「case18 Rouge Morgue」

Bad news, folks. Zaiden is out living it up right now, so you’re going to be stuck with Passerby for your Princess Principal coverage. Yeah, I know, but it’s only for two weeks, so bear with it. Look on the bright side; if I were here last week I would have spent the entire post waxing lyrical about my love for steam trains. It could be worse.

While sadly the locomotives have left centre stage, we’re still continuing the trend of last episode. That is, more character exposés, this time shining a spotlight on the first member and resident driver of Team White Pigeon, Dorothy/Daisy/D-girl, and like all the girls who have been featured thus far, she has father issues. Her particular brand of Electra: violent child abuse. I mentioned, back when I introduced this series back in episode 01, that PriPri was perhaps modeled less after espionage thrillers and more after Gunslinger Girl, and now I have no doubt. There’s something about young child soldiers that makes them always have complicated relationships with older men. Even Ange, whose past is still obscured for now (except for her being Australian), kills what could have stood for a father-like figure in the very first episode. And while D isn’t personally forced to patricide like C and A-by-proxy, I don’t think we could have expected her story to be a happy one.

In the first place, though, why was Dorothy the one assigned to this mission? I would have thought that the fact that she was the daughter of the target was more a liability than an asset. Sure, eventually he spilled his secrets to her anyway, but one can imagine that if the father had any sense for spycraft, or if the Duke of Normandy had someone monitoring him, this mission could have gone south very quickly. Consider this: immediately on contact with the target, Dorothy instantly loses her cool, and soon after the agents are compromised. By all measures, it was a disaster from the start. As Beatrice notes, spies are not supposed to have pasts. They should have abandoned both human connections and human emotions. Yet, Dorothy is not cold-blooded enough to abandon her father.

Does that make Dorothy a bad spy? Well, yes. Her code-name is her mother’s name, for goodness sakes. She’s a good person, perhaps. A good daughter, perhaps. But a bad spy. This is partly why, I think, Beatrice will never take to this line of work because on this team it’s she who, from what we’ve seen, is the most free of guile and is the most genuinely decent, normal person whom the others feel comfortable confiding with. It’s sort of a healthy thing that she’s a bad spy, in the same way that it’s healthy that Dorothy goes out of her way to forgive her terrible father even though it would probably have been easier for her to cut that connection for good. But because Dorothy is still very much a spy, she has little say in the matter. Judging by what we know of the Duke of Normandy, I don’t think we could have expected a happy ending. He’s not to kind of person to leave loose ends. His people will even commit cold-blooded murder in a church. But this is the the world of spies in Princess Principal. It’s the kind of world in which Dorothy and all of Team White Pigeon have to live.


  1. I just marathoned up to episode 5 before this episode…. This one was a both beautiful and melancholy and what a perfect way to end it given the nature of Dorothy’s past.

    As someone that was really into Noir (anime) when I aired 16 years ago the story is not the same but damn, the Princess Principal soundtrack gave me chills when it goes into instrumental mode. They both hold such a character on their own and really sells the aura of these series.

  2. I hope it’s just me (dear God, I hope), but didn’t this episode serve as a death flag for Dorothy? Her being a good person indeed makes her a vulnerable spy. I was nervous thinking her father was gonna mention her name in front of that Duke of Normandy subordinate, and even though he thankfully didn’t, I still worry that whatever he mentioned might lead back to her. I know this is an anime featuring cute girls in a dirty martini spy fiction so such thing is not out of the question, but if it happens… oh man, this show already made care for these girls, so job well done.

    I loved the finisher here, with the song set against the harsh reality of Dorothy’s father’s death. So impactful.

    1. >I hope it’s just me (dear God, I hope), but didn’t this episode serve as a death flag for Dorothy?

      Well, didn’t Dorothy say herself that half of the people that walk down that road die and it was just her and Beatrice? If it comes to that that was excellent foreshadowing.

  3. It’s funny that you make the gunslinger girl comparison because watching princess principal always makes me feel like im watching a product from the early 2000’s. It’s storytelling style and visual atmosphere just gives me that vibe

  4. As the daughter of a man that this could have been based on, this hit a wee bit close to home. I was never able to patch things up before my ol’ da passed so please…..please take five minutes out of your day to talk to your parents. It doesn’t have to be anything important at all. Simply say “hiya, how ya doing?” Trust me you will want that to be the last words you say to them other than “I wish you were dead”. Life can be hard folks and unlike an anime, we can’t just replay our own episodes.


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