Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
13 - 18 Streaming
The Fail Five are joined by a sixth member, the winsomely androgynous Ange. When not trying to figure out whether s/he is a boy or a girl, the members of Team Rabbits try very hard to bring Ange into the fold. They are hampered, however, by the apparent personality change that Ange undergoes every time there's a battle – Ange's personality does a 180, leaving the team confused. There may be a sinister explanation for this, though, one which Izuru may learn about from far too close...
It's officially the second half of the series and things are really heating up for Team Rabbits. These former failures have skyrocketed to fame as superior fighter pilots (is that the term when the machine is humanoid?), thanks to their specialized mechs powered by the JURIA System. It's a good thing they're no longer the Fail Five, too, because in these six episodes, the Wulgaru are really stepping up their game and things are getting more serious than they were in the previous twelve episodes.
Episode thirteen kicks things off by introducing a new character – Ange Kuroki. Ange is meant to be a new member of Team Rabbits, the pilot of Black Six, and the other five pilots welcome their new companion with open arms. The way they seem to see it, Ange is simply a new member of their family, and it doesn't really matter if they can't decide whether Ange is a boy or a girl. (They seem divided by their own genders on this point.) Ange, on the other hand, does not appear certain that s/he wants to be a part of the family. Unlike the others, Ange has trained solo, and also unlike the others needs no pit crew for Black Six's maintenance. This adds a stand-offish quality to Ange's shy demeanor, although until we see the effects of battle, it is easy to simply write that off as painful timidity. And what are those effects? Ange undergoes a total shift in personality whenever s/he enters into battle, going from meek and sweet to a total jerk with an almost berserker quality to the fighting. To say that Team Rabbits is surprised by this would be an understatement, but they fail to make the connection between the JURIA System and Ange's dual natures.
This is perhaps the most important piece of information that we get in this third quarter of Majestic Prince. Seasoned science fiction fans might have been suspicious of any system that relies on the pilot's emotions previous to Ange's introduction, but now even viewers who aren't familiar with the genre should be starting to worry about our lovable crew. If Ange's mech can cause an adverse reaction, why couldn't it happen to someone else? This question begins to be answered in episode fifteen, and while it hasn't really been revisited since, it has become a shadow hanging over the members of Team Rabbits that feels a little bit darker every time they go into battle. Majestic Prince is remarkable in that it has thus far not had a high protagonist body count, and thus a sense of doom has begun to color the show. Will everyone really make it through just fine? While nothing has explicitly been said, Ange and the repercussions of the JURIA System, to say nothing of the Wulgaru's increasing efforts, carry with them a sense of foreboding.
Speaking of the Wulgaru, episode eighteen flat out states something about their fighting style that observant viewers will have picked up on earlier – there is no such thing as “teamwork” in their world. While this certainly opens the door for a feel-good shounen lesson farther down the line, it also calls the way Ange was trained to fight into question. Undeniably one of the strongest points in Team Rabbits' favor is the way they care about each other and form a family unit; we see this in Team Doberman as well. Ange stands to jeopardize this, but so too does Teoria, the Wulgaru defector. Izuru's crush on her could easily drive a wedge between he and Kei, and now that we know more about the Wulgaru mindset, it is conceivable that Teoria could use Izuru for her own purposes and damn the consequences. (This seems even more possible after episode sixteen.)
For all of the darker elements that are coming into prominence with this set of episodes, Majestic Prince still manages to have plenty of moments of humor as well. Izuru's “date” with Teoria is hardly a two person affair, Kei's sugary confections are put to good use, and the way portions of episode fifteen are handled are surprisingly funny given the circumstances. There is also a lack of idiotic commanding officers this time around, with actual competent people in command, decreasing the frustration factor. Visually the fights remain the strongest in terms of both animation and pure artistry, but everything else seems to have sorted itself out in terms of character expressions and the rest. Tamaki's swollen breasts really only take center stage in episodes seventeen and eighteen, when the most is made of her forward-leaning position while piloting.
As Majestic Prince moves towards its finale, there is a sense of foreboding in the air. It feels like most of the threats have been hinted at or revealed, but their consequences are still unknown. As the final quarter of the show gets underway, one hopes that everything will come up roses in the end, but there is a niggling little worry that we may just get bare thorns instead. Everything comes with a price – that has become obvious. But just what that price may be for Izuru, Kei, Asagi, Tamaki, and Suguru has yet to be fully revealed, and it is with a combination of anticipation and worry that we are guided into the remaining episodes of a show that has moved beyond its mediocre beginning.
Overall (sub) : B
Story : B+
Animation : C
Art : C
Music : B
+ Good combination of humor and serious, continued use of the family aesthetic for Team Rabbits is very effective. Nice new opening theme. Better commanding officers.
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