Princess Principal Episode 8 — Shifting Emptiness

I feel that every week that it’s my turn to write these articles, the show gets infinitely more interesting than the episodes of the previous weeks. Whether that’s because of the fact that I’m legitimately enjoying the pleasant surprises that this show continues to deliver, the fact that it’s just paced its bigger moments with more impact well, or possibly both, I’m glad that I’m watching this show and I take back all of my skepticism that I had about this show before it aired.

This week’s episode answered some of the the concerns that Mythos had in his last article, as he wondered if the show was going to tie some of these threads from these singular cases together into an overarching plot, which is something I also wondered about the series after the previous few episodes. But episode 8 has decided to finally reveal some of the cards that it had hidden in its hand and has now played them in full view of the audience. I wouldn’t say it’s a surprise twist or anything, considering some aspects have already been hinted at in Episode 2 specifically and could have been picked up on in smaller ways throughout various other episodes as well.

The “twist” wasn’t anything complex or convoluted like some other shows will tend to do during these episodes, and again, is one of the reasons I applaud this show for not having any tricks or gimmicks that feel underhanded as a viewer (although I suppose you could argue that underhanded tricks are something that’s more appropriate for spies and espionage). Rather, the information that was revealed to us didn’t even feel that all surprising, but was more of a “Oh, everything makes sense now” sort of shocking realization more than anything, and it definitely puts the series into perspective, almost to the point where I want to go back and watch this episode and the previous ones again in order to catch all the minor details that have been leading up to this.

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This has two ways of being viewed: The way you’ll view it before this episode and the way after you watch it.

We had already heard of the revolution several times throughout the show, but rather as serving just as a backdrop for these episodic stories to happen, this episode we see how much it’s really affected our cast of characters, considering the reveal was solely about “Princess” and Ange. To put it in simple terms, the girl we know as “Princess”, real name being Ange, was actually a girl living in a slum part of the city, and Ange, real name being Charlotte, was the true princess before the revolution broke out. They were once childhood friends that would get to experience parts of each others lives, whether that was take part in activities or just venture into the outside world together.

Eventually they began to swap places with each other, with Charlotte/”Ange”, wanting to experience the outside world, and Ange/”Princess”, wanting to see what being royalty would be like. However, when they were swapped places one day, the revolution broke out and separated them, with Ange/”Princess” now being forever trapped into the role of being a princess, and Charlotte/”Ange” being forced into the role of a girl that lives off of pick-pocketing.

Without turning this article and future ones we write into a semantic nightmare, I’m going to use the slash variants of their names (presented as [real name/”referred to name”]) in order to help keep track of who I’m talking about from now on. I shouldn’t have expected anything less from a show about spies to have some sort of confusing scenario involving names.

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This twist effectively ties the show together and allows the show to become something a lot more than I ever expected it to be, even if the overall sentiment is nothing new for these types of shows. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s all in the execution, and this show has demonstrated time and time again that its execution of its plot is all it needs to keep the show interesting and engaging.

This show has definitely focused a lot on the main cast of characters, and I would say the show is less about spies, espionage, and politics, and more about how this cast of spy girls dealing with their own unique scenarios in their lives and how its changed them so much that they no longer are sure of their identity or their futures. The show heavily suggests that these girls became spies because of their pasts, and if that’s the case, then it’s not a far-off assumption to think that these girls have had their lives fundamentally altered, not only because of this revolution happening, but also because they’ve lost a part of themselves and their past identities, which makes them prime candidates to become spies in the first place.

One of the main reasons I suggest this theory is based around a conversation that happened within this episode. Specifically, when Ange/”Princess” mentions how “empty” she feels by being the princess, even though as a child, it’s one of the things she was implied to have looked forward to as it was much nicer than the pick-pocketing life she had lived before. This is definitely because of her perceptions of royalty and how over time, she’s adapted to this new lifestyle and realized how difficult living this life truly is and isn’t the glorious life that she had imagined. The way the scene is portrayed almost makes it feel like that becoming the role of the princess was more of a punishment for her than anything and was much harder than the life she had previously lived as a pickpocket.

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My theory is based off of her feeling of “emptiness” for becoming something she ultimately didn’t want to or expect to become, and without Charlotte/”Ange” being around, the job of fulfilling the role as princess became that much more difficult, but she endured in order to find her lost friend, the original princess she swapped places with. That’s why when Ange/”Princess” is with Charlotte/”Ange” doing spy-like tasks together, she wants to be a part of the crew doing them to break the monotony and harshness of her life as a princess, and also could be subtlety implying that her skills as a pickpocket that she had used to survive in the past can be quite enjoyable when used as a tool in order to break that monotonous lifestyle she now lives within.

That’s my theory anyway, as the show could have plenty more to reveal that could ultimately change this.

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I will never be able to view her smiling expression the same way after this episode. It just feels wrong.

Going back to the previous article Mythos wrote though, I think even if the theory that I have above is not exactly something the show is attempting to display to us, there’s a definite easy way to tie all these episodes together. The easiest way to do this would be just to imply that the friendship bonds between Ange/”Princess” and Charlotte/”Ange”, along with the other members of our spy crew, are invaluable during these tough times and are attempting to find a way to turn their miserable past lives as children into something more substantial by forgetting those identities and establishing new ones as their spy-like selves.

I personally think even the disconnected episodes have shown these characteristics quite well, as we’ve establish the grounds for these girls’ backstories being somewhat tragic, along with the fact that there’s some sort of disassociation with themselves and their spy duties, as Dorothy and Charlotte/”Ange” have demonstrated to us in several episodes.

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I never knew there was so much to learn about the Black Lizard Planet…

To be honest, the show could legitimately go many directions from this point forward, but based on what I’ve seen from this show so far, I’m confident that it could pull many ideas off and manage to fit these elements into an ending that will be strong and help the series to leave a lasting impression on many people, including myself. Even if my theory from the beginning about the series being an out-of-order episodic series with an overarching plot has been slightly debunked at this point, with episodes having case numbers that are above 12 at this point, and even if that theory does somehow become true and the show is actually longer than a single cour, I wouldn’t even care at this point. This show continues to amaze me, and I’m ready just to hop on whatever journey it’s going to take me on, as I’m sure I’ll enjoy wherever it decides to take me.

(Also, did you notice how all the episode titles are slant rhymes? If not, you know now. Surprised I didn’t notice the wordplay earlier to be honest.)

7 thoughts on “Princess Principal Episode 8 — Shifting Emptiness

  1. The characterisation in this show continues to be impressive. I still have no idea what it will do in the end or whether it is going to end this season or continue, and like you I don’t care. I’m just enjoying it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the episode.

    Like

    • This episode was REALLY good. I’m so lucky that I got to write about this one, as I felt strongly about this episode, and the show in general really, compared to some of the others I’ve written about in the past.

      Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. YOU BEAUTIFUL BASTARD! I had no idea that they were all slant rhymes! That’s the biggest freaking twist of all for me, hot damn! I can’t believe I never got that…

    Seriously, though. This episode was my all-time favorite episode thus far. It was just such a great twist and the way they portrayed the utter fear and uncertainty was heart-wrenching and made everything all the more real to me. This show fucking delivers in spades. It executes every idea so freaking beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

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