Another episode, another reason to like this show. I have no idea how they’ll tie some of the threads between these different cases together as we’re now working our way towards the ending, but I’m enjoying the ride nonetheless.
While definitely a departure from the emotionally charged last episode, this one is just as good in what it attempts to do. Going from sadness to peppy optimism this episode, our group of spy girls attempt to stop a nerve gas assassin by going undercover in a laundry mill, blending in with the other poor girls who are tasked with washing the military’s uniforms. I have to say, every scene in this episode exudes the feelings and ideas of Rosie the Riveter, women working hard together and accomplishing great things by their own hands and effort, and the wonderful ways in which our main characters help these girls in the mill succeed and even buy out their own business to run it themselves was fantastic. The ending then nicely tied the bow by the cast commenting on how they’ve left their friends in the mill empowered and able to take care of themselves now. This is a great idea to see expressed in this show and Princess Principal never seems to drop the ball in representing some kickass female characters.
After first-hand witnessing the struggle that common women go through in this kingdom, it’s honestly heartwarming to see our spy girls use all of their unique talents to improve and literally save the lives of the girls at the mill. While we don’t really have enough time spent with any of these girls to get to know them well, we still feel for them through the show’s use of clever and well-known shortcuts, endearing us to them by showing each girls as having unique traits to them. This isn’t exactly new territory for anime and, I mean, even harems do this kind of thing (though for harems, the character development tends to stop there heyooooo). However, it’s a nice touch to make each character feel more interesting and the way it’s all done by showing instead of telling us “this is the ditzy one!” was nice to see.That said, the show’s focus is still very much on our main characters through and through, even when they have a bad guy to catch or a mill of women to empower. This is another episode where the focus is not at all on the actual bad guy that needs to be taken down or the main Macguffin that needs to be obtained. The assassin is only in this episode for, at most, a total time of maybe 3 minutes out of the episode and is easily dispatched within seconds once he’s discovered. The show is a die hard fan of its main cast and tends to use a basic structure in order to express more from its characters, both showcasing their ability as well as their developing relationships, both to each other as well as to the city and world they find themselves in. I personally don’t feel like any of this is bad and honestly, I think it’s the strength of this anime that makes this it so good, especially with such a direct comparison between this and the last episode.
To say it better, the creators are showing how they’re able to switch tone and and style within each episode, showcasing their diverse strengths and abilities by taking the same characters and setup but changing everything else. In doing so, they successfully do so much with the same basic structure and make interesting and diverse stories. Studio 3Hz had done something similar in Flip Flappers, using an episodic formula to showcase completely different genres and styles while using the same setup and characters. This is interesting to note as there’s absolutely no crossover between the major players for each show, meaning that twice now, Studio 3Hz has enabled two completely separate and unique teams of creators to do so much and showcase incredibly varied ability within their shows while working off of a basic structure and idea. That’s true talent from both teams and is incredible to see done. I’m delighted that Studio 3Hz is enabling this and while I don’t know the inner workings of the company, I would assume the overhead is very hands off when it comes to its creators and allowing them to do what they want. I feel this really shines through, especially with the sheer quality we’ve seen and come to expect in every episode of Princess Principal.Not to sing a show’s praises before it ends (especially in a medium that wrote the playbook on how to fuck up even the best shows with an unnecessary twist end cough cough Rebellion Story) but I honestly do feel like this show has already shown what it can do and has consistently delivered on that expectation so often now that I’m not too nervous about our countdown to the end this season. With only five more episodes to go, I feel comfortable with whatever this team has in store and am extremely excited.