At the end of the 19th century, London, the Kingdom of Albion has been split into East and West sides by a giant wall. Five girls attend Queen's Mayfaire, a conventional and prestigious school. Under the guise of regular high school girls, they act as spies under cover. Disguise, reconnaissance, infiltration, car chases... Each girl uses their own set of special skills to dart around the world of shadow.
Source: Sentai Filmworks
Bullet & Blade's Ballad
Fall of the Wall
“When you create a web of lies, you'll inevitably trap yourself and become everyone's meal instead”- someone, somewhere, sometime Princess Principal is an unorthodox title to be sure. Steampunk, non-linear storytelling, and rule of cool. Sounds like it should've been a winner, but it was a case doomed to fail as soon as it set out, exposing itself rather quickly as a fraud and a disaster. It's uncool. It's stupid. Most of all, and worst of all, it's insulting. It tried desperately to confuse you and come off as smart and then it tries to patronize you. Princess Principal is the condescending and obnoxious dreck from the same team that gave us one of last year’s most crushing disappointments, Izetta the Last Witch. As blasphemous as this sounds, that show was still better than this one in every single way. Keep in mind, Izetta was sort of a train wreck and plenty were hurt by its unkept promises despite the setting and premise. However, it's like this show decided to do it one worse yet still be seen as better. Let the truth be heard, let this series be exposed for its lies, and let it be cannibalized and demonized for ruining my hopes and dreams of having a better Izetta, just like with Youjo Senki only half a year prior! Let me, the man it deceived the cruelest, have my vengeance, for the lies end here! Case ST 2 When a narrative starts out on such an awful foot as to have narrator exposition of the past as the opening scene and then have a bunch of asspull revelations and stupid moments (few of which ever come to make sense later), then your narrative needs to do a lot to make a recovery. It never does. In fact, those asspull revelations are occasionally present, like the ballerina revelation in episode 1. It tries to play itself as smart by creating information (that it claims that we missed) out of thin air; that obviously not smart. It does this a few times and it's annoying every time. The technology doesn't make any sense either and is poorly explained. Apparently there is this C-ball that the main character has and at one point they try to steal the prototype that was just finished, except they already have the original so that officially makes no sense. Lastly, the factions are insanely difficult to keep up with thanks to how the executed their non-linear storytelling, and we don't even k is which side between the commonwealth and the royals is the east or west side. As stated earlier, this show treats you like an idiot. The asspull revelations that never add up aren't the only example of this. Hell, they're not even the most egregious. What’s more egregious is the fact that this show constantly beats you over the head. Every single episode, the show constantly drivers home the fact that spies lie and that they're not good people, as well as that everyone always lies. More than 5% of the total dialogue is centered around these three things. The dialogue is so condescending and terrible overall, and with all this thrown in the pot, it's just an especially big insult to the audience's intelligence. “Did you know that spies are liars?” Gee, I sure did, hell, so did everyone watching. You don't have to remind us constantly. Anywhere between 3 and 25 times an episode, especially in the early episodes. Not everyone knows when they're being mocked or patronized but when you realize that it's happening to you, it's aggravating, so a show shouldn't ever do that to the viewer, who is maybe trying to use this as an escape from reality. Instead, Princess Principal, how about you instead focus on telling a coherent story and SHUT THE FUCK U- Lying is bad That being said, there are times where you can see a glimmer of hope in the narrative. As predictable as episode 6 is, the finale and tragic irony of the song to the situation at hand is brilliant, almost reminiscent of some of the other works this writer has worked on, specifically the final scene of the 23rd episode of Code Geass, a personal favorite. This series, especially in the second half, starts actually trying to elicit emotion, but it's not always effective at it. Sure there are good moments like episode 7 which was the only really solid episode of the show barring some of 6, but then we get episode 8 which while that did provide context to some scenes from earlier, it actually reveals another problem and missed opportunity in episode 2, one of the worst of the series; this isn't even speaking of the embarrassingly bad and mind-numbingly stereotypical episode 9 which feels like it would normally be a sappy kids show episode that also patronizes the audience. In a way, it's almost trying to be the reverse Izetta where instead of starting off decently and turning to complete shit later on, it starts off horrendously and gets better later, except it stumbles as that hallways through the second half anyway and ends up back where it started. Too little too late comes to mind. Besides, the finale is a sequel bait disaster anyway and anytime the show takes a step forward, it takes a stab back as well. Case C 2 With the exception of Ange and Charlotte, none of the characters have any semblance of chemistry. Hell, none of the are memorable. Their personalities are beyond basic and not-fleshed out or progressed at all. There is no one worth giving a damn about, for they are so lifeless and static. If this show I supposed to be a rule of cool series, why does only one character try for this angle (the girl with the tits), and why isn't it one of the more prominent characters? They're so plain and tired, and one of them, names Beatrice, starts out especially bad and hypocritical. She’s the typical “princess loli bodyguard” trope except more annoying, and then she becomes a mod benign version of this exact same trope with little to no progression. Hell, all of these people are little more than tropes! The two “best” characters are Ange and Dorothy. Dorothy because she tries at rule of cool and she’s hot (and she actually has an explored past), and Ange because she has this weird thing about the Black Lizard Planet she keeps lying about nonchalantly. Oh, and she and this princess kinda sorta love each other...I suppose. Reasonings loosely related to it are dumb though. Regardless fact that such straws need to be grasped just to say something interesting about these characters is proof of their failure as a cast. This isn't even speaking of the other characters that come later, since they're not worth mentioning and they exacerbate this issue. Case A 4 The show’s visuals do not fare much better. Studios Actas and 3Hz did a joint effort for this project, and if nothing else, they were consistent...ly bad.The Light Novel default artstyle aggravates and does not look appealing in the slightest, and the designs range from mediocre to abysmal, with the worst being Chise’s design. The rest of the art looks decent and occasionally pretty detailed, like with the C-ball, and that's the only praise I'll give the visuals. The animation is ok at best, though the fights are pretty badly choreographed. The CGI ranges from mediocre (for the cars) to abysmal (for the people) and there is even a moment with a CGI room for the foreground and background and it causes a long 7 seconds of bad slowdown (what is it with anime that have CGI and slowdown and why are all of them always shitty anime?). When we see rads backgrounds in situations of motion, or any time for that matter, they look terrible, and so does the photorealistic backgrounds of the school garden, which you will see from time to time. Shame since the steampunk-esque setting is an interesting one innterms of potential visuals yet these don't warrant much merit. Case SO 6 One of the most renowned composers in the industry, Youjo Kajiura did the music for this anime. This is honestly one of the weaker OSTs I've experimented from her to date. The songs are mostly pretty reserved and thus aren't very memorable, and the few that are more blaring and interesting aren't nearly of the same quality of some of the best tracks of her other works, like the SAO and Fate/Zero OSTs. The tracks are repeated quite often too to make matters worse. The OP, "The Other Side of the Wall" by Void_Chords feat.MARU, is easily one of the best of the season. It emphasizes rule of cool and is filled with the frantic energy that makes you pumped to watch each episode of the show, as awful as this show is; it is the only real good thing I could find in this show, which is unfortunate. The ED, "A Page of My Story" by Ange (Ayaka Imamura), Princess (Akira Sekine), Dorothy (You Taichi), Beatrice (Akari Kageyama), Chise (Nozomi Furuki), fares nowhere near as well, as contrarian as this apparently sounds. It is an ok enough track on its own but intro in particular gives me major mood whiplash every time I finish an episode. Overall, it was a decent enough repertoire of music but little was special and it was honestly underwhelming on the whole. Case E 3 This show was very difficult to enjoy. The action wasn't even that competent, the characters were unbelievably dull and bad, the plot was wrecked beyond belief, and the show treats the audience like a dunce. The most enjoyment I got or of it was listening to the OP theme by you can do that as well as engage in the full version without having to see the show anyway. Not to say that the experience was heinous but it was continually frustrating. Case O 3 CASE RAW 31/100 With that, the case is closed. Princess Principal is hereby found guilty of lying about being a good show, treating its audience like an imbecile, being caught so far up a web of lies and lack of proper establishing that everything is convoluted, and all around being a massive disappointment. For a rule of cool show, this didn't even try that hard in any aspect, even visually or musically, and for a show of emotion, it shot itself in the foot almost every time it tried. It's off to the cellar, Princess Principal; good riddance.
Questoin: Is this show any good. Answer: Not even remotely. Premise was preposterous, plot was pretentious, and over all execution was a snore fest. What little drama they had here was about as feels inducing as a wet paper sack. Story: There were major problems here, ranging from predictable to a fault all the way to competely nonsensical decision making from various side characters which were obviously done just so the plot could be moved in a certain direction. The stink of poor writing and plot management was all over this. Time skips, without warning or reason served to make me just face palm. It's not that time skips are particularly bad when used properly to keep the air of mystery but when it's done just because the writer seems to want it to be that way I gotta shake my head at it. They spent so much time on backstory (which goes absolutely no where and gave nothing to the character's depth) that the main story is pushed to the background and has little to no time to represent itself. Although, it was nice to see Storm Troopers in something other than their white plastic uniforms (for those that this skates over; soldiers that can't hit the broad side of a barn just makes fake tension). World building was also a joke, yet another steampunk alternate history world with the same countries, because no one can discover electricity in these worlds it smacks of "FU, because I said so"~ Author-sama. Never bother to expand on anything about their tech, just that it's all steam powered. Animation: So this is a show you would excpet decent animation from simply because of it's action sequences but really it's your standard fair. Nothing truly exceptional here but nothing horrible either. Sound: Voice acting was pretty bland, maybe becuase the main character was so drab or lifeless, or perhaps because half the other cast had little to no personality. Either way, the voices didn't annoy me and the sounds did well enough to keep the show from being a total disaster. Characters: There were quite a few characters here but they were so shallow, without personality or motivations, that I couldn't really feel for most of them at all. I literally just sat and watched as one of them cried at her father's grave and was thinking; Yup, that's pretty much what I was expecting. They tried almost too hard to elicit some kind of emotional responce that they forgot to give the girls emotions. More over, for being in the espionage industry, there were a LOT of loose lips here. I guess they figured their target audience was so dumb that none of this mattered. Overall: I didn't think it was possible to feel insulted after watching a show but I'm pretty sure that's my overall take away from this. Taken as a piece of fluff, this was still a failure, nothing about this show was worth my time and I'm seriously hoping that the time and effort to make season 2 is spent on something else entirely.
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