Back in my Episode 4/Case 9 post, I said lying is the main theme of Princess Principal. But you know, after watching some episodes of Team White Pigeon becoming the best of buddies, I realize that friendship is a far more prevalent theme. Everyone might have something to hide but at the end of the day, they do view each other as friends.
Friendship is certainly a major theme of this episode as Ange and Dorothy (and Beatrice who’s honestly just there…) work with Prefect, a fellow spy and an old friend of theirs. They steal some documents from the Kingdom but ultimately the real objective Ange and Dorothy are given is to investigate a claim that Prefect has been working for the Kingdom. To Ange’s suspicion and Dorothy’s chagrin, that claim turns out to be true.
As you’d expect, both girls react to the news differently. Ange follows her orders like it’s any other mission while Dorothy is more visibly distraught about confronting Prefect. For me, this harkens back to Episode 6/Case 18 when Dorothy admits that she’s not nearly as good of a liar or spy as Ange is. Dorothy is simply more open about her actual feelings so I find it fitting that she’s lacking the poker face that Ange exhibits. Ange seems to even notice that aspect of Dorothy as she confronts Prefect head-on rather than wait for Dorothy to corner her. I initially thought this was out of character for Ange but it ends up making sense that Ange didn’t want to pain Dorothy with the task of killing Prefect.
Even though this is the first (and only) episode Prefect is in, I found her relationships with Ange and Dorothy to be very interesting. Back at the Farm, Ange has always been the top student (how appropriate), leaving Prefect eternally at second place. Naturally, there is a bit of a rivalry between the two but I think Prefect envies Ange for a different reason. Like Ange, Prefect devoted all of her effort in becoming a spy simply to avoid getting left behind by Control. The biggest difference is that while Prefect trained out of fear, Ange trained out of resolve. Ange had the goal of one day meeting Princess again while Prefect was simply afraid for her life. What Prefect truly dislikes about Ange was that she made of sterner stuff.
For a while, I thought Prefect really did wish she was Ange. Knowing about their gap in skill and resolve certainly made a compelling case for it and the writers could’ve easily gone with that route. But there is something more poignant about the fact that Prefect actually wished she was like Dorothy. Envying Dorothy’s carefree and fun attitude seems so much simpler but it also feels even more sympathetic and human to me. All Prefect wants in her life is to have fun with it.
Friendships certainly die hard in Princess Principal. Despite knowing she betrayed Dorothy, Prefect spares her friend the trouble of killing her by committing suicide. It’s a surprisingly graphic scene; you see the animation of Prefect shooting herself and blood splatter in the air right before it finally cuts to Dorothy’s reaction. I think this scene feels even grimmer when you consider the fact that Prefect was one of three surviving members of her class (the other two being Ange and Dorothy). As lighthearted and optimistic as Princess Principal can be, it still reminds us that the life of a spy is neither entirely easy nor entirely pleasant.
Now about that ending. I suppose it was inevitable that Control would plot to assassinate Princess but I can’t think of a more appropriate endgame for Princess Principal. I did raise my eyebrows when Ange and Dorothy find out that L has been replaced with some other guy. Call me crazy but I think the Duke of Normandy may have a role in this, considering that he was trying to get Princess killed in Episode 5/Case 7. Regardless, this will most certainly be the ultimate test of loyalty for Team White Pigeon. I can’t imagine Ange going through with killing Princess so I think it’s entirely up to the other girls with where they stand on this dilemma. I suppose we’ll find out soon enough…unless the next case takes place before this one…
- I seriously love the friendship between Dorothy and Beatrice. It was so adorable seeing Dorothy coddle Beatrice for a deception well done.
- What exactly are the syringes Prefect was using? I want to say that they’re drugs that she’s uses to cope with her life as a spy but there isn’t a lot of info to go off of.
- Chise and Princess only show up for one scene but let me you, that was pure comedic gold.