We’re in the final stretch with Princess Principal (well, as far as the TV series is concerned). These last three episodes are in the same order on the Blu-ray as it was when the show aired. Plus, they’re chronologically the last three episodes anyway so this is 100% how PriPri is intended to end.
The plot of Episode 10 is that Ange, Dorothy, and Beatrice are assigned to steal some intel with an old colleague of the former two’s. The character’s actual name isn’t provided though Dorothy refers to her as “Prefect” (Ayaka Ohashi) as she was the second best spy-in-training after Ange. Control however suspects Prefect has become a double agent and secretly gives Ange and Dorothy the task of verifying if it’s true. Ultimately, this turns out to the case and Ange and Dorothy are forced to apprehend their fellow spy.
As much as I like Beatrice, her involvement in this episode is probably the oddest thing about it. The team does use her mimicry at one point to retrieve the intel but it easily could’ve been cut out. I suppose she’s there to comment on Prefect as a more neutral POV character but Prefect’s history with Ange and Dorothy is interesting enough by itself. Beatrice could easily be in Princess and Chise’s cameo scene (which is great, by the way) and that’d be fine. If nothing else, this episode does drive home Beatrice’s existence as a spy. Prefect is quick to point out her greenness but is soon forced to acknowledge that Beatrice’s mimicry is indeed too good to pass up. Plus, there’s some cute Beatrice moments. It’s really adorable how Dorothy coddles her for a job well done and I laughed so hard when Beatrice is forced to drive the team’s car.
It’s certainly nice to see another spy around our main characters’ age. It’s implied that there are other units besides the Principal and you’d think PriPri would introduce them but it surprisingly doesn’t. I guess that’s maybe where the show’s short-lived gacha mobile tie-in game came to place (yeah, that was a thing because of course it was). At least the show made its auxiliary spy someone with a history with two of our main characters. In fact, it’s implied that Ange, Dorothy, and Prefect are the only survivors left in their “class” which is a pretty chilling detail.
Why exactly Prefect betrays her faction is left pretty vague. The most explicit explanation provided is that it’s a combination of resentment towards her role as a spy as well as simply getting caught and coerced into acting as a double agent. Another hint thrown around are these syringes that Prefect is shown using. There’s a couple possibilities as to what those are for. Maybe they’re drugs that Prefect has gotten addicted to. Maybe it’s to alleviate a medical condition of some kind. Regardless of its nature, the Kingdom is clearly her supplier and it’s part of what coerced her to serve them.
At the heart of the episode is Dorothy’s friendship with Prefect. It readily becomes apparent that Prefect genuinely enjoys the company Dorothy provides, willingly having a drink with her and reminiscing over old times. A particular memory Prefect recounts is when she thought she, Dorothy, and Ange were going to fail their final exam and rather than fret over it, Dorothy convinces her to go to a nearby fair with her and just have fun together. This moment holds significant weight for Prefect as it leads to her considering Dorothy as the one she admires the most and wishes she could be just like her. For a while, the episode has you thinking the person Prefect wishes she could be is Ange. Given their gap in skill certainly makes a compelling case for it and the writers could’ve easily gone with that route. But as it turns out, the one Prefect admires and wants to be is actually Dorothy. She admires and envies how carefree her friend can be while still being as tough as nails. I’m glad PriPri went with this, it’s more sympathetic and emotionally charged this way.
Meanwhile, Ange’s relationship with Prefect is a lot tougher to appraise. Like, Ange puts on a neutral face throughout the investigation and pursuit but that’s the face she always puts on. They’re pretty standoffish to each other due to how Perfect was eternally at second place behind Ange when they trained to be spies. At the same time however, they’re able to put that difference aside for the mission and effortlessly coordinate with each other without planning too far ahead. In private or offhand, they’ll even acknowledge and express respect at each other’s abilities. There’s a moment where Ange tells Beatrice that Prefect is not her friend and for once, she might very well be telling the truth here. Presumably, Ange doesn’t mean that Prefect is an enemy but rather just someone she feels neutral towards. The relationship between these two is one that’s strictly professional. They’re more than capable of working together and they both respect each other but that’s as far as it goes.
One person Ange does consider to be a friend however is Dorothy. While pursuing Prefect, Ange makes the reckless decision to confront her head-on. This ends up allowing Prefect to make a run for it and Dorothy accuses Ange to letting her pride get the best of her. It’s a baffling moment at first as knowing Ange, being so confrontational seems out of character for her to do. It eventually ends up however when Dorothy realizes that Ange did this so that she wouldn’t have to kill Prefect. Ultimately, it’s Prefect who eliminates herself and spares Dorothy the trouble of executing her (in an awfully graphic scene no less) though I like to think that since she’s at the ready, Ange’s plan is to shoot Prefect to once more spare Dorothy the pain of killing a friend.
Now about that ending. As soon as Ange and Dorothy complete their mission, they learn that L has been replaced by a new superior codenamed the “General” (Mitsuaki Hoshino). More importantly, the two of them are assigned a new mission: assassinate Princess. It was inevitable that Control would plot to do so and I can’t think of a more appropriate endgame for Princess Principal. Even so, the timing is strange. That there be a change of hands in Control was never brought up until now and it says something that this is how we jumpstart to the thing Ange fears of doing the most. It’s really blatant that PriPri needs to wrap up and sadly, that feeling carries over into the final two episodes.