Posted by SuperMario on 28 August 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Princess Principal

We have a much-needed backstory of The Princess and the Pickpocket in the Black Lizard Planet this week. The actual case of week 8 was reduced into some minor scenes, but now I become more certain that the main boss the spy girls have to face in the end will be the Duke of Normandy; as once again his personal agent, Gazelle, was up to no good this time around, trying to trick Lord O’Reilly or whatever his name was, defecting to the Commonwealth to trap him. How the hell the girls figure out the whole evil scheme just by recognizing Gazelle is anyone’s guess (maybe because they’re… spy?), but no problem at all since the real juicy part of this episode lies in the Princess and Ange’s backstory and her interaction with the poor kid that remind Ange a lot of her childhood. Three weeks in a row Princess Principal slows down the pacing for more character developments and while the previous two added little to the main story, this one provides a backbone of Ange and Princess’s tragic “love” (see the heart-shaped door frame when the two girls playing piano together?) and with that story we can identify how the Princess has been struggling to become who she is today.

Alright. The juicy part first. Ange and Charlotte indeed swapped places when they were small – being around the same age with same features and same eye colors and everything (hey, they might as well be a twin). One from the royal and one from the dirt poor. The kinds you always see in fairy tale. But this isn’t your regular fairy tale, as the real Princess received a real hardship when she went out of her kingdom and then they got separated after all the high-spirited talks about becoming a real Queen, healing the world and what not. In a serious side though, the flashback gives us much more context about the relationship between Ange and the Princess now; and it’s rather heartwarming to finally learn that the very reason Princess wanted to become the Queen is because that was exactly what Ange wanted before the separation. All their conversations make sense now in retrospect. I also like the way that Ange not only appreciate the Princess for taking her role flawlessly, she also understands and admires her friend for all the hardship the Princess has gone through in order to survive – in order to act and behave like real Princess.

And for me, this part is where the episode truly shines. A certain conman, in the name of Kaiki Deishu from the Monogatari series, argues in Nisemonogatari – itself meaning Fake Story that (sorry for mild spoiler here: you don’t need to read the next sentence if you don’t want to be spoiled, for others, highlight the sentence) – the fake (like himself) has to spend much more effort to look like real and in a process become more real than the real thing.  It might sound like some twisted argument but it’s a kind of argument that I happen to agree with to a degree and here, it makes a whole lotta sense. The poor Pickpocket who suddenly becomes the Princess, who couldn’t write before or couldn’t read any single musical note, had to try harder and harder in order to match with the Princess’s image; along with a constant pressure that if she slips in any moment, she’d be uncover – and in a process, herself becomes the true Princess. The fact that she never regards herself as the real one, but tries hard to become perfecto make it all the more tragic. Chise realizes immediately (very great little moment there) that the Princess doesn’t enjoy all the hard trainings – those simply have become her duty. But when she said the same lines that Ange proposed long ago, it’s the talk of the real Princess – and to me at least, she becomes the REAL princess now.

It’s also nice to see Ange opens up to another little girl, Julie, who reminds her so much of her past. She goes such length to not only teach the girl how to pickpocket, but tell her the story of her life and comes to her factory to rescue the girl and advises her to stay in the orphanage. I don’t know if people notice but the painting that Ange finished (while spying) has Julie smiling in there. I also love the tiny little moments Princess Principal constantly place on other girls: how Chise wears warm clothes on the second night (wait, is she ninja or is she batgirl?), Ange has to dress up as the Princess and Beatrice gets angry at Dorothy because she brought booze to the mission and how the Princess’s hands were shaking while she was riding the horse. It’s a legit visual storytelling right there and I hope Princess Principal relies more on these little moments and sweet interactions than pulling the rug out under our feet with life-changing twists and turns.

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