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?
Rating: 8 (Great)
- 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.
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.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
Klein survives Suruga’s first blast. Kei and the pit crews’ ships help recharge his cannon while Izuru, Asagi and Tamaki keep Klein and his support at bay. Izuru and Asagi are able to pin Klein down, and Rose 3 kamikazes her AHSMB into him, with Tamaki ejecting at the last moment. Suruga fires the cannon at Rose 3, and Klein is destroyed. Dorgana’s fleet withdraws. As Team Rabbits rests and their AHSMBs repaired, the Wulgaru hold a meeting to decide their next course of action. Later, Radha overhears Jiart and Lumes discussing Teoria. They frame him for treason, then pursue and kill him.
Thanks to Team Rabbits, the Dobermans, and some very un-Wulgaru-like sacrificial tactics, humanity lives to fight another day, if only just. Their victory this week is Pyrrhic, as the GDF fleet is in tatters and all of the Rabbits’ AHSMBs were virtually destroyed; all to take out arguably the weakest and stupidest Wulgaru commander in Klein. If Lutiel had her way and the remaining commanders launch an all out attack on Earth, humanity wouldn’t have a chance. But interestingly, the fact that they successfully take out Klein actually makes the Wulgaru a bit antsy, preferring to sit back and wait for their wounded prey to succumb on its own.
With the political bickering going on between the economic powers, that’s probably the safer choice; bereft of a common enemy, they’ll eventually turn on each other – it’s just what we do. Yet it’s because these “primitives” managed to not only take out Klein and hold them back, but fight on almost equal terms with Jiart that fascinates him so, and why he and his loyal subordinate Lumes want those human genes now more than ever. Still, every day they waffle in their plans to conquer Earth is a day earth, the GDF, Team Rabbits, and his sister Theoria have to prepare their defenses, making the ultimate battle that much tougher.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
Izuru undergoes more tests, but is judged to be fine. The Rabbits throw an official welcoming party for Ange. Amane, armed with the knowledge of a Wulgaru defector from Rin, is chosen to accompany the C-in-C of the GDF to a meeting with various economic powers. Simon offers Izuru and Asagi the chance to quit Team Rabbits and become instructors; they both decline. Daneel informs Izuru that Theoria wants to have dinner with him. He brings Asagi along for support, but before Theoria can get to why she invited him, the Wulgaru break through the absolute defense line, and the Rabbits are ordered to sortie.
Team Rabbits may be the heroes and potential saviors of mankind with their advanced, Wulgaru-based AHSMB suits, but they are also serving as test pilots, ironing out the kinks in the system before expanding the fleet. That’s sensible; if something goes wrong and an AHSMB wipes the personality of a pilot, he or she may do more harm than good (imagine an entire fleet of crazed Anges, taking orders from no one…chaos!) Then the political angle comes into play: the GDF doesn’t want to show its entire hand to rival powers, choosing to only sell older tech to appease them.
Amane (again quickly rising in the world as we thought she would) rightly calls this behavior out as petty squabbling amongst powers when the entire earth is at equal risk of being annihilated by the Wulgaru. We were also listening when Theoria lamented that her people are only looking out for number one; they are cultureless but for the hunt. But there’s a degree of that selfishness in humanity as well, which may be their undoing. It’s nice and all that Izuru and Asagi want to remain as pilots, protecting those they care about, but is that enough against the enormity of their foe?
Rating: 6 (Good)
- After last week’s thrilling battle, Team Rabbits is off-duty the entire episode.
- They throw a party for Ange, but still no one is able to glean his/her true gender.
- Tamaki is totally oblivious of Patrick’s interest in her, assuming he’s checking out Giuliano behind her. Poor Pat!
- The “date strategy” meeting is pretty fun: Izuru is told the key to Theoria’s heart is to feed her pickled fish guts, compliment her cake, look cool while complimenting her as she talks, and doing little things to show he cares.
- Theoria asks Daneel to pick a place, and he asks Peko, who chooses the Red Comet Okonomiyaki Teppanyaki Grill.
- We guess it would be presumptuous to hope that when everything shakes out, Amane becomes the new head of the GDF…or even the President of Earth? She’s such a go-getter!
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.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
- 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.
Izuru, Asagi, and Suruga have days off while Tamaki and Kei go on a PR tour with Peko. Izuru works on his manga and tries to show it to the pit crews. Asagi spends the day shopping with his pit crew member Anna. Suruga spends the entire day doing EVA with his crew, waiting for a countdown to end and a ship to appear. Tamaki and Kei go from photo op to photo op, wearing various costumes and helping to promote the GDF.
It would be…generous to say anything of consequence happened this week. This is a two-cour series, which means there’s going to be lightweight episodes like this, particularly after the revelatory, action-packed battle of last week. These kids need a break, but interestingly two of them don’t get one. The ladies are pressed into P.R. service, which strikes us as a little unfair. Why do the guys get to do what they want while Tamaki and Kei endure a dizzying schedule of photo ops? We don’t know, but the ladies do perform admirably.
The only thing we can say about this episode is that we’re glad it wasn’t just a straight recap. We hate recaps, and while there were a few recap moments, the episode had enough new material not to just fast-forward through in disappointment. There were some nice character moments, both between Tamaki and Kei and Asagi and that random girl on his pit crew, while repeatedly cutting back to Suruga out in space gave a nice slight sense of mystery to the episode, even if it’s never really explained what that ship is and why he was waiting for it.
Rating: 5 (Average)
The Wulgaru defector, Theoria, tells Team Rabbits that humanity was one of many species that evolved as a result of the Wulgaru spreading their genes across the galaxy to combat death. They then engage in “hunts”, the latest of which is against Earth. Simon and GDF intend to use the Rabbits as decoys and trump cards, knowing the Wulgaru will consider them prized prey. Theoria also tells Izuru they were once close friends, which explains his familiar feeling he has around her. Back at Wulgaru HQ, Jiart declares the earthling he encountered to be his personal prey, and that his compatriots should also each choose one of the other four earthlings who put up a fight during the Battle of Ceres. Simon informs the Rabbits that a Wulgaru vessel has been found on Mars.
Like the queerats of New World and the Hideauze of Gargantia, the Wulgaru share genetic commonality with humans, who now find themselves locked in combat with them. But if it weren’t for the Wulgaru, the human race wouldn’t exist; the reverse of those other two scenarios. Humans are one of many genetic “crops” the Wulgaru have spread across the galaxy in hopes of keeping their civilization alive. We wish the show would let us in on exactly how killing off large numbers of humans extends the Wulgaru lifespan (???) but there it is. Theoria and her missing mother are Wulgaru noblewomen who oppose such “hunts” and she’s worked with the GDF to devise defenses against Wulgaru belligerence.
There’s a lot of Majestic Prince yet to watch, so this was a good time to reveal these truths. It speaks to a larger theme of honesty always having a positive impact on things. Now that the Rabbits know the score, they can psychologically prepare. Izuru, Tamaki, and Suruga are synching better to their AHSMBs because they’re open and honest with their feelings, while Asagi and Kei struggle because they’re more introspective and self-conscious. Every time Izuru and Theoria talk to each other, Kei has this subtle look of irritation on her face, but if she has something to say, she hasn’t expressed it strongly enough for Izuru to notice. We’ll see if either she or Asagi open up a little more. Their lives may depend on it.
Rating: 6 (Good)
- Both Izuru and Tamaki are excited to meet Theoria and Daneel, respectively, but they go about expressing their attraction in very different ways.
- For Theoria’s part, she seems game about one day reconnecting with Izuru.
- Jiart: Kinda a dick. His brother’s king, but gives him a lot of leeway.
- Can’t get on board with the other Wulgaru generals. Aside from the fact they all look ridiculous, they’re little more than sniveling thugs.
- We didn’t realize just how ENORMOUS Tamaki’s AHSMB was until they showed them all to scale.
Before returning to base, Izuru is forbidden by Suzukaze from discussing with anyone that he saw a Wulgaru up close, and she won’t tell him anything. After waiting for him to come back, Kei goes looking for Izuru and finds him, but he’s distracted by Theoria and runs in vain after her. While the Wulgaru did withdraw, the Rabbits see that the massive losses the GDF suffered take a toll on general morale. Two GDF operators are about to buy them dessert when they are summoned by Commander Simon, who decides to divulge that the Wulgaru resemble humans, and furthermore, their AHSMBs were developed using technology shared with the GDF by a Wulgaru defector,Theoria.
We left last week’s battle thinking Team Rabbits, and Acting Leader Asagi did a pretty good job under the circumstances, but Asagi’s lil’est pit crew member isn’t as generous with praise, dubbing him a “lame pilot.” And it gets to him, at least until Kei tries to cheer him up. There was some nice romantic tension in that little moment too, underlined by the fact that Kei was only there, in his room, because she was waiting to hear about Izuru, whom she cares about a lot. But despite how well the Rabbits may have performed, the fact remains the GDF got pwned by the Wulgaru, and would have been wiped out had the enemy not just sodded off of their own accord. It’s good to see that not even the Rabbits’ eleventh-hour heroics will always save the day.
Earth took heavy losses, and there’s fear and doubt seething through the ranks. As it turns out, the only ones who had any success against the Wulgaru at all were those using tech lifted from those very Wulgaru, courtesy of Koko Hekmatwulgar herself, Theoria. Hey, nine episodes in and we finally learn who she is! She’s also something of Izuru’s Muse/Dream Girl, which pisses of Kei to no end. Until the rest of the team learns why he’s acting so distant, Izuru also has to deal (albeit very briefly) with privileged information he can’t even tell his closest comrades, which is something of a first that would have frayed their bonds had he needed to keep that secret longer-term. Instead, the whole team is in on it, because they’ll be playing a far larger role in the conflict from now on. We look forward to it!
Rating: 8 (Great)
- Interesting how Izuru’s AHSMB won’t move when he tries to pursue Jiart.
- Suzukaze’s riding crop slapping across the desk was a nice little touch, literally slapping down Izuru’s curiosity. They’re no longer an Instructor and Student, they’re Captain and Subordinate meaning it’s no longer her job to satiate his curiosity ..it’s her job to issue orders and it’s his job to follow them, period. We liked how that scene underlined the distinction and the resulting change in their character dynamic.
- Kei pines for Izuru while Asagi pines for Kei, but Ataru and Tamaki prefer to pine for those outside of their circle, which kinda makes them the smart ones, until you realize both of them have unrealistically high standards.
- While there was plenty of foreshadowing, Theoria’s reveal, combined with the revelation about the AHSMBs being derived from Wulgaru designs was still surprisingly thrilling.
The battle to destroy the Wulgaru base Ragazza commences earlier than planned, and the GDF first line of defense crumbles. Team Rabbits mobilizes, but once Izuru is locked in single combat with Pleguzes Jiart, the team starts act independently and erratically. Izuru gives Asagi command of the rest of the team, and they start coordinating their efforts to great effect. The GDF’s heavy laser is able to get a second shot off, but is destroyed out by another Wulgaru force from above. Jiart cracks the housing to Izuru’s cockpit, and the two adversaries see who they’re fighting. Jiart withdraws, vowing they’ll duel again.
The key to a good space battle is keeping things interesting and tension levels high, and this episode excelled at both, putting the battle in the last episode of Valvrave to shame. Despite taking up the entire episode, we weren’t bored with the action for one minute. It also flowed very fluidly, as opposed to the choppy, somewhat jarring, and inelegant Valvrave battle. Hell, this battle lasted so long, people had to return to base to resupply on weapons and ammo. And for the second straight mission, Team Rabbits distinguished themselves. The battle started out rocky, with everyone holding their own against the Wulgaru but no one working together, since the leader Izuru was off fighting Jiart.
His duel was vital in distracting and stalling Jiart, who was so excited to be fighting someone near his own level, he didn’t bother participating in the attack on the vulnerable GDF fleet. Once Izuru gives Asagi command of the Rabbits, shit starts getting organized, and before long the team is a well-oiled ass-kicking machine. It’s a superb transition that even they notice and revel in. As for Jiart, once he sees the dude inside Red 5, and Izuru sees him, it’s for the first time, and rather than finish him, he flies off, hopeful for a future encounter. Izuru can’t help but notice the resemblance between his Wulgaru opponent and Theoria, the white-haired girl that interests him. So we’ll see where that goes.
Rating: 8 (Great)
- Asagi really does a bang-up job as the leader, not complaining about his stomach once and making snap decisions to best utilize his teammates.
- Everyone is useful in this battle, from Suruga, using his weapons knowledge to make sure he’s fully equipped; Tamaki launching herself at the Wulgaru and laying waste; and Kei coordinating units even faster than her Doberman counterpart can manage.
- Komine very nearly loses the battle with his absolutely dreadful command decisions. The guy is a liability, and we sorely hope Lt. Amane takes action to rectify this soon.
After thorough examinations, Team Rabbits is assigned a new mission, but first they have 36 hours of down time at a luxury space resort. After they all try to relax in their own ways, they’re placed under the command of GDF’s Vice Chief of Staff, Captain Komine, who orders them to launch a surprise attack on a Wulgaru supply fleet. That fleet turns out to be an advanced and heavily-armed recon squad, but Komine orders the Princes to charge ahead anyway. In the process, Tamaki loses her shields and takes damage…
“Majestic Princes”, as it turns out, is a pretty fitting name, as it describes Team Rabbits even better than “The Fail Five.” They’re majestic because, well, just look at how beautifully they dance through space in their suits. Even when they’re overwhelmed, they still look great in action, and their first mission provided a hint of what they’re capable of when firing on all cylinders. But like princes, they didn’t choose the paths they’re on. Their memories were wiped at a young age, and they’ve been engineered to work in concert with each other and the JURIA System of their suits.
Also like a Prince, they inherited great wealth (their suits and the budget to use them) and great responsibility to put those resources to good use, and there’s a war on so their hands aren’t going to be held along the way. Only they can decide if they are going to be good and successful princes or keep thinking they’ll always be screw-ups. It’s a lot for a quintet of kids to carry on their shoulders, and the series thus far has done a good job putting them through the professional ringer, but at the same time not skimping on their personal interactions.
We like how Hitachi is dedicating himself to being the leader and hero, and even more enthralled that the others aren’t fully behind him yet. It’s not just the Princes either: everyone seems to give someone a disapproving or dubious look, and everyone’s little quirks bounce off the others’ in interesting ways. It also helps that things move along at quite brisk pace, although there’s not enough time to show their latest mission in full – in which, naturally, the odds are stacked against them and they’ll have to perform miraculously to not only prevail, but survive. And survive they shall.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
- The series has been painting very detailed pictures of the five princes’ personalities through their idle chatter, but goes a step further this week by showing how each of them spend their free time, with great success.
- Kei’s baking marathon was pretty darn cute. Did she put that icing on her cheek to see if Hitachi would notice it?
- Hitachi doesn’t so much meet the white-haired chick so much as he meets the fist of her bodyguard-handler-whatever. Zero-G pools FTMFW.
- Tamaki wants pickled fish guts, Tamaki gets pickled fish guts.
- Lt. Amane makes damn sure Komine introduces her. Lady’s got ambition.
- Suzukaze is apparently allowed to suck on all the lolipops she likes while on duty.
- Apologies for the late review; we were out watching baseball.