Posted by SuperMario on 5 September 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Princess Principal

Now I can forgive the show for taking too long to introduce Chise; because we have a Chise-focus this week and I’m glad that episode 9 of Princess Principal does everything just right. This episode serves as a glaring proof of how Princess Principal does non-chronological order the right way. Technically, this Case11 happens when Chise just joined the team; still feel insecure about her position within the spy group (Something we learned already in Case9). But the little story this week also addresses the social class issues among the noble kids (this is a Royal School after all) towards Chise – a country bumpkin girl from a forsaken country named Nippon. This issue earns a deeper layer now, since we already know the story of The Princess and the Pickpocket last week (which chronologically happen way forward in Case20) and understand how social order can be quickly flipped around like a flash. This, I can argue, is the strength of non-linear order, you can gain context on certain themes, on certain character developments that otherwise would be insignificant in a linear way (Like how insignificant Haruhi season 2 was. Anticlimactic)

Secondly, “Pell-mell Duel” does a bang up job of fleshing out Chise and gives a much-needed dynamic between her with the rest of the cast, especially with the Princess. Prior to this episode, most of the team’s chemistry has always revolved around Ange, but for my humble opinion, Chise is always a more fascinating character (best girl!!!). Follow the story through her eccentric point of view serve to be this week’s greatest tricks. Chise has amusing perspective to the new life around her, she carries a wide range of emotions and every single one of them brightens the scene. The way she “struggles” to fit in with this Western world, I must note, isn’t come from her culture shock but more because of her never-back-down attitude. It’s endearing to hear her thoughts about other members, her challenging to a duel, even her insecureness on the “weapon that she has yet to acquire” and finally, her warming up on the Princess and other girls. As a result, this episode is entertaining basically from start to finish.

Another thing the episode does right is the fact that the entire episode is mostly set in their school; something that has been nothing more than a decoration in earlier episodes. Usually school setting is a sign for disaster but in this case, it breathes some fresh air to Princess Principal. Not only by doing so the show lets us witness how Chise fitting herself in with the new environment; it allows us to learn the hour details of their study (and how Chise constantly “tops” herself in every subject), introduce us to new character (Lily, turns out to be one of Duke Normandy’s spy) and give that social class tension a necessary conflict for the climax. Talking about that duel, I know it’s just me but I always find the old British duel kind of dull. It feels more like a test of courage of trying to act calm where the gun pointed at you, and usually the one who get to shoot first have a higher chance to win. I know the show mentions that it isn’t easy to hit the target on the first try, but when the rule explicitly says, “the first one down loose” it gives the first person who shoot a clear advantage. Not that the rich kid deserves to win either; because unlike British rule, Anime rule says that when you cheat, you get your ass kicked. Thus, even if her method of shooting bullet is a bit… beyond the rule; justice has been served.

Plot-wise, there are two important developments in this week. First, that new girl Lily serves as a spy to report the Duke of Normandy about the Princess’s activities in case the bodyguards can’t fulfill that job (guess all of them failed miserably as the Princess comes and goes and changes to spy suits and does spy works as she’s please ever since we met her). Lily has some roles in this episode but I can’t help but think she’s a one-off and this development further confirm that the Duke of Normandy will be the biggest obstacle the girls have to face. Second, Chise and the Princess shares some solid chemistry here. The Princess herself supports Chise on arranging the challenge, and that sumo celebration at the end is heartwarming. Chise holds the position of evaluate the two nations and while she’s not sure if Princess will succeed, she genuinely wants her to. I have nothing to complain on this excellent episode, both entertaining (and I admit that I took more than dozen screenshots of Chise’s various facial expressions), and fleshing out beautifully the dynamic between the core cast. Two third of the way, Princess Principal is still running strong; let’s hope that its final arc will be rewarding.

Note: it just hits me that almost all our girls have Daddy issues – not sure about the real Princess – Ange’s father but other girls had fathers that outright abuse them: Beatrice: father experimented on her – Dorothy: father hit her – Chise: let’s just say father betrayed her – Ange: father turn her into pickpocketing machine… I don’t think this Daddy issues will have anything to do with the climax and it doesn’t even fit to the themes Princess Principal established so far. So, I just leave it here as a note, for now.

2 Responses

  1. Avatar dlp says:

    Enjoyed your detailed analysis. Nice counterpoint to some other blog commentary that this was a “filler” episode (as if that’s relevant to this show’s format).

    Did hear some amusing snark that pre-sale orders seem to skyrocket in Japan for this show whenever there’s a Chise episode…

    • SuperMario SuperMario says:

      Thanks, you’re too kind. Chise is my best girl hence I might have enjoyed this episode more than everyone else. Didn’t know about Chise’s popular in Japan, but it’s great to hear. From what I gather viewers seem to regard Dorothy as their favorite. Flip Flappers didn’t sale very well so I am glad that PriPri avoid that pitfall.

      Yep, I don’t mind about the main plot too much but to be fair I’m quite surprised that the whole Cavorite business hasn’t developed very much since the first few episodes. Now we get to the final arc so let’s hope it will hold up in the end.

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