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.
The Wulgaru brass plan an attack on the “lamata” from their stronghold in order to fulfill a prophecy. Meanwhile, Komine and the GDF plan to destroy Wulgaru’s forward base, Ragazza, which is close to their own base at Ceres. The Princes try to get used to their new home of Star Rose and interacting with their pit crews; Rin also appoints Yamada Peko to handle their scheules and everyday lives. They then board the Godinion and prepare to participate in the battle, which starts prematurely when the Wulgaru strike first. Among them is Prince Pleguzes Jiart, who is eager to see Theoria in action.
This week fully half of the episode is spent introducing us to the Wulgaru that were teased at the end of last week’s episode. We weren’t too impressed by their goofy designs, and came away from this episode not any more impressed. They’re dysfunctional, but not in a charming way like Team Fail – they’re just a bunch of arrogant pricks who can’t stand each other, and we can’t really blame them. We’re of the mind that a really interesting enemy is one that you end up kinda liking despite the fact they’re villains, and half of you roots them for while the other half is for the good guys. We don’t see that happening here. Not even a little.
Their reveal also suddenly dropped like nine new characters in our laps at once, and none of them were memorable. In fact, we liked the pit crews better, including Izuru’s. Not only are they friendly and helpful in the mess hall, they even stand up to him when some other officers try to bully him. We’re not sure what exactly Yamada Peko is supposed to contribute to the rapidly expanding cast, but hey, at least she’s really easy to draw! Otherwise, cats and kittens, it was a build-up episode. The battle will unfold next week; the first we’ll see from the perspectives of both Human and Wulgaru pilots.
Rating: 6 (Good)
- Wulgaru servants must suck blood from their masters and give in to their sexual advances without complaint.
- Lt. Amane is just barely containing her contempt for her CO Komine. But she can’t deny, the man cleans up for the cameras like a boss!
- The Princes are so uncomfortable in their huge new dorms, they all naturally gravitate together in one of them…usually Asagi’s.
- Why the hell does Asagi’s pit crew have a little kid again? That’s just random!
- Prince Pleguzes Servantbanger XIV is interested in Theoria. That might be interesting…assuming we knew who she was by now (we don’t).
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.
MJP Team Rabbits is awarded a medal of merit for their successful defense of Undina Base. After an…interesting and highly publicized press conference, the media dubs them the “Majestic Princes.” Their commander immediately re-mobilizes them; their task is to set up new satellites to replace those destroyed as the cameras roll. However, four Wulgaru ships appear, toy with the Princes, destroy the satellites and withdraw before Princes are able to enter battle formation. Suzukaze and Saionji tell them not to worry about the setback and to rest up for the next mission, but opinion of them on the net take a dive.
Ah, ya can’t win ’em all, right? Certainly not here, as Team Rabbits suffers a humiliating defeat against a squad of four Wulgaru ships that catch them with their pants down and make quick work of the satellites. They couldn’t even slow them down. Of course, we don’t quite know the disposition of that Wulgaru squad; for all we know, that weird-accented pilot dude was older and far more experienced than Hitachi & Co. Or he could be a kid like them, and just happens to be better for the moment. Also, the Wulgaru didn’t have to deal with cameras and the constant feed of snide comments from the net…to say nothing of goofy, Tiger & Bunny-style corporate liveries.
The scene when the civilians they saved greet and embrace the Rabbits was a really nice touch; how often do mecha pilots in these kinds of series get to interact with those they save? The press conference was pretty funny, and went about as well as you could expect from a group of kids not used to the gaze cameras. Asagi gets stomach pains, Irie drops the mic…on her head, Kugimiya says two words, Suruga’s geeks out on his arsenal, and most embarrassing of all, Hitachi presents his feelings in the form of a goofy drawing. It’s not smooth as silk, nor is the mission that follows, but they’re learning. It’s a process.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
- Our only main beef with the execution here is that the Princes are totally unprepared to go to battle, and the time delay in getting them ready is a bit contrived. Basically, they never had a chance, and it wasn’t entirely their fault.
- This series, not Hataraku Maou-sama is directed by Motonaga Keitarou, who did Jormungand. And hey, Itou Shizuka is voicing a girl with white hair here too!