix =02.

  3. M

    It's funny, in these kinds of anime there seems to be more of a concerted effort to add variety in design with the older characters, where as the much younger (main) characters all look the same. Gundam Age and Yamato 2199 shares this trend too.

  4. Z

    Good point. I think it has something to do with making sure the designs are appealing (safe) to the young target audience. There's more leeway with old characters.

  5. M

    I fell in love with this premiere, honestly.

    Yes, the premise is extremely cliche and silly, but the whole thing is presented with such an obvious focus on being fun and entertaining that it doesn't bother me in the least. In fact, I rather prefer a mecha series that just wants to roll with punches right now.

    I know that the characters have been getting a lot of flack, but I found them charming. They each have something that contrasts what would normally be a base archetype, and I really appreciated that. The group has a lot of chemistry together as well, and I found their interactions very enjoyable.

    The SEED/Fafner designs are kind of love or hate, but I really think that these mobile suit designs are amazing. The each feel very unique from one another. Hell, the gunner mech's head detaches so it can look down the barrel. That's just plain awesome.

    And as for the CGI, I honestly believe that this is some of the best implemented CGI in TV anime of the past decade. Excluding the recent Last Exile sequel, it's got some of best designed CGI of CGI-heavy anime since, well, the original Last Exile. I was blown away by the direction of the combat.

    Plus, the ending is sung by Ishikawa Chiaki. Can't go wrong there.

  6. M

    Excellent post.

    I was pleasantly surprised by the main cast and their fairly convincing interactions; some of it was a little awkward. I also love Sawashiro Miyuki's character and hair. The nose-less faces bother me a titch but as I mentioned earlier the hilariously varied older men almost make up for it.

    I'm glad you brought up the mecha designs. They were suitably ridiculous but refreshing. I hope they find a good balance in tone.

  7. M

    Something like Macross – DYRL might stick.

  8. i

    There was a show a while back called Gin iro no Olynsiss and that was a through and through Seed/Fafner copy. It took itself seriously and was like a boring recap of Seed in 12 episodes.

    Never been an outright fan of mecha, mainly due to the overflow of teenage pilots in a military and pathetically struggling against real word issues like war. Shounen action anime has the same overflow but at least there are many adult characters in those unlike most Mecha which has just teenagers being the heros with the adults sitting comfortable in base.

    I'm passing on this, don't expect I'll miss out on anything. Plus it looks like it just wants to make a quick buck on plastic models and games with ten year old boys as the main customer.

  9. I haven't seen Gin iro no Olynsiss, but if you're thinking this series takes itself even remotely seriously, I would seriously argue against that. It's about as far removed from self-serious as you're going to find.

  10. i

    No I meant Gin-iro took itself seriously but even if it didn't I don't like animes that make jokes (or a parody) on war. Its cruel and indignant to the people in them.

  11. H

    "Sawashiro Miyuki (also in Devil Survivor, seemingly continuing her quest to appear in every anime in every season)" Thank god I wasn't the only one thinking it, this was a bit jarring to watch this and Devil Survivor back to back and hear her play the same role twice.

  12. Apart from H x H she plays the same role in pretty much everything. Even in Uchuu she's using basically the same voice.

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