FUNimation continues to dominate the US anime market
releasing a good number of shows, often in nice season sets. One of the latest such releases is Murder
Princess, a short but sweet OVA series that deserved a longer run. As it is this six-episode program fits on one
disc and makes for a nice evening's entertainment.
As the show opens, the Kingdom
is in the midst of a rebellion, one that is succeeding.
The royal scientist, Dr. Akamashi, has
created an army of synthetic creatures as well as two robots using
technology." These monsters and the gun
wielding androids are no match for the castle guards armed only with
swords. Taking a last stand in the
throne room the king sends his only daughter Alita, out of the castle
secret passage just before he dies.
Hiding in the forest with only a few guards to protect her,
Princess Alita's group is attacked by wild creatures, monsters that
escorts to shreds. Alita runs into the
forest and discovers a bounty hunter, Falis.
This tough-as-nails fighter could easily dispatch the monsters
the princess except Alita runs into Falis and the two tumble off a
clinging to each other.
Facing certain death, the women's souls leave their
bodies. They don't die however, as one
of Falis' comrades, the giant Pete Armstrong, catches them at the last
moment. Their souls return to their
bodies with one catch... they return to the wrong bodies.
Now the princess' soul and consciousness is
in Falis' body and vice versa.
Alita, seeing what a great fighter Falis is even in a
princess' body, begs the bounty hunter to retake the Kingdom. She promises the fighter anything in return
and as collateral vows to be her unquestioning servant.
Falis eventually agrees and the rag-tag group
sets out to retake a kingdom.
This was a short and sweet show that was fun to watch
despite the flaws. Some of the plot
points were lame and made it hard to get into the series.
The whole hand-waving 'soul changing' bit was
pretty weak (surely they could have come up with a better way for
have changed bodies) and the way Falis kills a monster with one stroke
whole army couldn't take it down made me roll my eyes.
The main problem though was that due to the
length, the show lacked depth. The characters weren't developed nearly
as they could have been in a longer show.
How did Falis learn to fight?
Where did she meet her odd companions? And why do they call her
Princess" when she's never murdered anyone? None
of those things are examined.
Luckily the main characters are easy to like, though the princess takes
back seat to Falis and her action scenes.
The fights don't go on too long and are fairly entertaining and
nice to watch the relationship between Falis and Alita evolve.
Like most anime this disc comes with a 5.1 audio track for
the English dub and the original Japanese audio in stereo.
Both tracks sounded fine, I alternated with
each episode, though the English dub had a bit more force and pizzazz. Neither track had any defects of note, and
the dialog and sound effects were clear and clean in both languages. Overall a nice sounded disc, though I was
more anime was available with 5.1 audio tracks.
This show is presented with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio,
anamorphically enhanced, and it looks very nice. The
colors were solid, with only minor
banding, and the lines were nice and tight.
On the digital side of things there was a little bit of aliasing
in the background. Overall this is a
nice looking show.
There aren't many extras offered, but since the series that
was so short I wasn't expecting many.
In addition to the standard clean opening and closing, there is
commentary track for the final episode with ADR Caitlin Glass and the
actresses Colleen Clinkenbeard and Monica Rial.
They do mention some aural changes that were made between the
and English versions of the show, but then most of the time is spent
about how much they like the show and the characters.
This show moves pretty rapidly with some major plot points
in every episode, which is nice, but it ends all too soon, which isn't. It's a bit disappointing that this is all
there is. If it had run longer and had a
little more time to develop the plot and characters instead of dashing
plot point to plot point it would have been a lot better.
As it is, it's a fun show that's worth
checking out. Recommended.