OP Sequence

OP: 「The Other Side of the Wall」 by Void Chords feat. MARU

「case13 Wired Liar」

As you may have been able to tell from our preview on Princess Principal, I had high hopes for this show and I’m happy to say right out the gate that this pilot met all of them and more. It’s an excellent start in both visuals and drama, and for those of you who ducked into this intro post just to get an opinion on whether you should watch PriPri: yeah, definitely pick this one up. Let’s take some time, though, to talk about exactly what kind of show it is, because in the preview I made a mention of how much I enjoy espionage thrillers and made a brief reference to Joker Game. I think it’s now safe to say that PriPri isn’t really Joker Game, and is arguably not entirely an espionage thriller.

I’ve talked about this before when I was blogging Joker Game and won’t belabour the point here, but basically the business of spying is in reality quite mundane and not at all glamorous. Spies do a lot of hiding and going through people’s trash and lodging stuff in one’s rectums, and the appeal of their stories in fiction is the psychological angle, of mind-games being played between two hostile sides. The cars chases and the murder and the, er, Last Exile flight technology, as we have in PriPri, are a Hollywood affection, less about spies and more for getting butts on cinema seats. I’m not saying that’s inherently good or bad, just that it makes for different genre. So despite sharing the beautiful foggy London that I love, PriPri and Joker Game are really not the same thing. And that’s fine. We don’t need realistic spies everywhere, and as PriPri notes itself, truth is overrated. In return for increased fictionalisation (though I don’t know why they invented a ‘Kingdom of Albion’ but still insisted on ‘London’), we get steampunk airships, and I will never ever object to steampunk in my anime.

Still, it’s not a hard line that’s drawn here, as PriPri tries to have its cake and eat it too, appealing to the classical spy fiction by playing on the ‘spies as tragic figures’ angle well established by pioneers of the genre like The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Hence why we have Angie’s backstory and sick little sisters. Now, I’m not exactly sure why Angie had to kill the scientist at the end, but I understand the intention of the scene, to pull away from the glamor of Angie as super-powered-action-girl and establish her as a pitiable figure. Many anime are criticised for pushing the ‘cute girls doing cute things’ angle to rake in the moé money, and there’s no denying that PriPri does a bit of that too, but here I think they’re actually trying to make use of their cute girls for something interesting, juxtaposing them with the sordid business they’re engaged in. To that end, I don’t think Angie’s story is the story of a spy, but more the story of a child soldier, and I think a better comparison than Joker Game would be Gunslinger Girl. I don’t know if PriPri will be trying for the same melancholic depth as Gunslinger Girl, but I certainly see some underlying similarities between the two shows, and that’s a good thing.

Does it seem like PriPri is trying to do a lot? Yeah, it’s trying to do a lot, and that’s before we even sink our teeth into the fantasy angle it brings up from time to time this episode. So far it has managed to fit everything in with fantastic execution, narrating minimally, letting mysteries in the setting hang tantalisingly for the moment, and allowing characters to just do stuff and engage with each other. If it manages to continue on that line and capitalise on all the promise it has shown in this start, I think we’ll have something great by the time we’re done. Original anime don’t always work out for me, but I’m optimistic about this one. I think that’s the most exciting part of Princess Principal‘s entrance.


ED Sequence

ED: 「A Page of My Story」 by アンジェ (今村彩夏)、プリンセス (関根明良)、ドロシー (大地葉)、ベアトリス (影山灯)、ちせ (古木のぞみ) (The main cast, don’t make me write out all the names)


  1. Velvet Scarlantina
  2. I don’t know why they invented a ‘Kingdom of Albion’ but still insisted on ‘London’

    Because Albion is a very old name for Great Britain. Or is that not what you were meaning?

  3. Didn’t Angie kill the scientist in the end to save the sister? She went and took out life insurance on the scientist earlier in the episode, and at the very end, she had him sign the life insurance form right before killing him. That’s why the body wasn’t found until a week later and also (maybe) why she shot him so many times – so it didn’t look like a suicide (for which there would be no payout). So, yeah, she killed the scientist (he knew too much anyway), but also fulfilled the scientist’s goal of saving his sister.

    The WP
    1. Right, right, the life insurance fraud was a small mercy, but did the scientist really have to be killed? I’m assuming his research and expetise was valuable or else nobody would have cared if he defected, so why just kill him? They had already made arrangements to smuggle him and his sister past the wall and they had thoroughly thwarted the counterintelligence operation, so I assume they were free to go ahead with their plan A. Surely he would have been useful to somebody on the other side, and can look into funding his sister’s treatment there.

      Mind you, I’m still operating under Joker Game logic. A discovered spy is a liability for his master, and an asset for his opponent. To just kill him is such a waste.

      1. But, as pointed out, he wasn’t a spy and had very little experience outside a lab. He didn’t really know anything spy-wise of his own side but had learned too much of the operation that had tried to help him. And, while his research may have been useful, we don’t know for sure and he would have been uncooperative so as to not abandon his sister. Sadly, killing him was the best solution for everyone involved.

      2. @GoukaRyuu
        See, there’s a lot of assumptions we have to be making about his usefulness and his cooperativeness and how hard it would be to let him take his sister with him for the ‘execute him in cold blood’ decision to be the inevitable one.

        (Btw, it’s not necessarily about his skill or experience as a spy, it’s about knowing he’s a spy while the enemy doesn’t know that you know. Then he becomes, at the very least, an easy route for false intel. A compromised spy is worse than useless. But of course, as Urahara notes, PriPri and Joker Game are likely going to end up being very different sorts of shows.)

      3. Given that he didn’t actually want or intend to defect, he would have had no value to them if they did bring him over the wall, and he knew way too much to let him go. His betrayal of them was a deliberate attempt to kill them all, because had the Kingdom’s plan succeeded the girls would certainly have all been executed, although probably only after being tortured for days or weeks.

        Simply put, he stepped into the world of international espionage, which is not a nice place, and where the wrong decision can cost you your life. He made a wrong decision, and his life is what it cost him.

      4. Not that easy to get them over the wall with their opponents looking for them an expecting it. Getting the sister is even problematic for the same reason. If they fail their whole operation is blown with them all killed or worse and all for a person who would betray them for his own emotional but ultimately selfish reasons. Thirdly it’s not clear if the treatment is even available on their side of the wall.

        The other possibility is that she was ordered to kill him.

      5. @Bear
        See, you can make arguments as to why the deed was done, but I can as easily make arguments as to why it didn’t have to be. So, the outcome didn’t, for me, feel so inevitable, and therefore not as tragic. It’s not a complaint, per se, but just my take on things.

      6. @Passerby

        Of course they might have tried to extract him and his sister. I’m just pointing out the practical reasons why they might have decided not to. Depends on the authors’ decision to go light or dark. They split the difference by going dark with a modicum of benevolence (the life insurance).

  4. Am I the only one who would not trust a 13 year old with feeding the dog ? sensitive , national security , power balance information on the other hand , well ….

  5. I’ve had my eye on this ever since I saw that Actas was co-producing it. The studio behind my second favorite anime of the decade so far, Girls und Panzer. I’m glad this is truly worth supporting.

  6. One thing that really bothered me about this episode:
    Did this lady survive? Or was she replaced with that other girl in the counter intelligences hideout? Still had some bandages around her neck.

    I’m sure she’s positioned on the other side. I’m also sure Dorothy appeared from his right side, otherwise I think it would be a rather awkward position.

    Overall it was a fun ride. More of a James Bond type of entertainment.

    1. I’m pretty sure the woman getting injected and the woman with bandages around her neck in the rival spy area are the same person. She was probably put there to monitor the sister.

  7. I loved the entire atmosphere in this anime. The backgrounds, as well as Kajiura Yuki’s jazz infused music contributed to that. The action was sick of course. I’m looking forward to see how the dynamics between the characters are gonna play out, as this episode showed the mystery in those dynamics.

    But I have to say, Kajiura Yuki and loli action girls already doesn’t bode well for the action girls 🙁

    1. IIRC, cavorite was originally described as a shield against gravity rather than acting as an anti-gravity material, I.E. The cavorite didn’t repulse the gravity of the Earth, but lowered the weight of the cavorite and what it inclosed to zero thus reducing its effective density, being pushed upwards by the weight of the air around it being pulled downward by gravity. In later incarnations, cavorite is treated as an outright anti-gravity material.

      On a side note, cavorite was a key plot point in the original graphic novel for Show Spoiler ▼

      1. True it blocks gravity in the original. I had forgotten that. Here it seems to create a field around what directly touches it. I don’t recall exactly what happens but I assume that Cavor’s sphere shoots off into space because it still has the velocity of the earth’s spin once all the cavorite is exposed.

  8. Came into this with no (i.e. neutral) expectations and it was better than I expected. Also bit darker with the body count, but that’s fine given the setting. Definitely in for two more episodes.

  9. i give this anime a try, because of my…

    – Noir vibes ( i know, they are more Assassins. Also great Vocal Soundtracks: Cata per me, salva nos)
    – Gunslinger Girls


    I am sorry, i know there is another Female Assassin Anime in the past with Guns, but i did not watch it

    1. i love also the Steampunk tools and World. But…

      even if these Steam driven Cars run this fast, they still are victims to the G-Forces. Oh well, perhaps this thing that let this Airships fly, neutralize the G-Force at high speed in these Super fast Steam Cars

  10. Okay, world inference:

    1. Late Victorian timeframe 1890-1910

    2. Hail Albion. Rather than naval dreadnoughts, you have aerial dreadnoughts. So figure about 1900’s, for an historical analogue.

    3. A time of revolutionaries – IRL, the 1890’s were the time of time of the anarchists. Someone led a revolution against the British Empire. And partly succeeded.

    So now you have a Cold War – Which side is which and which side are the baddies?


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