Princess Principal 01 – First Impressions

 

In an alternate steampunk version of early 20th century London, a group of female spies also happen to be students at a prestigious royal academy. The title gives it away – one of them is a princess!

“case13 Wired Liar”

 

After watching the first episodes of this and the religious mystery series Vatican Miracle Examiner, this jumped out to me as being far more intriguing. The rather extreme religious context and “here’s a mystery let’s solve it” style of Vatican is just not quite as compelling as this political spy thriller. And what a thrill it is right off the bat. Car chases, magic rocks, espionage, royal families, and an all-female student spy team – it’s all here in the first outing. The episode itself also sets up the larger world and plot through a self-contained story, which is an amazing pilot episode strategy. The production quality also seems quite high for this, with some nice animation and action sequences plus some nice, if a little by-the-numbers, character designs. What really catches me is that the music is by Kajiura Yuki of .Hack, Tsubasa Chronicle, and Sword Art Online fame.

 

There is an interesting amount of information withheld here in the first episode. It actually makes me kind of happy that it didn’t go full-blown expository and jumped right in to the action. The downside here is that I’m still not entirely sure which side the spies are on, with only vague ideas of east, west, royalty, and a commonwealth. So far it seems that the royalty, including our titular princess principal, are of the east Kingdom of Albion and in control of London, while the spies are from the Commonwealth west. It’s a cool premise to set it in a stylized era infused with greater sci-fi technology while also taking out any real context of that era. There have been a few series lately set in this time period that just didn’t live up to their intriguing setting, like Youjo Senki and 91 Days, because of a failed attempted connection to actual history. This series is pulling us in to a totally alternate reality, thanks once again to a mineral MacGuffin.

 

The characters are clearly going to be a big focus here. Although I can’t even tell you the name of the princess after watching this, I do already know a lot about the intriguing Ange. It really is her episode, and I commend the series for focusing on one of the spies initially while teasing the others’ involvement. It does, in a sense, turn Ange in to the main character here even though it seems as if the blonde princess will be the actual lead, but I couldn’t care less – Ange is amazing. The amount of lying and deception at play here is just so much fun and it culminates in a far more morally ambiguous conclusion with a lot of meaning that I didn’t really expect from a first episode. The fake defector is revealed and dealt with, but the seemingly emotionless Ange actually saves his sister in the end. There is even some rather smart set-up to this throughout the episode, like when Ange reveals her (apparent) past and that at seven years old she was orphaned, but she would be fine – a fate likely to befall Eric’s sister.

 

Episode Score
8.4/10 (Very Good)

Princess Principal - 01 - Flying Ange

Extra thoughts:

  • When it appears as if they have him blindfolded for the purpose of hiding their location, and then it turns out just to be because the girls are changing is an amazing fake-out.
  • Of course she only knows how to make omelettes. Or was it only a lie?
  • This series about cute spies clearly isn’t afraid of a little violence. That scene where the goons shoot up their own guy, followed by some ninja action, is pretty crazy!
  • The ED is so hilariously cute with its cutout animation style. It was such a drastic change from the tone of the episode, but something that cute is easily forgiven.

Ending

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s