Impressions: These three episodes are the mid-point of the Majestic Prince series, and they provide an interesting cross-section of the different aspects of the show.
With a mixture of action and exposition, these three episodes impress on both ends of the spectrum. There is enough pulse pounding action in episode 8 for three episodes, with the entire episode showing the “Battle of Ceres”. The episodes after that explain much of what is going on in the story, including who the Wulgaru are, how the advanced mecha units the MJP kids pilot came to be, and why Izuru seems to have memories of the beautiful white haired Teoria even though his memories from before entering the academy were wiped out.
As I suspected, Photo Kano leaves the realm of the “single story” anime series with this group of episodes and turns into something akin to Amagami SS, which I understand was done by the same company in game form, with each heroine getting her own arc, all of which take place in a separate reality from the others. (It is amazing how many comments on message boards show that people don’t get this! I have spent about 10 minutes after each episode the past few weeks typing replies to people explaining that he doesn’t date all of these girls at once! It is really amazing that people don’t get this…) Episode 6 is what I think of as the “True End” for this series: The Haruka Route. Episode 7 is possibly my favorite route, Hikari Sanehara, the quite girl from the photo club who doesn’t take photos of people. Episode 8 is one of the best written and developed routes, Aki Muroto, the haughty student body president that Maeda blackmails into posing for him.
Majestic Prince takes a step forward in these three episodes. Alternating between well planned and executed action sequences, thoughtful character development, and improved world building, there is a very serious undertone to a large portion of the episodes, with a downright somber mood at times. The humor is still out there, too, as well as the excellent CGI action scenes. In general, with the exception of the occasionally hideous character design moments and the behavior of Tamaki and Suruga it is a pretty good show.
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The first two episodes of Photo Kano come across as mostly light fluff, with an occasional serious moment. The main relationship was very clear, and the level of fan service was surprisingly low, given the nature of the story-line. The next three episodes both raise and lower the bar in various ways.
In episode 1 our protagonist, Kazuya Maeda, made the questionable choice of joining the photography club, which is a den of perverts for the most part. Will he turn out to be a creep, or was it a big mistake?