Death Becomes Her: Princess Resurrection

She is the princess of all monsters.

He now lives to serve only her.

Today’s is my younger sister’s birthday. Happy birthday, sis! My younger sister enjoys anime, but she’s over the moon for Kdrama, so in her honor I was planning to write a First Impressions review of a Kdrama. Alas, time was not on my side, and since I have several completed anime series just begging for review, I’ll merrily go forth with today’s offering: Princess Resurrection. (At least it has “princess” in the title, so that can be the nod to my sister for now.)

“I’m a princess, and I drink tea. That’s our thing here: monsters and tea.”

Hime is a princess, but not just any princess. She’s a member of the royal family who rules over all monsters. Unfortunately, she and her siblings are constantly engaged in an epic battle to the death. Because of this, Hime must watch her back and keep those loyal to her nearby at all times. Enter our hapless hero, named, appropriately enough, Hiro. He’s your average teenage boy, and he’s on his way to live with his older sister, Sawawa, in the mansion where she works as a maid. Unfortunately, on the way to meet her he ends up saving Hime’s life at the cost of giving up his own. Hime, impressed by his chivalry, brings him back to life with her scared flame. (For more details please read my First Impressions post about this series.) However, the flame must be revived every so often by Hime or else he’ll die again, this time permanently. And so the only way that Hiro can stay alive is to remain at Hime’s side as her sworn servant. He’s not completely on his own, though. Hime also has a very capable android maid named Flandre, and as the series progresses she gains the aid of a hot-headed werewolf named Liza as well as a calculating vampire named Riere. Hime needs all the help that she can get, because in every episode she ends up battling one supernatural creature after another, most sent to destroy her by one of her royal siblings. But which one is most out to get Hime? And why must the royals continuously battle one another?

Hiro makes his patented “Oh boy, here we go again!” face. Which is pretty much his only facial expression.

Y’know, I really, really wanted to love this anime. And I really, really don’t. Where to begin? Well, let’s start with the most obvious part: the artwork. By this point I’ve seen several Madhouse offerings, and usually I enjoy the quality of their work. But this series just seemed underdeveloped with its basic lines, lack of detail, and primary coloring. Speaking of underdeveloped, I felt that the story had potential, but it was all wasted week after week on one formulaic episode after another. A member of Hime’s household gets attacked, everyone bands together to fight off the intruders, Hime more often than not saves the day, everyone gives Hiro comedic grief. Cut, print, next episode: same thing. No character was shown beyond a basic personality trait (Liza’s hot-headedness, Riere’s mocking bitchiness, Hime’s calm lack of concern, Sawawa’s cluelessness…) and even when we were given select details about a character’s background it failed to make said character any deeper or more interesting. I know that shounen heroes are often portrayed as flat in order for the viewers to insert themselves into the main role, and Hiro was as flat and boring as they come. However, no character in the entire series displayed anything other than the same trademarks by saying the same lines in the same stories time and time again.

I haz a Flandre, your argument is invalid.

Not that this series was a total loss. The English voice cast was pretty great, especially considering the drab material they had to work with. I was genuinely delighted to hear Hime’s seiyuu, Shelley Calene-Black, make a vocal appearance in The Book of Bantorra, and Luci Christian (voicing Liza) is always a treat. The OP and ED were great, especially the ED, which also had some fabulous artwork accompanying it that reminded me of 90s goth girl comics like Lenore and Emily the Strange. Despite saying only one word throughout the entire series (which sounded like, “Foogah!”) Flandre grew to become my favourite character, probably because she was diminutive yet kicked ass. I never expected her personality to grow very much because she was an android, and yet she actually did inch up just a bit in episode twenty-five. Speaking of which, the final three episodes were, in my opinion, the most interesting. Episode twenty-four provided a conclusion that wasn’t shocking so much as, “Oh, so that’s the deal. Huh, okay.” Then twenty-five was about Flandre, and twenty-six was an interesting nightmarish recap of previous capers. Each of the final three episodes provided a slight stirring of emotions, and while it wasn’t much, it was felt like falling into a lake in the middle of a desert.

Sorry gang, it just wasn’t working for me. Hiro, keep it in your pants!

I really wanted this series to be so much better than it actually was. Truth be told I was bored after just three episodes, but I kept watching anyway because I hoped it would get better. I’ve discovered that quite often anime series with at least twenty-four episodes tend to get repetitive and stale in the first twelve, then blossom into a cohesive plot in the latter twelve. However, that was not to be the case this time. I will admit that episode thirteen, “Princess Sacrifice,” did make quite an impression on me. Hime and Hiro become trapped in a village and pursued by a massive serial killer who wears a bag over his head and wields a scythe. I was actually freaked out while watching it, then I had a nightmare that evening because of that episode. However, I think that speaks more to my personal psyche rather than the anime itself. Overall, I was excited at the prospect of a gothy anime with lots of strong female characters, or at least a funny harem with monsters, but alas, it was not to be. Princess Resurrection is just that: the same ol’ plot resurrected over and over and over again throughout twenty-four episodes. And that’s far too long to be strung along, even by a princess.

Rating: ★★✰ I suppose I’m glad that I finished it, especially given that I usually enjoy the subject matter, but if I knew then what I know now, this series would be a definite pass.

First Impressions: Princess Resurrection

Saving a life is a good deed.

Too bad his good deed got him enslaved.

Another day, another first impression. Anime Network On Demand has been kind of lacking lately (save for Tytania and Maid Sama, both of which I’m enjoying immensely) so I was pleased as punch to discover a show that, at first glance, I’m enjoying.

Hiro, dead but not loving it.

Episode one of Princess Resurrection begins with a boy named Hiro who has traveled to a new town at the behest of his sister. She wrote to him claiming to have a job as a maid in a mansion where they can both live, but when he arrives at the address Hiro finds an empty, boarded-up house. He turns back around and explores the town while his forgetful sister eats ice cream in a shop nearby. As he walks around Hiro spies a lovely lady in a black dress who, unfortunately, is about to be flattened by some falling construction beams. He manages to push her out of the way just in time to save her but ends up getting killed in her stead. The lady in black shows up at the hospital and imbibes Hiro’s corpse with a magical flame, then leaves. Hiro wakes up in the morgue and runs away.

Hime with the flame of life (which was also the coolest animation in the episode).

Meanwhile, the daffy sister and another maid have taken down the boards and managed to clean up the mansion by nightfall. It turns out that their employer is the same lady in black who visited Hiro in the morgue, and she goes by the name of Hime. (Hime is Japanese for princess.) Hiro spies lights at the once-abandoned mansion and, still in a bit of a daze, sets off once more toward his original meeting place. Once there he finds the other maid and the lady he saved earlier fighting off a pack of wolves who are led by a nasty-looking werewolf. Hiro once again jumps in and protects Hime, this time from the werewolf’s attack. This causes just enough confusion for all the wolves to be annihilated, including the head werewolf, who apologizes to Hime as he dies. Hiro, amazingly, isn’t dead, and the lady he saved introduces herself and explains that she is a princess, because her father is the king of all the monsters. Furthermore, she brought Hiro back to life so that he may serve her, but he needs her flame to remain alive, otherwise after so many hours he’ll cease to exist. The episode ends with Hiro trying to fix the roof of the mansion the following day with both his sister and Hime ordering him around.

Get yer game face on, it's go time!

At this point, I’m liking the show fairly well. The art is good, not great, but I like the gothy tinges around the edges, such as Hime’s outfit. The opening and closing themes were jazzy, and I tend to enjoy anime with supernatural/spooky elements. What I’m not enjoying is the stupid/sexy character of Hiro’s sister. I could tell immediately from her ginormous breasts and spaced-out smile exactly which anime stereotype she was, and it’s one of my least favourites. Also, while there wasn’t much (if any fan service) in the first episode, the opening animation hints that there are panty shots to come, which doesn’t excite me. But I do like the idea of the story, even if I don’t connect to any characters at this point, so as long as it doesn’t become all about ecchi fan service, I’ll probably keep watching Princess Resurrection to see where it goes.

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