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EP. REVIEW: Fena: Pirate Princess

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Joined: 24 Nov 2020
Posts: 46
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2021 12:09 pm Reply with quote
I really wasn't feeling this one. Everything is so goofy, yet not even a little bit funny. There's almost no characterization whatsoever. In 2 episodes she's acquired a boat (submarine??) and a whole harem without really doing anything. It doesn't feel earned.
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Joined: 19 Apr 2020
Posts: 134
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2021 12:12 pm Reply with quote
A number of years ago I watched a miniseries that I think was an adaptation of Oliver Twist (which I've never read). The series had a notionally happy ending where Oliver was found by and taken in by a well-to-do family therefore having a much brighter future to look forward to. There was a sting in the tail though as one of the final scenes of the series cut away to one of Oliver's fellow orphans who had been left behind in poverty on the streets struggling to survive. It left a sour taste in my mouth and has led me to question how happy "happy endings" really are.

I feel a similar way with Fena. Good for her that she got away and had a support system to take her in but what about all the other women and girls in that brothel that she left behind? I'm not saying she could do anything for them but how many of them never managed to escape their "prime noctis". Who would take them in if they ran away?

Some people are critical of Idaten Deities tone clashing with it's harsh subject matter but that actually works for me because it is a stylistic choice and there is meant to be a disconnect. With Fena it seems like I am expected to be happy to see her get away and go off on an adventure whilst forgetting about those left behind who weren't as lucky as her.
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Joined: 30 Apr 2012
Posts: 192
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2021 12:23 pm Reply with quote
This left me cold, but I suppose I'll give it one more episode. The animation was very good, but the goofy tone during the escape from sanctioned rape was very jarring and didn't work at all for me. Plus, I don't like any of the characters so far (although Karin has possibilities) and a number of the characters I found downright annoying.
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Joined: 26 Nov 2020
Posts: 1470
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2021 12:33 pm Reply with quote
I honestly really enjoyed the premiere. I've mentioned this before but it reminds me a lot of the pirate arc of Yona of the Dawn, and I'm always down for more that reminds me of Yona. The animation was absolutely stunning as well. The only complaint I had is I wish the hair cutting was on screen since usually hair cutting scenes are big emotional moments and Fena was just like "oh yeah I cut my hair btw".

I can't wait to see what next week brings us.
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Joined: 08 Jun 2013
Posts: 1662
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2021 12:48 pm Reply with quote
I enjoyed it quite a lot as well. I agree with folks that they seemed to struggle to strike an appropriate tone during the brothel prison-break, that they left a fair bit of tonal baggage back on the brothel-island unaddressed, and that Fena gained a troop of supporters without much effort. I think the mood they were going for was something like the action scenes in early episodes of Rage of Bahamut, which were as goofy as they were frenetic; for me, the action and comedy hit well enough (and the animation was pretty enough) that I can forgive the uneven mood, but I could see many people reacting differently.

Mostly, though, it still seems very unclear where future episodes will go. A few of the original-island characters (the admiral-type fellow, and maybe Fena's brothel friend?) seem like they might recur, but mostly we've gotten very little sense of the narrative structure going forward. Presumably any real challenges and growth Fena undergoes are still to come, but hard to guess what they'll be, or how much they'll touch on the original island setting.

Also, I kind of just like Fena's attitude.
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Duck Du Normandie

Joined: 07 Dec 2018
Posts: 29
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2021 2:14 pm Reply with quote
I'm with those who liked it. A lot.

The Primus Noctus angle was a bit jarring, but to me it was jarring in a way that helped set the period and place of the series. Yes, they could have handled the tone changes more smoothly, but it seems to me they are trying to keep the story a fun adventure while at least acknowledging the realities of the time.
(Anyway, even the best series usually needed a few episodes to find it's balance and voice.)

I'm just glad they aren't ignoring what life was like for many in the 18th century. Too many "historical" anime will either gloss over the reality of life for women ("They are brave and brassy women who always land on their feet! And look at the pretty dresses they get to wear!") or wallow in the negatives ("Life was rough and brutish for women, and we will show you that by having every female character raped and/or murdered! But look at the pretty dresses they get to wear!"). At least they seem to be trying to find a balance.

The two moments that sort of brought me up short were Fena cutting off all of her hair off-screen and the sudden appearance of Brule the dog, whom we had last seen on Angie's bed. Neither of them are completely out of left field – Brule presumably got out with the searchers and tracked Fena...

It was a blink and you miss it moment, but right after Angie was saved by the blond officer, when he was asking for tea (or something), they showed Brule standing at the door of the room, sniffing hard at the air, and then walking away. I assumed he caught Fena's scent and started tracking her then.
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Scion Drake

Joined: 25 Nov 2017
Posts: 926
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2021 2:29 pm Reply with quote
Pretty decent start overall. Now that the set-ups out of the way, time to see if it can prove itself a really fun and entertaining romp.

Also Goddamn are the people in this crew all totally gorgeous.
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Joined: 05 Apr 2015
Posts: 1717
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2021 3:36 pm Reply with quote
What more could you ask for?

I don't know, something less predictable and tropey. I'm not being sarcastic - this is a decently done show, it's perfectly fine for what it is, but yet again, as with so many shows made primarily for a western market, I wish it was more ambitious and felt less like it was assembled using a checklist made by some American dude who stopped watching anime in the early '00s (OK, maybe early '10s) and is suffering from a bad case of nostalgia. All the while I was watching I was thinking "gee, I could be watching something like Escaflowne instead, for the 11th time, and have a lot more fun."

Then again, as the reviewer also noted, the show also feels like a very stereotypical by-the-numbers modern YA adventure, and I'm really not into those, anime or otherwise. So. Again, show is fine for what it is, it's just not something I get excited about.
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Joined: 19 Jan 2021
Posts: 121
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2021 5:42 pm Reply with quote
I love almost everything about this, it's so fun~~ I don't need something super fresh, I'm just enjoying the kind of of comedy from the last 90s feel this show radiates, the obvious comparison would be Yona of the Dawn, but a lot of the feelings actually reminds me a lot of the shoujo isekai manga Kanata Kara (though both Hak and Kazark are a million times better than Yukimaru, yeah she's a bit of a motor mouth but hitting her on the head is so dam disproportionate and the guy just constantly acts like an antisocial prick "Wow, how dare you not take responsibility for something that would obviously not cross a at least 6 year Old's mind in regards to a traumatic day after being held in captivity for 10 years, what a coward" frigging butthole, his Hijikata face is the only alluring aspect of him so far)

My gripes against Yukimaru aside, I don't really trust the chief at all. He seemed to care a lot more about Lena uncovering the mystery of the stone than her wellbeing and I find it weird he never sent Otto and Salman a prior notice before giving them back up (or that he let Otto go on his own at all). Vibes remind me of Nightshade a lot, hope unlike that one this all doesn't end with spoiler[slaughtering everyone you've grown to care for because ninja responsibility amirite? I swear I'll be so upset, I love the gremlin twins so bad]

Also I prefer Lena's choppy hair lol
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Joined: 23 Dec 2017
Posts: 190
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2021 6:12 pm Reply with quote
I really enjoyed the premiere, moreso episode 2 than the first one. The first episode was fine, but it does suffer from some tonal issues. However it was still fun, and it felt like a Disney movie at times with the humor. I’m definitely intrigued by the white hair character who stopped the guy who had paid for Fena from hitting the other lady with a bottle. He’s in the opening theme, so he’s definitely going to be a recurring character, probably as someone pursuing Fena, but he seemed to have some kind of moral code, so I’ll be interested to see how that plays out. I thought the second episode though was much better. Mostly because it felt more assured in the tone it was going for, and mostly because Otto and Halman weren’t in it that much. Their humor was what I didn’t like about the first episode so I’m glad that they might not show up that much. I’m definitely suspicious of the priest though. There were a lot of things in the episode that were intentionally odd from the looks he and Otto were giving each other when they introduced him, to Yukimaru telling Fena that she hasn’t been rescued. I’m not sure if he’ll be a villain, but he definitely seems to have some sort of ulterior motive.

I was also surprised that the haircutting scene took place offscreen. It's a pretty well-worn trope, that I happen to enjoy, and usually, they use it to show off the animation. Like usually they cut their hair and then it turns into separate strands that sometimes fall into a river, or off a cliff into the horizon, so I thought it pretty amusing that it took place off-screen. Also, the opening and ending, but especially the opening, were great. This has a lot of potential so hopefully, it will live up to that, because I think it has a chance to be a really excellent adventure series.
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Joined: 05 Jun 2013
Posts: 92
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2021 7:28 pm Reply with quote
This is really well-animated and I certainly like the genre, but the story was so rushed that I really couldn't grab onto anything. In two episodes we've introduced multiple settings that promptly get discarded, and we get introduced to a ton of characters that I feel like I haven't learned anything about. I'm not even entirely sure why Fena has to go on her adventure, the reasoning is very flimsy. I think I'll keep watching anyway, but not for the story.
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The Scream Man

Joined: 01 Mar 2020
Posts: 116
Location: Sydney, Australia
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2021 7:32 pm Reply with quote
Yeah I dug the hell out of it. About 4 minutes into the first episode I was like "Oh Rebecca will be covering this one" and I'm glad to see I'm write! Very Happy

I dont mind that she cut her hair, but I do wish they had gone for a better short haired look. It looks like Eurekas hair from 'Eureka 7' and i always hated that too.
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Joined: 31 May 2005
Posts: 3364
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2021 10:02 pm Reply with quote
Glad to see this getting mostly positive reviews. My plate's too full right now for another weekly series, but this did look like it could be enjoyable based on the previews, so at least it looks like it will be worth checking out
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Gina Szanboti

Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 10739
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2021 10:42 pm Reply with quote
I'm just here for Shitan in Japanese. Smile He's sure not gathering any moss before rolling up on Fena. Laughing

It's weird to hear Yukimaru Sanada rather than Yukimura Sanada. It feels like a typo. Also, the Last of the Mohicans "Stay alive! I will find you!" line had me Rolling Eyes

Anyway, it was ok. I wasn't bowled over but it could get better.
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Joined: 19 Dec 2011
Posts: 4795
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2021 11:47 pm Reply with quote
It's a good show but that haircut is uglier than sin..

At least leave it CHIN-LENGTH?? She looks like a boy now. Thanks, I hate it. Rolling Eyes (I've always hated this trope...though I did like in Mulan (the good one) but that held so much more emotion and it wasn't a bad cut either. But when a girl decides she's going to take action, WHY does she have to look like a boy? That really undercuts the feminist message of "girls can do things" when they no longer LOOK like girls. Again, when Mulan does the most important things in her movie, the writers allowed her to do them as a girl. Because they knew taking that away from her would take the message away.

Looks like it gets a little longer if we go by the OP and promo images, at least.

I also wish Yukimaru didn't hit her so hard like that. A little playful bop is okay but he goes overboard with it. It looks like it really hurts. He looked really cute and nice as a kid...but now he looks like a cranky old man jerk. lol I don't like his voice now....(I'm watching it dubbed on Toonami). The rest of the cast sounds great though.
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