Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince – 23

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After the Straggle Laser and sublight missles fail, the Wulgaru start to wail on the Earth forces. An impatient Jiart sorties hoping to draw Izuru out, and Dorgana fights with Ange. When Suzukaze runs out of options, she grudgingly lets Izuru sortie, allowing Asagi and Tamaki to refuel. Theoria and Daneel launch, and she orders the Wulgar to retreat. The Straggle Lasers recharge and fire at the gate again, but are destroyed by Dorgana. Simon orders the Star Rose evacuated in preparation to ram it into the gate.

We’d be lying if we said there wasn’t a part of us that believed the battle would end this week, allowing the finale to be all aftermath/epilogue. That didn’t happen, as the battle rages on, but we have to hand it to this episode for successfully sustaining the heated action. At the end of last week the humans were down, but not out. There was some hope non-energy weapons would be able to penetrate the gate’s armor, but that hope fizzled out as well. Then, just when the six hours needed to recharge the lasers passes and they re-fire, they’re extinguished in an instant. The Rabbits and Theoria do their part, but ultimately that gate will have to be closed using the only projectile big enough to do any damage: Star Rose itself.

As soon as Star Rose accompanied the battle fleet, it became “Chekhov’s Star Rose”, a weapon whose mere presence assured it would ultimately be used. Simon seems poised to pilot the thing to the target, saving Amane from sacrificing herself. But before it gets there, there’s still a lot of battle yet to be fought. Much was made of the fact that Izuru’s next sortie would be his last, and here he is sortieing. Simon looks poised to go out with a bang as well. Predictions about who will live or die aside, that gate’s gotta come down; its just a matter of how and how quickly mankind secures victory, allowing the rest of the finale to deal with the aftermath.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince – 22

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As Izuru serves tea on the Godinion’s bridge, the Rabbits arrive at the gate just as Lutier and Dorgna’s fleets are coming through it. Tamaki goes after Lutier as Asagi heads to the gate’s core to plant the target marker. Lutier blocks his path, but the other Rabbits surround Lutier, and blow her to bits. Asagi plants the marker, but the laser attack is absorbed by the gate’s energy shield. Dorgana surrounds the crestfallen Rabbits.

And so the climactic mega-battle everything’s been building to finally commences, and we were most impressed with its might and grandeur, as Earth throws everything they have left at the Wulgaru gate. Vast Napoleonic lines and webs of starships exchanging multi-color laser fire at one another can quickly grow monotonous, so the episode wisely mixes up many different kinds of battles, including a very novel multi-stage dogfight with the pesky, sadistic Lutier, whom Tamaki isn’t forgiving for killing Patrick. Asagi proves he’s a capable leader, and even Ange behaves himself and listens to orders.

Yes, Earth’s big trump card ultimately failed in a stunningly executed (if not altogether unexpected) twist of fate, but they’re not out of the fight yet. The challenge now is to bring down something as massive as the gate with conventional projectile weapons. Our first thought was, simply lob Star Rose at it; it’s the biggest “projectile” they have in their armory. Of course, we’re not expecting that gate to go anywhere before Jiart, Rumes, and their fleets come through to make things even more difficult. The Rabbits survived the first stage of the battle, but will we lose anyone in the onslaught to follow?

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • At first we were scratching our heads at the impromptu lunch scene aboard the Godinion, but then we realized, they’re not at the front lines, so there were going to be some stretches of…nothing. 
  • In the end, we liked how the scene served as a kind of “coming up for air”, a brief respite in which even the exciting battle music pauses.
  • Simon takes his plan not working pretty well, all things considered. Does anything phase this guy?
  • The remaining Wulgaru generals are the smartest and most pragmatic of the original bunch, so things are surely going to get worse before they get better.
  • Will give Lutier this: her birdlike AHSMB was a gorgeous machine.

Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince – 21

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As the global powers muster their fleets, Simon orders Izuru to resign, but he refuses. While he’s allowed to board the Godinion, he’ll remain on standby on the bridge as a last-resort asset during Operation Heaven’s Gate. The GDF’s C-in-C puts Simon in charge of the operation, and Simon pilots the evacuated Star Rose, whose core is the Wulgaru ship Theoria arrived in. The Rose will bear the fleet to the location of the Wulgaru gate.

With the forces of earth united and mobilized and the Wulgaru force similarly united and preparing for the final hunt, the endgame draws near. This episode was the calm before what should be one hell of a storm; an episode of physical and mental preparation, and also an episode of new roles. Ange is back on the Rabbits, Asagi assumes the role of their leader, and Theoria will jump in a cockpit and fight beside them, but everyone is doing everything possible to keep Izuru – who is not well – on the sidelines, as another sortie could kill him. Before the two massive armadas clash, this episode does a great job focusing on all the little stories of people stepping into their new roles.

There was also an emphasis on family and humans’ tendency to protect others and not just themselves, something the Wulgaru find unnatural. Asagi is taken aback by the sudden brotherly responsibility he now feels toward Izuru. Imbued with this new sense of family, he also lets his “little sister” Anna stay with her dad and granddad rather than flee to earth alone. The family theme is drilled home when Papa Simon invites the fleet to pile into the car (Star Rose) for a road trip that will determine the survival of mankind against a race of aliens who have underestimated them at every turn. And they’re not stopping to go to the bathroom.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince – 20

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Everyone is shaken and numb from the death of Randy and Patrick. Rakesh gives Tamaki the gift Patrick meant to give her when he returned: premium pickled fish guts. Kei shares her bed with Tamaki but they can’t sleep, so they join the other Rabbits in Asagi’s room. Izuru passes out and turns out to be suffering from accelerated aging. When Asagi activates Red 5 during tests, Suzukane reveals to him that he and Izuru share paternal DNA, sourced from Cmdr. Simon. With help from Theoria, Amane is able to convince the world powers to join forces to destroy the Wulgaru base.

Last week while drinking with Suzukane, Captain Amane lambasted world leaders as impotent morons. This week, as GDF Chief of Staff for Operations, it falls to her to convince those assembled morons that they must combine their forces at one big offensive aimed at the Wulgaru gate if humanity is to have a chance. Not surprisingly to her or us, she isn’t able to do so, at least not without a badass entrance from Princess Theoria, who pledges to fight by their side. So the course to mankind’s salvation set. The question is, will they actually be able to ice that gate?

Team Rabbits doesn’t see any action this week, but had to deal with a lot: Izuru’s health is rapidly deteriorating, which worries Ke. Tamaki is distraught upon realizing Patrick liked her. Asagi suddenly learns he and Izuru are technically brothers, with Simon as their likely father. Needless to say, no one is in a particularly optimum psychological state at a pivotal time. In the final four episodes (or three, if four is a prologue) the Rabbits will have to put aside all their ills and rise to the occasion. That gate’s gotta go.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince – 19

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With the global military in shambles and Team Rabbits’ AHSMBs still being rebuilt, the Dobermans are given a recon mission that is crucial to the survival of mankind. They must locate the dimensional gate the Wulgaru are using, which lies beyond Saturn, further than humanity has ever gone. Using laser-fueled sails and booster missiles, they get close enough to the gate to gather data, but due to solar storms they must get it back to Earth in person. Legatus Lutier sends a fleet after them. Randy and Patrick are killed, but Rakesh survives when the Godinion arrives, and Lutier withdraws.

Lately this series has been making abundantly clear just how narrow a margin of error mankind has in order to survive the onslaught of the Wulgaru. Their top secret elite pilot training facility was almost wiped out last week – which would have been Game Over – but if they don’t find a way to close the gate the Wulgaru are using, it’ll be Game Over anyway. We see civilian protests calling for greater defensive measures, but the global military is utterly tapped out, and as the perceptive (and tipsy) Amane points out during drinks with Rin, they’re led by morons.

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Theoria ominously warns them that Hitachi Izuru is essentially their only hope, even as he deals with medical exams that continue to worry his examiners. Still, Izuru and the others can’t do anything until their suits are repaired, which means it was the Dobermans’ turn to get the job done under heavy duress. The episode makes sure Patrick and Rakesh set death flags before setting off on their insanely dangerous mission to a part of the solar system no man has ever reached until, conveniently, now. But it’s Randy and Patrick who die: Randy in a blaze of glory, Patrick literally quartered by behind.

Their deaths are notable for being the first major character deaths on the “good guy” side. There frankly wasn’t much to Randy and Patrick aside from liking porn and Tamaki, respectively, but it makes us wonder if there are more casualties in store among the Rabbits and their command and support crews. With five episodes left, anything could happen. On its technical merits, this was also another exceptionally executed episode, including the Dobermans’ 120-hour cruise to Neptune and Suruga and the Godinion kicking some yellow Wulgaru ass.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince – 17

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Ange is sent to assist the fleets on the front lines, but the rest of the Rabbits turn around and head to earth, where an independent Wulgaru detachment is headed, targeting the Gurantseere Academy. The detachment is led by Klein, who wants revenge for what the lumata did to him. Lumes (Rumes?) wants to join him, but is ordered to stay put. Izuru, Asagi, and Tamaki intercept them in time and stall them as Kei coordinates from orbit. Further out in space, Suruga targets a massive optical cannon at Klein, but after firing, he either misses or it is ineffective, as Klein emerges from the smoke unscathed.

Majestic Prince is nothing if not consistent –  always taking an episode off and change before the next big battle – and workmanlike in executing that battle once it comes.  This one’s the biggest so far; so big, we only get to see one half of it this week. Ange is sent to the front lines with the Dobermans, while Team Rabbits is ordered to deal with a far more imminent threat of a pissed Klein and a crafty Lumes armed with knowledge of where the humans make their elite pilots. Even snooty Price Jiart appreciates that pathetic as humans are, they’ve made a few such elites who have at least entertained him, meaning all this isn’t a complete hassle.

As for Klein, he’s still butthurt from his previous defeat by Ange, who isn’t even there for the rematch. But the Rabbits work much better as a team without that dude(ette), and while watching him/her battle among massive fleets of warring ships in space, the episode’s showpiece is the battle on earth, which starts with with Izuru and Asagi piggybacking on Tamaki’s Rose 3 as it barrels into the atmosphere. The Rabbits-on-Wulgaru skirmishing is kept fresh with the new backdrop of the blue sky and fluffy clouds. Suruga’s ultra-sniper weapon may have failed, but it looked awesome doing so.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Curiously, Amane isn’t promoted to Admiral in this episode. Not yet, anyway.
  • The other rabbits want to know how Izuru’s “date” went, knowing full well he only had five minutes with the girl, and she had a chaperone. It was a disaster.
  • Up until Asagi says otherwise, Tamaki had always believed she was the Ace of the team. She does have the biggest, toughest, most powerful mecha, after all.
  • The camera cut to the reaction shots of the evacuating humans on the surface, but one guy stuck out like a sore thumb on a few occasions…Click here to see what we’re on about.

Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince – 15

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As Izuru recovers in the infirmary, Suzukane learns from Simon that the AHSMB units contain their pilots’ DNA. When awakened, there’s a chance a unit could eradicate a pilot’s personality. Indeed, when Izuru wakes up, he seems different and strange to his teammates. Meanwhile, Amane has been promoted and put in charge of Team Doberman, leading the defense of Vesta Base. When they’re overwhelmed by Wulgaru forces led by Rumes and Radha, they call the Rabbits for assistance. They too get bogged down, so Izuru, initially on standby, sorties without armor and saves the day. But Rumes was able to hack into GDF mainframe and gather intel on the MJP project and Gurantseere Academy.

This was a diverse episode that managed to deal with the aftermath of Izuru’s unit awakening by showing the subtle yet very noticeable change in him without going overboard, everyone’s reactions to that change, another fresh and frenzied battle, and surprisingly managed to check in on one of our favorite characters of the first half of the series, Lieutenant Amane. She jumps three ranks in this episode, and after dealing with inept superiors for so long, she was more than deserving of them. She proves to be a confident, competent commander, fearless in the face of impossible odds. Her promotions, while well-earned, also underline the increasingly desperate position of the GDF, with its dwindling forces.

The GDF got a good deal this week, with nine AHSMBs and their two motherships taking on two huge Wulgaru fleets and mostly thanks to the new-and-improved (for now, at least) Izuru are able to send one of them packing. We say one becaue Rumes withdraws of his own accord. The point of the battle wasn’t to invade Vesta, but to gather her secrets. Now the Wulgaru know where mankind’s elite pilots (and final hopes) are developed. That’s bad news, but even though things are a bit dire, there’s still plenty of reasons to maintain hope the Rabbits and GDF can and will prevail against their hunters.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • The symptoms of Izuru’s unit’s awakening: he’s more direct, less dense with Kei’s feelings, and he’s basically gone from iliciting mild pity and disgust to making everyone blush with his Glint-On-Demand teeth. Even his manga is better too.
  • This begs the question: is he still Izuru? Will he continue to change the more time he spends with his awakened unit?
  • Tamaki shocks the cook by exhibting her knowledge of the “Suspension Bridge Effect”, only to be distracted by Giuliano.
  • Izuru takes too brave a bite of Rin’s latest confection, and it almost kills him. Cute little slapstick scene. 
  • Ange has to be saved yet againby Izuru. S/he can’t be happy about that.
  • We also dug the girls-night-out to celebrate Captain Amane’s many promotions.

Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince – 14

Theoria, Hitachi Izuru

Izuru succeeds in getting Ange to interact more with the team, but the newbie only proceeds to school everyone in everything from physical training, war games (at which Asagi excels) knowledge of weaponry and marksmanship (at which Suruga excels), and even baking desserts (which is Kei’s passion). Still, the team is scared of setting him/her off, and so grin and bare it. Theoria strikes up a conversation with Izuru, confirming that he hasn’t changed from the boy she was friends with, and still considers him both a friend and a hero. She asks him to promise to always come home alive.

The Rabbits are ordered to resuce a supply ship piloted by the Dobermans, which has gotten stuck in the irregular gravity belt, “Ship Grave Attractor.” When they arrive to make repairs, Jiart ambushes them. Ange snaps and tries to attack Jiart, but is unsuccessful. Izuru, buoyed by Theoria’s words, crosses swords with Jiart once more. His harmonic levels hit a personal high and keep rising, and Red 5’s frame evolves and eventually cannot process Izuru’s commands fast enough. Jiart also evolves, but the Dobermans’ ship is repaired and opens fire, causing him to withdraw.

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Having thoroughly terrified his teammates, everyone is extra careful with Ange, who immediately becomes the most petulant, most schizophrenic, and ironically most capable Rabbit of them all. It’s both humorous and somewhat irritating to see him soundly destroy everyone at their own game while maintaining his polite, modest composure. But once he enters a real battle, he simply loses it and will not cooperate or respond to any order. Last week that served him well, but this week he’s merely swatted away by Jiart, no doubt a humbling experience for Ange, who’s never faced a challenge he couldn’t clear with obnoxious ease.

As for Izuru, he proves to be more than capable of holding his own against the Wulgaru Prince who has tagged him as his personal “lumata.” This is because his harmonic levels are tied to his confidence and overall happiness, both of which were enhanced immeasurably by his princess, Theoria. We may be fans of Izuru+Kei, but the fact of the matter is, Theoria and Izuru have a history, they have chemistry, and most importantly, Izuru is aware of her feelings for him. It’s not the most romantic relationship, but it’s enough for Izuru to fight so hard, Jiart actually has to break a sweat.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • This episode managed to blend some of the better comedy of the series with some of the best action, hence the high rating.
  • We still don’t quite know Ange’s gender. The boys hope to use porn to change that…rather than, you know, asking him/her.
  • Note that Ange doesn’t one-up Tamaki at anything, because her skills are, shall we say, harder to quantify…or identify.
  • We did like how she likened the gravity belt to a kind of “space water slide.”
  • After being such a pill, it was nice to see Jiart of all people take Ange down a couple of pegs. He may be a one-dimensional villain, but this week he was the man.

Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince – 13

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The ship Suruga was waiting for his entire day off turns out to be transporting a new AHSMB, Black 6, to be piloted by a new member of Team Rabbits, Ange Kuroki. While seemingly shy and submissive at first, after engaging in a mock battle with Izuru (which he wins handily) his personality totally changes; a slap from Kei and the soft-spoken Ange returns. The MJPs are deployed to 4 Vesta to defend the GDF base from a Wulgaru attack led by Klein. Ange ignores all orders and operates on his own, destroying Klein’s entire squadron, then Klein himself, all while displaying the highest harmonic levels ever seen.

Well, that’s one way to shake things up! With a new half-season comes a new character, the “aloof ace”, someone who isn’t concerned with hobbies, socializing with his teammates, or even listening to a damn word they say. Ange Kuroki…well, he gets Angery. Ahem…we mean angry. He totally schools Izuru, then looks down on him. His AHSMB is the most advanced unit, and he must be the product of some new training program that’s left him less functional as a complete human being than the others. He’s not fitting in, nor does he seem to want to. Sure, Ange disobeyed orders, broke formation and did whatever he wanted, but he got the job done, and the superiors only care about results.

With the possibility Ange ever becoming one of the team being remote when he and his AHSMB are so far ahead of the curve, you have to wonder why he isn’t just his own one-man team. He certainly makes the other Rabbits look bad; no one but Ange is able to save an ambused Kei, who let herself get surrounded, and Tamaki just blasted after the first bogey Kei saw: a decoy. Add a pinned Izuru and Asagi and an inaccurate Suruga, and the team looked pretty poor out there. Even so, we’ve seen what they’re capable of and know they’re better than this. It just seems like Ange served as a hair in their pickled fish guts. Unfortunately for them, it’s a hair they’ll have to live with.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • We’re assuming Ange’s a male and not a female, though he obviously has at least two distinct personalities. FWIW he’s voiced by a lady; Watanabe Akeno, who’s voiced characters of both genders, including Gou from Free!
  • That said, we like how disenchanted Suruga and Tamaki get after Ange’s revealing tantrum.
  • As if we didn’t have enough reasons to love Kei, she’s the first to slap Ange. Excellent!
  • Rin keeps trying to get closer to Izuru, only for him to completely not notice her. Keep at it, Kei!
  • We like the new OP and ED; we liked the old ones too but it’s good to freshen things up.