Author’s Note: Apologies for the lateness of this post. I’m sure most people have already moved onto to episode five by now of this fantastic show but I was held up with personal issues that couldn’t be helped. To make up for it, I tried to put a lot of effort into this so I hope you all enjoy. Also, spoilers and such as some stuff goes down in episode four.
Episodes three and four of Just Because! ended up continuing to validate my immediate love for this show. While the drama and plot aren’t crazy or off the wall, the natural dialogue and slower pace allow me to appreciate all that’s happening for our crew of seniors trudging towards their graduation and murky futures. Every scene and interaction is chock full of a surprising amount of engagement for a show that relies heavily on realistic drama and humor. Plus, these characters are just so dang lovable, even when their hearts are breaking from all the pain they give each other.
You know it’s a sad scene when even the dog is frowning.
Just Because! is, in many ways, a pretty large departure from the shows that we as the Backloggers have covered in the last three seasons. While we try to decide on the show we’ll be covering episodically for any given season, we work to whittle down our choices to what seems interesting, what we feel would be neat for our readers to check out for the season, and honestly just what seems like would be an enjoyable watch. It’s kind of funny to me that over the last few seasons, we’ve ultimately gravitated towards shows that are essentially fantasy light novel-esque shows with a penchant for action and the dramatic. While there’s definitely nothing wrong with that, and we’ve genuinely enjoyed Youjo Senki, SukaSuka, and Princess Principal, as we were mulling over writing about, say, Kino no Tabi or Juuni Taisen, we kind of came to a collective realization of “oh god, we can’t do a show like this for a fourth consecutive season”. With this idea being part of the inspiration for our choice this season, we’ve happily decided to shake up our usual formula a bit. Why?
Yes, I’m sorry, I know that joke has been beat so far into the ground that it should be right around the earth’s core right about now, but in a lot of ways, the choice really did come as conscious choice to just do it because we could (and because we haven’t covered a show quite outside of our unintentional genre bubble yet), especially after the first two very strong episodes that this show presented us with out of the gate.
Something I’ve always respected about Princess Principal is how unabashedly it likes to just do its thing time and again. From its first episode, it tossed us into its high-flying world of steampunk technology, deception, and espionage and essentially told us nothing except to buckle up. It asked us to trust it with its narrative, its characters, and its fascinating world, and to just let it take us where it was going, wherever that may be. If the final three episodes are any indication, this show did indeed go places, and it escorted us through them in a masterclass style.
Following on the heels of the last two episodes, Princess Principal 12 picks up right where 11 left off, and it’s only fitting for the rollercoaster ride that this finale has been shaping up to be. The show decides to ask us again to simply sit back and take in the sights one last time, and it truly is worth it to do so. The major happenings of episode 12 aren’t necessarily surprising, per se, but they are cathartic, and they work to bring an all-around satisfying conclusion to Princess Principal.
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 far as case numbers go, chronologically, this is the farthest forward we’ve gone yet, at Case 22. It definitely was intentional to save this one for almost next to last as episode ten is the tipping point to what will most likely be an freaking epic conclusion to the series. However, before I jump the gun to some real big shit (like the biggest of cliffhangers yet for this show) we’ve got an episode with a possible double agent, plenty of intrigue, and a character from both Ange and Dorothy’s past.
Time to send in the RSVPs ‘cause it’s gosh dang class reunion.
Reunions are fun, aren’t they?
As previous history with Princess Principal has indicated thus far, the show has kept consistent with its character explorations with each passing episode, especially if we consider the bombshell that episode eight was. Episode nine chooses to focus once again on the combat expert and resident Nihonjin of the spies, Chise. We already had a pretty solid episode of development dedicated to her earlier in the season, wherein which she faced off with and slayed her father-turned-traitor, and we saw a distinctly human side of her by the end of it. That episode focused somewhat on integrating her into the team, and in many ways, this episode is largely the same, thematically. However, we learn far more about Chise in relation to her Japanese pride and heritage, and how that comes into play with her work as a spy. In a way, though, this episode serves as a deep dive into the character of Princess, as well, using the events of last week as a frame of reference.
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.