Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince – 01

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Team Rabbits is a group of underachieving GDF AHSMB (mecha) trainee pilots who don’t gel well and score poorly in training exercises. When a huge Wulgaru (alien) fleet attacks the GDF’s forward base at Undina, they are sent into active duty in real-deal AHSMBs; each pilot given a specific role. Their mission is to simply buy enough time for Undina’s forces to evacuate, but they notice civilians were left behind, and they stand their ground. They do enough damage to force the Wulgaru fleet to retreat.

This series immediately immerses us in the middle of a heated space battle, and we’re thinking “alright, this could be cool.” Then we start seeing characters in the quite-unmistakable style of Hirai Hisahi of the excellent Gundam SEED/Destiny saga, and we take in their snappy interactions and very simple but well-defined personalities and we start warming up to it. Like Gundam, these are mecha pilots whose circumstances lead them to accomplish great things. Unlike SEED, these guys start out as slackers, who haven’t yet figured out how to work as a team or fully exploit their innate talents.

But whether it’s beginners luck or something just clicking, all five of them rise to the occasion when it matters most: when lifes are depending on them. They even go beyond the call of duty when they realize how awesome their new mecha are. They end up surprising everyone, including themselves. Color us surprised, too: while the characters have that unique, simple look of Gundam Seed, this is a fully modern series with suitably up-to-date production values. When the real fighting begins and the misfits find themselves in the big leagues, the pace quickens and after some initial disorientation, the team finds a groove and goes for it, which seems to be what their commander Simon was hoping for. But mostly this outing was just flat-out FUN.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • While the characters look very Gundam SEEDy, they’re way more lively and free to show goofy emotions, which they do in rapid succession.
  • At the same time, the space procedural operations-speak Gundam is known for is here in force during deployment sequences and lots of lingo, although not an oppresive amount of it.
  • The episode is also very efficient; Vividred insisted on showing each of its girls transforming individually; this one shows everyone launching at the same time in a 4-way split screen, multiplayer-style. More of this.
  • The bad guys are pretty one-dimensional so far, but that’s okay.
  • PEW PEW! KABLAMO!
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RDG: Red Data Girl – 01

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One morning, the shy, passive Suzuhara Izumiko decides to cut her bangs. At school, it gets mixed reviews, and when her class must gather info on the net using computers, she ends up using them as a conduit to video-chat with her father in America, then disables power to the whole school with her mind. A helicopter lands and Izumiko is taken away by Sagara, who turns out to be a mountain monk charged with protecting her. She learns that she is the “Himegami”. Sagara orders “reinforcements” in the person of his son Miyuki, who isn’t keen on hanging out with the dull Izumiko.

This episode starts off establishing the beautiful environs of a village in the Kumano mountains. We found out this was directed by Shinohara Toshiya, who also helmed The Book of Bantorra, but while that series was awesome, it was a bit lacking in production values; not so here. Like Tari Tari and the excellent Another, this series not only looks, but sounds and feels fantastic. Despite all the natural beauty, there’s a deep melancholy about the beautiful but unpopular Izumiko (appropriately voiced by Hayami Saori), which stems partially from her never having made a decision for herself. If her life is like the river in her village, she’s never once paddled against the current…until she decides to cut her hair and makes a stand about where she wants to go to high school.

What’s also engrossing about this series so far is that it doesn’t come out and explain exactly what makes her so special. We see an awesome sequence where she finds herself underwater in the computer lab, and then she knocks out the power in said lab when she snaps out of it, and we hear a lot from Sagara, but not too much. Like Izumiko herself, we’re still mostly in the dark about who the Himegami is and why she must be isolated and protected. But we certainly feel her pain. Sure, she has nice friends who defend her from bullying, but they don’t even have her phone number, and she doesn’t even have a phone. She wants to take control of her life, but isn’t sure how. Her dubious “manservant” Miyuki doesn’t have high hopes for her, but who knows: she may just surprise him, herself, and a lot of others when all’s said and done.


Rating: 8 (Great)

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