Story In addition to the human world, there exists a Guardian world full of magic users and Neutralizers â€“ those who are responsible for protecting the Throne of Yord, the source of their power. Tiara, Lena and Kagetsu are three friends who live in the Guardian world, but their lives become more complicated once the Throne of Yord is stolen. Without spoiling, I’ll just say that the plot involves betrayal, heartbreak, and loss... all related to the Throne of Yord, the real reason it was stolen, and the pains the friends must go through to not only survive, but to solve the mystery of the Throne itself.
When I first saw anything about Shamanic Princess, I was drawn to the art style. Due to how pretty it looked, I decided to watch it, hoping for something with a decent plot as well. I walked away having enjoyed the art style, but the plot itself was a bit more of a let down. First of all, as mentioned in the helpful information section of the AniRec entry (click the blue "I" icon), the order of release of these episodes is quite funky and can cause some confusion. There are two distinct sections in Shamanic Princess: a four episode arc, and a two episode direct prequel to that arc. Sometimes, you’ll find Shamanic Princess with the four episode arc being first, followed by the prequel. Other times you’ll see them in chronological order. Quite frankly, had I seen them in this "reverse" order (prequel first), I would have enjoyed the story a little bit more, though probably still not enough to really enjoy it.
Let’s assume you started off with the four episode arc (which is what I did). You are thrown into the middle of a story that you don’t really understand, and that, I’d venture to say, you still won’t understand until after you see the prequel two episodes. All we know is that Tiara and her ferret-like familiar are hunting down this thing called the Throne of Yord. After she’s in a town for a small period of time, friends come out of nowhere and lots of battles begin... seemingly meaningless battles that were reminiscent of Darkstalkers’ Revenge. The plot? Honestly, you’ll be confused most of the time, but even after hearing the twists and turns, you won’t feel very satisfied. After seeing the two episode prequel things will make a little more sense, but I am positive that had I watched these first, I would have thought of Shamanic Princess not as something good, but instead upgraded to a generic fantasy fighting OVA, rather than a great anime I’d like to watch again. In this confused order, you walk away wishing you had spent your time on something else.
In general, Shamanic Princess is a mix of fantasy and drama combined with a whole lot of fighting, but that’s about all it has going for it. The pacing is fairly poor and I felt amount of difference between fight scenes and boring "let’s talk about stuff" scenes was too large. A good analogy would be the first Resident Evil movie, which went a little something like this: ZOMBIE ZOMBIE ZOMBIE fight fight ZOMBIE pause, talk, ZOMBIE ZOMBIE ZOMBIE! The transitions between action and non-action scenes were too sudden and this made the pacing and flow seem rushed. It was the same with Shamanic Princess; all the scenes didn’t mesh together well. Even without the confusing mix of arcs, the story was average at best, even though the actual plot might have been different than other fantasy series out there.
Animation As mentioned in the story section, I was originally drawn to Shamanic Princess for its animation, and walked away feeling happy about what I had seen visually. Everything in the OVA is designed to look exotic and fantasy-like, and for the most part, it worked. Hair is flowing and beautiful, scenery always seems to have the right lighting, and the colors are rich and vibrant. On the other hand, the character designs leave a little to be desired and suffer from what I’d like call Kanon syndrome. Yes, I know Shamanic Princess came before Kanon, but since I saw Kanon first, that’s what I choose to call the syndrome! Namely, the characters have wide faces and eyes that are way too large, misshapen, and are at the same level as the nose. This looks freakish and just... wrong. Unfortunately, though some of Shamanic Princess’s characters don’t look this way, others like Tiara definitely do, which was distracting and definitely wasn’t a plus.
In general, if you were to watch this, it would be for the animation. All of the characters are constructed in a very fantasy-like manner, and are beautiful. Tiara’s hidden power that emerges occasionally is a stunning winged creature, and most magical powers are ornamented with a creepy tribal eye pattern that definitely catches your attention. The attention to detail is wonderful, and for something this old, it’s impressive. If anything, watch it for the animation... just expect that the character designs will look a bit... weird.
Sound The music sounded like it came straight out of Koudelka, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. One of Tiara’s friends played a flute to unleash her magical powers, and these very old school sounding melodies were intertwined with the background music (which was cheesy enough to begin with). Occasionally there were orchestral tracks, which did fit the tone of the OVA. I don’t know, it just seemed average and uninteresting, and the flute combination with the background music didn’t help much. Not memorable enough to remember after a few hours, and not exciting enough to warrant a super high score. Voice actors were chosen well, and did a good job. Characters The only character development in these six episodes originated in the first (or last, depending on what order you watch them in) two episodes. In these two, we see Tiara and her friends before the Throne of Yord was stolen, and what happened to them to cause all of the upcoming craziness to occur. We see Kagetsu and Tiara’s hint of a relationship, and the history of Tiara’s familiars (which was probably the most interesting bit of character interaction in all the episodes). These two episodes were very unlike the rest of the series since they not only contained character development, but also weren’t full of random fighting the entire time. Unfortunately, the other four episodes have little in the way of character development and are instead full of a fight every 2.5 seconds. I didn’t feel attached to any of the characters, didn’t feel any sense of resolution once it was finished, and didn’t feel emotional about any of the sad turn of events. In addition, I felt some of the explanations or "conflicts of interest" (spoken cautiously to avoid spoiling) were pulled out of nowhere and weren’t plausible or realistic. Had the character development in the first two episodes been prevalent throughout the entire six, this section would have been rated way, way higher. Overall Shamanic Princess ended up being pleasing to the eye, but boring to the mind. The confusing and unfulfilling plot left much to be desired, and the lack of character development (except the two episodes) was definitely not a plus. Literally the only good thing about the OVA was the animation, and even that has some flaws (the character designs). If you are looking for a good fantasy, there are plenty of others that will amuse you. I can’t think of much that Shamanic Princess was good for, except eating away 3 hours of my life... oh wait, that’s not a good thing! Generic fantasy at it’s finest, basically.