Princess Principal
Episode 5

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 5 of
Princess Principal ?

Episode 5 brings us Case 7, which is the formal introduction of Chise. If we operate with my theory from last time that the case numbers represent the actual episode order, then that offers no inconsistency, as the case numbers on both episodes with Chise so far (9 and 13) were higher. This means that somewhere along the line, we should be seeing four more episodes without Chise. Frankly, I find that to be disappointing, as this episode shows how great an addition Chise is to the cast.

Episode 5 introduces Chise by making her an unintended tag-along on the journey of Lord Horikawa to the Kingdom of Albion in order to negotiate a new treaty. She's there because Lord Horikawa may be threatened by a notorious assassin, who she has a personal grudge against. After an initial misunderstanding that briefly sees her fighting Dorothy and Ange, she gets folded into the security detail by Princess, who insists that Ange partner up with her. Although their initial fight was far from tame, the conversation they have together afterwards really sets sparks flying. Ange's continued insistence on the whole Black Lizard Planet thing gives the impression that she's partly just trying to get a reaction out of people, so she's clearly flummoxed when Chise takes it at face value and retorts by bringing up Princess Kaguya and the many gods who live near to the people in Japan. Her ability to matter-of-factly counter Ange's BS is priceless, as is the way that both mess with the card hands of all the soldiers as they walk by. That's not the only part of their dynamic that clicks so well, either. When it comes time to take action against the assassin Jubei, they seem to almost intuitively understand each other's fighting style and movements, as they work in sync with little need for words.

This time around, Ange teams up with Princess for the utilitarian actions, while Chise gets the feature fight scene instead, and she doesn't disappoint! Chise's already shown herself to be quite handy with a sword, but her previous two episodes didn't allow her to show off her skill to anywhere near the degree that the fight against Jubei does. The day before writing this review, I watched Samurai Warriors, which is all about big dramatic blows, and this is as stark a contrast as you'll find to that. The fight choreography does a fantastic job of displaying this exercise in skill between them. The amazing way that Chise uses her small size to flip and spin around her opponent without giving an inch reminded me of the fight between Yoda and Count Dooku in Star Wars: Episode II.

Despite the well-executed fight, the artistry otherwise seems off this episode, with everything looking just a little rougher than usual. Still, the episode does everything else right, whether it's the light humor over the Princess and the spies being startled by the Japanese practice of prostration to show gratitude or the surprisingly honest emotion that comes with the late (albeit expected) revelation that Jubei was Chise's father, as Chise expressed her grief in her own way without breaking character. Chise's pint-sized character design also finds a good balance between cuteness and convincing fierceness.

So yeah, bring me more Princess Principal with Chise in it!

Rating: A-

Princess Principal is currently streaming on Amazon's Anime Strike.

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