Princess Principal’s time jumping is giving me whiplash- not like the kind from a car crash, but like the kind of whiplash you get on an old rollercoaster. It’s fun, but a little painful and exhausting. This episode we leap back to when the girls first meet Chise and the Japanese Lord Horikawa, and while I’ve enjoyed our little foray into the intermittent past, I do hope the story can pursue some resolution next time.
We start at a train station with the honorable Lord Horikawa and his guards are meeting with the Kingdom of Ablion to discuss relations. There is strong emphasis on the difference in cultures and the profound respect the Japanese have for the Kingdom peoples. Actually, the Japanese show such respect to the Kingdom that the Princess almost seems rude…
Anyway, past general body language, the Princess was sent to greet Lord Horikawa because of the multiple assassination attempts by a famed assassin, Todo Jubei. The Duke of Normandy sees this a potential opportunity to drop Charlotte out of the royal lineup just in case someone was hoping she would succeed the throne, and this points to the idea that the Duke doesn’t really trust Charlotte. In fact, last episode he was speaking about marrying her to the Russian royalty, likely to a similar effect.
So, the plan is to have Todo Jubei attack the Japanese Lord and kill the Princess in his wake- knocking out two birds. I’m not terribly sure of the relationship between the Kingdom and Japan, but obviously the Duke was able to maintain contact with a royal traitor overseas long enough to establish an assassination attempt.
What stands in Todo Jubei’s way are Charlotte’s terribly capable guards, Ange and Dorothy, and a newcomer, Chise. Though Ange doesn’t trust Chise in the beginning, after Charlotte’s insistence, the two quickly grow to understand each other and become quick comrades in the few hours of the train ride. There’s actually a great bit when the girls are going over their backstories were Ange mentions the planet she is from to Chise who believes her possibly due to a cultural misunderstanding of sarcasm- and Ange’s own misunderstanding that the Japanese culture believes that it is possible to come from off world (the moon, specifically).
When Todo Jubei launches his attack from another train, both Chise and Ange are called to action and work together in superb form to ensure his defeat. During this battle, Charlotte shows her true colors when she stops Ange from helping only her and wishes to save the trains from impacting and causing lives to be lost. It’s a great set of scenes for both action, which Princess Principal does horribly well, and characterization for both Charlotte and Ange. I’ll probably keep saying this, but it’s always important to remember that Ange cares for Charlotte more than anything and will drop her stony personality at the drop of a hat when it comes to the Princess’ life.
Chise successful kills Todo Jubei, the Japanese traitor, and we learn for certain that he was Chise’s father. While she is proud to have surpassed her father in skill, she is also noticeably sad for having lost him. This must have been a very tough road for Chise to follow, choosing between her father and country, but I believe the correct choice was her country in this case (of course, not knowing the politics behind Todo Jubei’s actions).
After the train incident, it seems the Commonwealth approached the Japanese government about their predicament and made some deal to hire Chise. It’s likely that the Japanese, and Chise, know about Charlotte’s duel “citizenship,” and as mentioned in the previous episode, are looking for whom to truly side with in the war. Chise joins our heroines as a member of Team White Dove.
All in all, this was a great introduction for Chise, though it does fly in the face of the previous episode where Chise views herself as expendable and worries she is cut out from the action. It seems that Ange actually likes, respects, and trusts Chise quite a bit. Personally, I can’t wait to see where we go next, and I really hope we begin to focus more on obtaining Charlotte’s dream from here on out.