Note: This is my original review for Princess Principal Episode 5. For an updated take on this episode will be available in the near future.
Last post, I was a teensy bit bummed out that a proper introduction for Chise was being saved for later but as it turns out, I just needed to wait another week for it. Team White Pigeon (wait, they technically haven’t named the team yet…) is a curious bunch of girls but Chise especially required an explanation. I mean, a samurai from Japan joining a team of English spies sounds awesome but that very sentence merits a “wait, what?”. The funny thing is that if Princess Principal did air chronologically, you’d probably find Chise’s introduction to be extremely random. Since Chise has already been introduced, this episode actually answers a question just waiting to be answered rather than looking like the staff ran out of ideas and just jumped the shark.
The detail that Chise is in Control to spy on them for Japan does not come into play until the very end of the episode. As it turns out, Chise first met Team Not White Pigeon Just Yet by pure chance. We do see Japan begin to take interest in Albion with Chise’s master, Lord Horikawa traveling for peace talks with the Queen. But Chise was apparently meant to stay in Japan. She only comes to Albion for a chance to kill Todo Jubei, an assassin targeting her Lord Horikawa and is supposedly responsible for the death of her father. Ultimately, Chise and Ange cooperate to to stop Jubei from assassinating Lord Horikawa (and possibly Princess as well).
Chise is an interesting character for sure. She’s extremely loyal to Lord Horikawa and she can easily kill several men without any remorse or mercy. That combination could potentially pose a huge threat for Princess if peace talks go south. It is no wonder that Ange is super cautious around Chise at first. However, there is also a more innocent and emotional side to Chise. We’ve seen glimpses in the past with Chise having fun talks with the other spies and express genuine curiosity in Western culture. Her little talk with that injured boy in this episode certainly suggests that she can be a bit compassionate. That side of her personality seems to be at huge odds with her sense of loyalty and honor though. I saw the twist that Jubei is Chise’s father coming a mile away but it does show how torn Chise can feel. She killed her father to restore her family’s honor and protect her master but doing so nevertheless broke her heart despite her efforts to act emotionally numb to the act.
I also took note of Chise’s chemistry with Ange. Ange has every right to be cautious about Chise; as I mentioned, her skills and loyalty to Horikawa is potentially dangerous for Princess if negotiations with Japan fail. But at Princess’s suggestion, Ange and Chise work together and Ange does end up trusting Chise a bit after the latter reveals why she wants to kill Jubei. All things considered, Ange and Chise do make a good team. It was awesome seeing Ange fly around Gravity Rush style to shoot foes while Chise slices and dices other opponents. Ange even trusted Chise to fight Jubei to protect Princess.
But then that brings me to the ending. As much as I like Chise’s official welcome into Team Name in Progress, I couldn’t help but feel a bit nervous at this scene. Knowing that Chise is spying for Japan really affects how you interpret this scene. Personally, I’m not convinced it was Dorothy who convinced Horikawa to work with Control. Chise developed a rapport with Ange; it’d be so easy to abuse that trust to her advantage. Maybe Chise does see Ange as a friend but if her act of patricide is any indication, loyalty and care are two different things for her.
And honestly, I think Ange sees through Chise’s possible act. Ange might’ve cooperated with Chise this episode but there’s no denying that she still poses a potential threat to Princess. There is no way Ange would look past that. Even in the last episode (Case 9), it did seem as though Ange still distrusts Chise a bit (Ange really wanted Dorothy’s help instead of Chise’s). I can’t help but watch that handshake and ask, “Is Ange just playing along?”. And with Ange, anything she does could be a lie.
- I love how Team Name in Progress reacted to the Japanese custom of bowing as a sign of gratitude. It probably amuses me so much because it’s an anime showing cultural alienation to Japanese people.
- So the Duke of Normandy plotted with Jubei so that Princess would get assassinated along with Lord Horikawa. Considering his plan to marry Princess to some official in Russia in Ep. 4/Case 9, that means the Duke really wants Princess out of the line of succession. Maybe the Duke has caught onto Princess’s scheme or maybe the secret about her and Ange?
- I’m surprised that Chise rebutted Ange’s claim that she’s from the Black Lizard Planet. I wanna say that Chise was just playing along but Ange’s shock implies that she was afraid Chise knew what that term meant. Maybe I’m overthinking here but then again, what does the phrase mean?
Thanks for reading!
For all of my Princess Principal Episode Reviews, check out the show’s archive page!
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