「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.