“Of all our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most
universally understood language.”
The old saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words. I wonder just how much the original speaker of this had trouble communicating through language. Walt Disney may have it right in the quote above, similar to the “thousand word” adage; however, a large amount of impact for the artist can be lost if the viewer of the picture is unable to fully comprehend the intended message.
In order for an image to be universally understood, as Disney says, it implies an innate ability for humanity to prescribe an intention or emotion behind an image. I cannot wholeheartedly agree with how effective images are as a primary method of communication, as it is personally easiest for me to express my emotions through visual imagery. In elementary school, for example, I drew student council campaign posters for the boy I liked because I couldn’t bring myself to let him know my feelings in words. This continued through high school and university, where the creation of art was a way to let people know just how much I cared about them without actually speaking the all-too-important words. To this day, I am unaware as to how many of those messages actually reached the ones that they were intended for
Majestic Prince did not overly impress me with its introductory episode. Admittedly, the reason I continued to watch it was for the possible development of various relationship dynamics between the five members of Team Rabbits (Izuru Hitachi, Toshikazu Asagi, Tamaki Irie, Kei Kugimiya, and Ataru Suruga), the primary mech team in the series. They each have their own specific role, somewhat intrinsic to their established personalities, and these roles together are meant to form a cohesive team. When each of them performs their role to the best of their ability, the team succeeds. Unfortunately, Team Rabbits has serious communication issues.
The second episode of the series sees the team attempting to give a press conference about their recent, and unexpectedly successful, mission. Each team member struggles valiantly to relate to their audience, with mixed results. The most striking of these attempts is Izuru Hitachi who, unable to express himself in any other way, holds up a drawing and says, “This is how I felt.”
Through the next two episodes, Izuru continues to express himself in the only way he knows how: through his art. It often leads to misunderstandings, which are played up for comedy. He is unable to relate to his teammates and let them know how he truly feels about them. As the leader of Team Rabbits, this is especially detrimental to their communication since he cannot relay his emotions and feelings in an easily understood manner. Just as I, on a far smaller scale, was unable to convey to Tyler just how much I cared about him in third grade by drawing his campaign posters, Izuru is unable to tell Kei how much he cares about her without her rejecting him outright for his artistic attempts. He is fundamentally unable to relate to others in a way that they can understand, eschewing the idea that images can best communicate ideas.
While Izuru struggles to be understood, Majestic Prince frames the developing relationships of Team Rabbits with the words of a mysterious white-haired girl (who will surely be of utmost importance as the series continues) as she looks at a picture book, unable to comprehend its meaning.
Fighting is something that the members of Team Rabbits do often because they are unable to understand each other and the specific ways that each of them attempt to communicate. However, following a harrowing outing in which both Tamaki and Kei were nearly killed, episode four sees a slow change in how the individuals of the team begin to see each other. Izuru’s actions manage to speak louder than the words he is unable to use, or the images he draws that are always misunderstood. When the team spends time together later that day, Ataru remarks that drawing is like a tranquilizer for Izuru, attempting to explain Izuru’s actions and personality. For the first time we see that, although Izuru may still be unable to fully explain himself and have others comprehend, the rest of Team Rabbits are attempting to meet him halfway to understand him.
Izuru, you are a wonder. Please continue to communicate in the supposedly most universally understood language of images. I understand completely.