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.