As we head into the final lap of Princess Principal, it’s not surprising to see some larger twists that would indicate where the show is intentionally going for its finale. In episode 10, we learned about a change in command that shook things up for our cast of girls as they have been given the command to execute Project: Changling in order to assassinate the current princess, and as expected, our cast of characters has some diverse reactions to this news.
As you would ultimately expect though, none of their reactions went against what you would expect from that sort of order, considering they were just asked to put their duty as spies above their friendship with the Princess, and even though Ange seemingly intends to follow through with this order, it’s clear to the viewers that this is just a front she’s putting up in order to find a way to salvage the situation to prevent unnecessary bloodshed of her dearest friend.
To be honest, many of the twists and events that happen in the scenario aren’t necessarily things that would come as surprises from this show, which leaves a little to be desired in terms of the plot structure for the episode, but I don’t think that’s really a huge problem, as many of the events are necessary in order to give this show an ending that it rightfully deserves. Not to mention that each of the events help bring a solid impact to the series as a whole, as many other episodes in this show have done.
And just because it’s not necessarily the most original way to slowly conclude the series doesn’t mean that it’s the worst possible thing either, as I definitely still loved this episode just as much as some of the others. It’s just that this episode wasn’t the strongest of the series, but that’s almost expected of an episode that’s made to build up to a conclusion, and I have high hopes that the grand finale will bring out the strongest points of the series once again.
Episode 11 was strong in many of its own ways though, despite the plot structure being a tad predictable. There are many great cuts of animation during their escape through a large shopping center area to avoid the newly assigned bodyguards for Princess, which were also combined with some brilliant spy tactics on Ange’s part in order to outwit her own spy “team” to rescue Princess without revealing her own betrayal to her spy team. As always, the music for the scene still retains its quality of hype and anxiety throughout the escape as well, continuing to confirm that many of the strongest parts of the series remain to be strong, making up for any smaller issues that this episode may have had.
Nearing the end of the episode, Princess and Ange both have a conflict of ideals of how to handle this scenario of her assassination, bringing about the strongest moment of the episode. The argument itself was an interesting discussion of ideals, but it also showed how the underlying commentary is used to make connections to the characters and the overarching plot of the show. While the series itself has displayed these ideas throughout various parts of the show, this scene brought many of the connections into the spotlight during this episode, and I think the subtext revealed about the characters was almost as important as the actual discussion itself.
The first one would be the commentary of what’s happening to the nation and its leadership. It was implied during Princess’s arguing with Ange that she truly does care about the people of her nation and she wouldn’t ever abandon them, even if it meant that she had to die in order to achieve that dream. While her full feelings on the matter aren’t explicitly stated, you can tell by her words with Ange that she truly cares about saving lives of the people in her nation in order to give them a better life, perhaps because of her history in the slums or maybe as a sense of duty from just being the princess of a nation for this long. The argument between her and Ange mainly stems from this difference in philosophies, as Ange is more concerned about Princess’s well-being than the people of the nation.
This commentary becomes intriguing if you consider that Ange was originally the princess and how her mindset has changed over time, now differing from Princess’s current viewpoint on the situation, despite Princess having to start from nothing and learn all the aspects of what it means to be royalty. This could also be why Princess views these issues the way she does as well. It’s just interesting to think about what’s going on within the inner thoughts of these girls and how their backgrounds have massively changed their lives and mindsets of the world’s state of affairs, for better or for worse.
The second aspect of this conversation isn’t a philosophical one, but more of a practical implication of the first aspect integrated by Ange’s and Princess’s personal feelings on the topic. Because they’ve been friends since they were children, watching them argue with each other just allows their feelings and emotions to be amplified to an extreme level for the audience. Thanks to the emotion put into the voice acting as well, this scene drives their viewpoints into the viewer’s minds and shows how strongly these two friends feel about their sides of the argument and each other. Ange wants Princess to abandon her duty like her, as she wants to see Princess survive to the end, while Princess wants to save her nation, even if that means abandoning Ange in the process.
These characters don’t really want to abandon each other either though. The pain that’s worked in Princess’s voice as she argues with Ange makes this clear to us and just continues to further the emotional impact of the scene for both us and the characters. It’s an emotional scene for both of these characters, and I think that it was executed perfectly as one of the most memorable and meaningful parts of the show.
Furthermore, the scene is also emotional for the audience as well, considering the revelation of Ange’s and Princess’s feelings become more fascinating when you think about it from a creation standpoint. In most anime, these roles would be reversed by our two characters if the show decided to play Ange’s and Princess’s roles as characters straight, instead with Princess wanting to the be one that saves her friend, and Ange wanting to uphold her duty. This simple swap of stereotypical roles for these types of characters is a simple, yet important decision made by the creators of this story, which gave the scenario of these two characters fighting with each other an even greater impact for the ideals they stand for.
Both of these aspects were beautifully integrated and revealed during this episode, and both lead to into the aspects why I still enjoy this show as much as I do. While there’s still only one episode of the series left, I hope that we’ll see a season 2 in the show’s future, as it’s a personal favorite of mine and many others I’ve seen discuss the show. The emotion of the characters, combined with the cleverness of the story and tricks of the spies, and the wide spectrum of episodes that reveal aspects about the characters we’ve yet to have seen before are some of the aspects that I feel that I’ll miss from this show as it wraps itself up. I’m confident that with the setup of this episode, the finale will be a spectacle to see, and I can’t wait to see what sort of surprises lurk in the shadows for the finale itself.
As for now, keep rockin’ those shades, Princess.