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.
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.
She is adorable but believe me. She is insanely kickass.
Episode 5 is in many ways similar to episode 3, giving us a backstory of one of our characters via a spy case as they did with Beatrice. Before we get into that though, I’d like to say that I thought Beatrice’s backstory was definitely touching in ways I did not expect from the series, although it wasn’t as if they focused the whole episode on it either. This may have been a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how much you like to know about your characters before the story progresses, however I think in this case it fits the show, especially if they put just as much emphasis on the other characters and their stories later on as well.
Here we are entering episode four of this journey into cute spies doing devious things and I cannot overstate how solid the quality of this show has been through and through. The team behind this seem to know exactly what they’re doing and the purposeful telling of this story out of order has us guessing at every turn what side the individuals in our main cast are on. I’m so excited to see where this goes and after being burned last season, I am hoping against hope that the crew at Studio 3Hz keep this up. It just seems too good to be true. …Almost as if we’re being lied to- I’m sorry for the crappy joke.
While the last two episodes actually had case numbers that followed each other, we’re back to jumping around again, going from Case 2 over to Case 9 now, a few cases before the first episode’s Case 13. While the jumping around has made me sad because we had such great origin stories for a few characters and the team as a whole, this episode actually touched on similar ideas a little on its own by putting a bit more focus on two characters we know little about: Dorothy and Chise.
The latter being this dork on the right.
After watching various anime premieres this season, Princess Principal (or PriPri, if you’re lazy like me) was the one that took me by the biggest surprise in terms of its sheer uniqueness compared to many others of the season. That’s not to say the season is lacking in creativity, or that previous seasons had more creativity than this current one, but in this season with many anime seemingly attempting to ride waves of popularity based on other popular ones, I expected PriPri to fall in line with them in terms of having difficulty differentiating itself from shows such as Baccano! or Joker Game.
When I sat down to watch Princess Principal, I couldn’t tell you what I thought it would be, but damn if I wasn’t surprised. I guess I expected some kind of “cute girls doing edgy spy things” and, to some extent, that’s sort of the zoomed out view of things. However, it’s so much more. As The Afictionado put it when we were talking on Twitter earlier, this show is more of “a steampunk fantasy full of spy intrigue and reminiscent of Baccano!”
And that’s freaking sick.
Take a steampunk setting in turn of the century London, split London with the idea of post-WWII Berlin (including the wall), add in a helping of fun pseudo-science, pour in a cast of charming characters, and then top the whole thing off with a great soundtrack and you’ve got yourself what I’m watching this season. This dish was delish, and if this rest of the series is anything like the first episode, then I’ll be craving more and more over the next few weeks.
Damn, if this setting isn’t awesome looking.