What They Say :
Middle schooler Hiro Hiyorimi has lived apart from his older sister Sawawa since their parents died, but now Sawawa has a job as a live-in maid and is being allowed to have Hiro live with her at the mansion. Hiro gets killed on the way to the mansion when he tries to rescue a blond-haired young Goth woman from falling steel beams, only to soon discover that said Goth girl – Hime, who is also Sawawa’s employer – has revived him using her Flamie of Life power, effectively making him one of her half-immortal servants/guards. (He must remain with her, too, as his continued existence is dependent on regular doses of her Flame of Life.) Turns outs that Hime is a genuine princess, one of the Royal Family whose members rule over the Royal (Monster) Kingdom, and she is caught in a struggle with her siblings over future ascendancy to the throne. Though she cares little for the throne, she nonetheless must protect herself, and her indomitable pipsqueak android Flandre and the hapless Hiro aren’t enough, so she wins the begrudging allegiance of the half-werewolf Liza Wildman and the pureblood vampire Reiri, who is a fellow student at Hiro’s school. She also forms an alliance with her younger sister Sherwood, who adores Hiro. Hime needs all of the help she can get, too, when the threats which beset her include invisible men, doppelgangers, fish people, cat girls, other vampires and werewolves, haunted boats and villages, and even forbidden zombies.
The Review :
I watched the release in both English and Japanese (Discs 1 and 3 in English, Discs 2 and 4 in Japanese) – I have no issues with the visual quality on the DVD release, there was no problems synching in the sound with the subtitles and no issues with glitches or errors during pausing the show, the animation was very clear in a widescreen format. The sound was good but will mention that it only comes in a stereo 2.0 release in both English and Japanese, so whilst it definitely was fine listening wise, it doesn’t have a full impact. No problems however in either language in terms of slowdown or listening wise.
The menu is kind of confusing. First, each disc just appears with a pictures of one of the girls on a red and black background (Mine, Reiri, Liza or Sherwood) – when I first put this in, I didn’t know where the menu is. What you have to do is press the OK button to bring up the menu which isn’t hinted at all. When you get to the menu, it’s set up again confusingly because I didn’t even notice the Play All on the top of the screen – it’s blended badly in the red and black Halloween background, whereas below you can see the episode select (with no scene select) and the languages or on the final disc, extra sections. This was initially confusing and sometimes annoying because had to press it 3 times on one disc for it to react and because of the colour scheme, it took to the 3rd disc to realize there was a play all option so not one of the best menu systems I’ve encountered.
The only extras available were the clean opening and ending of the series.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Princess Resurrection was a series I was going into cold with no knowledge of the series before hand – so it was a case of whether it would hold interest for me as it was an entire series of 24 episodes plus two OVAs. The concept and colours were interesting at least but as the show went on, there were a few things that made it show that this wasn’t a show that would stand out as much as I thought it was going to be.
It’s an easy premise at first – aids of the supernatural at play as we are introduced to our main male character Hiro, a young school boy who is heading to a new city to live with his sister who has just been hired as a live-in maid. On the way, he spots a beautiful young woman who is about to get crushed by some construction work. Hiro dives to save her, but unfortunately dies from the effect. The woman, named Hime, is actually a mysterious princess with the power to actually give people semi-immortality by giving them a magical flame to resurrect them. However, they now have to rely on that power otherwise when it fades, they will die. Because of this, Hiro now is Hime’s servant.
Handy that she is also his sister’s employer.
It leads to a plot as it were, of both various elements of the supernatural trying to gain her ability to become immortal, people trying to avenge against her for deeds she may have done, or members of her family trying to kill her so that she isn’t a threat in deciding which one of the siblings will be the ruler of their nest. Among these cast of note is Flandre, a child like android who acts like Hime’s bodyguard, who can only speak one word, we get Riza, who is the half-sister of the werewolf Hime kills in the first episode but learns of her brother’s dying words and the fact it was Hime’s siblings who put him up to the assassination becomes a somewhat bodyguard for her and an older sister figure of Hiro (ironically more than his true older sister in the show), and also Reiri – a vampire student who is at Hiro’s school who is after the taste of Hime’s blood, but seems to actually be a secret helper for her in defusing villains plans and having after night tea parties with Hime. We also get later Hime’s younger sister Sherwood who is the only one of the siblings who actually does team up with Hime, with her own servants (including a panda later on!) and also has a crush on Hiro.
And for the majority of the show, that’s it. It’s very episodic – after the first disc which pretty much introduces the main cast, the rest of the show is various scenarios for either something supernatural to attack Hime to get the secret to immortality whether it is werewolves, vampires, fish men, mummies, zombies, etc. Some of them have grudges against Hime for various reasons outside of her powers, whilst we later get family members trying to make sure she is out of their way. The main problem is that it is not episodic in a way that develops the characters, in fact the way the show is set up it actually makes them worse.
The main problem is Hiro – he is resurrected in the first episode and is assigned to be a servant/hero of Hime’s. So it seems typical that it will make it a developing story as he gets stronger to become a hero to his princess. But the main problem is that it doesn’t do that. In fact, Hiro is very much downplayed and treated almost like comic relief. He rarely does anything to help out and it’s usually Flandre, Riza, Reiri or even Hime herself that deals with the situation. As weird as it sounds, you wonder if the show could have managed without him and why Hime saved his life outside of pure courtesy. Hime doesn’t treat him too well throughout the series so if she didn’t do it out of a whim of pure kindness, you wonder outside the fact he needed to see his sister (another problem, his sister doesn’t do anything important to the show outside of a recurring joke about her visiting her local café for some sundaes). The show therefore becomes very generic – they do change locations and try to add other antagonists like Zeppeli, another vampire with a weird friendship with Reiri, but even they become written off the story eventually as bar the last few episodes (not the OVAs) there is very little significance told of a plot bar monster of the week tries to attack Hime for eternal life/sibling rivalry/vengeance for whatever reason.
Some of the stories are nice, but because they are always one-shots, you don’t get time to enjoy the characters. I liked the episode where Riza is looking for a challenge, and make friends with a shark girl familiar as they appear to be getting a friendship going. But she turns out to be an assassin for Hime, Riza defeats her – and Hiro says a line which sums up my feelings on the show. ‘I need to remind myself I’m a warrior for Hime as well.’
This was episode 16, and two-thirds through the series Hiro basically has amounted to nothing more than a vessel that Hime has to revive every so often. Some of the episodes have some good comic moments as well (the fish-men one being a good one, as well as the tanuki vampire hunter) but again, one-shots only so nothing is allowed to develop from any of the episodes.
However, a few things manage to make this show not completely average and forgettable. The battle scenes are usually well done, a lot of creativity went into some of the monsters and designs (the aforementioned shark beast being my favourite) from animal, monster and human forms. Riza and Reiri at least are quite fun, Reiri in particular I wish more was done with outside of being a monster on the outside, her rivalry with Riza was always hilarious, Flandre at least is amusing at times, and I will say the climax was at least suspenseful when Hime encounters the last of her siblings who tries to frame her for a zombie outbreak. Sadly, it ends very anticlimactically which pretty much sums up the show for me – an anticlimax. However, there are moments enough which might give it an edge and you may fancy giving it a shot. The voice acting is good in both languages, animation is very unique and the characterization is at least fun aside from Hiro (Sherwood is a lot of fun as well). Unfortunately, outside of its unique look and style, it is basically a very generic and episodic action anime which has no real plot or story outside of Hime being targeted because of sibling fighting, her magic or just a personal grudge. It doesn’t change and whilst some of the sub-cast is amusing, it is in the end, mostly forgettable.
Princess Resurrection is one of those series that just seems there. It’s basically average, nothing too bad, and nothing too good, it’s just there. It’s disappointed that the initial idea going with Hiro turned out to be nothing but attempted comedy, and whilst the animation and character designs are great, the show is too episodic and repetitive to really differentiate it from the many other shounen shows on the market. Outside of its horror movie designs, and some fun interactions with the side cast, it’s nothing special. You may want to rent it to see if the designs appeal to you and the short stories entertain you, but otherwise, it’s just shelf filler.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Ending
Content Grade: C+
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: C
Extras Grade: C-
Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: September 10th, 2012
Running Time: 625 minutes
Review Equipment: Playstation3, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.