「Case 2 Vice Voice」
Ange wants to run away with the Princess to Casablanca, while the Princess is set on becoming Queen. Both have the goal of being together, with contrasting outlooks on how it should be done. The dynamic presented is intriguing, and something that can be justified through their highly contrasting life experiences. For one, Ange wants to have a secret life living happily ever after, a symptom of her involvement with the world of espionage. Meanwhile, the Princess wants the power to make it so that they can openly be together, an extension of the freedom and power endowed by her royal title. To that end, the Princess plans on utilising the covert services of Control to contend for the throne. This episode highlighted the first part to her plans, and we see the Princess embark upon her first mission. The shared reluctance towards the Princess’ participation, exhibited from two heavily contrasting characters in Beatrice and Ange, makes for an enthralling narrative.
Mission: Retrieve the Plates
Dorothy is one of the finest femme fatales anime has seen in recent times. From Mister Morgan from last episode (barring the intervention of a third party), to the unfortunate young security guard in this episode, she really knows how to have her way with men. What’s badass is that she climbs up the air chute from the toilet to pull a lever, so that Ange could infiltrate the HMS Gloucester through a water reservoir.
Even though she was stringing along an incompetent Beatrice (I’m surprised the guards didn’t notice her really loud protests), I liked seeing Ange sneak through the HMS Gloucester. Watching her pick locks, then listening through multiple audio channels to identify the correct one she wanted makes it seem like she can do pretty much anything. Then she successfully assassinated her target and reclaims the stolen plates, through the flurry of machine gun bullets being fired at her, albeit with the help of Cavorite Ex Machina. I’m not too satisfied with the resolution, mainly because believability has been sacrificed for dramatic effect. Firstly, the bullets flew really close to Ange to make it seem really tight, and I personally think it would make so little sense for Ange to have survived so far through sheer luck if she had always been living so recklessly. However, I’m willing to concede this to be a one off, based upon her feelings of loyalty towards the Princess, and the rest I’ll chalk down to some Cavorite mischief.
From my perspective, Princess Principal did something incredible, then slightly wasted it in mere moments. Initially, I found Beatrice’s backstory compelling, but ultimately I couldn’t really bring myself to like her much as a character. Our tragic machine girl is defined by a love of a princess who accepted her, in spite of being dehumanised by cybernetic experiments carried out on her vocal cords. But if recent years have gone to show anything, I realise I dislike obsessive yuri – which I reckon would probably be a bonus for most. To top it off, she has little sense of urgency and all I could feel was frustration towards her as she fumbled around. I would understand being inexperienced with the spywork, as well as being reluctantly thrust into an high paced and dangerous world for the sake of your princess. But why hesitate to save someone whose life was clearly in danger?
So far, Princess Principal has been a crazy and fun ride chock filled with steampunk – mystery has me completely hooked! A lack of preview even keeps my suspense meters topped up going into the next week.
Despite my harsh criticisms, I feel like Beatrice redeemed herself at the end of the episode. She can understand Ange’s cryptic riddles, and more importantly knows how to roll along with them! Though I know that the brazen, princess-loving aspect will rear its head every now and then, I hope we can mainly see witty interactions with Ange, since I like to believe they overcame the problems they had with each other. They share a common loyalty to the Princess where they would even give up their lives, and I will be curious to see where that will take them.
Now it has been verified that Ange and the Princess wanted to reunite, I can’t help but wonder if Control actually don’t know what’s going on. I have a sneaking suspicion that they either have an inkling or are aware of the whole situation which will result in Chise coming into the fray. Looking forwards to seeing how that will play out!