Murder Princess

June 28, 2019

Remember my case with Melty Lancer a short while ago? Yup. It’s the same for Murder Princess. Although this series isn’t that bad as there are still subs around the internet, I guess the panic button was pushed and so here I am. After all, alphabetically Murder Princess comes after Melty Lancer in the list of anime titles, right? Uh huh. I must have missed all the other titles that fall in between them and didn’t find them attractive. Anyway the title sounds as suspicious and intriguing because I thought it would be some crazy princess who goes around killing people using her royalty status or at least she was labelled as one when some royal family member framed her by killing the rest of the royal family and hence she has to fight her way back to reclaim her throne and innocence. I am both wrong in that instance. Instead, princess and bounty hunter switch bodies. The fight to fend off rebels from their country begins. And oh, don’t forget that royal conspiracy…

Episode 1
Alita Castilia Arago Forland meets up with her father, the king in the throne room. It seems the palace is under sieged by rebels. The king is gravely injured and he wants Alita to escape through the secret passageway into the forest. As long as their bloodline doesn’t die out, their family will continue to live on. Thank goodness he said all that before he kicked the bucket. To fool the enemies, Alita’s maid, Milano Entrasia substitutes as her as she makes her getaway. The rebels crash in. A bunch of lolis? Anna and Yuna? Make that mecha lolis. Because of their android features, it is believed that a traitor has sold the nation’s secrets and true enough it is Dr Akamashi behind this coup detat. They are given a chance to live if they surrender Alita but fighting to the death is their answer. As Alita runs through the forest, a monster kills her escorts. Run! She bumps into Falis and in her fear, accidentally fall off the cliff together. In that instance, they switch bodies. Luckily they are caught by Falis’ underlings, Dominikov and Pete Armstrong. Falis is shocked to see her own body before her and herself in the princess’ body. No time to rest and think yet as the monster is here. So Falis has Alita throw her sword to her as she cuts it down like hot knife through butter. It is explained that when both are facing death at the same time, their souls may intertwine. Alita then apologizes for bringing trouble to them and then begs for them to help save her country. Falis refuses. They are bounty hunters who do jobs for money. Alita offers anything as reward but what about collateral? She will use her own body for that. So that’s it? Enough for Falis and co to ride back to the palace and start saving the kingdom. Meanwhile, everyone is dead except the king’s aide, Jodo and Milano. Just in time for Falis and co to barge in. Akamashi’s monsters attack but Falis slices them all down. Then she dukes it out with bratty Anna and somehow manages to disable her body. Then she throws Akamashi sitting off her rightful throne and claims her right to it. So cool!

Episode 2
Yuna might be meek but when she panics, she releases a lot of weird weapons. This distraction allows the loli rebels to escape. Dominikov is suspicious since those weapons are from the old world. Alita is sad since Milano is dead. Next morning, still saddened over her death, she decides to cast away her own identity and continue to live as Milano. Then she goes to wake up Falis to get ready for the coronation ceremony. No matter how much she points to the maid as the princess, I guess the rest are playing dumb that Falis is the princess. Time to learn princess etiquette. It isn’t going to be easy seeing Falis is such a crude woman… Later Milano explains that their country’s law that a king must be crowned within a week (can’t they change this stupid law?!) and the only heirs are Alita or her brother Kaito. However he is away in another kingdom for military service and cannot be contacted. Milano hopes Falis will take the throne till he comes back. After all, the pact still hasn’t end yet as the rebels haven’t given up. In exchange for doing this, Falis will gain everything she has lost. I don’t know how Anna got the plans for the coronation procession but she did and they will as expected attack and kidnap Alita then. Falis is coronate as king (from now on, I’ll refer to her as Alita for easier reference). Jodo wonders if this is okay and Milano believes this is the only way. That night when she was running away in the forest, she already lost her title and her identity. She has given everything to Falis in exchange to save this country. Hence right now she is only her maid. Alita accepts her role but still acts a bit crude, confusing the crowd. A parade is held and Alita finds this country to be quite nice thanks to all its friendly people. As expected, the Akamashi unleashes his giant Frankenstein to attack. Time for Alita to go into action. She slices and dices with ease so Yuna shoots some booster into the monster. It’s like Alita herself has her own booster as she powers up into a merciless killing machine. By the time Dominikov confronts the rebels, they escape again. Even when the monster is down, Alita continues to kill it. Then when a kid is close by, Alita tries to strike her but Milano protects her, willing to be cut down. In that instant, Alita returns to her senses and although has no recollections of what she was doing, regrets what she was about to do. Milano calms her down by hugging her. In the aftermath, Alita’s actions have earned the people’s trust but Alita knows that the stronger one is Milano.

Episode 3
Milano tells Alita about Kaito. A very good swordsman but left on an expedition for a peace negotiation in a neighbouring country. Hey, that country is just next door. It’s not like it’s half a continent away?! Milano continues to sing praises of his kindness and loyalty but then the thought of passing the throne back to him, what would become of Alita? When Alita accidentally breaks a doll, they start quarrelling. WTF Milano blaming her she doesn’t understand her feelings?! Of course she don’t! How long did you guys met?! Thanks to the battered army, just in time for Alita to head out and lose some steam and kill some goblins making ruckus in some valley. She leaves with Dominikov while Pete stays back to accompany Milano. Jodo tells Milano not to blame Alita. The doll was given by the original Milano to the original princess Alita and though he is glad she still treasures it, the new Alita doesn’t share those same feelings. While praying in the church, those loli rebels manage to sneak a monster inside and kidnap her?! When Pete comes to rescue, one punch was enough to knock him down. WTF???!!! IS HE THIS WEAK???!!! Good thing Alita just finished kicking goblins’ ass and heard the news from Jodo that Milano has been taken hostage to the northern ruins. The lolis interrogate Milano. They know she is not the maid because they killed her. They believe she could be someone else and the one holding the key. They try to scare her enough not to kill her (although eventually they threaten they will) but as long Milano keeps her mouth shut, she thinks it will be fine. Alita leaves Dominikov and Pete to fight the monsters outside as she heads in. However she is told to drop her weapons lest she wants Milano dead. She does so and gets pounded by the monster. Anna mocks Alita that she may have some secret because a princess coming to save a mere maid. Alita shuts her up by replying she made a promise to save this country regardless to whom she made it. She’ll protect everything! Just in time for some guy to drop in, cut off the monster’s arm, disarm the lolis, free Milano, bring her to reunite with Alita (for some yuri hug), let them ride away to escape on his horse and then finish up the monster. Yeah… As expected the loli rebels run away when the going gets tough. Heck, even the other monsters know how to retreat?! Of course not surprisingly that guy is revealed to be Kaito. Awkward. Does he know who his real sister is? Awkward for Alita to welcome back his onii-sama…

Episode 4
A pre-coronation party is held. As explained by Dominikov, once the coronation is over, Alita and her subordinates will leave the palace and travel. This is because if she stays with Kaito, sooner she will be exposed as a fake. It is better for things to cool down while they’re away before returning. Hence Alita talks to Kaito that she is leaving for a journey after this. Big brother hugs her and wishes her well. Meanwhile we see Akamashi and the twins in the party. Where the heck is security check?! They’re supposed to be the highest on the alert list and here they got in so easily by just change of clothes?! WTF???!!! Milano is looking for Alita in her room but notices she left a note of apology and ‘fixed’ the doll. Meanwhile Alita is being led by this strange woman to a secret passage underneath the palace. Took some time for Alita to be suspicious about her and when she does, Cecilia forces her hand to activate something. Cecilia then attacks her. Milano and Alita’s subordinates continue to look for Alita. Strange, she left her sword behind. Oh look. Oil lamp trails. Lead to dead end AKA secret passageway. You know what this means. They arrive in time to throw Alita’s sword to her. Enough for her to slash out of Cecilia’s grasp and make a run for it. And damn, now they run into the loli rebels. Do we have time for this?! Anna hints about Alita being the key to Teoria. And just when Akamashi is about to have the rare moment of opening his mouth to explain that, he gets killed by Cecilia’s dark knight!!! WTF???!!! Lolis become sad-cum-enraged with his death but gets easily incapacitated. When Cecilia unmasks herself, Alita remembers her as the culprit who burnt her village and killed her people. Now it’s Alita’s turn to attack but with the dark knight defending her, she cannot cut through his magically infused thick armour. The battle then reaches the party. Milano thinks their worries are over as she calls out to Kaito for help. Surprise but not surprise, Kaito is the dark knight! He then accuses them of being the real rebels, conspiring with Akamashi to commit treachery and replacing the real Alita with an imposter. He orders the guards to arrest them. Milano is paralyzed in shock so I guess it’s this series’ specialty for them to make their escape via simple smokescreen. The next day, Kaito is crowned the king, much to the crowd’s delight while our heroes-cum-rebels are resting at the outskirts of the kingdom.

Episode 5
Kaito and Cecilia order a nationwide search for the traitors. Luckily they manage to get help from a group of travelling performers thanks to Pete’s kindness in helping their caravan out when stuck. With them hiding the rebels, they are able to easily pass checkpoints. Yeah, those guards sure didn’t do a thorough job. And since when did Jodo join the rebels?! As they rest, it gets awkward for the lolis since they’re once enemies now they’re allies? So they relate about Akamashi’s struggle. He was a scientist of a kingdom when his research was suddenly halted. Then he met Cecilia who introduced him to several lost technologies. That was when he created the lolis via that lost technologies. And when Teoria came into light, that is when he began executing his plan. The rest is history. But now they realize they have all been used by Cecilia. Dominikov demonstrates his own android abilities. This is the same lost technologies as the lolis but his and Pete’s are different as they are not completely robots. They are bioorganic forms infused with lost technologies. Hence Teoria is lost technology. Milano then explains the legend of how this world was created. Gods fighting, they cried at the end, their tears flooded the world, water gone, life appeared. Yeah, sounds pretty far-fetched. Humans then pop up and started living and now they are in the 672nd year of the Shandena Era. Before that, human civilization reached the peak of science and arts. The ability to even control time?! It was all thanks to the power of Teoria. But due to their constant wars, Teoria went out of control and human civilization ended. The few survivors sealed Teoria away and in time it was forgotten. Of course not all have forgotten of it as its arts were bequeathed to a certain country’s royal family. Jodo and Milano are forced to admit and apologize a secret they have been keeping for them. They do have the key that would unlock Teoria that is located underneath their palace. However the key can be handed to only female successors. It’s a good thing they had male successors all the while, eh? And does it activate when the female reach a certain age? Because why now instead of when Alita was born? It is believed Kaito betrayed them for this power that could literally change the world. Yeah, create a world the way you want it.

Storytelling time is over since the royal army is hot on their tail. Did they take too long to tell? As they run, the lolis ran out of juice so Dominikov and Pete try to stall them. They transform into their true hideous monster form to fight Cecilia and her army. As the caravan reaches near the body, I wonder how Kaito was able to ride this fast ahead of them? With the caravan toppled, Milano tries to be the decoy and runs away. Yeah, Kaito took the bait and caught her. This guy who committed the biggest betrayal dislikes being tricked like this?! However he can’t kill her. Milano’s piercing gaze looks familiar. And when she calls him a traitor, he is shocked to realize this is his real sister. Alita who was weakened and injured since the end of last episode, somehow manages to draw out her strength to save Milano. How the f*ck did she cut through Kaito’s thick armour and even injure him???!!! Is this the power of yuri???!!! Then it’s like since both sides are weakened, let’s call it even, let’s withdraw. WTF… And Cecilia calling the retreat order? I thought they’re not supposed to fail in this mission to capture the traitors? Alita has this nicely timed flashback. Cecilia killing her father or master before her eyes as he protected her. She vowed revenge and picked up his sword. This timely flashback has Alita remember why she became a bounty hunter. Realizing that she and Milano are now facing their destinies, they are not going to run away and will face it. This means returning to the palace once more.

Episode 6
With many of the guards thinking they have crossed to another nation, looks like there aren’t many around and hence they’ll use this chance to strike. But first, Alita and Milano talk things out. Alita has decided on what she wants as a reward: Her body back via Teoria’s power. They will go back to their old ways and of course she will still keep her promise. As the gang infiltrate the palace, Alita faces off with Cecilia. She asks why she burnt down her village. Oh, for fun. Just to test out her new power she got. As they fight, Cecilia zaps her but thank goodness for Milano throwing her doll as distraction. You mean the doll didn’t break at this impact?! WTF?! Anyway the distraction was enough for them to head to the Teoria room. Too bad Kaito catches them and forces Alita to open the door. Inside, he activates Teoria and wishes for the world to be destroyed! Alita has her second bout with Cecilia and this time she manages to destroy the crystal that is the source of her power. Turning Cecilia into an old hag before she bites the dust. Literally, turning into dust. Kaito explains why he wants to world destroyed. He is sick with all the wars and constant fighting and with them clinging on to lost technologies, is there any value in this kind of world? Well, he’s got a point but… For some reason, Alita goes into her berserk mode and only the voice of Milano easily snapped her out? With Kaito defeated, Alita explains there is a princess who is willing to risk everything just to make her happy. That itself is enough for her to find this sh*tty world to be worth protecting. But if Teoria is activated, can it be stopped? Oh, Jodo says it can with a switch! WTF?! Did the sealers create this in mind that this would happen???!!! Of course the only caveat is that everything related to lost technology will cease to exist. This means Dominikov, Pete and the lolis will disappear. Oh Alita, don’t waver now. So we hear Dominikov making his peace with her. Do it. As products of lost technologies, they aren’t supposed to be in this era. They’ve lived long enough to know that. And he explains it so well to the lolis and they’re like, “Okay, bye-bye”. Wow. Better go off with a cute smile, huh? Alita does so and with Teoria stopped activating, all lost technologies related beings disappear. In the aftermath, both ladies realize they failed to swap back their bodies. Alita will continue to live like this for a while and protect the country until they figure things out. And so with an enemy nation attacking, Alita does best what she does as she heads to the battleground to slice them all up, hence earning her the legendary nickname of Murder Princess. Good job for that title to send shivers down your enemies’ spine.

Battle Princess Alita
I guess it wasn’t all that bad. The story is clear cut and simple and doesn’t have anything long and complicated so it is easy to digest. So if you are hoping for really drawn out stories with convoluted plot twists (heh, I saw Kaito as the dark knight betrayer twist coming from a mile ago) or very long complicated character histories, this series isn’t going to cut it. Yeah, you’re going to need anime series to be as long as One Piece or Naruto or even Black Clover to drag things out. So I can’t complain with that kind of ending. Alita and Milano continue to reside in each other’s bodies because I figure if they somehow return to their original bodies, everything would just really, really, really, really, really end there. They part and that’s it. Sounds bittersweet. Because at least with them still being in switcheroo mode, it gives this sort of excuse for them to be together. For how long it may take. And they also ‘wrap up’ nicely her subordinates and the lolis by conveniently disappearing with the cessation of Teoria so that you don’t have to wonder what they’ll be doing in the aftermath. I mean, it would look weird and suspicious if a bunch of ghouls and lolis hang out with our princess, right?

Like I’ve said, the story is simple but so much so there are quite a few WTF moments that will make you raise an eyebrow or in my case, start laughing. From as simple as the numerous times they have to return to the palace (like as though this is the main setting of this series) as if fate always draws them back here (from the princess’ first escape to the final return to fight the final boss scene). Then there’s the use of Teoria which sounds just as suspicious and shady as it is. I think they want to give some sort of story to what this super power is but the execution just feels laughable. I mean, when those human survivors decided to seal it, you mean they also foresee that those greedy descendants will also want to use it for their own selfish reasons? Isn’t that why somehow there is a switch to deactivate it all despite the popular belief that once it is activated it cannot be stopped? And once deactivated, can it not activate again? Because from what I see, it’s like it is forever lost. Yup. Truly lost technologies now. WTF, dude???!!! It’s like I’ve got a wish to change the wold, and then changed my mind. Heck, this means Teoria is only good for one use!!! Like WTF???!!! If that was going to be the case, should have destroyed it instead of sealing it in the first place!!! Yeah, I don’t know what those humans were thinking. It’s like they want to save humanity but let’s just keep this little power just in case. Just in case… Or maybe not… Make up your mind!!!

Sometimes it feels more like annoying and a comedy too with certain scenes especially those that involve Akamashi and his lolis. They come into the picture for a while and then when the going gets tough, they do their best tactic ever which is to escape. And they’ve been doing this for a while for the first half of this series that sometimes I think it’s a running joke. And for them to be able to this again and again for a while, damn the kingdom’s security must be really flawed. I know they give excuse that the recent coup detat has decimated their main forces but allowing this to happen feels more like a joke than anything serious. Damn, the clincher was when they entered the pre-coronation party. These people should be on the wanted posters everywhere!!! Speaking about the royal army, I guess they’re a joke too because they’re so weak and useless I’m thinking that they are newly recruited amateurs. I guess all those really good ones died along with the previous king, huh?

When the princess and the bounty hunter first switched souls, the mind boggling thing is how Alita is now suddenly able to pull off her fighting moves with ease and flexibility. I am assuming that the original princess does not work out or train in ways of the martial arts so I don’t believe her body was able to adapt so quickly to fit the bounty hunter’s deadly techniques. Yeah, in this sense it doesn’t make much sense. Heck, when they swapped bodies, their voices also swapped. This leaves only their body as the outer shell while everything else from personality to skill is switched. Probably that is why it was so confusing for me at first. And before I know it, I got used to them as they are. Note, if they’re really desperate to change back to their original bodies, perhaps they can try another near-death experience? Say, fall off the cliff together again? Yeah, who knows if it would work again and besides, I think they got used to and liked their new bodies so it’s no use trying this risky scientifically unproven (heh) stuff because it’s the same like using Teoria to destroy the world, right?!

Character wise, nothing really deep about them. Alita and Milano are an odd pair due to their circumstances. It is hinted there is some budding yuri relationship between them. After all, they’ve spent some time together. In each other’s bodies. So what is there not to slowly grow to like the other? Yeah, it might be confusing at times if they make out with each other. Are they masturbating, because they’re like playing with themselves? Haha! Oops, went too far… Alita’s past is simple. Just motivated to become a bounty hunter for revenge and she finally got it. But it is never explained well about her berserk mode that allows her to have temporary boost of her power. Does that only happen when Milano is in danger and it puts stress on her mind and hence this mode? Well, good thing Milano was able to stop it otherwise she would really live up to her Murder Princess nickname. Yuri power banzai! As long as Milano is by her side, anything is okay. And yeah, Milano = maid character!!! Huzzah! I approve!!! The past between Alita, Dominikov and Pete is also never explained. How did she team up with those guys? It would have been interesting to see how they pair up but it won’t matter now since they’re gone. Dominikov feels like for plot convenience, at least he is there to explain things while Pete as the gentle giant so as to tell us that not all such big brutes are dangerous creatures.

The funny thing about Akamashi is that I wonder if he is a shy person or not. Because at points he is seen whispering into Anna’s ear for her to explain to the rest (and us) about things. I thought he had no voice but at very rare times, we do hear him speak. Besides, I wonder if Akamashi’s faceless expression is permanent. He has this boring look on his face that screams, “Damn this is troublesome, I don’t want to do this sh*t”. Yeah, it does give off that feel. Funny. But not as funny when he was instantly killed off. That moment for me was like, oh sh*t, you really kidding me?! Not kidding. Dead scientist for sure. The lolis are there for some loli cuteness. Even though they are androids and not supposed to have feelings I suppose they do because we need to sympathize with them. Because Anna said they aren’t supposed to have taste when they ate food but they do anyway so I’m assuming they too have feelings since Anna is the brat while Yuna is the shy one. But they look like they’re handling it well with Akamashi’s death. It’s not like they’re so overly emotional about it and even when it’s time to disappear, they’re cool with that. Yeah, maybe they do have feelings but not a wide range.

I wonder what will happen to Kaito now. Will he still be the rule of his country? I mean, he wanted the world to be destroyed. Didn’t get that wish. Now he is stuck ruling his sh*tty country in this sh*tty world. But then again, with Alita taking the frontlines of the battlefield as their fighting princess, could Kaito have been exiled? I mean, it’s not like the people found out about his treachery, right? Did they? The last we know is that Alita’s side have been branded traitors. Maybe somewhere in the epilogue that wasn’t shown, things were explained to the people. Otherwise, how would Alita have led the royal army to fight the enemies?

One of the reasons why I wanted to watch this series was because I read it was action packed. Well… Not exactly. Sure there are action bits but they aren’t from start to finish. Not to say they are shown sparingly either but at least in every episode you are guaranteed to see Alita go into some sort of sword swinging action. But the action sequences aren’t really top-notched either. Sometimes a bit laughable. Like when Alita slashes Akamashi’s monsters, it all feels so easy like as though she is cutting through just waves of mindless monsters whose sole existence is to be cut down like that. Dominikov and Pete don’t really do anything much since we focus more on Alita so they’re relegated to fighting whatever small fries in the background while Alita takes the bigger slice of the cake. This series has blood too but nothing that would really spook you. I think blood is ‘necessary’ so that you can see how it somewhat lives up to its namesake title when you see blood stains all over Alita’s white princess dress. I think Milano is doing a great job as a maid removing those stains every time…

The art and drawing aren’t anything to shout about. Came out in the last decade (year 2007 to be precise) so everything looks dated like from that era. The character designs, the monsters and even the fantasy setting. Some characters do look weird, though. Like Jodo whom I thought is some leprechaun without the trademark Irish green lucky clover hat. With that kind of serious looks, I thought Jodo would be some sort of traitor but thankfully nope. Then there’s Dominikov whom I thought is some discount version of Ghost Rider. I mean, did his design take inspiration from that? At least his bike on fire wheels made me think so. And Pete is he looking like some kind of punk rock golem? Well, don’t judge a book by its cover? I’ve already said about Akamashi’s look, having this boring outlook expression. How can you not identify this dude as he is the only one in the country with this broomstick hair?! When the dark knight (no relations to Batman whatsoever) first appeared, the first thing I thought was damn, how this guy looks like Overlord’s Ains-sama! More accurately, Momon! They are also dual handed sword wielders. Did Overlord take inspiration from this design? Because Overlord also have dark elf twins and was it these android loli twins they also get their inspiration from? This anime is made by Bee Train who did Tsubasa Chronicle, Noir and Madlax.

It’s nice to hear a few recognizable seiyuus lending their talents here. Oh, just Romi Paku as Alita/Falis, Ami Koshimizu as Milano/Alita and Chiwa Saitou doing twin roles as Anna and Yuna. The rest of the small casts are Kazuki Yao as Dominikov (Franky in One Piece), Akimitsu Takase as Pete (Tamotsu Kodate in Fafner), Takkou Ishimori as Jodo (Sengoku in One Piece), Megumi Toyoguchi as Cecilia (Revy in Black Lagoon), Daisuke Namikawa as Kaito (Mystogan in Fairy Tail) and Hiroshi Tsuchida as Akamashi (Grisha in Shingeki No Kyojin).

The opening theme is Hikari Sasuhou by Back-On. Typical hard rock music that suits this series. However, somehow hearing this song reminds me of hearing that American punk rock band, Green Day. I don’t know. Perhaps people who sing like that sound like that to me. And oh, also this reminds me a bit of Linkin Park because there’s a little rapping in this hard rock piece. As for the ending theme, Naked Flower, it is very rare to hear Romi Paku sing. I’m not saying that it sounds bad but she is one of those few seiyuus I know that don’t really have that kind of singing voice (I hate to admit it, because my utmost favourite Mamiko Noto’s voice also isn’t suited for singing). So rare that the only other time she sang was one of those ending songs for Ueki No Housoku. Yeah, it’s so long ago that I’ve forgotten about it that I Google it. But this ending theme in general is quite nice since it has that Latin vibe to it and those killer violins at the start.

Overall, looks like another one of those anime series resting in the back burners of my mind being checked off the list. With only 6 episodes in total, I guess I can’t really complain and b*tch about the simple story and characters since I do have to admit that I enjoyed watching this series despite some of the WTF moments that made me want to laugh. The action scenes are supposed to be the big draw but it didn’t really quite cut it for me and it felt more like just to showcase why Alita is badass enough to slice and dice with her sword while still in her princess dress. I wonder if Disney is thinking of incorporating her as part of the official Disney Princess line-up because she sure does kick ass with style like some of them. But then, not likely since Star Wars’ Princess Leia is still waiting her turn and most unlikely she’ll be that part of that elite group ;p. Don’t want to market to kids bloody stained dresses of a princess with an equally bloody sword now, do we? Kill Bill this isn’t either…