What They Say:
In the not-so-distant future, the people of earth have expanded their frontier into the solar system. And now, we’re under attack! Advances in physics and genetic engineering have created astonishing new flying war machines and pilots with a wide array of enhanced abilities.
Young Izuru has been chosen to lead the hapless Team Rabbits into battle against the sinister Wulgaru forces. Spearheaded by the cold and savage Prince Jiart, these dark invaders possess both superior firepower and technology, as well as an unwavering thirst for earthly destruction. It will be up to Izuru and his brash band of misfits to vanquish the enemy and save us all… if they don’t kill each other first.
The collection features two audio tracks: English and Japanese in Dolby Digital 2.0. The sound quality was fine with no discernable issues. Although I should mention that for the first two episodes, I thought they were saying “loup garou” instead of Wulgaru, but that’s probably just my bad ears. English subtitles are also provided.
Majestic Prince was presented in 16:9 anamorphic aspect ratio. The video quality was quite good with no discernable issues. In fact, I was surprised at how well I could follow the high-velocity space battles. Often I get lost when the scenes move too quickly, but that wasn’t the case this time.
The collection comes in a standard DVD case. The twelve episodes are spread out over three discs—two of which reside in a center inset, and the third rests in the inside of the back cover.
The front cover features the primary protagonist and antagonist of the show, Izuru Hitachi and Prince Jiart, respectively, in the foreground. In the background we see their two mechs going at it in the vacuum of space. The spine shows Prince Jiart’s mecha, and the back follows the standard format with the story synopsis taking up the majority of real estate. It’s flanked by various characters from the show and screenshots. Beneath it lies the cast and crew credits and DVD specifications.
The menu follows the same basic design for 99% of animes on the shelf right now. A picture featuring the lead characters takes up the majority of screen real estate while an episode list pokes in from the righthand side. The series’ main title plays in full once and then the menu goes silent. As far as menus go, it’s perfectly serviceable, if uninspired.
Nothing really to write about here, just a few trailers for other Sentai titles.
In the twenty-second century, humanity makes its first tentative steps into the solar system. To ensure our species’ survival in space and on other planets, the world government created the MJP (or Military Junior Program) Project. Under the project, children were genetically engineered to endure the rigors of space and to pilot cutting-edge battle suits powered by an advanced program called the “Julia” system. Their services will be put to the test as The Wulgaru—a small but powerful alien force, is slowly making its way to Earth, and a group of MJP graduates may be the only force able to resist them and save humanity.
Majestic Space Prince doesn’t really do anything new. While watching, I saw shades of Macross, Gundam Wing, and just about any other space mecha anime you could think of. In some respects, it’s very cookie-cutter in that way, but the odd thing is that I didn’t mind that. In fact, I enjoyed Majestic Prince far more than I thought, and that’s because what it does do, it does very well.
The protagonists of the story are Team Rabbits, the laughably inept MJP squad. They bicker, they have no clear leader, and two of them are horrible sex hounds; however, Simon Gato, the head of the MJP project, sees potential in their chaos, and decides the best way to bring it out is to put them on the firing line. He sends them on a mission to distract the enemy while an outpost is being evacuated, and the team does amazingly well. Now, one would think that this victory would help Team Rabbits shed its loser persona, but unfortunately, the team follows up its initial success with a string of failures, reinforcing their status as the “Fail Five.”
However, the team prevails—sometimes despite itself, and sometimes for reasons they can’t quite explain. In their own way, they each desire to succeed, but the knowledge that they were created for this life and their own idiosyncrasies cause them to stumble and question their path and even their very existence. Izuru wants nothing more than to be a hero like the one he draws in his manga. Asagi simultaneously feels like he’s superior to the rest of the team and that he’s unworthy. This tension manifests itself in stomach cramps that often distract him. Tamaki possesses a natural affinity for piloting, but she’s an unrepentant horndog constantly on the prowl for a man. The same goes for Suruga, except that he goes after women. The only member that seems halfway normal is Kei. Other than a fondness for sweets, she acts with a calm maturity that the others lack.
Their mechs match their unique personalities. Each squad member and their mech fulfills a specific function. Kei acts as the information officer—gathering, collating, and distributing battle data to Izuru, the leader. Izuru’s mech functions as a sort of Jack of all Trades: fast, heavily armed, and durable, able to fill in for most jobs. Asagi is the straight up fighter of the group, and his mech matches. It’s heavily armored and comes with a wicked katana. Tamaki’s mech is designed to put the enemy off guard. It’s fast and well-armed and zips in and out of battle. And Suruga works as the sniper of the group.
The idea of individualized mechs and outrageous character traits is hardly new, but as I said before, Majestic Prince does a good job with these genre tropes. Additionally, there’s a lightness of tone that I appreciate about this series, and I think that the action and the world building are both very good. In some ways, I almost feel like I shouldn’t enjoy it as much as I do. Izuru’s obsession with being a hero and the way he indulges it should be annoying, as should be the way Tamaki and Sugura chase after the opposite sex. Certainly the character development could be stronger, but this seems to be one of those times when the whole is greater than its parts.
What I especially liked was the reason for the Wulgaru’s invasion. Apparently, the race has been around for eons, and they’ve reached a point where they’re beginning to fail as a species on a biological level. Some scientists foresaw this and began a program of seeding the galaxy, bombarding planets with Wulgaru genetic material and leaving it alone to evolve in whatever way best suited the environment. When a race ripens, the Wulgaru harvest the strongest and use their genetic material (presumably at the cost of their lives) to strengthen their own failing bodies.
Humanity is next on their list, but a Wulgaru named Teoria defected and warned the Earthlings ahead of time and supplied them with the technology to repel the invaders. I also suspect that she has a rather large part in the creation of the MJP children, and the show makes it clear that she possesses some sort of special connection with Izuru. I’m not sure what that connection is just yet, but I look forward to discovering it.
Sometimes you just need a good old-fashioned space mecha series to cleanse the palate. Majestic Prince doesn’t do anything new, nor does it attempt to spin the genre on its head. Instead, it opts for being a fun and exciting space adventure, and I guess I must have been in the mood for that, because I had a blast watching this first collection. I’m looking forward to seeing where the next twelve episodes will take me. Dr. Josh gives this a…
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: July 15th, 2014
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Panasonic Viera TH42PX50U 42” Plasma HDTV, Sony BPD-S3050 BluRay Player w/HDMI Connection