Reviewby Christopher Macdonald, Jun 28th 2002
It is the age of Civil War, a time of warlords and violence. Yasaburo is a ninja without a purpose, Rangiku is a Princess with no other goal in life but to punish her father's murderer... or so they seem.
Rangiku's father was overthrown and murdered by the evil Karimata and now she fights him using her father's strange puppets, the very creations Karimata was out to capture. In her bid to seek vengeance upon Karimata Rangiku seeks the aid of a legendary Ninja, but gets stuck with a lowlife drifter.
Together with Yasaburo, she fights Karimata's minions, and soaks the dusty streets in blood.
Puppet Princess is an interesting mix, it incorporates a slapstick form of humor similar to Slayers, but the fight scenes are as violent and bloody as those found in Ninja Scroll. It's questionable if such a mix of extreme seriousness and childish silliness is any good, but it certainly is odd.
This 40-minute OAV's plot is relatively simple, and while there are a few holes in the script everything is nicely wrapped up, providing the viewer with a decent amount of character development for the two main characters and a complete understanding of the back-story. You couldn't ask for more from 40 minutes.
The action scenes and plot development are well enough balanced, but the comedy seems to have been thrown in as an afterthought. As mentioned above the comedy is similar in nature (but not as funny as) Slayers and seems somewhat out of place beside the violent action scenes.
The animation and art are surprisingly good. With the exception of a few notable highlights (Ninja Scroll), the entire Ninja sub-genre of Anime is rife with titles that feature great art but horrible animation (Ninja Resurrection). Considering that it is almost a no-name Anime I was expecting Puppet Princess to be one out of many, but fortunately it was one of a few.
While far from literal, the dub script is quite fluid and very faithful to the original script. Unfortunately horrible voice acting ruins any good points of the dub script and highlights all of its low points. It is honestly very hard to believe that such a worthless dub came from Bang Zoom! Entertainment, the same studio responsible for Rurouni Kenshin and many other Media Blasters titles.
Fortunately the Japanese dialog is decent enough to listen to. The emotions and feelings can all be heard in the characters voices, even if you can't understand what they are saying. I wouldn't call it an excellent voice cast, but it is reasonably decent.
Puppet Princess definitely isn't a great Anime, but it's a decent way to entertain yourself for 40 minutes… as long as you don't mind watching it subtitled.
+ Better than expected script, superior animation.
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