Princess Principal Episodes 11 & 12 (Final Impression)
“We are spies, but we’re human beings first!”
Princess Principal was one of the shows I was most anticipating of the Summer season. There weren’t many shows that had caught my eye and in the end I only ended up watching about five shows this season. The things about Princess Principal that caught my attention was the spy aspect, as this genre in itself is pretty niche. I was excited to see what they were going to do with it. And with a spy setting, that meant a lot of action and a serious tone. A nice thrilling show to watch a week, no?
In these last two episodes, the show attempted to end its final arc related to Princess and a revolution. At first we see that Ange is ready to take on her mission to assassinate Princess, but things become stranger as Princess is suddenly appointed a bodyguard named Zelda, with other bodyguards in the vicinity when outside. During a shopping trip, it’s Ange’s opportunity to kill Princess but she uses this moment to fool the bodyguards with the game they played as children and outran them into a blimp. It’s then Ange tells Princess that she was assigned to kill her, but she wants them to run away to their white house in Casablanca (haha) but Princess becomes angry and locks Ange in. She wants to stay in her country and fix the country like she always wanted to.
What happens next in the finale is the stop of two assassination attempts, a group rescue, death, and a supposedly happy ending. The only thing that was able to be resolved was the assassination attempt towards Princess, as the girls all escape to Casablanca. The revolution never happened, Zelda somehow escaped with the possession of a C-ball (why? idk), and the Duke of Normandy seemed to have some important things with him. Honestly I felt that this finale to be a mess. Of course there was no way for them to properly conclude the fall of the Wall and the unification of the country while also solving the problem of poverty and classism. So the best they could do was get the assassination out of the way, to which I think was too easily done, and then giving us an abrupt ending. Luck is certainly on their side, isn’t it? What I did enjoy from the episode was Princess’ heartfelt speech to the Major, and the little moment between her and Ange as they floated in a snowy London sky.
As entertaining as Princess Principal was, it was a little strange. The show progressed in a rocky way, going from mission to character introductions to a little bit of plot. The cases were not chronological, and in the beginning it worried me because I wasn’t sure what the point of that was. Was there a good reason for them to give us the episodes out of order, or were they doing it just to be different? In the end I feel like it’s the latter. The way they ordered the episodes was sometimes really awkward, and the awkward order kept the plot from ever coming forth until the last minute where it never got a proper conclusion. I found no point to the episode order, and I think it even hurt the show. The show also fell in terms of quality because of certain episodes. Some were just episodic that had nothing to do with anything, and that just meant that those certain episodes could have been used to further the main plot. Some of the episodic ones were fine while others were forgettable and pointless, in which I wished they had taken those out and used those episodes to give us more about Princess and the country. Even then I don’t think the writers could have finished the rocky situation of the country, but I think with the extra time we could have gotten a more satisfying conclusion to the assassination mission and a more satisfying ending in general.
One other thing about the show that’s always bothered me was the lack of explanation of the lore. Cavorite, cavorite poisoning, a closer look into the situation of the Kingdom and Commonwealth, and just a political look into the show in general. I think the show could have been a lot more interesting if politics were discussed more, and I think we could have gotten that if we could have focused more on the Duke of Normandy as he was I guess the “villain” of the show? We don’t really know anything about him, which is another problem. The lack of explanation with the cavorite and the C-ball just made it seem like all the crazy things Ange did was an asspull at times. We were just left to sit there and wonder and just roll with the scenes before us (the whole figuring out where things were in the room with controlling the dust thing still pisses me off). There were a lot of things lacking when it came to plot and lore.
But when it came to characters, I think the show did a much better job at that. It made me care about a character like Dorothy, who at first I thought was a boring one-trick pony with her boob thing, to a caring older sister-type character. The show gave us episodes for each girl, giving us a good look into who they are and what events in their lives shaped them to who they are now. We saw them in bad times but also in good times, and I found it fun when the girls were all together. And while the Princess/Ange dynamic was great, and while Chise also had great moments, I found the older sister/little sister dynamic between Dorothy and Beatrice to be my favorite. They both have so much in common and they both understand each other, care for each other, and work so well with each other that I just loved watching them together.
The animation was consistent, with the background art being the best thing about it. I was always mesmerized by the steampunk setting and just seeing the city lights during scenes in the night was the best. I got used to the moe art style fast and was glad that the rest of the characters were drawn the same. I didn’t want it to be like Youjo Senki where only the girls were drawn cute where it would clash with the art style of the other characters. The soundtrack was great, as expected of Yuki Kajiura, though the same songs were played repeatedly such as the cool action saxophone song. However the OP song still remains one of the best OP songs in anime I’ve ever heard.
In the end, I still enjoyed Princess Principal despite its faults with the lack of plot and the strange order of episodes. Though I have to admit that the ending actually made me angry because of how unsatisfying and weird it was. I assume they left it like that in hopes that they would continue the story from there with a second season. But the problem with that is that we don’t know if there will be a sequel. If the episode had ended with a “To be continued” or something else to hint us of another season, I would have been more happier. But with having to ponder whether or not we’ll get another one is frustrating. And it’s because of this that I can’t really give this show an actual score. If this is how Princess Principal is going to end, then I would give it a 6/10. However, if we’re going to get a second season then I would bump up the score to a 7/10. I guess it would be fair to give it a 6.5/10. I’m really hoping for a second season, I’d love to see what will happen next with our little spy ladies.