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!