Princess Principal Episode 6: More fathers

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It looks like this series will continue to jump through time for now as it introduces the main characters. Dorothy’s story has probably been the best of the backstories so far. Chise’s father was a bit of a side thought, and we only really saw the scars from Beatrice’s relationship with her father. Dorothy ended up having a genuine heartfelt episode with her father. It wasn’t that crazy of a story, but it sure was presented well.

It’s hard to even judge the father too since the episode seemed to suggest that he had a legitimate mental issue. But I guess the moral of the story is it sucks to be a spy…

Also, it looks like we’re up to case 18. Just how much is this show planning on jumping around? At this point, I’m not even sure how the gaps in time are going to hold their own.

Beatrice and Dorothy made for a good combination in this episode. We’ve seen them interact in previous episodes, but this episode really establishes as pretty similar characters. Whereas Beatrice latched on to Princess to deal with her past, Dorothy became a bit more cynical as a result. They’re a nice example of separate personalities forged from similar pasts.

The fight in this episode was also pretty surprising. We’ve seen Dorothy used largely as a glorified distraction, but she’s actually pretty strong on her own. It also makes her feel much more normal in comparison to the other spies. Ange uses crazy cyberpunk magic, Beatrice has a fancy voice-changer, and Chise is a literal ninja. It makes Dorothy feel like she just exists to ground the cast, which isn’t necessarily bad.

There was only really one part of this episode that I couldn’t follow. Why exactly was it okay for Dorothy’s identity to be revealed? I understand that she would have the most familiarity with the target, but it seems like it would be very easy for her to get exposed on a mission like this.

Princess Principal Episode 5: More surprising than it should be

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This series continues to be full of surprises. Of course, I don’t mean the whole deal with Chise and her father. That much was pretty obvious. This episode threw a few new things at us. I believe this episode is the first mention of the titular “Principal”, but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to gather from it yet.

The episode also showed Princess taking action for the first time, rather than acting diplomatic or standing on the sidelines. Granted, it might just be because Ange is usually overprotective, but it was still nice to see.

The episode started off with a pretty natural opening as well, introducing the disparity between East and West through the commoners on the street. We can easily see the stereotypes that are associated with the East in a way that doesn’t really distract from the episode.

I also respected that the episode went directly into Chise’s introduction after they skipped forward to a second mission with her in last week’s episode. That last episode raises the questions about her character and the next episode immediately handles them. The fights in this episode also looked pretty nice. It’s something you don’t see often in a show like this.

Was I supposed to be conclude that Chise only won the fight because of the sudden collision of the two trains? If would make sense that a sudden stop would fling her forward into Jubei. However, he would theoretically have moved as well, and they should have been affected by the brakes long before the trains collided. Hard to say, but not hugely important.

I also didn’t get this cards scene at all. It mostly distracted me from what the characters were saying because I couldn’t figure out why the soldiers weren’t reacting.

Princess Principal Episode 4: Jumping around

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The case numbers are really helping with the chronology of this series. I probably would have been a lot more resistant with the introduction of Chise in this episode if the first three episodes hadn’t conditioned me to look for the case number at the start of the episode.

And I think she gets a pretty good introduction in this episode regardless of the jumpy timeline. They mention that she’s on the team as a representative of some foreign entity, and her private conversation suggests that she’s an emissary of sorts to determine whether that foreign entity will side with the Commonwealth or the Kingdom.

The main piece of this episode that really bugged me was the whole deal with the Cavorite technology. I wish I knew enough about it to understand why the mission in this episode was so important. What about the miniature Cavorite device that the Kingdom developed makes it better than the one Ange is using? Is it just a matter of supply? Perhaps Ange has an experimental model or the Commonwealth is incapable of producing at a large enough scale. I would have liked to know that.

I also didn’t fully understand the line of deception in this episode. I understand that the episode was focused around further gauging Princess’s reliability, but what happened with the leak? Was there really a leak or did the Kingdom just happen to notice the spy camera? If it really was a coincidence, it makes the episode feel a lot weaker in my eyes.

And as a side note, the moment when Ange turned off Beatrice’s voice box was pretty hilarious. She was being a terrible spy, so it was well-deserved.

I’d say this was still a pretty fun episode overall.

Princess Principal Episode 3: We have the technology

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I guess this week’s episode is going back to normal (in a way) with a standard mission to introduce Beatrice as a character. And there will likely be more introductions to come given that we haven’t even met the ninja character yet. While I find Beatrice annoying, I don’t mind how she was presented in this episode. She’s traumatized by her past and permanently altered as a result, but she still manages to use it to her advantage in the episode.

The split between Ange and Charlotte is still pretty confusing. I’ll probably continue to refer to them by their public names. Charlotte’s self-esteem makes me wonder if Ange just thought her personality wasn’t appropriate for a princess. They make for an interesting pair too, since Ange wishes to use her spy training to run away with Charlotte while Charlotte wishes to become queen to gain the authority to be with Ange.

The main part of this episode that really stuck out to me was the fact that Beatrice was with Ange in the first place. I get that she’s part of the spy school now, but why wouldn’t she want to stay next to the princess in this situation? And the fact that she’s with Ange pretty much propels the episode forward, so this seems a bit important.

I was initially questioning how the voice imitation gimmick even worked out because Beatrice entered the room after the man had already killed himself. But I went back and examined the scenes. She probably got it from when she and Ange were listening in on the guy’s conversation in the switchboard room.

This episode also confirmed the direction of this series. It’s moving through the past events leading up to what happens in the first episode. That makes me wonder if the spies’ plans fail and the first episode is meant to show that Charlotte is still unable to become queen by the end. Maybe I’m just a pessimist, but it would explain why the first episode was so unassuming.

Princess Principal Episode 2: The lies have escalated

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Okay, this episode convinced me to stick with this series. Should I have seen that twist coming? Maybe I should have, but boy did it hit hard. The revelation doesn’t just change how I view this week’s episode, but also has implications for the first episode. So many things in this episode make much more sense after seeing three words at the end of the episode, like the princess’s words to Beatrice about befriending a devil and the fact that Ange was so quick to reveal herself as a spy. I can’t help but want to continue watching a show that does something like that.

So, is the Ange from last week’s episode also Charlotte? This might not truly be a good question, because there’s a lot of evidence that she is. First off, it’s safer for Ange and Charlotte to continue using their swapped roles. The princess is out of danger and it’s less likely that Ange’s superiors and comrades notice a change in her behavior. Plus, the title of the series would suggest that the main character (introduced as Ange) should be the princess. Still, you can’t discount the possibility given how well the two were able to imitate each other.

Another fun piece from this week’s episode was the numbering of the episodes. This week’s episode is marked as “Case 1”, while last week’s episode was “Case 13”. This suggests that the remainder of the season will be a progression leading up to that first episode. It’s interesting, but also strange. That first episode doesn’t seem to be anything close to a final episode. Shouldn’t there be something more after that? Will there be 14 episodes?

I felt like the episode even did a good job with the mystery surrounding the “traitor” in the organization by introducing a red herring among the higher-ups. That military guy looked pretty jumpy when they were talking about the traitor who informed the princess, so he seemed like the best bet.

Alright, I’m on board. What’s next?

Princess Principal First Impressions (1): The scout is a spy

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I think the draw of this series for me can be summed up pretty easily. I think spies are cool and the music is good. Heck, I’ve watched Joker Game for less. And to be honest, I don’t have all too much to say about this first episode. I thought it was entertaining overall and I’m thoroughly confused as to whether the correct English title should be “principal” or “principle”. Given the romanized form, it could probably go either way, but I’ll stick with “principal” because that’s what is used everywhere.

I know that the background is a bit blurry and has almost an oil painting quality to it, but I was surprised to see such a convoluted background in a series like this. The Victorian London style is interesting enough, and stuff like this seems to add to that. I’d say the episode looked pretty good.

Lying was pretty much the big thing in this episode. I found it a bit forced to have these two characters joke about how they can’t be honest with each other, but I guess it’s meant to further the introduction of Ange when even characters like this find her lying hard to understand.

It’s not too hard to guess that a story about espionage starts with a lying victim character. I wasn’t sure if this series was going to take the “cutesy” route, so I’m glad that he ends up being executed. Maybe we’re in for some quality spy stuff.

Joker Game Final Episode (12): Randomly romance!

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Starting off the episode with a training exercise in a blizzard. To be fair, though, what is this guy actually suggesting? That the group turn back for the sick guy? Or give the sick guy a rest in the snow? Because both of those options don’t feel like they would help much.

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“All commanding officers are dicks” cliche. Come on, man…that was at least 50% your fault for stumbling backwards.

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I feel like I should immediately suspect the woma- No! Stop doing that, me!

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This episode is the first time we’ve seen the other spies contributing to a single spy’s mission. I know the other spies have made appearances, taking a supporting role, but they’re even having what seems to be a round table discussion on the case. Given that the episode is titled “Double Cross”, is it supposed to indicate that one of the spies is involved? Or that the main character himself is supposed to be suspicious?

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WHAT COULD IT MEAN?? (They used the “XX” in the episode title, so it’s not like it’s hard to figure out the link with “Double Cross”)

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Phew, suspicions vindicated. Still, I feel like I’ve become too hyper-sensitive about this series. Like here, I’m thinking the way Yuuki said this feels purposely vague. He’s not outright saying the woman is the culprit. Maybe he’s really saying “investigate the woman and the true culprit will be revealed”.

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Wait…this is the spy’s memory, right? Is this supposed to indicate that Yuriko reminds him of his mother? Seems like a romantic interest to me! This is new…

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Why exactly is he so shocked here?

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Woohoo! Suspicions were correct! Okay, guys…we’re back to always suspecting the female character in the episode! What? This is the last episode? Crap…

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This…is totally fair. The spy recognizes that he was distracted from the mission by the appearance of Noriko and resigns his post. An overreaction? Maybe, but completely reasonable.

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I can’t wait to see someone latch on to this as the only reason they dislike this series. This line is especially funny given the whole experience with the Wind Agency and their “don’t hesitate to kill” mentality.

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Well, Yuuki needs to sound cool in the final moments of the episode.

Overall, I’d say I had a fun time watching this series. Sure, there have been plenty of complaints about the episodic nature of the series, but it worked for me. It’s interesting watching spies do things…what can I say? I definitely agree that the characters were hard to differentiate, though, and might have been too numerous. Also, the final episode felt like just another episode in the series. Nothing about it felt like “this is the end”. Maybe this means there will be more…maybe it’s just how the series works. But it’s definitely disappointing as an ending.

Joker Game Episode 11: Priority of the mission

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I’m starting to get by the fact that every episode starts like this. Sigh…I’m sure this scene will be relevant later.

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Hey, man…maybe the guy wanted some matches to light some fireworks or something. Is that a thing in this time period? Is being able to recognize tobacco resin a thing people could do in this time period?

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Looks like a fake death to me. Though, to be fair, I know that he’s the main character.

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Or because his muscles relaxed when he died or something…

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So much darkness…if the subs weren’t there, I’d be convinced my video player had crashed or something.

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Oh, I see…this must be Yuuki, which must mean the guy questioning him is the eyepatch dude we’ve been seeing.

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Every time this guy says “that man”, I get a little more annoyed that he does this so the audience doesn’t learn Yuuki’s real name.

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Wait…you mean Yuuki escaped by setting off a grenade in his left hand? First off, that’s all kinds of hardcore. Secondly, how the heck did he survive that while killing off several of his captors?

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This man has caught a large number of spies, right? Is this something he’s used to hearing or does this case have particularly minimal evidence? This question makes it sound like all of the spies this guy has caught before weren’t really that special.

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Wait, is Maki actually dead?

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This man is everywhere.

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“I failed again” face.

I can’t really feel much for this episode. I mean, sure a spy died (which I really didn’t expect to happen), but can you really feel for these spies? They haven’t done much to differentiate themselves as spies and I can’t even remember which episodes had this guy. Though to be fair, the fact that the big reveal of this episode was that there wasn’t really a big reveal was interesting.

I think the main takeaway from this episode is simple: Yuuki is made of steel.

Joker Game Episode 10: Yuuki the Puppet Master

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Ahh…the old “sand in the eyes” trick. That’s one way to start off an episode.

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Given that this is what Yuuki is always saying and that last week’s episode involved a battle between two different spy agencies, I’m guessing this line is here so we’re absolutely sure that the main character in this arc is from the D-Agency.

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It’s hard to hear clearly, but the background noise in this bar actually sounds like they’re in an English-speaking bar. But that aside, it looks like this week’s episode (or this arc?) is going to be devoted to this guy investigating the D-Agency (or is he investigating Yuuki specifically?).

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Maybe I’ve been watching too much of this series, but I’m immediately suspicious of her. What’s wrong with me? I suppose the other option is she’s put here to die.

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Well, the backstory certainly lines up…painting Akira as a prodigy does seem to match up with what we’ve seen of Yuuki so far. However, this investigator is learning a lot of this stuff really easily…meaning it’s either fake or the investigator will die with the knowledge, right? Yuuki seems like too much of a super-spy to let this happen.

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Well, that explains why the guy at the beginning was saying Yuuki’s line.

Also, these guys fight Akira 3-on-1 with knives and Akira gets crap about fighting fairly for throwing sand in their face? Hahahahahahahaha

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Hahahaha this is some online conspiracy theory-level association. Someone find the Illuminati meme!

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This guy’s name…moving on.

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Busted! I actually found it kinda funny that this happens right after the guy (Aaron Price?) was just talking about how a dog is more useful than a spy whose cover is blown…not sure if that was the point.

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Psyche!

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Definitely sounds like something Yuuki would do, but I still have a question. Why exactly is the old guy telling Price the truth now? What changed? The fact that Price came back? I mean, it means Price knows he was lying about Akira, but you don’t need to tell him everything, right?

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Well, at least he has something, right? I feel like I got baited into suspecting this girl.

This series does such a cool job with Yuuki. The fact that he’s such an important character that seems to affect so many aspects of the show with very minimal screen time makes him feel more and more like a real spy.

Jeez…this series makes me wonder if anything we’ve watched so far is true.

Joker Game Episode 9: All according to plan

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This minute and a half of recap (ugh…why do people do this?) screams to me that the studio is basically trying to say “Everyone, this is an actual arc rather than episodic stories!” With the introduction that plays before the OP song starts, that means we’re looking at about four minutes before the episode actually starts…which is annoying.

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I’m so bad with faces…am I supposed to know this guy? Is he the guy from last week in charge of the Wind Agency? The main character for this week from the D-Agency?

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Okay, never mind. I pick this guy as the D-Agency spy.

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I dunno…I’m pretty suspicious of this guy, but he seems too pitiful. Is this really all an act? Everyone else in the room looks too…”rough” to be part of D-Agency.

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Oh…maybe this guy really is the guy from last week’s episode.

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Is this the guy that was being initiated into the Wind Agency from last week? Man, I really can’t remember faces.

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Busted! Yuuki just always knows everything, does he?

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You have no idea how to be the bad guy, do you? You never proclaim victory like this.

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Got him! This scene was pretty cool.

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Wait…you mean he was able to pour all of the liquid directly into the tube without any of it getting into his mouth? Given the size of the tube, I find that really hard to believe. Time to go experiment at home. Remember he had to do it at a rate that would make it look like he was actually drinking the liquid.

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Wow…they even used the waitress to warn Shirahata? That’s actually a pretty cool twist to the episode.

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This is a dramatic drive off into the dusk scene and all to end the episode, but didn’t the houseboy spy say there were two other D-Agency spies dealing with the other two Wind Agency spies? How exactly are those guys getting out?

Man, I was starting to wonder if the Wind Agency would end up being the main antagonist for the series, but it looks like they’re nowhere near the level of the D-Agency. It was still a fun episode, but those Wind Agency guys almost got beaten too hard if you ask me. So…now what? Back to episodic stories or was this the precursor for the final arc?