Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince – 07

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I really like Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince, but I don’t quite think I have it figured out.

GKMP has really progressed nicely since about the fourth episode, proving itself to be more thoughtful and less predictable than I had it pegged for.  It has a nice blend of earnest innocence, silliness and a surprising melancholy that I find appealing.  But I still wonder, sometimes, if it really wants to be taken seriously.  Take, for example, this week’s scene where the Global Defense Force decide to broadcast their plan for a massive attack against the Wulgaru to the world.  I’m not just talking about a troop escalation or something vague like that – no, we get every detail of the size of the force, the type of weaponry, the target, the timing…  Hell, I’m surprised they didn’t bother to announce what the pilots were eating for breakfast.  And in proper media whore fashion they’ve even given the operation a name – “The Battle of Ceres”.

Now I wonder – just how seriously are we supposed to take that?  After the premiere I figured GKMP was going to be a spoof of mecha anime, but it’s spent the intervening five episodes convincing me otherwise.  But how could anyone not recognize this (it’s not even the first time it’s happened, though by far the most egregious) as being monumentally stupid?  Never mind the possibility that the Wulgaru might have spies on Earth – does the GDF simply assume the Wulgaru have no means of intercepting their broadcasts?  It’s one thing to have a doofus like Komine in charge of operation after operation – that’s the sort of mistake that happens a lot in the military (check your Civil War history if you don’t believe me).  I’m not crazy about how broad that character is and how he plays as a very cartoony villain, but compared to broadcasting your forces intentions, strength and last bowel movement to anyone who cares to listen it’s documentary realism.  Is there still an element of spoof in GKMP, always waiting to burst through?

That aside, I did enjoy this episode once again – rather a lot, actually.  Clearly we’ve entered a new phase in the series with the Academy left behind, and it begins with the long-awaited extended introduction of the Wulgaru.  There’s a veritable avalanche of new names and terminology here – “Ta Hevara” I take to be the Wulgaru term for battle, Lamata their word for humans.  As for the Wulgaru they seem like a sybaritic bunch, their culture driven by pleasures of the flesh and their code of behavior something along the lines of “always follow your instincts”.  They’re certainly humanoid – they could pass for human – and their technology seems to be of the biomechanical vein, which seemed likely from their appearance in battle.  Suwabe Junichi, Yukana and Suzuki Chihiro are among the seiyuu cast in Wulgaru roles, but the most important of them seems to be Jiart Plaguzesia (Midorikawa Hikaru, Kyousuke from Little Busters!).  He’s the younger brother of the Wulgaru leader and has top boss written all over him, though at this point he’s seemingly a loose cannon among the Wulgaru and it isn’t clear where his loyalties really lie.

As for our brave heroes of Team Rabbits, they’re entering a new phase too – leaving school behind and arriving at a real military base, where they get spacious rooms of their own but end up spending all their time huddled together in one of their rooms at a time (one of those funny bad sad elements that Majestic Prince is proving rather good at generating).  They’re assigned a babysitter of some sort – the very odd Yamada Peko (Touyama Nao, quite funny, as she often is).  Between her strange attire, hair antlers and Nadeshiko-on-acid behavior, she’s certainly one of the more inexplicable characters we’ve been introduced to.  As they wait on standby for the Battle of Ceres to begin the Rabbits – and the audience – also meet their ground crews.  GKMP has also proved rather adept at making the supporting characters distinctive enough to be interesting and treating them with enough dignity to make it seem as if they matter, and so it is here.  It’s a diverse and enigmatic bunch, with Izuru’s “family unit” dynamic the most important of the bunch so far.  There are implications for that, given the Rabbits’ history – they’re only touched on lightly this week but I suspect we’ll be seeing that element play out quite a bit in coming weeks.

Given the circumstances it can hardly be considered a surprise that the Wulgaru have gotten wind of the GDF’s battle plan and outflanked them.  The Battle of Ceres looks as if it’s going to be the biggest extended set-piece of the series so far, and the biggest test of whether the children of Team Rabbits are truly ready for the horrors of war.  Now that we’ve got some faces among the enemy and enough information about them to make us curious for more, the struggle with the Wulgaru likewise steps up to another level of interest.  I had my doubts about whether Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince had enough firepower to sustain its story for two cours, but this episode makes me feel at least somewhat more optimistic that it does.

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8 comments

  1. s

    I've been surprised with GKMP as well. While (so far) not serious as even the 0080 gundam, there's flashes of meta story subtext brilliance. I mean the whole pilot mind wipe, raised to be soldiers concept itself could be mind bendingly grimdark if they chose that route.

    This latest reveal about the Wulgaru being "base instinct" driven is fantastic in its own right when compared to the MP program. The W are probably on the far end of the "fight" instinct whereas the MPs are still struggling to overcome "flight". Could there be a subplot where a MP falls to their "fight" instinct then turns on their own forces cause they "unsterdand" the W culture more than their own?

    Potentially so awesome, but I doubt they'll go that route.

    As far as the "my crew is my family"… oh man that half of the ep raised ALL of my death flag warnings.

  2. A

    Third paragraph, the Jiart picture links to the Wulgaru leader shooting the arrow instead.

    The scene where the top brass in the military broadcast their entire plan to the entire universe had to be the most unbelievable thing I had seen for a while now in an anime. I was speechless at the sheer stupidity of doing such a thing. Until I gave it some thought and realized that in the context of the show, it wasn't completely out of place. And not because it was meant to be a spoof on the mecha genre.

    If you think about it, the heads of the military in MJP are seemingly able to think of their own fame and reputation (As seen when the same guy from the Global Defense Force refused to listen to sense and insisted Team Rabbit stay in battle when they were in no fighting condition, and then revealed that he didn't even consider them as being anything more than really expensive equipment). So I do think that the scene was meant to be taken as being intentionally ludicrous, though more with how over arrogant and incompetent the military commander is to the point where he is unable to see the reality and consequences of his actions.

    I do think the little pause where we see the peoples reaction to the scene supports that. At least, that what it came across to me.

    This episode just reinforced the reason why I liked this show. The transitioning was a little choppy during the Wulgaru segment, but the revelation of their mentality and philosophy adds such great depth to the idealogical conflict and the themes of relying (and submitting) to your own instincts vs being able to fight them and bring them to your control.

    Looking forward to next week! The animation looks pretty sweet, I hope Orange delivers.

  3. But man, those oatmeal faces…

  4. A

    Aren't as bad as they are made out to be?

  5. That wasn't where I was going, but it's not a deal-breaker.

  6. A

    Then …

    Are they distracting? Fun to look at? Unique? Different?

    … delicious? Please tell me you haven't been licking your screen because you are craving oatmeals too!

  7. I don't know. They were distracting at first, but rarely so now (but not never). It just feels like the faces are so pudding-like they're out of focus, or something. It's an odd choice.

  8. M

    This show is bettering Gargantia.

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