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Princess Principal – 05

「Case 7 Bullet & Blade’s Ballad」

If the show ran in chronological order, I assume this would have been our first encounter with Chise. Switching away from the glitz and glamour of espionage, we instead get a solid mix of backstory coupled with intense moments of action, all wrapped up in a conspiracy to assassinate Lord Horikawa. Talk about exciting!

Introducing Chise

Ange’s apprehension towards Chise in Case 9 is explained. Chise didn’t exactly make the greatest of first impressions, which I would say goes beyond a mere clash of cultures. When you come up against a person who you know is out to settle a vendetta, who you know is also skilled with the blade that they can deflect bullets like some cyborg ninja, you wouldn’t want to have them near anyone worth protecting. From what we’ve seen, Chise is incredibly loyal to Lord Horikawa, and that commitment can wind up being a threat to a third faction like the Princess. A simple order from above could spell the end. Chise’s superhuman martial skills would probably mean that she could easily kill Princess through even the best of protection. In short, a nightmare scenario for a skeptical and cautious person like Ange.

But we see a human side to our strange samurai girl hailing from distant lands. At the train station, she recites some words to make a kid who hurt their knee feel better. I see this as proof of being emotionally attached to the past, in a way that her honour as a samurai for Lord Horikawa would not permit. The eventual twist where Jubei turned out to be Chise’s father may have seemed obvious to many people, but I actually wasn’t expecting it. So the scene at the grave ended up hitting me pretty hard. I felt the moment could have been much better if they had panned to silent tears rather than having additional spoken words, but the moment suffices for now simply because it makes sense in the context of Chise’s character. She’s always been one to bluntly speak out her mind and her bereavement would surely be no exception.

Deathfight on a Train by Maidstone

The steam engine is something I would rate as one of the greatest British inventions. Harking from the Industrial Revolution, an age that very much inspired steampunk, it’s no surprise to see trains make a prominent appearance in Princess Principal.

I really want to praise the way this episode was animated and choreographed. The inertia in every movement felt weighty and lifelike, and this applied to two of the things I was most impressed about – the sequences pertaining to walking and fighting. There was also the fact it wasn’t limited to being a rehash of a singular style. The soldier’s jaunty walking greatly contrasts Chise’s nimble footwork, yet both offered a unique and pleasant visual experience that really spiced things up. There was also a strong force behind every swing of the blade, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that I could imagine the vibrations of metal travelling up my arms. That’s how immersive the experience felt.

A Small Excerpt on Beatrice’s Father

Though Beatrice’s father is still an utter asshole for carrying out inhumane experimentation upon his daughter, I begrudgingly concede that his tinkering ended up saving her life. Even though we’d seen her alive and well in later episodes, meaning she can’t have been killed by Jubei, the moment still felt really tense, since that’s not the kind of thing you think about in the split second when it occurs. That was a close one, otherwise I would have been allowed to quote the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland: “Off with her head!”.

Concluding Thoughts

This episode was so eloquently pieced together. From foreshadowing down to necessary plot elements, it made for thrilling watch that constantly left me on the edge of my seat. I’m amazed at the extent they are able to pull it off, seeing as the episodes aren’t even in chronological order!

Anyway, what I find unsettling is that due to his agency regarding the attempted assassination, the Duke of Normandy is onto something. I suppose he would truly be a fool to not suspect anything, after an important secret key vanishes at a dinner party attended by select few including the Princess. Alongside the leader of Control, that makes them the only two suspecting the Princess of having her own agenda, as opposed to being allied to any particular faction.

This would also explain the arranged marriage he proposed in Case 9, since the Princess would be tied down in a way that would damage her chances of obtaining the throne. Definitely a dangerous adversary for our girls, and I look forwards to seeing how they will continue to thwart his attempts at stifling their activities. With the next episode moving straight onto Case 18, I honestly wonder what direction they will be taking this series, since I had previously thought it would only be a single cour. Whatever 3Hz decide to do, I’m not complaining provided they keep up this quality!

August 7, 2017 at 3:58 pm
24 comments »
  • August 7, 2017 at 5:22 pmsonicsenryaku

    I think there might be a bit of confusion regarding your interpretation of Ange’s feelings towards Chise from last week’s ep Zaiden. Ange respects the shit out of Chise’s combat abilities; so much so that she always wants Chise to be with the princess because then she can be at ease knowing that harm will not come to her. Chise took this as Ange not trusting her i.e. the perception came from Chise’s own guilty conscience more or less. Now Ange very well may still be trying to keep Chise at arms length when it comes to sensitive information pertaining to their cases, but more than anything, the impression that was given from last week’s ep was that Ange trusts Chise’s ability to ward any kind of potential harm that might befall the princess; hence, the reason why she tries to leave her behind with the princess. This week’s ep served to elucidate exactly why that is: i mean damn, look how well those two work together. If anyone understands just how good of a fighter Chise is, it’s Ange

    • August 7, 2017 at 6:13 pmZaiden

      Good catch! I definitely misinterpreted that, and think you hit the nail on the head there with your explanation. Nothing to add here.

      But I’ll probably leave my post as is. While it’s embarrassing to be wrong, I’d personally think of it is as solid proof I have a long way to go, which can help drive me further.

      • August 7, 2017 at 6:42 pmsonicsenryaku

        you know what? I like you; you’re definitely going to shine as a writer on RC

      • August 8, 2017 at 6:37 amZaiden

        Thanks sonicsenryaku! Fortunately I have many great sempais in my fellow staff members who will help me out, and hopefully the years ahead that will help me achieve my goal.

        ATTENTION! Hijacking this earlier comment I made.

        I forgot to mention I’m going to Japan starting from tomorrow in some of my other posts. Gonna sticky a copy pasta here. I didn’t really ask if I should drop my duties, but all my sempais insisted I must properly enjoy glorious Nippon, and have chipped in to help out with coverage for my shows over the next two weeks.

        Boruto – Takaii
        Isekai Shokudou – Choya
        Knight’s & Magic – Pancakes
        Princess Principal – Passerby

        I want to thank everybody for helping me out! Truly blessed to have awesome sempais. Also, be nice to Passerby over the next two weeks :P

  • August 7, 2017 at 6:21 pmWanderer

    Given what the Duke of Normandy said this week, it sounds like he doesn’t actually have any reason to suspect the princess is up to anything, he’s just decided to try to have her killed on the general principle that someone could, possibly, eventually, use her in a way that would threaten the kingdom. So basically an extreme form of paranoia that I’m pretty sure would qualify as treason, and which, if taken to its logical extreme, will result in him killing everyone in the world as that’s the only way to be sure that the throne is “safe.”

    • August 8, 2017 at 6:49 amZaiden

      I dislike the Duke of Normandy, but it comes down to a matter of perspective. Had the story been set up from his perspective, the Princess is the villain threatening the stability and legitimacy of his country. At the end of the day, you can’t say his concerns are unjustified either. The Princess is planning on overthrowing the current dynasty to achieve her own ends (of wanting to be united with Ange), and isn’t really considering the interests of Albion as a whole.

      • August 8, 2017 at 9:39 amWanderer

        Well yes, it’s true that she is planning something towards seizing the throne. However, the Duke doesn’t seem to actually know that. His dialogue in this episode doesn’t show any sign that he’s operating off any evidence of her acting suspiciously or any signs of someone manipulating her. He’s trying to kill her simply because her existence as fourth in line to the throne makes her a possible threat someday, and that’s all the reason he has.

        If he were acting based on some unprovable suspicions due to her previous activities with the other girls, than I would not be coming down on him like this. He would simply be the antagonist for the series. But as it is he comes across as a dangerous paranoiac. The sort of person who would, eventually, gladly kill off every single Human in the world, because that would be the only way to be sure that no one is plotting to seize the throne.

  • August 7, 2017 at 6:23 pmdywypi

    I think Normandy was actually underestimating Princess, in exactly the same way Control underestimated her in the previous episode. He’s worried that she could work for or be manipulated by a third party, but doesn’t seem to realize that she could be moving against him and forming her own faction of her own volition.

    • August 8, 2017 at 6:52 amZaiden

      I don’t think he’s underestimated Princess, considering he’s trying to get her killed. If anything, he’s cautious precisely because he doesn’t know what she might be up to. Though I would say he’s probably a bit off regarding his estimation of the situation, but dangerously close to hitting the mark.

  • August 7, 2017 at 7:46 pmOne Pinch Man

    So I just watched it and caught up to the latest episode. Wow I never thought this anime has interesting twists and turns.

    http://randomc.net/image/Princess%20Principal/Princess%20Principal%20-%2005%20-%2024.jpg
    She should be glad that her robot neck saved her life.

    • August 8, 2017 at 6:53 amZaiden

      Reminds me of Edward Elric using his metal arm to parry swords. Good times ^_^

  • August 7, 2017 at 11:40 pmVelvet Scarlantina

    Now… Where do I start? Just too many awesome things going on in the episode…

    http://randomc.net/image/Princess%20Principal/Princess%20Principal%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2005.jpg
    Combat maids and loli ninjas samurai…

    http://randomc.net/image/Princess%20Principal/Princess%20Principal%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2006.jpg
    Flying combat maid…

    http://randomc.net/image/Princess%20Principal/Princess%20Principal%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2015.jpg
    Combat maid and a suicide bomber…

    http://randomc.net/image/Princess%20Principal/Princess%20Principal%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2020.jpg
    Katana wielding and blood slashing loli ninja samurai…

    Erm… Why are we watching the show again? Plot? Story line? Spies und lolis? Yuki Kajiura? Or all of it?

    http://randomc.net/image/Princess%20Principal/Princess%20Principal%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2024.jpg
    I believe that this scene made everyone hold their breath. I really thought she’s join the ranks of Chelsea and Mami. It took me a while to realise why Jubei’s sword didn’t cut through and that weird clink when the sword hit her.

    http://randomc.net/image/Princess%20Principal/Princess%20Principal%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2029.jpg
    I’m not sure about you guys but the sword fight felt like it was too short. I’d like to have it longer and would’ve been wonderful if Yuki Kajiura had made a homage to Jubei-chan’s theme.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzIlQ8VRsew

    “With the next episode moving straight onto Case 18, I honestly wonder what direction they will be taking this series, since I had previously thought it would only be a single cour. Whatever 3Hz decide to do, I’m not complaining provided they keep up this quality! ”
    Does that mean that PriPal is 2 cour? And follows Haruhi’s achronological airing format?

  • August 8, 2017 at 6:59 amZaiden

    This is something I found out by browsing the episode thread on Reddit. Ryouma Ebata was the man behind the storyboard and animations for this episode, and I have to say he blew the ball out of the park with his choreography. He’s definitely a name to look out for, and if this episode didn’t manage to convince you of that, here is a compilation of his other works. I just love the style he oozes, and the attention to detail he has in his works.

  • August 8, 2017 at 1:15 pmLoliHat

    Interesting to note the different handguns each side uses. The Duke of Normandy’s people use what appears to be a “Broomhandle” Mauser C96, though likely using a non-metric chambering (Imperials gotta Imperial, after all). In contrast, the other side used revolvers including what appears to be a Webley–Fosbery Automatic Revolver.

  • August 8, 2017 at 1:56 pmURGH

    What quality? It`s literally a neverending cliche run, exacerbated by the chosen theme.

  • August 8, 2017 at 6:16 pmyoloalchemist

    Hmmm. Between last episode and this one in which Chise was featured as more of a protector than a spy, it seems at some point between cases 7 and 9 she was tasked with spying on team White Pigeons. What makes her superiors task her with such a mission may be tied to Princess in some way. Time will tell if we ever get a case 8.

    And I like how the show makes us get to know these girls individually for who and what they normally are before making them doubt each other.
    http://randomc.net/image/Princess%20Principal/Princess%20Principal%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2038.jpg
    Everyone needs catharsis, especially little girls.

  • August 8, 2017 at 9:41 amZaiden

    As I addressed in my post, the secret key vanished at the dinner party in Case 1. That dinner party was attended by a select few. Everyone was searched apart from the Princess. Ergo, it would be silly for the Duke not to suspect her, and I wouldn’t put it down to paranoia.

    Plus it seems these attempts on her life only really started after incident at the dinner party, if that’s anything to go by in spite of the assumption on my part.

  • August 8, 2017 at 11:15 amWanderer

    I’m going to assume this was intended as a reply to my post above.

    My point is not the facts of the situation that could justify any suspicions he might have of the Princess. My point is that he explicitly states his reasons for trying to have her killed in this episode are simply “she’s fourth in the line of succession, but we can’t be sure that someone won’t try to move her ahead.” There is no indication that he has actual suspicions of her. Whether he does or not, his stated reasons for having her killed are ones that would justify killing anyone: basically translating to “she exists, so I’d better kill her because she might become a threat someday.”

  • August 8, 2017 at 11:15 amWanderer

    …Odd, the reply link doesn’t seem to be working. I know I clicked it.

  • August 8, 2017 at 1:19 pmLoliHat

    We don’t know (yet) what the Duke of Normandy does or does not know. Her being a Princess heavily limits the course of action he can take against her and her confederates.

  • August 8, 2017 at 6:31 pmZaiden

    That makes the two of us :(

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