Scrapped Princess - Reviews

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VivisQueen's avatar
Jan 12, 2008

Story

In a nutshell, Scrapped Princess is the one that was more easygoing than Mai Hime but never quite reached the effortless brilliance of Fullmetal Alchemist. The animation style, vibrant colour tones, level of fantasy elements and so on are roughly the same as the other two, and just like them, it tries to combine an inventive concept of magic with a tragic political plot that's got the whole world at stake. However, it lacks the intense emotional pull of the other two firstly because its protagonists have so little clout, and secondly because it is not the cleverest show on offer. I got the feeling the creators tossed in the first few ideas they could think of, and to their own surprise strung together something quite decent.

Still, the fact is the story does get really exciting once the main magical and political battles kick in. For example, the show introduces one element a third of the way through that is pure ‘cool' - the Dragoons. Although not strictly new, the unique fantasy twist on the old mecha theme rescued the series from its initial threat of blandness. I did not care much for the naff mini side-plots and comedy episodes they sprinkled into the mix but the central plot turned out to be worth every penny because it twisted in pleasantly surprising directions.

Some of the best ideas, namely the fact that Pacifica Casull's main adversary is a religious institution rather than an individual person, that she supposedly is the antagonist of the conflict, and that fate actively conspires against her, also eliminated any ‘fluffiness' and helped maintain a sad undertone. That isn't to say these ideas haven't been treated with better skill and ingenuity elsewhere, but at least they were used well enough here to inject a sense of maturity.


Animation

With colourful environments, simplistic but pretty character designs, a distinct absence of blood, and cute costumes for much of the cast, the series remains shoujo to the core. It would have all been innocent girlie fun were it not for the taint of oversized breasts on most of the women. Action sequences involving the Dragoons and Peacemakers were epic enough but everyday movements were clumsy on too many occasions. Simply put, Scrapped Princess is easy on the eye, providing occasional solid highlights to keep us interested but often being of the usual high fantasy fare.


Sound

The opening and ending themes have a very medieval feel to them, with bagpipes providing the instrumental canvas for the OP in a manner quite reminiscent of Ah My Goddess Season 2. The OP was one of those songs I knew I wouldn't like but then grew on me so quickly that I found myself unconsciously humming it in the shower. It's the kind of tune that makes me wish I made more of an effort to learn the lyrics. Generally, though, the stuff during the scenes is best understood as good mood-setter. Voice acting was suitable and convincing although not remarkably dynamic most of the time. Some of the best moments include the intimate exchanges between Shannon and Pacifica, when his stoic tone and her vulnerable girlishness provide for some touching dialogue.


Characters

Characterisation is sufficient but far from impressive, which I blame on the unwarranted size of the cast. Characters like wannabe knight Leopold Scorpse, Kidaf Gylot the minstrel, and most of Christopher Bylaha's team were easily superfluous and became distractions rather than complements. I'm also unconvinced that Pacifica's sister, Raquel, a central character with no subplot of her own and only the single purpose of casting spells, was actually needed.

Out of everyone, though, I found the least interesting person to be Pacifica herself; cute, clueless, and passive in the extreme, the only reason I cared was because the story cared. Shannon, on the other hand, is a traditional fantasy hero type who tackles his troubles predominantly with the edge of his sword and, when necessary, with the occasional words of wisdom. He is in fact the juxtaposed personality to Pacifica, and thus engaging in every way that she is not. I suppose it helps that he is also linked to the coolest part of the entire series. As for antagonists, Christopher is a complex addition, and the Peacemakers are also worth mentioning since their cold view of humanity gives them such interesting motivations.


Overall

This anime is good entertainment for the days when you want something not too cerebrally challenging but that doesn't patronise you either. Sure, it doesn't sweep you breathlessly away like other magical shows and it could do with a bit of pruning cast-wise, but with a worthwhile message to tell about prejudice, religious dogmatism, and courage in the face of inevitable doom, Scrapped Princess is a solid upbeat story with a sad heart.

7/10 story
6.5/10 animation
7/10 sound
6.5/10 characters
7/10 overall
ThatAnimeSnob's avatar
Nov 8, 2012

Scrapped Princess is an interesting take on a rather tired formula, performing a major genre twist midway, colorizing story and characters in ways that are making them more than they appear to be at first. The end result is quite original as far as anime go, but still loses a lot because of its erratic pacing. Which is expected when you realize it is animated by studio Bones, which automatically means very good production values, a complicating intriguing story, and a script written on the run without the slightest attempt to make sense or have consistency. Furthermore, director and scriptwriter are people who never produced anything above average.

SCRIPT
So this is an anime about a teen princess who has been prophesized to destroy the Medieval world of the series as soon as she becomes an adult and is on the run while protected by two siblings bodyguards. The initial episodes are very good at portraying the drama of being accused of doing things that are beyond your scope and even have a “fight your fate” feeling to this. If it remained at this, it would be average at best, as fatalism doesn’t leave much room for variety beyond “fulfilling the prophesy” or … “not”.

Yet as soon as the story hits its limit at what the premise can offer, it then does a major genre twist. That made the story far more original and fascinating than it appeared to be at first.

Still, even the greatest idea can fail out of bad planning, and the series suffers a lot from lots of erratic pacing. That is, some episodes are far less interesting and slow than others, while the transition from one major event to another usually happens in a crude way. Sloppy, sudden and sometimes dried is what you get in peaking moments where you should be eating your nails. And then it’s ending of the series itself which is one of those rare occasions where although solid, complete and strong, it is far from satisfactory. Everything simply happens too fast to let you really enjoy its otherwise very interesting take on fate and conspiracy around lasting peace, the origin of the caretakers and stuff that go way beyond what the anime bothers to show you.

CAST
The problems are not present only in the story but they are there in the characters as well. Pacifica, the lead girl, is given a great amount of depth, character coloring and development, easily becoming a lovable and sympathetic character trying to save her life and fight fate and the status quo of the world. Unfortunately, she is the only one that has all this charm.

All other characters are hardly original or memorable in any way because this is a story about a prophesy that does not allow anyone else to take part in it. In the usual fatalistic deadlock that a trope like “fate” offers, none can actually do anything without giving the feeling they are doing it for the center of the universe that is Pacifica. So even taking initiative ends up looking as “fate told you to do it” and practically kills all sort of individuality. Yes, fate in storytelling has this shit and no sane scriptwriter would ever use it.
… And most do by the way, proving they are far from great.

Anyways, even without this problem the character still fail to impress with their personalities alone, as none is given the focus Pacifica gets. The two sibling bodyguards are rather likable for being next to her from the very start, unlike most others who are lost in the crowd of seemingly unimportant characters. So are the enemy sub-leaders, the four Dragoons, for being more than heartless assassins. And… that is pretty much it. Likable guys but hardly special and almost invisible next to the spotlight of the lead.

PRODUCTION VALUES
The animation is of a very high level in terms of colors and details, plus it has a great variety of settings, weapons and action scenes. Having a blob that eats people and keeps growing or a robot with spinning laser attacks was really awesome. Chanting of spells and controlling assassin disks through music was great too. Voice acting and songs … hm, I hardly remember them, meaning they are average but not annoying or memorable for any given reason.

Down to it, Scrapped Princess is more interesting as an idea than an actual anime, as the story ends up being more interesting than the actual plot or cast and that ruins it in the long run.

5/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
6/10 characters
5.5/10 overall
angelsreviews's avatar
Aug 6, 2013

This is so much like Slayers and Rune Soilder but then, it’s not like anything that really has been done before. It is placed in a fantasy kingdom called Leiwan that’s pretty much under a religious order.

Pacifica always acts like a princess even though she grew up with her brother and sister. For a 15 year old girl, she pretty much acts like any normal 15 year old girl. Bitchy, whiny and all together bothersome in most places. She does get annoying at some times but in the end, you really feel for her. She was thrown away at birth and has only her foster siblings to live with. You can really tell that she loves both her siblings but it seems that she really loves Shannon. I guess you could consider her to have a big brother complex even if he isn’t her real brother. Although she is always called the poison that will destroy the world, she makes lasting impressions on those that meet her.

Shannon himself seems to always have problems wondering what he should even do. He fights within himself on the duty he has for his family and for all the other people around him. Even though he fights within himself, when on the battlefield, he protects her without thought. I myself think he looks really cute by the way. He is really reserved and doesn’t really show his emotions towards his siblings. He hates anybody outside the family and doesn’t trust them even if they show that they can be. When we talk about Shannon, we also have to talk about Zefiris who shows up in episode 2. I won’t exactly say why, but she has a large connection to Shannon and helps them with information. She sounds just like a computer with how logical she talks and acts.

Raquel is the oldest of the siblings, very kind and motherly to both Shannon and Pacifica. She normally keeps a level head and uses powerful magic, able to cast them rather fast. She doesn’t really have a lot of backstory and her personality to me feels a bit like it is lacking on some aspects, not really as filled out as Shannon and Pacifica. When putting her next to the other two, she doesn’t stand out as well as the others in the series including the people who are not related.

Leo takes up the clueless knight area. He is a noble knight who falls in love with Pacifica and his love never seems to faulter no matter what. He is always proposing to her and trying to protect her when he sees her until finds out about her being a scrapped princess. After that, he fights with himself with the question ‘What is Chivalry?’ and the question haunts him.

The Animation is wonderfully done with fluid movements as known from Studio Bones. I don’t really see many problems in the artwork as every little detail is done pretty well. There are things that I nit pick about it though like in the second episode, what the hell is the map the old women gave them? There is nothing to actually use to find the house they are looking for!

The opening is really lovely, and sounds really nice like a fairy tail beat. I truly love the English dub of the show even if it seems a little off in some of the background characters. The main characters are pretty perfect for the show, giving it the air of class. Crispin Freeman does a perfect job as Shannon, like almost all the characters he does, and makes him sound reserved and calm. He does sometimes seem too reserved but I think that more fits him. There are a lot of words that are used without much definition to the point that we sort of need a Glossary to figure them out. I wish they had a little more information about the different things like the Dragoon and Phase Space. Many of them are rather technical for a fantasy based show and open up the posiblities of something else going on.

10/10 story
8/10 animation
9/10 sound
9/10 characters
10/10 overall
Krozam's avatar
Oct 14, 2012

I saw from the start that Scrapped Princess is good: I established my expectations at 8 points during the first few episodes. However, I didn't expect it to keep getting better and better. The characters are likeable, deep and multi-dimensional; the plot is excellent; there is quite a lot of depth; the entertainment value (battles, comedy etc.) is fairly high; the production values are high for an old-ish anime (2003); and both the concept and the settings are quite interesting. Apart from the first 4 episodes, I marathoned this entire anime last night: I didn't want to stop despite being very tired for hours before I was finished. I was about 20 episodes in when I realised that it had long ago surpassed 8 points, and I was watching a clear 9-10 points anime.

If I had to name weaknesses in the anime, I'd say that a few of the characters are a bit too emo, it might annoy some viewers. But personally I wasn't bothered, because those characters seriously have hard lives, and they have plenty of other moods as well besides the angst. Another thing is that a couple of characters I'd have liked to see more developed didn't get the attention they deserve (mainly Raquel). However, most of the major characters were developed more than sufficiently, so it's a minor problem. The third thing is, the musics are a bit meh. Not bad altogether, but the OP and ED should have been changed into more somber ones halfway down the road, and the BG musics are just average stuff that supports the story well enough, but never really caught my attention.

The special thing about this anime is what it does with the classic fantasy adventure concept that it starts with. It gets darker towards the end, there is tragedy you wouldn't expect from such a light-hearted OP (which is why I skipped it after a certain point: it no longer fit the mood of the story); it blends in scifi elements (I love ancient technology in fantasy settings!); and while it doesn't avoid all the clichés, some of them it explains, gives them reason, unlike any other fantasy anime/manga I've ever seen/read. How often do you actually get a valid explanation why the fantasy world seems to be permanently stuck in the middle ages? The ending is great, it's climatic and unpredictable, though there are a few minor things I would have done differently.

Besides the ancient technology, the story has other elements I really like, such as humans struggling against gods, so you could say that a part of the favourable tone in my review is because the story is very much up my alley. However, looking as objectively as I can, this is still a very high quality story with lots of depth and no major weaknesses. There were more than a few scenes where I teared up, a couple where I actually cried a bit, so I have a fairly heavy emotional investment on some of the characters. A damn good anime. 10/10 points.

10/10 story
9/10 animation
8/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
StevenSAKUJO's avatar
Feb 28, 2018

Story: [9/10]

Often when I'm critiquing the storyline of an anime, I'm considering things like "was it entertaining?" and "was it interesting?" and all too often "was it coherent?". Scrapped Princess is different, it was clearly entertaining, interesting and coherent - I am wondering how much I should praise the Scrapped Princess for being philosophical while also poignant. Undoubtedly anime seldom offers much depth to their stories and that includes the good ones. So it's seldom the depth of the storyline that makes the anime good.

I've heard complaints about anime being slow and boring, just for even trying to explore deep concepts. I'm always looking out for depth, realistic and carefully created characters and deep concepts. This anime ticked all my boxes but in order for you to understand whether it ticks yours or not you need to understand that the Scrapped Princess is outdone by many, many other anime when it comes to its shounen aspects. 

Scrapped Princess is about a princess who was prophesised as being "the poison that will destroy the world" in a revelation sent down by Mauser, the god worshipped by the church of Mauser. However the queen saves the princess and now she lives as a fugitive with her adoptive family. It becomes clear that the clergy of the church are being manipulated by transcendent beings known as "peacemakers" and that the scrapped princess is a threat to these beings. As a threat to the peacemakers and a weapon for their enemies, the scrapped princess and her friends get drawn into a war that will decide the fate of humanity.

Scrapped Princess manages to juggle slice of life (in a medieval setting), shounen-style battles and it's deeper themes really well. However watching the anime for only one of these aspects will make it unappealing. You really need to be able to watch it for all of these things or else find yourself disappointed when your reason for watching is not the focal point. 

Animation: [5/10]

I've never much cared about animation and while I still prefer this style to some of the newer animes with cutesy characters, it's clear that the animation in this anime is old and often lacking in creativity or fluidness. The medieval aspect is portrayed in a way that fans of the concept will appreciate but if you're a real stickler for animation quality then perhaps be wary.

Sound: [8/10]

Usually then the OST is good, it's something you'd want to look up afterwards to hear again. I felt nothing was particularly special about the OST in Scrapped Princess but as a whole I really appreciated it. The music fits the setting and was appropriate for the atmosphere - it sounded pleasing and it did everything you expect an OST to do but without doing it exceptionally. The voice acting was also great. Certainly wouldn't watch the anime for the sound like I might've for some other anime but if you like the story then you can't ask for more.

Characters [10/10]

I'm fairly harsh when it comes to character analysis, of all the reasons I dislike an anime, citing their poor characters is overwhelmingly common for me. I want characters that have likability and personality, I want to see that characters have been given enough thought that perhaps it appears as though characters contradict themselves, precisely because real characters ought to contradict themselves as all humans do. Scrapped Princess provides funny, likable and complex characters but to appreciate them, you need to appreciate the small things. 

There are a great deal of likable characters in the show, all of them with their own personal journeys which to my delight are not simply episodic but rather fully fleshed out over the series. They aren't just enjoyable but thought-provoking, creating interest outside of the main plot.

Overall: [9.5/10]

Scrapped Princess may well be my ideal anime, I was completely surprised to find myself so thoroughly enjoying it and never got the disappointment that I was dreading. From start to finish it was funny, interesting and thought-provoking. Despite that, I wouldn't recommend this anime to just anyone.

I think it helps to have an interest in history and the medieval period, the protagonist is a 15 year old girl which is actually an important point to make. Characters in Scrapped Princess are very human, in comparison to the normal resolute, simple protagonists - these ones may come off as being rather annoying. 

Watch the anime for the right reasons and you'll be rewarded but I caution against treating Scrapped Princess like a normal anime, rather treat it like a book or a play.

9/10 story
5/10 animation
8/10 sound
10/10 characters
9.5/10 overall