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Princess Principal – 07

「case 16 Loudly Laundry」

Historical footnote: the Geneva Conventions do no actually concern themselves with the use of poison gas, especially if we’re talking about the first 1864 treaty that would be contemporary with Princess Principal. That was an agreement on the treatment of wounded soldiers (y’know, Red Cross yada yada). Perhaps Ange and crew were talking about the Geneva Protocol, which does indeed prohibit the use of poison gas (though is notably silent on the production of such weapons), but that entered into force in 1928, decades after the time of Princess Principal (presumably, 1872). Of course, PriPri is alternate history (as the airships and steampunk laundromats should make apparent), so maybe the Geneva everything went down differently. If we’re going to throw out all we know about anything, though, all bets are off.

Speaking of shaky chronology, the blonde idiot from last episode is back, but if you recall last episode was ‘case 18′, while this week we had ‘case 16‘. I would have loved it if Dorothy actually recognised him last episode and we got their first encounter this episode, but alas it was not to be. If a series is going to use non-linear storytelling, they really should play ahead. Instead, blondie could have been just any rich fluff, a stock archetype that is a dime a dozen in Victorian England (Albion, whatever). In fact, I was half expecting Loudly Laundry to be a Korean StarCraft player a Charles Dickens-esque story with an Industrial Revolution twist. Princess is out and about, able to survey the plight of the impoverished in her country. Saving the jobs of these underclass girls was a noble gesture, but what effect can it have on the big picture? It’s not like she can buy up every washhouse in both sides of Albion. Princess’s resolve to become Queen redoubles. And then we’ll have a tragic ending where, despite all of the White Pigeon’s efforts, the girls are all replaced by machines within the year anyway.

But, no tragedy. Perhaps after two straight weeks of tragedy, PriPri has decided we needed a break. Indeed, case 16 is only nominally an espionage story at all, with only a token enemy agent and minimal stealth efforts as PriPri deploys the most conspicuous spies possible. In fact, it almost seems that Loudly Laundry runs counter to all the themes of Rouge Morgue. If you recall, in Rouge Morgue, Dorothy could not quite discard her past, finds it within herself to repair her relationship with her father, but is denied. After all she’s a spy. It’s a profession where a past, personal connections, and emotional attachment are all liabilities. Here in Loudly Laundry, though, our spies got involved. They made friends. They left their mark. All actions antithetical to the consummate professional. But, nobody is punished for it. Even if they all have to disappear in the end, they do good. They get their happy ending.

Maybe, deep down, Princess Principal wants to be an optimistic sort of story, even if its subject matter is very much not. Perhaps we’re just taking a break from everything this week with a feel-good story as the calm before the storm (you may notice that the visuals aren’t quite as tight, though thankfully the background artists are still putting bread on the table). Perhaps it’s just a natural result of the marriage of cute-girls-doing-cute-things with espionage drama, that we will seesaw between cynicism and idealism . I’m sure we’ll have more of the hard-hitting in the future, and Zaiden will be back for that. For now, let’s allow ourselves to be happy as, for the first time, Team White Pigeon actually manages to do a genuinely good thing.

Full-length images: 14.

August 21, 2017 at 2:30 am
17 comments »
  • August 21, 2017 at 4:54 amsouma

    http://randomc.net/image/Princess%20Principal/Princess%20Principal%20-%2007%20-%20Large%2030.jpg

    I wonder how the laundry girls explain to the soldiers, when they realized that bla bla richard has gone missing while searching his laundry.

    • August 21, 2017 at 8:30 pmPasserby

      Well, most of them honestly don’t know what happened to him, so… deny everything!

  • August 21, 2017 at 5:44 amET

    The mustached man was the real hero of the story. Thanks to him, Ange had an easy mission.

    It didn’t advance the plot much, but I still loved this episode anyway since it fleshed out Princess Principal’s world a little. It also showed what Ange and the spies are capable of when they’re not spying; we’ve seen them risking their lives and sometimes killing people, so this episode made them a lot more human instead of just badass spies. The way the laundry girls’s lives changed for the better was also definitely heartwarming to watch.

    • August 21, 2017 at 8:25 pmPasserby

      I daresay, without the covert help of mustached man the mission would have been an abject failure. Well, at least they would have gotten a washhouse out of it.

  • August 21, 2017 at 6:35 amChris hall

  • August 21, 2017 at 7:26 amDr. Hochmeister

    As an engineer I enjoyed the shoutouts to Lean Manufacturing… if only the people involved with that IRL were as pleasent as Ange & co. It is straining plausibility just how little effort everyone’s spending to stay low profile… Someone should have noticed by now that the Princess is doing a lot of weird stuff that just happens to line up with Commonwealth intelligence ops, and that she’s picked up a highly trained entourage out of nowhere…

    • August 21, 2017 at 8:20 pmPasserby

      In this case they were dealing with a lone agent so maybe they care less, but I do agree that having some of the most out-of-place girls in London gallivanting about the city in one big group is the kind of thing that would attract unnecessary attention, to say the least.

      (Though I would have expected Princess to at least have laundered the transaction through a few anonymous corporations. There’s a proper form for these things.)

  • August 21, 2017 at 9:15 amsonicsenryaku

    “I would have loved it if Dorothy actually recognised him last episode and we got their first encounter this episode”

    you’re assuming this was the first time they met those fools or that case 18 was the second time. If anything, these pitiful money hustlers might be reoccuring characters throughout the series; foils placed in the narrative to give the girls an unexpected hard time while they’re on the job

    other than that, yea i agree with your assessment that Pripri is leaning a bit more optimistically with these girls and how they view their spy work. They all seem to have a genuine desire to want to see people be happy; after all, that’s what the princess is fighting for; rebuilding the nation and trying to fix the wrongs in the country

    • August 21, 2017 at 8:14 pmPasserby

      If they had met even before this case, and they don’t even say hi, then I it’s a bit cold, no? Even for spies.

      • August 22, 2017 at 4:09 amsonicsenryaku

        think of them as the skull and bulk (mighty morphin power rangers) of the series; no one really wants to acknowledge them

  • August 21, 2017 at 11:18 amWorldwidedepp

    I have nothing against an Steam Punk world, but imagine if the Air we breath are filled with the Smoke. many big Citys in Asia still have this problem. So if future Steampunk World building want to be more “realistic” then they should invent an clean Steampunk air… Because of CO2. Also when they burn all the Wood they need for the fires, will the Earth turn into a gigantic Desert?

    • August 21, 2017 at 8:13 pmPasserby

      They have anti-gravity technology in alternate Cold War England and you’re worried about wood fires?

  • August 21, 2017 at 7:10 pmphatmlrd

  • August 22, 2017 at 3:54 amGoukaRyuu

    I’m honestly wondering if, between this and last episode, it will come to bite them in the ass. They have left a noticeable presence here and the ruffians have run into them twice now. Also, I would think a Japanese spy in London during the 1880s/1890s would be pretty conspicuous. Perhaps it will be these events and the ruffians in question that will put the Duke of Normandy directly onto them.

  • August 22, 2017 at 5:54 pmskyhack

    Love this silly show.

  • August 24, 2017 at 7:32 amtheirs

    I wonder if Princess managed to break even with her investment?

    http://randomc.net/image/Princess%20Principal/Princess%20Principal%20-%2007%20-%2036.jpg
    Where did they go to? Been ages since I went to London. Might be a hint for episode 17.

    • August 24, 2017 at 7:52 pmMincemaker

      Considering that the laundromat has increased revenue by over 200% after Princess had the machines reorganised and receive proper maintenance, and this is BEFORE they got more clients, I say no, she didn’t just break even, she made profit.

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