Posted by psgels on 22 August 2013 with categories: Random Posts

It took me ages to catch back up on this one. I originally intended to drop it, but then I heard strange positive words about it. Now that I’ve caught up to episode 20, I have to say: whoa. What happened?

The series originally struck me as this decent mecha show that was doomed to not stand out due to characters who were way too busy exhibiting their own quirks. For its first half, it was there, I guess: surprisingly charming, but nothing special, and then its second half came. And it was a bit weird, but it actually managed to improve in every single way. Even the animation.

Seriously, most series have gorgeous first episodes and then settle for this average animation quality afterwards. The cg battles of Majestic Prince have had some really good production values! Not to mention that the fights are all really well directed and intense.

But what really struck me was that I was completely proven wrong about the characters. Episode 19 in particular: oh my god what happened there. I mean, when the kid left on this dangerous mission saying stuff like “when I get back, I’ll tell you my crush on you”, he was obviously setting his own death flag here. But the way it happened. That actually made me teary-eyed.

The character development in this series actually turned out to be really good. It made me really think of how I originally labelled these characters too cartoonish, choosing it over Valvrave, which at the beginning seemed to have more solid characters, and yet the complete opposite turned out to be true. What Majestic Prince actually did was take these quirks and develop them. You have the guy who always wants to be a hero: he still does, but he showed much more stuff about his character, plus throughout these episodes we got to see different sides of what it means to be a hero. The ditzy girl? She’s still ditzy, but she actually got to see the upsides and downsides of being ditzy, she both got in trouble and the spotlight, sometimes thanks to this ditziness, others due to complete other reasons. That’s good storytelling! Compare that to Valvrave, which never really did anything remotely similar to these subtle characterizations and just went for shock value.

The question is: how do you recognize this as early as possible? I mean, there were hints right in the first episode that the charactrs were more than just their quirks, but they were very subtle, and could be very easily confused with a series that just had bad characters. I think that the thing with having quirky characters is that you need to balance things out: you need to know the difference between using these quirks for sympathy, and just using them to be obnoxious. Being creative helps. Having a straight man who is an actual straight man helps too: someone with an actual brain. Good chemistry will also be a hint: see if the characters work well together.

And most importantly: Are these characters one-trick ponies?

Also, did episode 20 just hint at what I thought it hinted at?

20 Responses

  1. wicked says:

    Yeah, people complain about Valrave through out its run, when MJP the far superior Mecha show was playing at the same time, even on the same day for god sakes

    The mecha battles are fantastic in MJP

  2. asas says:

    Yes ep 20 hinted at what you thought it did. . .

    “The question is: how do you recognize this as early as possible?”

    Well to be honest. . .Valvrave? dude, when I saw episode 2 of that crap pile I was like yeah. . .fk that.

    For MJP, this show just. . .it had something, maybe the interesting premise for one, and the hints throughout the story of the toll the mechas take on the pilots, that and the supporting characters (the blond haired lady, the captain lady that got promoted and is SMART for once) The introduction of the Doberman team.

    But I think it was the hinting, which has been going on throughout the series. . .It hasn’t been “all in your face here’s everything in the plot” They make you think. . .but not in a pretentious way either.

    They kinda just present the facts, but do it an an extremely balanced way, without blowing everything way out of the water. . .

    Valvrave. . .I mean yeah. . .First it was the main wussy male character. MJP didn’t have that. . .Izuru was just absent minded. . .there’s a difference. . .that and they all had their memories of the past erased. Second. . .yeah the Erasure of their memories. . .that is INTERESTING, I mean the WHOLE main cast has this issue to work out.

    The whole thing for me that took me out of Valvrave by episode 2 (besides the main male character) is that the chick that got BLOWN UP by a frickin’ laser beam/bomb, “MyStErIoUsLy” survived after giving the main character all that “angst”.

    I immediately turned the show off once I saw her stupid face again. Any writer/director that does shit like that, is just a bad writer, period.

    I think this show has been exceptionally good. . .although I’m not sure about how the ending will turn out

    • kazid says:

      Valbrave is… for good sake what in the hell is that plot/characters, thankfully you droped in ep 2, i see the whole first season expected something epic that never happend¡¡. Meanwhile in my little frustration i think uhmm well i go for MJP, in the beginning o well at least have humor then the plot development catch my attetion,this history is a little like the Vandread one that i liked so much in past years. Interesting then ep 14 wow epic battle in a mecha anime this not happend since guren laggan. then ep 17-18 double wow. ep 19 – 20 what a plot / characters development. In the end i dont expect a great ending or anything but a awesome final battle is ensure. Also is rumored that it will have a second season in planing, is a good reward for a refreshing mecha series. and of course us.

    • Souther says:

      @asas:

      If characters returning from an implied death bothers you, then you should be similarly critical of when it happens in Gundam or Macross among other series. It’s way more common than you seem to believe.

      Of course, you’re also kind of missing the larger point too, but I digress…

  3. Happio says:

    i agre with asa ^. for me it was mostly. how the characters / script were written and how characters reacted to things. i wasn’t really feeling valvrave, l-elf’s lines (he was supposed to be smart i think – it came off as really awkward) and pretty much most of the character’s were pretty dumb sounding.

  4. TheUltimateReaper says:

    Dude I’ve been liking this anime since it started. It’s not epic but it’s not underwhelming and it’s just all around good. A good show, with a response, a good story, and good characters. I think that’s nice in and of itself.

    Yeah I do find myself wondering about the “hinting” thing… more like the implications though.

    • asas says:

      implications

      AHH! THAT’S the word I was looking for!

      yeah, a lot of stuff is pretty much implied,and not thrown in your face. Which is what sets it apart (I can’t remember an anime that does this and does it well)

    • ServantOfPriss says:

      Pretty much. Turned out to be the most genuine of new three big mecha series. Glad to see it’s getting a new series (which will hopefully not suck).

  5. Commenter says:

    I haven’t watched this series at all(…yet), but I’ve certainly seen this effect before.

    Back in ’06, there was this show called zegapain. At face value it was a boring show about some guy who likes to swim and some mechas. But when it got past this horrific start a great science-fiction series followed with parallels to Rahxephon and the matrix.

    The lesson here is that not all books should be judged by their covers.

  6. YourDream says:

    Man Psgels, you should definitely have blogged Danganronpa. That anime is pretty cool man.

  7. RABUJOI says:

    I watched MJP and Valvrave at the same time, and I considered MJP superior in every way except for shock value, which is wasn’t going for anyway. I had watched SEED/Destiny in all its 100-episode entirety a couple years back, so I found the ‘different’ character design very familiar and comfortable.

    I also liked how the characters have their quirks, but unlike Valvrave, they stick with them and don’t randomly change personalities (the exception to this is Kuroki, but it’s very predictable when his wild side comes out). When Izuru’s mecha “awakened”, he definitely felt different, but the show didn’ oversell it; it was a very subtle change.

    The battle scenes have been consistently awesome in MJP. Valvrave may have had a similar budget, but lacked the creativity and artistry of MJP’s battles, IMO.

    One character I’ve really liked throughout the run has been Amane. She starts out as an impatient but driven junior officer who hates her incompetent superior(s) (and we side with her, because they ARE awful).

    Some series would continue the joke that this Amane officer should have more responsibilities, but never will. It doesn’t! She SHOOTS up the ranks, and by episode 20 is the cheif of staff for operations of the entire GDF. And we buy it completely because (A), she’s an excellent officer getting her due, and (B), mankind is losing officers and pilots fast in the war with the Wulgaru.

    I always reward consistent series that don’t fizzle out after their first or second episodes, and MJP has done that. My only major character complaint is Kugimiya Kei’s utter lack of initiative vis-a-vis her crush, Izuru, and similarly, Asagi’s even greater lack of initiative vis-a-vis HIS crush, Kei.

    • Souther says:

      @RABUJOI:

      “I also liked how the characters have their quirks, but unlike Valvrave, they stick with them and don’t randomly change personalities”

      Some of those quirks are better than others. Like it was mentioned before, I never became a fan of the “ditzy girl” despite the fact they tried to give her some attention. Most of the other important Majestic Prince characters fared better, at least in my opinion.

      As for that last part…I think it’s not particularly true, but then again if you really believe those characters were “randomly changing” then it would probably be a waste of time to even discuss the issue here. To each his own.

      “The battle scenes have been consistently awesome in MJP. Valvrave may have had a similar budget, but lacked the creativity and artistry of MJP’s battles, IMO.”

      It’s pointless to compare budgets without more information, but one difference is the studios involved. I’m not sure who is doing the 3DCG for Valvrave, but MJP benefits from having Orange do the work. The specific way they direct those sequences is quite noticeable.

      More specifically, Majestic Prince has had more time to focus on the battles, both on the micro (per episode) and macro (over the course of the series) levels.

  8. ServantOfPriss says:

    Your reaction is pretty much the same as mine, although my impression with this series happened around episode 7 or 8. The show really picked up and knows what it is. And it’s a true mecha show on the lines of Macross and Nadesico, with very neat mechanical designs and good themes that aren’t hamfisted or babbled at the audience like a certain other series that just finished.

    Hopefully, it will stay this way and the next season will be better.

  9. Ebisu says:

    I already had high expectations for this one since episode 1 because it had this feeling of old school anime and I loved to see the opening and ending themes too (Both! That’s rare for me). The mechas were really detailed and the characters enjoyed to throw verbal jabs like implying something very obscure or sinister was in the background in the works, while mainting a good comical side.

    It clearly showed potential for me though I wasn’t able to determine where, but I enjoyed every chapter (and I am enjoying). Afterwards, Izuru and Jiart’s battle was truly epic (a feast for the eyes) and each chapter is full of love from the staff behind.

  10. Souther says:

    I like Majestic Prince, it’s a pretty good standard mecha series with great action sequences courtesy of Orange, but to claim that an incredibly obvious and predictable set of death flags for purely secondary characters would somehow cause one to cry is rather…unconvincing, to be honest. I felt slightly sad when they died, I’ll give you that the scene was well done, but not nearly enough shed to any tears at all.

    I’ll definitely admit the main characters did grow on me over time, so general characterization is a plus here, though I still don’t really care for the “ditzy girl” as psgels puts it. They could literally remove her from the show and I wouldn’t even complain.

    Overall, it’s true that the show did improve over time in several areas. I still prefer the 3DCG mecha scenes to the 2D character animation though, which I don’t really think has changed much, outside of the typical formula of giving some episodes more budget than others.

    And to address something else…I suppose it’s also amusing to read how certain people once again totally miss the point of Valvrave and are wasting their time making comparisons to Majestic Prince when their respective objectives, methods and even the formats of both shows couldn’t be more different to start with, but then again I’m not too surprised. Oh well, it’s their loss.

  11. gewagaewjio says:

    meh…while the characters themselves are fine, it took the show too long to build them up, and most importantly, build them up to where, that’s the question. With only 5-6 episodes left, there are still too many holes to fill in. The quirks, while enjoyable, are distractions from the main plot, and they spent way too much time on the quirks.

    My prediction: a solid but rushed ending.

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  • SuperMario
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 08:22 AM)
    @Kaiser: haha. If this film indeed was made I’ll be the first one on the line to watch it.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:32 AM)
    @Mario: This made me laugh far more than it should have: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kno3xDw27bY
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:30 AM)
    Anybody else seen Jungle Book yet?
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:25 AM)
    @Kaiser: I see. Look retro, so I might actually enjoy.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:24 AM)
    I don’t wanna hyperbolize, so I admit that some of the Disney/Marvel stuff has ingenuity to it. Guardians and even Antman had their moments of disarming charm, and genuine sentiment from the cast and crew, that made it special and not just another superhero flick.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:22 AM)
    @Aidan: Marvel movies feel like a very nice amusement park ride- they are always fun, but the return diminishes after successive exposure. Everything in the movies, from the fights, to the dialogue, and plot is incredibly formulatic. You just don’t get the same effect when you know what’s coming.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 06:05 PM)
    @Bam: Actually let me rephrase
    I meant that you will like: http://letterboxd.com/film/the-company-of-wolves/
    Because it is fairyrale inspired
    Because you liked brotherhood of the wolf and tale of tales.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 06:02 PM)
    @Bam: I meant tale of tales =)
    @Mario: My usual ratings are ***/***1/2 rating and ****
    Generally that indicates a film is kind good/good or great.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 04:17 PM)
    The one liner Dialogue is getting on my nerves, the lack of a great villain characterisation(Zemo is a step in the right direction but still not enough) and most of all that each movie is setup to a another movie.
    Deadpool was a step in the right direction(Yep I knew it was fox and not disney) and was as good as it was because it shook things up. At the moment marvel movies are just too…safe.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 04:13 PM)
    @Bam, I am very much in agreement. I like what the marvel cinematic universe has done but things are getting out of hand. They have prefected the superhero formula too well and it’s causing the flims to be popcorn fodder. I am walking out of their movies admiting that I enjoyed them but I don’t really think I will remember them highly. Plus the thrends of the movies are really starting to bug me.

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