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.
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 their victory at RA122, the Rabbits return to academy, where Suzukaze informs them they’ll be graduated early and enter the GDF army. They move out of their dorms and reminice on how they met as a team and eventually gelled. They then perform a competent demonstration in their AHSMBs that impresses the student body. After their graduation ceremony they board a bus, and the entire school assembles to salute them as they leave, perhaps never to return.
This episode had an air of final episode-ness to it, only we’re just a quarter of the way through the series. The young, now affectionately-named “Team Fail” is leaving the academy because they didn’t fail; they proved they were ready for prime time. We like this move and its promptness; we didn’t need another few episodes of them dicking around in school when there’s real battles to be fought. As Commander Simon says, there’s nothing more for them to learn at the academy. Their new schoolroom will be space and the war with the Wulgaru, and they’ll only progress with JURIA integration if their lives are put on the line.
Somewhat ironically, we hadn’t seen a whole lot of the team at academy, which is where they’d spent the majority of their time prior to becoming the Majestic Princes, so while this was a farewell tour of the school for them, it was simultaneously an introduction to their student lives for us. Despite not spending a lot of time here, the emotions of suddenly leaving a familiar place and entering adulthood are very relatable themes. They’re excited about going and meeting their destinies, but they’re also weary of “leaving the nest” and eveything they knew for drastically different and far more hazardous lives. Next week, their military careers officially begin.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
- We liked how a group of classmates did not instantly lavish praise on them for their victory. After all, they assumed the Dobermans were the key to success, even though the Princes did all the heavy lifting.
- Even better, that same guy who mocked Asagi comes back after the demonstration to apologize. Classy move.
- Lt. Amane is merely stewing for now, but we’ll see if her discontent with her superiors’ superiors leads to action in the future.
- Subverting expectations for a fiasco, the Princes actually perform a clean demonstration, greatly improving their standing with the students.
- Of course Asagi trips and falls at the graduation cremony.
- Tamaki tearing up as the bus pulls away from their former home is a subtle but touching little moment.
- Turns out those ships that escapes the base’s explosion were just Wulgaru.
- Speaking of which, we finally see some Wulgaru in the flesh! And they’re damned silly-looking, with an aesthetic that combines sci-fi with midieval fantasy.
- Their presence makes us wonder: is that white-haired chick one of them? She certainly has an otherworldly air to her.
The Princes engage the Wulgaru and fight hard, but they eventually run low on ammo and power and must retreat. In the process, Izuru sticks his neck out to protect both Tamaki and Kei. With everyone’s suits heavily damaged, the Princes return to Gurantseere Cosmopolitan Academy. On the way they meet Team Doberman, the older pilots who helped bail them out.
The Princes are unable to snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat – the odds are simply too stacked against them – but in the end they exhibit good teamwork and most importantly, they all survive the battle. This despite an incompetent dick of a commanding officer, Komine, who would just as soon leave them out there to get slaughtered. Rin and Simon have to step in to ensure the Princes’ lives aren’t squandered to satisfy Komine’s pride.
Aside from their retreat and subsequent hanging out in their rec area, the Princes don’t do all that much. This episode decides to focus more on Suzukaze Rin, who carries the burden of having to train a team of young pilots not originally suited for teamwork, but who are also incomplete individuals due to their childhood memories being erased. While getting drunk under the table by her childhood friend Reika, Rin-Rin laments the Wulgaru’s superiority.
The episode starts with a brief flashback to when Simon first assigns Rin to the Rabbits. Simon reveals that he’s invested in making sure that the kids’ potential is fully realized. He knows it won’t be easy to train them to be a better team, but is willing to give them the chance to prove themselves. So far the results have been mixed, but there have been flashes of greatness and progress is steady. So maybe it was just the sake talking.
Rating: 6 (Good)
- Various character interests: Izuru gets lost in his manga drawings and their accompanying stories. Both Rin and Kei enjoy sweets. Tamaki likes boys. Ataru likes girls and geeks out on military equipment. Asagi likes antacids. Reika enjoys booze. Theoria likes picture books (we think).
- Reika’s boobs…how can we put this…they’re just too big.
- Will Team Doberman be friendly and eager to lend their wisdom to the Princes? Or will they be arrogant bullies? We’ll see…
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!
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)
- 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!