While I seem to have a penchant for the classroom, this summer’s other big hit switches it up in terms of style and tone. Princess Principal immediately caught my attention based on the style. As I have said before, I’m a sucker for lolita fashion. In regards to style and interest, the show has failed to disappoint me so far. The description of this action and spy anime piqued my curiosity.
Princess Principal is set in 19th century London, England, which is currently divided into east and west by a wall. England itself is currently torn into two factions: the Kingdom of Albion and the Commonwealth. The series centers around Ange Lucare, a spy for the Commonwealth currently enrolled at the Queen’s Mayfair School. In this world of espionage, helps comes in the form of her fellow spy classmates: Dorothy, Beatrice, Chise, and Princess Charlotte. The five deal with outside forces and their own drama with precision and poise. Nothing so far seems to catch them off-guard.
Plot twists and double-crossing are big in this spy-centered show, and are done well. In the first episode, the girls are trying to help a defector cross the border into Commonwealth territory. Eric is looking to defect to save himself and his younger sister, Amy, who is suffering from Cavonite poisoning. After some odd behavior, Ange deduces that Eric is actually a double-agent bent on luring them into the open. After Ange exposes his plan, Eric confesses his true intent. He reveals that the Duke of Normandy agreed to fund his sister’s procedure, if he agreed to fake his defection. Ange has Eric sign a life insurance policy, then executes him. The life insurance later pays out to Amy and is used to pay for her cure.
While double-crossing is expected when dealing with foes, it’s surprising when it comes from friends. Upon first attending Queen’s Mayfair school, Ange and Dorothy begin planning their mission to replace Ange with the Princess. The plan comes to a head when at a school ball Ange “accidentally” spills a drink on the Princess’ dress. Ange then uses the dress to impersonate the Princess, who is waiting elsewhere for a new dress. She successfully completes her mission to get a key from an official to keep away from the Duke of Normandy. Things are going well…until the Princess reveals she knows Ange and Dorothy are spies and threatens to reveal them. The two agree to help the Princess with her desire to ascend the throne if she hides their key.
After the ball, Ange and the Princess meet on the roof of the school. When Ange asks how the Princess knew they were spies, the Princess hands her a note. It’s a note Ange wrote the Princess Charlotte ten years prior. It also reveals that the two swapped names.
I’m really excited to see where Princess Principal goes from here. The fact that the Princess swapped names with a commoner opens the door to a lot of questions. On top of that, the undercurrent of dissent within the divided country is sure to come to a head soon. More importantly, it’s exciting to see a show handle espionage so well. If I had to compare it to another show on the market, it would be Gunslinger Girl. Without the handlers, of course. I will definitely be looking forward to weekends for the rest of summer.
Princess Principal is currently streaming every Saturday on Anime Strike.