With a name like Princess Principal, there’s a certain sixth sense you get about a show. It’s almost if you don’t want to give the show a chance because it just screams some moe garbage at a random Japanese school with some stuck up snob running the place right? Well if a 1920’s sci-fi steampunk setting in Europe where a divided nation sets the stage for a war between spies is moe garbage then I guess you would be right, wouldn’t you?
Except you’re not. You’re completely wrong and this first episode really took me by surprise!
First Episode Impressions
The first episode centers around a man named Eric Andreson who is on the run seeking to cross the wall in exchange for some top secret information. We are introduced to Ange, a monotone girl who tells nothing but lies. She, along with her partners who are a part of the spy group known as the Black Lizard Planet, rescue Eric and hide them at the Queens May Fair School, a school where only royalty attends. Eric’s only demand is that he have his sister Amy accompany him across the wall.
Something doesn’t add up and it turns out that Eric was a spy sent to infiltrate the school and eliminate them. Unfortunately for Eric, Ange and the others already sensed something was amiss and carried out their own investigation. Once they confirmed that Eric was a spy, they tricked him into thinking that they would take him across the wall early when, in reality, they brought him out to a secluded area and assassinated him. That brought us to the end of the first episode.
I have to say that everything this show has done so far has impressed me. From the tone to the visuals to the soundtrack to the story itself… it all meshes together in, quite possibly, the most interesting anime this season, which is saying a lot because there are a LOT of interesting shows that I have been watching. The only thing that really bothers me is that Ange is the only character that stands out. Even though she has a dry and dull personality, her hidden quips in the fact that she always lies keeps her interesting. Sadly, the same can’t be said for Principal, Chise, Beatrice or Dorothy who all seem just run-of-the-mill so far. Hopefully they will get some nice development as the series goes on.
OP & ED Impressions
The opening is “The Other Side of the Wall” by Void Chords feat. MARU and it is, hands down, the most unique opening I’ve heard in quite some time. It’s got this upbeat jazz tone about it while mixed with a modern sound. The vocals kick in and it brings to it a unique kind of power that forces you to pay attention. The visuals for the opening are also fantastic and compliment it very nicely. The song is also sung in English as well, so that’s more points towards its uniqueness.
“A Page of My Story” by the Seiyuu’s of the main characters served as the ending theme and eh…. It’s just not my kind of song. It sounds like your typical garbage anime opening only slowed down for the purposes of an ending theme. The paper cut out style graphics have been done so many times before (Tegami Bachi: Reverse comes to mind) and I guess this kind of song fits that style, but to me, it just wasn’t pleasant to listen to at all.
YES – I think this show is going to catch many people by surprise. It’s definitely a show that you shouldn’t pre-judge on the name alone. Everything from the tone of the show to the style draws you in and keeps you interested. While the first episode seemed like it would be an episodic series, I think it served up a taste of what this show has to offer and what it offers is something I definitely want more of!