The Spring of 2013 or 2013 was a year when anime got MORE awesome! We got hit after hit, and it was a brilliant year for Mecha. The three spring anime of 2013 was Gargantia, Valvrave and of course Majestic Prince. Those three mecha anime became classics to me each one giving a different synopsis for the Mecha Genre. Now a days it has been almost 4 years later since the writing of this review and I finally realized that after the Spring of 2014, Mecha has been dying. It seems to me that we are getting an increase of Highschool slices of life
here and there and the very common all girl casts anime with subtle lesbian undertones for ridiculous amounts of pandering. This is because as times change there becomes a new ground rule of 'what anime to make' in the market. It is a business after all. I will admit, those slices of life do have a lot of charm! But what if I told you that the Spring Mecha anime of 2013 had a lot of charm too with a more interesting plot? Well I would have to tell you that we are living in a dark age of anime and anime like Majestic Prince has to exist to save the industry from becoming complete trash and further ruining the reputation of anime itself.
Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince is about 5/6 teenaged genetically modified kids assigned the most interesting of mechs called ASHMB units. These units can only be piloted by them due to their assigned DNA and they are somewhat sentient on Fly or Fight mentality. Pretty cool huh? So they use these units to combat the Wulgaru who are trying to kill off humanity to recover lost genes to keep themselves alive. Trust me, it makes more sense in context. The movie takes place after the final episode of the show. Everyone is freaking out because Izuru almost died and a brand new Walgaru threat has revealed itself. A terrifying enemy that is possibly even stronger than Jiart. It's up to Team Rabbits, Faun and Fox to saaaaave the day! It's a simple story. Nothing wrong but still full of emotional ties that are required to give a crap about the plot. Honestly a story can be broken down to the basic bullet notes and can be seen as boring. A GOOD story is about presentation, not good writing. You can have the most boring premise in the world and still make it interesting and emotional. On the other hand you can have an intense situation and make it boring as hell. Majestic Prince avoids this by adding something I like to call 'narm charm'. All in all the story is basic and full of interesting premises to keep you in tact. And in stories like this that is ALL what you need. However, the main point of THIS story is about Asagi figuring out what HE wants to do. So the story focuses a bit more on him.
People might disagree with me but I admire Hisashi Hirai's character designs. Though one can make the argument that every character looks the same besides eye color and hair color, Hisashi Hirai's art has a VERY strong power. Emotions. The guy isn't afraid to cram in as many emotions into his character designs as possible. There is a reason why Hiashi reuses the same face: It works. The face can express so many emotions, rage face, super happy, embarrassed and my personal favorite "-_-". His character designs have something else that modern day developers struggle with today, and identity. Everywhere you look modern day anime continues to look the same with character designs because of the unfortunate reality that one design sells like hot cakes. I'm talking about that damn A-1 face that was perfected. There aren't a lot of anime anymore that has a unique and distinguishable art design. Yes a select few exist, but noticed how anime continues to really on the same art direction? It's a BREATH of fresh air to see Hisashi Hirai's character designs after seeing constant and constant anime character designs that come out of a factory. His designs have so much charm in them and I wish people can appreciate his designs more.
And the BEAUTIFUL mecha animation! Yes the humans get a bit stiff when they walk, but to be honest I feel like those cuts were made to create the bread and butter of Mecha anime. Relying on Hisashi's character designs to be as expressive as possible to pull up the lack of animation, the mecha animation and choreography is just as good if not better than the actual show. Gargantia's appeal was the unique premise, Valvrave's appeal was it's ridiculous over the top concept flashing so many cliff hangers, Majestic Prince's strengths are its charms and MECHA FIGHTING ANIMATION. You thought CGi mecha animation was slow, THINK AGAIN. The action in Majestic Prince follows a simple formula of Camera panning when the time is RIGHT. Not constant camera panning to the point it distracts you from the animation, but angling it just right to make the animation even more crisp. You see it all, every slash, missile and laser making an intense impact with some extreme weight involved. Indeed the animation is good, but just because it has great animation you need to make sure if it was put into good use. The lighting of the attacks are just too damn perfect. I can HEAVILY agree on the idea that the choreography is so damn good it blew my god damn ball sack to the moon. And now I need to get it back. However, fighting alone isn't enough to make a 'fight' scene interesting. It needs something else involved...
It needs sound. You need to hear every impact, every point of strike with the noise to understand the intensity of the fights. The music in Majestic Prince isn't the best, but it sparks an emotion to use the theme songs including the new one for this movie! I like it! Let's talk about voice acting for a second here. Voice acting in anime is hard to criticize. Despite watching subbed anime for so many years I only came across a few sub voices in my life that I wish never existed. Japanese Goku, the asshole dark knight from Grimgar and EVERY high pitched anime girl that is trying too hard to sound like they are 10 when they are clearly over 20. I know that in Japan their females have some squeaky voices but let's be real here! If you ever heard an actual japanese woman talks, their voices are soft and high pitched but not to the point of being SQUEAKY. As if they are trying to sound too HARD to be cute. Tamaki's voice strikes a nice balance for this. She doesn't constantly scream all the time, she has more snarky -_- moments to adjust her voice to avoid sounding too much like a child. Tamaki is a good example on how to use a high pitched voice without coming off as too screamy and squeaky to the point of being cringy. Asagi's voice actor does his role of being a not so confident teen who constantly questions why people keep entering his god damn room. Izuru sounds like a dork, Ange's shounen kid voice with constant vulgar voices is freaking amazing to listen to, Kei is soft spoken and Ateru is cocky with his voice. Exactly what you would expect from these characters. Once again I gone off a tangent here, but when it comes to voice acting in subs you don't care about inflections due to not clearly understanding the japanese language. Instead it all comes down to voice range and avoiding a point of coming across as forced and just overall annoying.
Some people argue that Story and Character are basically the same thing, I disagree. Story is the situation they are in and how the twists and turns along with the slopes and downward spirals entertain someone. Characters are they people that grant LIFE into the world they live in. Team Rabbits along with the other characters are VERY 2D. But that's the point. They grew up in a military academy and only had ONE interest to grant them life. Meaning they focus on that interest to grant them character. The characters bicker and support each other, even take shots at one another. Small subtle things in anime helps bring so much life into them. Izuru wanting to be a cheesy hero and looking up to Asagi as his new found brother...to Asagi's embarrassment of course, Asagi's anxiety of being cool or being a leader bringing him down, Ateru's nerdgasms, Ange's VULGAR language, Kei's deadly cooking that somehow has the amazing ability to bring Izuru back to the way he is and Tamaki being a cheerful ditz that wishes to love. These are basic 2d traits that are endearing when planted together. Imagine if Power Rangers had more freedom to be charming with their characters, you get the Majestic Prince cast. You don't need 3D characters to have them be interesting or fun. 2d characters have strengths too! They are easy to understand and their quirks can easily sway you. Like going into Asagi's god damn room. What I'm trying to say is that Team Rabbit's appeal comes from small gentle emotions and teen friendly bickering that is very fun to watch. I also find it very touching where Tamaki tells Patricia thank you because she couldn't say it to Patrick. Though I will admit Patricia RUINED the moment by asking to grope Tamaki after all of this is done, but I'm glad that Tamaki's reaction completely reflected my own. -_- Meaning it was intentional. And I will never forget the moment where the entire crew came to Izuru's healing pod to write down get well messages on the glass. THIS is what I mean by CHARM and EMOTIONS. It might be silly but it works. Even having call backs with the Otakus to inspire Izuru to DRAW FREAKEN BETTER. Damn it! He better get better with his crappy manga. Anyways! Characters are charming and easily likable! It's easy to sympathize with Asagi...and...let's FOCUS on him for a moment.
Asagi is no doubt about it the main character for the movie. While Izuru is out of commission Asagi has been appointed for the leader despite his hesitation. He isn't confident, he is scared and most importantly he probably thinks he can't live up to be a hero like Izuru despite what he says. However, he learns to be a hero for his little brother. Asagi unlike the rest of his crew doesn't really have a quirk of 'interest'. Instead Asagi's role in the series is more of an emotional connection with his little sister like figure, his tech crew being a family, and most importantly finding a cause. Asagi is the deepest character in Majestic Prince and I would argue he might actually be 3D. I GET this guy. He learns about Izuru being his little brother and decides to take action. He needs to protect his little brother! And when he gets shot down after his BEAUTIFUL display of Blue 1, I was heart broken that he was robbed before taking up White 0. He learns to be his own kind of hero. A big brother, a family man like his tech crew, to be a true big brother. That is Asagi's character.
I had never had so much fun watching an anime before. It's been VERY long. Too long perhaps. Majestic Prince reminds me why I love anime so much. Mecha, action and of course charming characters that I will never forget. The final moment of Team Rabbits defeating the alien vulgar as shit lady is EXACTLY what I love about anime like this. The theme of team work and not just SHOUTING OUT to the main character to win with the power of friendship is how you DO IT RIGHT. Team Rabbits as a WHOLE defeated her. Kei awakens her unit to help Asagi pilot White 0. Izuru is still recovering so he isn't at 100 percent to rob the show's finale(Which I feared what would happen), Ateru takes the final shot while Tamaki injects power into Gold 4. And finally Ange gets the LAST vulgar line despite Black 6 being completely out of commission. THEY ALL DID IT. That is when I went bonkers. I want that...I want more of those moments in my anime. It's so...sad that these don't appear more often, but you know what they still exist. Vulgar alien language on Vulgar alien language people. You must see it to believe it.
Charm, action, expressions, laughs, emotions...this is what I call anime that still tries. This is an anime that needs to be watched by not only mecha lovers but also others who wish to explore the regions of Hisashi Hirai art and the wondrous properties of charm in anime. Let it not die, please continue to make anime like this. And why are you people in Asagi's room?