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Princess Principal (TV)


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DuskyPredator
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:51 pm Reply with quote


Princess Principal (TV)

Genres: action
Themes: spies, steampunk

Plot Summary: Five girls live in 19th century London, a city within the Albion Kingdom divided into east and west by a large wall. The girls serve as undercover spies enrolled as students at the prestigious Queen's Mayfair school. The girls make use of their individual abilities to remain active in the underground world of disguise, espionage, infiltration, and car chases.
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Episode 1

I don't think I had my attention grabbed so much at first, there is some pretty clunky exposition that I don't think worked so well, but probably did enough to say what was needed for the setting. But the rest of the episode really got me, I really enjoyed the Victorian steampunk setting, and being a spy story inside of that. Sure anime has tried steampunk before, you had Unbreakable Machine Doll, Kabenari, and the previous season's Clockwork Planet, but it feels like it is Princess Principal that really got the aesthetic right, except for a few fumbles like school uniforms.

On the spy angle, I like the lying angle. I think it can be a hindrance when characters simply explain things, so the fact that we really have to look for what is being said to actually be lies, makes sense for the occupation. And despite the cute girls, there does seem to be possible consequences. I think I am looking forward to this, which feels like it has been a little light this season.
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v1cious



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:37 pm Reply with quote
The whole production is very Bee Train. they even have Yuki Kajiura doing the soundtrack. Pretty good first episode, I'll probably watch a few more to see where it goes.
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DuskyPredator
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:42 am Reply with quote
Episode 2

Okay, the dangling thread that needed to be addressed was that the princess character seemed to not have much of a role, and was not very clear why this character would be a spy for the other country. The second episode in my opinion seems to have turned that around, setting her up as someone who is the fourth in line and turning traitor to have her helped into the line of succession. And yet in another surprise, which this show seems to like to do, the larger twist seems to be that Ange's real name is Charlotte, which apparently is the name of the princess as said by the duke, while the message was to Ange, which could be imply so far that Ange and Charlotte swapped places in an earlier time. Really makes the fact Ange (Charlotte) was meant to impersonate and replace princess Charlotte quite ironic.

In the second episode it still looks good, the setting for our main cast seems to have had some better exploration by how they formed. And also Yuki Kajiura is doing her usual work of pretty great music. Despite all I think initial expectations of this having "cute girls", this is actually sorting out to be pretty great. But actually, one of the studios doing production for this series is Actas, who previously did Girls und Panzer, an anime that managed to actually turn out quite great despite the expectations of being a CGDCT anime, usually the director of that is accredited for it turning well. But there seems to be a pretty A-list with this project as it is when you look at the different pieces. I am feeling more and more confident.

And, I think that I find the ED especially is quite charming.
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Blood-
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:54 am Reply with quote
I like this show but I was disappointed that the second "case" revolved around a potential defector who had an ill relative and was willing to trade access to an important secret for asylum. Obviously, other stuff was going on besides that, but that was the bones of the plot which is almost identical to the first "case." The Duke of Normandy must be getting tired of having his defectors foiled.

Great looking show, though.
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DuskyPredator
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:09 am Reply with quote
Episode 3

Another quality episode. I was actually kind of expecting that we would get the samurai girl who was yet to be introduced, but instead the episode more focused Beatrice and how she might work with Ange. Looking at that description I would probably be disappointed, Beatrice was not exactly a charter I hugely liked, she felt more like a whiny girl who did not really have a place in the spy work and would try and complain about it, not getting along with Ange due to the risk she gives to the Princess. For the most part it felt like Beatrice was doing that, almost getting herself killed in the water pump part with messing up Ange a little, but the episode actually really sold me on Beatrice's character.

The first being that we kind of got a bit of a dark background to her, her father was a mad scientist with machines and sort of experimented on her masking her at least kind of a partial steampunk cyborg. It created scorn from other children calling her a machine girl, being cruel, and the princess stood up to her, explaining why Beatrice is so protective of the princess. She bumbles during the mission a little, but her voice modulator thing comes in use for saving the day, with both Ange her working together, Beatrice seeing that Ange is actually kind of genuine, but actually seeming that Beatrice kind of gets Ange with the lies, I think setting up that these two can make a team.

Another benefit seems to in general explore Ange's personality. That being we might to have some degree seen a "true Ange/Charlotte" at the beginning, who to some degree did not seem to different to the more earnest side, and seems to have taken an oath to henceforth lie to everyone including herself.
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DuskyPredator
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:03 am Reply with quote
Episode 4

This episode kind of had me stopping to just enjoy the other parts of this show, like the kind of gorgeous mine like setting, or the music during the scene Ange (Charlotte) is dropping down with the fan, Yuki Kajiura does some great music. Was funny in the episode when Ange muted Beatrice.

Got more of the ninja girl, and she seems to be acting as a spy for Japan to figure out who to follow. She might actually provide an interesting point to act as the viewpoint of the Japanese when everyone else is specifically English.

And a certain level of irony that the agency is not trusting the princess, when Ange is perhaps more of the thing they should watch.
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Blood-
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:18 am Reply with quote
I wonder if anybody in the Kingdom is going to start becoming suspicious that every time "Princess" shows up with her friends, some sort of skullduggery goes down. I was also a bit confused. The prototype they were trying to steal seemed to be the same kind of thing that Ange has already been using, was it not? A small round ball that confers anti-gravity on its user? Did I miss something? Also, why was this episode called Case #9? I guess the idea is that they are off on other missions and these are just the ones we happen to see? And how did Chise become part of the group? Perhaps that will be revealed in a future episode.

The show remains gorgeous to look at. Love the steampunk aesthetic.
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DuskyPredator
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:30 am Reply with quote
Episodes 2 and 3 were apparently cases #1 and #2, while the first episode was #13. This could mean that we will have 13 episodes where the order will be what they think will make a good story. Although odd that we started with the last episode canonically, which has me wonder if some won't be shown, or that this will be more than 1 core, which I fear would be too much to hope for.
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Yttrbio
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:22 am Reply with quote
Blood- wrote:
I was also a bit confused. The prototype they were trying to steal seemed to be the same kind of thing that Ange has already been using, was it not? A small round ball that confers anti-gravity on its user? Did I miss something?
I can think of a few possibilities:

1. Ange's thing is unique and can't be replicated because of contrived reason X (mad scientist, for instance)

2. Ange's thing is technology that's only been developed in the Commonwealth, and this was the Kingdom catching up.

I'm leaning towards number 1, because we haven't seen any evidence any of these things exist anywhere else. I guess it's possible that the Commonwealth hasn't developed mass production technology, but there'd still be a few here and there.
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Blood-
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:18 am Reply with quote
@ DP - thanks for pointing out the case numbers. As you probably surmised, I was too lazy to go back and check.

@ Yttrbio - this confusion is a reflection of murky world-building. For example, if I'm remembering correctly, Albion developed the cavitate technology which gave its aircraft superiority over other nations and it became a world power. Then it split into two: Kingdom and Commonweath. We know the Kingdom has aircraft that use cavitate technology thanks to episode 3 where the gals infiltrated one. But if the Commonwealth DOESN'T have this technology (which the mission to obtain the prototype suggests) then how hasn't the Kingdom overpowered it, yet?
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Yttrbio
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:30 am Reply with quote
I thought they made it pretty clear that the big breakthrough the Kingdom just made was miniaturization. There's a lot of giant reactors floating around, but no handheld ones.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:41 am Reply with quote
Well, then we are back to my original confusion: Ange used a minature cavitate device to steal a ... minature cavitate device. You might be right that there is some BS reason why her device is one of a kind, but it's still messy story-telling.
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DuskyPredator
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:51 am Reply with quote
Episode 6 (case 18)

I thought that I might actually include the case number which would be the chronological order, this one seems to stretch the series beyond the expected 12 or 13. This episode offered quite the surprise, it was a Dorothy centred episode, and the character she bounced off of was Beatrice, leaving Ange mostly out of the episode. But the characters who was really a star of the episode was Dorothy's father, a terrible yet complex man. For the first part all we have to see is how he treated other people, apparently beat up a 10 year old Dorothy (Daisy), he even bullied poor little Beatrice when she tried telling him to straighten himself up a bit. But despite all of that horrid stuff, he is kind of pathetic, like seeing him break down in tears after thinking that he daughter would turn her back on him again so soon. And we also get the general idea that Dorothy actually cares about him, she loves him despite everything.

The end of the episode went full in him expressing how much he loves his daughter, that he is dedicated not to turn on his daughter wanting to set things right. But he pushed his luck too far. The scene was practically awesome when he suddenly heard his voice start to sing the song that is clearly a big deal to little Daisy, before showing that it is Beatrice using her mechanism, like a ghost for what we all know is going to happen, and the pub joins in. I like the normal ED, but was done here just felt powerful that it brought some tears to my eyes. I think that I have to give a little applause. A small detail is not that Dorothy's real name is apparently Daisy, but "Dorothy" was apparently her estranged mother's name.

And this did not even go into how I was so into this little excursion to the morgue as a setting, it was such a cool idea to fill in these parts of the world. And it was used especially well for setting up the end of the episode.
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Blood-
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:50 pm Reply with quote
Yep, good episode. Seems that it's not a good thing to be a father character in this show.
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DuskyPredator
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:27 am Reply with quote
Episode 7 (case 16)

Now that was a type of plot not really expected of a spy show. An episode about turning a failing business (a laundry) into succeeding business. It did get a little ham fisted when apparently one of the ideas that fixed the place was taking an obscure oriental practice: singing while working. Yeah, I am pretty sure that Japan does not have a monopoly over that, although I hope I am not just saying that from seeing some musical movies in my time. I kind of fear the implication that they might actually be singing in Japanese as I doubt that some that would make sense in a workplace where some apparently cannot even read, so I kind of look to what might eventually be done in a dub, which I often do for series actually in an English setting.

Oh, and a weird observation of time. We have not really had any real evidence of what the year may be in this fictional world, but a general idea is that it is pretty Victorian like setting apart from the steampunk and magic rocks, I think that even the look of the queen may have looked like her. A Google search says that the Victorian era was of Victoria's reign from 1837 to 1901, but there might be this little spanner in the works that this episode mentioned the Geneva convention was signed in 1929, and named as important for this plot of weaponised gas. Although, Just looked it up and learned something, but apparently it is the "Geneva Protocol", which banned the use of weaponised poisonous gas, which was signed in 1925. We could go the Fallout idea that certain technology advanced while the rest stagnated for a number of years, but then it maybe brings questions of war too. Because as far as I am aware the treaties for use of chemical weapons was because of their use in World War 1, but the only mention we really have had of war was of the one 10 years earlier which separated the two parts of Britain.

Am I thinking about this too hard?
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