Sunday, January 13, 2013

Murder Princess Anime Review

Murder Princess
Complete Collection - 1 disc
150 mins. - 6 episodes
$19.98 (2009)
ISBN 704400085819
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Tomoyuki Kurokawa/Shinya Kawatsura/Tomoaki Ohta
Studio - Bee Train

Synopsis: The king of Forland is besieged in a bloody coup d'etat by a renegade scientist once employed by the crown.  This scientist's name is Dr. Akamashi and he besieges the castle with an army of synthetic beasts.  During the coup the king is mortally wounded and sends his daughter, Princess Alita, to flee the kingdom to ensure her safety.  Alita's handmaid, Milano, takes her place so the attackers believe the princess has died.  Dr. Akamashi uses two deadly androids made to look like cute little girls to decimate the palace guard and massacre the royal family.
Dr. Akamashi and his army of synthetic beasts
Alita flees through the forest, but runs afoul of a monstrous creature and runs for her life.  Meanwhile a group of three bounty hunters led by a woman named Falis are killing deadly wolves.  She is a deadly fighter using a long sword and joined by two seemingly ghoulish companions - Dominikov is a diminutive skeleton using a scythe and Peter Armstrong is a pink-skinned, Frankenstein-looking biker.  Alita runs into Falis and the two fall off of a cliff together into the trees below.  During the fall the two girls swap souls due to sharing a near-death experience.  Now Alita is in the body of the bounty hunter, Falis, and vice-versa.  The forest monster attacks and Falis, using Alita's body, hacks it to pieces.
They may look sweet, but these androids are sadistic and deadly
Alita (in Falis' body) pledges herself to Falis (in Alita's body) in return for her help saving the kingdom.  Falis agrees and heads back to the castle.  She confronts and defeats Dr. Akamashi thus ending the coup.  He escapes with his two androids and their threat remains a constant danger.  The king's head man-servant, Jodo, is the only survivor of the brutal massacre and he realizes the truth.  Now Falis is to be crowned ruler of Forland because Alita's brother is away on a mission in a neighboring kingdom.  Alita takes the deceased Milano's name to honor her and becomes Falis' handmaid.
Falis realizes she is in Alita's body after looking at the reflection in her sword
Will the power of ruling a kingdom corrupt the bounty hunter Falis?  Can she stop Dr. Akamashi again if he attacks with his deadly androids and synthetic beasts?  What has happened to Prince Kaito - will his return herald good fortune or a deadly turn of events?  The doctor uncovered lost technology which helped him create the androids to almost take over the kingdom - what is the secret of this lost technology and how is Alita linked to it?
Falis (in Alita's body) massacres Dr. Akamashi's synthetic beasts
Pros: Lots of action and monsters/people getting chopped up, monster designs reminded me of Darkstalkers (minus the hot succubi), Falis is a pretty awesome queen, everything gets explained, decent story pacing (they fit everything into 6 episodes), music was good - a little modern heavy metal
From left to right: Jodo, Peter Armstrong, Falis (in Alita's body),
Dominikov, and Alita (in Falis' body)
Cons: Short, story and plot were only so-so, no way Falis could do the same moves in Alita's unconditioned body, practically zero fan-service, the android little girls are really annoying, Dominikov's mouth doesn't move when he talks, Dr. Akamashi's character design was pretty silly, Alita was just too damn forgiving
The goofy monster designs of Peter Armstrong and Dominikov
Mike Tells It Straight: I was expecting Murder Princess to be a much darker series (and longer).  It ended up being a short and rather tame show.  The body swapping of Alita and Falis was interesting - rough around the edges bounty hunter in the body of elegant, composed princess.  Now the poised princess is cutting up monsters and getting blood splashed all over her clothes.  I felt the show was too short and the viewer didn't have enough time to really empathize with the main characters.
The Dark Knight and evil sorceress Cecilia
Although the monster designs reminded me of Darkstalkers, I didn't really like Falis' two companions Dominikov and Peter Armstrong.  They looked like a skeleton and Frankenstein dressed up as goofy bikers.  Dominikov's mouth never moved when he talked which seemed a bit odd.  The other bad guys besides Dr. Akamashi were pretty cool and I liked their angle in the plot.  Those two little psycho android girls were utterly annoying.  I know the writers were trying to emphasize Alita's depth of character as a royal, but she should have been way more disturbed by the body swapping than she appeared.  I still don't get how Falis could pull off all of her moves in Alita's untrained body.
Falis (in Alita's body) gets woken up by Alita (in Falis' body)
Overall I found this show to be somewhat entertaining, but not terribly memorable.  It was barely PG-13 for the violence and that's about it.  If you're looking for a supernatural action-thriller then look elsewhere.  I found a few neat concepts and some good action scenes as Falis (in Alita's body) hacks up a bunch of monsters, but the story and characters just didn't win me over.  
Alita is now known as the Murder Princess!

TO BUY and Recommendations: