Unburdened by delusions of grandeur, Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince concentrates on building a strong, emotional core in a story that you may have seen or heard before. The series explores an ongoing war through the eyes of Failure Five (also known as Team Rabbits), a group of teenagers genetically engineered to live in space and fight the alien race, Wulguru.
The juxtaposition of innocent youth with chaotic war is a familiar theme in anime, we’ve seen it tackled countless times. The remarkable thing about Majestic Prince is that the series’ wears its heart on its sleeve but successfully restrains itself from being too sentimental or angst-filled. I suspect this is because the light hearted parts of the series are effective at providing the balance this series needs.
Izuru is exemplary of the whole approach this Majestic Prince takes towards Failure Five’s situation. Having his memories erased at the age of 12, Izuru then begins his life as a soldier in training with nothing. While the academy has made all the efforts to shape his motivations, what truly drives him are the heroes he reads about in manga which then define the what kind of person he wants to be. Being given the task of piloting Red-5 gives Izuru a goal but at the same time, that puts his life in danger. As a viewer, I realize that I don’t want anything bad to happen to any of the main characters. However, taking them away from the battlefield is the same as taking away their sense of purpose.
This is very similar to Shinji Ikari’s personal battle, piloting the Eva has given him a reason to exist.
In episode 6, Rin lets Failure Five perform a demonstration in school before they graduate and leave. After a successful run, people who used to make fun or them or ignore them finally give them recognition. There is no doubt that Rin has their best interests in mind (especially considering that she was against the idea of taking them away from the academy), but it also strengthens these characters’ resolve to keep fighting.
The series treats the main characters as teenagers and doesn’t try shy away from the fact that they’re immature and inexperienced. It makes you realize the cruelty of the situation they are in but at the same time, it’s only through piloting AHSMBs that they experience any kind of validation.
The five of them possess eccentric qualities which eventually distances them from schoolmates who fit-in with the rest of the crowd better. Of course, this leads to the five of them sticking together like family.
This makes everything they go through much more meaningful. Majestic Prince builds upon those bonds and makes you emotionally invested in what’s happening. This series scoffs at the very idea of ‘death flags’, dying in this war is more plausible than surviving it, a fact that instills a feeling of unease at every mission especially as Izuru struggles to protect his team. He’s fully aware that the Wulguru are the enemy, but what he hasn’t realized yet is that they have to protect themselves from the humans who simply see them as expendable tools.
Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince takes a step back and looks at the issues that riddle a simple, common premise. Its humble approach allows it to weave together an engaging take on the teenager pilot’s plight.