Sunday, April 3, 2011

Anime Review: Princess Resurrection


It’s been a short while since the last anime review.   Princess Resurrection is a 2007 anime based on the unfinished manga of the same name by Yasunori Mitsunaga.  The show was produced by the studio Madhouse known for such cartoons as Trigun, X, the American film Hulk Vs., Death Note and of course Sexy Commando Gaiden: Suigoiyo!! Masura-san (Never heard of that last one?  That’s because you’re lame).  It was licensed for North America by Sentai Filmworks.   Now Madhouse is one of the best studios in Japan having done many, many successful anime; far too many to list here.  So theoretically the show has odds in this show’s favor.
That said it’s likely that, whatever I end up writing about this cartoon, there is a strong possibility that the anime will be inferior to its manga counterpart.  This show appears to be a lighter and fluffier version of the comic and more than a little filler sprinkled in.  Of course that will happen when you base a show off unfinished material.  Seriously why does this happen so much?  And why are we constantly surprised by the results?  Even so that alone shouldn’t make it terrible right?
No it doesn’t.  Not that alone.  Full review after the jump.
The main cast.  Shockingly this isn't really a harem anime
Hiro Hiyorimi is an ordinary middle school student who has just gotten a letter from his older sister, whom he hasn’t seen in years, asking him to move in with her at her new job as a live-in maid.  Once he hits town he notices a beautiful young woman about to be crushed by a falling girder.  Shoving her out of the way it falls on him instead, killing him.  The woman, somewhat amused by the pointless act of chivalry decides on a whim to bring the lad back to life.  The woman, you see, is called “Hime” and she is the princess of the monsters, daughter of the king of all monsters, and Hiro has just been enlisted into her service…for the rest of his (resurrected) life.
Also it’s a comedy.  Why wouldn’t it be?!
I’d like to say that the world crafted by this show is really cool but in reality if I were to say that I’d be guilty of wishful thinking.  Yes the supernatural elements of the show that touches base with Hime and her world are indeed kind of neat BUT we see so little of it that it almost doesn’t matter.  We only see a few members of her family, we only see snippets of the creatures from her home and for the most part we know very little.  What we know of the conflict between her and her siblings is very intriguing but so little comes of it until very late the series and honestly it’s a bit disappointing.
Visually the show is alright, but it’s nothing that great about it.  Actually the first couple of episodes uses more than a few “speed line” sequences during fight scenes which annoyed me but it eventually calmed down.  Compared to a lot of the pretty anime I’ve seen lately it would be considered below average but inoffensive.  The character designs are…also okay I guess.  There’s a bit of a problem with some of them that’s a bit to fetish-y for my taste but I’ll get more into that later.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that despite the characters with skirts running and flying around there weren’t any gratuitous panty shots despite having ample opportunity.  I appreciate that.  Apparently in the original comic doesn’t have any such restraint especially when it concerns the character Reiri.
As you can see this is an extremely classy show
Not a whole lot more positive things to say about this show actually. It’s not really bad, per say, but it is not my cup of tea.  First it feels like a lot of this show was aimed at a specific type of people with a specific type of taste.  Like “Sexy Maids” and “Dominatrix” minded people.  The whole show feels like its appealing to fetishes.  Even the DVD menus feature Hime’s young sister Sherwood is a disturbingly sexualized pose.  Gross.  Even the ending theme “Hizamazuite Ashi wo Oname” by Ali Projector is pretty weird in that regard (The translation of the title is “Kneel Down and Lick My Feet” for God’s sake).    It’s all sort of creepy to me.  The characters are also not the best around as most of them are simply the same old caricatures that show up in a ton of other shows.  Hime and Reiri are alright, all things considered, as is Liza/Riza to a lesser extent but pretty much everyone else was uninspired.  I did like that Hiro had an strong selfless streak to him, as he gave his life to save someone he’d never met before the first time we see him, but he’s such a spineless pushover in most cases (Usually social) that I couldn’t really get behind him.  His sister Sawawa is easily my least favorite character here mainly because most of her appearances are really just the same two jokes repeated over and over again: 1) Sawawa is too dense to notice the supernatural elements going on in the house she works in and 2) Sawawa really likes eating parfaits.  Hilarious, am I right?  No.  No it is not.  Repeating the same goddamn joke over and over might be considered a running gag but every time we focus on Sawawa I just felt like we were wasting time.
Sawawa: The Definition of Superfluous Character
Speaking of time wasted the plot of Princess Resurrection is pretty dull.  The main story about Hime and her siblings competing for their father’s throne is actually pretty interesting as I mentioned before but aside from various siblings sending out Monster-of-the-Week assassins to murder the title character there isn’t much dedication to that main plot on until very late in the series and by that time it’s a bit too late.   A lot of the episodes I had to sit through felt like padding to increase the episode count of the series, which is lame.  This show probably should have been half the length.  The show is supposed to be a comedy and I did chuckle from time to time but ultimately I wasn’t really invested in the humor; it mostly felt a bit too forced to me.  Strangely every once and a while the show forgets it’s a slapstick comedy and tries to be a horror series.  It’s not that it does it poorly (Though it’s not even close to the best of the genre) but the tone shift was a bit unsettling and uneven.  Then again it’s not nearly as bad as many other sows in that regard and can probably be forgiven.
Also the ending is yet another “Non-Ending” as in it stops rather than ends.  I’m starting to reconsider my words about Japan being better about ending their cartoon shows than America since this seems to keep happening.  Then again it seems that additional episodes in OVA form have begun being relesed so if we’re setting up for a sequel I can’t be as annoyed as I otherwise would be.
I hear that the manga lacks many of the filler I sat through watching the show, has a lot less Sawawa, is significantly more violent, and has a heck of a lot more connection to the battle for Hime’s father’s throne so I suspect that I would enjoy the comic more than I did the anime.  As it is I really didn’t enjoy this show.  I found it dull and it felt like I was just waiting for it to end so I could move on to the next cartoon.  That said unlike El Cazador de la Bruja I can appreciate that it’s not really a  bad cartoon just because I was bored by it and that many other people would enjoy it a lot more than I did.  Also unlike several other shows I reviewed it’s not like I was angered by the bad points of the series.  It’s really just “okay” and nothing special but it is possible that if you are a bit more mellow than I am you could easily get in to it.  Not the best but nowhere near the worse; check it out if you enjoy slapstick anime.
By the way, the show has one major thing going for it that I nearly forgot about: Ryu-Ryu is F’N Metal.
OHMYGODPANDA!!!!
I give Princess Resurrecting 3 Adorable Pandas out of 5
Pros
-Despite its flaws it manages to be a completely inoffensive viewing experience
-PANDAS!!!
Cons
-Not the most memorable cast of characters
-The humor didn’t do much for me
-Not nearly enough focus on the main pot 

Obviously reviewing an anime is somewhat awkward these days due to the disaster in Japan.  I encourage anyone reading this blog, if they have the money to do so, to donate to the relief fund to help out or pals in the Land of the Rising Sun.  There are various places set up to help, though I’m not sure which ones are helping the needy or are helping the greedy but I’d imagine the Red Cross would be a place to start looking.

No comments:

Post a Comment