Princess Principal – Ep. 3

While Episode 3 is primarily about Beatrice, it does start off with a continuation of Ange and Princess’s reunion from the previous episode. The main purpose of this scene is to confirm that despite all that acting she did at the ball, Princess genuinely plans on becoming Queen and change Albion for the better. Understandably, Ange is shocked over this. Not only did she apparently have an escape route all planned out but now her best friend truly is part of a very, very dangerous world. Princess does make a compelling counterpoint though: if she becomes Queen than she and Ange can just be together forever (the level of intimacy implied is of course being left to interpretation…).

There’s two other things about this scene that stand out to me. First is a line uttered by Ange where she tells Princess that becoming a spy is the only way she could “get across the wall”. The most obvious connection to make is the lyrics of Princess Principal‘s OP, “The Other Side of the Wall”. In fact, the same line is sung during the chorus. However, this idea of crossing the wall and meeting with a friend does get brought up later in the series. Another bit worth keeping an eye on is the one where Ange says she’ll deceive everyone, including herself and Princess, to help her friend. I originally thought it was some throwaway line but it does foreshadow some of Ange’s actions and character development in the last two episodes.

After the OP, the episode hands the spotlight over to Beatrice. About time too because of all the characters in PriPri, Beatrice is the one the show needs to justify her being a spy the most. At least with Princess, she’s got that royal clout going and as we saw last episode, she can talk the talk during a mission. Beatrice on the other hand, you look at her and she just seems like the kind of person who would fluctuate between “I can do this!” and “Dear God, why did I agree to do this?!”. It’s not exactly spy material, is it?

Sure enough, Beatrice joins the team rather reluctantly. While Princess is keeping her end of the bargain by first helping Ange and Dorothy out with infiltrating an airship for some manufacturing plates, Beatrice is convinced that the spies can’t be trusted. To be fair, she has every right to feel that way. While not in the know about Operation Changeling, seeing Ange in disguise is enough of a cause for Beatrice to be suspicious (imagine her reaction if she found out who Ange really is…). Since no one in the Kingdom can be trusted either, poor Beatrice naturally takes it upon herself to make sure Ange isn’t putting Princess in danger and follows her onto the airship. You can imagine how well that would go.

If you really think about it, the smart thing for Ange to do would be to straight up kill Beatrice. Dark I know but since Beatrice can’t fight and it’s safe to assume that she couldn’t last a minute in an interrogation, she is pretty much a liability. At first glance, she seems like dead weight and in the world of espionage, it would benefit a spy such as Ange to have her dead.

Would Ange actually pull the trigger though? I personally doubt it. As emotionless as she appears to be, she isn’t a heartless being and given where her loyalties lie, she would give any close friend of Princess a chance or at the very least tolerate them. And if she really wanted Beatrice off her shoulders, she would’ve let her drown in that chute of water instead of shooting her on the airship. If anything, her acting at odds with Beatrice is her way of helping the latter see the bigger picture. She tells Beatrice to get caught but she does so to remind Beatrice of the gravity of the situation. If any enemy finds Beatrice then Princess’s connection to the Commonwealth will be exposed and put the very friend Beatrice is trying to protect at risk. In other words, having a grudge against a spy really isn’t the best course of action to take right now and Beatrice comes to realize that.

Beyond Ange being a nicer girl than she lets on, Beatrice’s place in the team is 100% justified thanks to her ability to mimic voices, which is revealed to via a mechanical implant in her throat. There’s an interview on AnimeNewsNetwork where director Masaki Tachibana explains that the staff realized that Beatrice needed something outstanding in order for a newcomer such as her to be on a team of expert spies. It makes sense. With an ability such as that, why would a spy pass that up? That said, I’m dying to know why exactly they settled on Beatrice being part-robot. Seriously, how did they come to that conclusion? It’s a bit of a leap if you ask me. Not that I’m complaining though because it is hilarious and charming hearing such masculine voices come out of Beatrice’s mouth and it does create a unique gimmick for her.

Episode 1 admittedly gives away Beatrice’s ability though how Episode 3 leads into revealing the story behind it is still well-executed. I won’t lie, it’s unsettling hearing Beatrice’s voice muffle and glitch with static. That and watching Beatrice fix the mechanism with some pliers. It’s the only time it happens in this show and thank goodness that is the case because I really didn’t want to hear it again when I originally watched this episode. I suppose Beatrice’s father never gets depth beyond him being a mad scientist though it serves its purpose as a reason why Beatrice was experimented on.

At least Beatrice can finally put her ability to good use. At the start of the episode, she’s ashamed of it, as evident in her running off in tears once Ange and Dorothy find out. By being a spy, Beatrice begins to recognize and even appreciate its utility, allowing her to contribute to the team’s operations and by extension, help Princess in any way she can. This also refers back to what I was saying about Beatrice needing to see the bigger picture. When Ange finally is in danger, Beatrice realizes that she can’t do nothing but complain and decides to use whatever might be useful to survive for her sake and her friends’.

As usual, the action is very entertaining to watch. How can it not when you have Ange running along the surface of an airship and dodging gunfire? I especially like how this scene incorporates the C-Ball. Episode 1 establishes that Ange has to let the gadget cool down, even putting it in some kind of coolant to speed up the progress. This episode really stresses that disadvantage as the gadget overheats, forcing Ange to speed things up before it malfunctions. It doesn’t put her life on the line (that ends up Beatrice’s job) but it does make things feel more hectic.

I quite like how Beatrice and Ange befriend each other and it involves the concept of lies. Well, actually I guess it’s more along the lines of honesty. As the two skydive off the airship and on the off-chance that they crash and die, Beatrice very loudly declares how much Princess means to her and her resolve to be of use for the latter. It’s such a passionate speech that it actually compels Ange to smile, suggesting that she’s come to like her new associate. In an early scene, Ange tells Beatrice to take the plates and leave. Beatrice calls Ange mad but the spy once again counteracts by stressing the importance that no one finds out about Princess’s involvement. It’s the first, genuine moment where Ange expresses emotion and it makes Beatrice realize that Ange doesn’t care about money or politics or heroism but rather her friends. During the skydiving scene, Ange does say that she hates Princess but at this point, Beatrice sees through the lie and has already come to view Ange as a trustworthy friend.

The very last scene is extremely charming as you see Beatrice play along with Ange’s chronic lying. Princess and Dorothy’s reactions are especially priceless as they wonder what exactly happened at the airship that made their respective peers so close now. I think what impresses me though is that Beatrice does kind of get how the Black Lizard Planet phrase works. She catches on that Ange actually likes sugar in her tea and not salt as she claims and later gives sugar, calling it salt from the Black Lizard Planet. It’s very much in the same vein where Ange uses the phrase to separate a truth from herself. A shame Beatrice doesn’t catch on the trick entirely. When Ange said she and Princess met before at the Black Lizard Planet, she really wasn’t kidding.


Thanks for reading!

This post was originally published on October 10, 2018

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8 thoughts on “Princess Principal – Ep. 3

    1. Okay, I don’t know want to get into the events of later episodes here but I’ll have to respectfully disagree with you on that. If what Ange says is true then that severely undermines her outburst at Beatrice earlier in the episode as well as how exactly Ange’s lies work.

      Also, I don’t know if Ange hates being a spy or a chronic liar. She just treats it as her way of life and seems content with it. If anything, some dialogue in Episodes 4 and 11 imply that Ange disliked her life prior to becoming a spy. I guess Princess wanting to be Queen is met with disapproval from Ange but that’s hardly a moment of animosity.

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  1. Man, I’m glad I read your review! Especially your notes on the dub. I forgot this had come out! Now it’s safely on order from Right Stuff!

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    1. Okay, I hit submit too soon. I enjoyed the review, too — not just because it reminded me! I’m happy to see someone else appreciated the series!

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      1. Hey man, both comments are much appreciated! Thanks for taking the time to read my review. And yeah, I really love Princess Principal. It’s easily one of my top five anime of last year and I wish more people will see it. That I love it so much is the biggest reason why I’m doing these re-reviews.

        Are you just getting the standard blu-ray? I’m have the limited edition pre-ordered and I’m so hyped to get it in the mail.

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        1. Yeah, just the standard. My anime budget is already shot this month! If you have time, maybe you could post what comes with this limited edition — I’d love to see it!

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          1. That’s fair. My budget for anything nerdy was set back by a lot when I pre-ordered the Limited Edition lol. I just love this anime too much to pass up on it though.

            I might do an unboxing post. I’ve considered doing that kind of thing for a while actually and this blu-ray set would be good choice.

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