What They Say:
Lapis is the princess of Sorcerland. She’s beautiful, powerful, and has a sparkling personality – it’s too bad that she’s as dumb as a stump! She’ll protect the most innocent of creatures with the power of her Magic Eraser even if it means destroying the kingdom to do it! And let’s not forget her obsession with pudding! Detatok-o Princess is laugh-out-loud lampoon of all the fantasy stereotypes you’ve come to love with a generous double-heaping scoop of slapstick!
The audio presentation for this series brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo and an English language track, both of which are encoded at 224kbps. The series is a fairly standard OVA track that’s got some minor directionality throughout it but the bulk of dialogue is through the center channel. The music track and the sound effects come across well in the stereo channels and have a good full feel without being too overpowering or having any clipping to it. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no issue during regular playback.
Originally released in 1997 and 1998, this three episode OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The series has a good transfer overall but has a few minor issues. The transfer, in general, is fairly soft but that looks to be by intent, as it looks to have been done prior to much of the digital format artwork that was starting to pick up at that time. The main problems that come up across the episodes is in the cross coloration and aliasing areas. Cross coloration isn’t that bad but is visible in various places but there’s a lot of aliasing in a number of the panning sequences, causing scenes like panning across rooftops look particularly bad. Essentially, the show looks and feels like it’s a few years older than its actual release time. It’s not a bad transfer at all, but some of the issues will be problematic for some.
The cover art, a bit pinker than I expected considering the show, has a good shot of Lapis in the foreground with Nandora on her shoulder. The backdrop is a mix of the pink colors and magic runes and stars as well as her main enemy, Topaz, as well as various pieces of pudding, a very critical element in the show. The cover looks good and hits up the fanservice level nicely, but the pink still doesn’t feel like it fits once you see the show itself. The back cover provides a variety of character shots together in a collage with a brief summary of the show’s premise. With nothing on the disc but the show, the technical grid gets all that information across nice and clearly. The insert, another big pink piece, lists the chapters for each of the three episodes and has some very well drawn images of pudding, complete with cherry on top.
The main menu is a static piece that uses elements from the cover, mainly the shot of Lapis, set against flowing pink colors in the background with stars and other imagery. Of course, there’s also a giant shot of a pudding there as well, all set to part of the opening song playing. The layout is pretty simple and easy to navigate as there’s nothing here beyond the show and some trailers, so access times are nice and fast and free of transitional animations.
When it comes to fantasy oriented shows, I like to think I’ve shown over the years that I’m not exactly the biggest fan of the genre around, having overdosed far too heavily on the entire thing back in my Dungeon’s & Dragons days. When it comes to comedy, well, like most people there are things some find funny and others don’t. It’s hard to find something funny that appeals to a very wide range of people. Put both of these together and it’s very hit or miss for me, with only a few really hitting the mark – and one of those being a hentai release no less.
Detatoko Princess manages to reach towards the hit side but it takes some time before it actually gets there. After the first episode, I was pretty much ready to exile it to the miss side of the list, but as we got into the two remaining episodes it proved to be a lot more fun and the routines worked much better. While it’s not a firm hit, it’s definitely much better than it could have been based on how I was feeling during that first episode.
The premise is very simple. We’re introduced to the young Princess Lapis, a fifteen-year-old spitfire who lives in Sorcererland and is heir to the kingdom that her elven parents run. Her claim to fame is that she’s able to use the Magic Eraser spell, one of if not the most powerful spell out there as it removes magic from things. She tends to use this spell on the wrong things, such as a floating city, in order to thwart her sometimes friend and enemy Topaz, the witch of the north who is equaled in abilities sans this particular spell. Lapis is apparently often chastised by her loving parents for causing floating islands to drop from the sky on people she’s having issues with.
Things have gotten so bad lately that her mother, Sapphire, has decided that the best thing you can do to help your children is to set them free on an adventure. Pushing her through a magic mirror, she intends to send her to Silver Lake, a location about two days away from the Diamond Castle, so she can get something of a minor road trip and “rough it” for a bit. But as her husband the king points out, she actually sent her to the real Silver Lake which is something like thirty days away and almost off of the map of the known continent. In a panic, they end up pushing a few other people through the mirror to accompany her.
So now somewhat lost and seemingly exiled to one corner of the world, Lapis is aided by her potential boyfriend material named Kohaku (who happens to be immortal), her pint-sized plantgirl named Nandora as well as her royal tutor, an elderly man obviously named Jii. The four of them together set off on their trip back to the Diamond Castle and end up dealing with whatever comes their way during their travels. Each of the episodes plays up one particular kind of event to deal with while all of them have some of the same kind of gags.
Some of the gags actually work well. Kohaku, since he’s immortal and generally wants to do anything he can for the princess, finds himself literally being thrown up as a human shield when danger presents himself. A group of archers starts to shoot at them and bam, Lapis is holding him as a bloodied shield. Lapis herself is somewhat cursed in that she’s a big fan of puddings. In fact, she cannot survive three days without pudding of some sort that Jii even carries powdered puddings in case of emergencies. Her nose is quite attuned to the scent of such delicacies and can even home in on them from ten kilometers away. And while not part of the group, Topaz and her two cronies have their own set of gags that they get caught up in during each episode as well.
The first episode is fairly well laden down in trying to get all the basics across and then has a brief adventure from when they finally get underway, but it feels somewhat rushed and not well paced since they had less time to work with it after all the introductions and setting up the basic plot. But the second episode really works well in pushing the particular humor of this show. With Lapis at the brink of death, she’s suddenly revived when she senses pudding nearby. Once she and the others arrive at the forest, they’re surprised to see no puddings but rather a very full range of fruits growing on the trees. Even more surprising is that when an apple is opened up, there’s really a pudding inside.
As it turns out when Lapis meets the two young caretakers of this forest, some time ago a Wandering Pudding arrived and their parents saved it from some untimely demise. In reward for such a thing, the Wandering Pudding turned all the trees into pudding producing types that still use the same exteriors, so you’ve got these massive apple trees with puddings inside, or tiny grapes with tiny puddings or even watermelon sized puddings. Suffice to say, it’s like heaven to Lapis. But in every paradise there’s a devil, and this one has the local town mayor trying to take over the forest so he can continue to promote konnyaku as the towns major export and not the delicacy of pudding. So in Slayers-esque form, the mayor ends up with Topaz on his side and each of them go up against each other, giant walking pudding included.
A lot of the traditional fantasy norms are skewered throughout the show as well as some of the ones that are very much the norm in anime series. Lapis and the other characters don’t really grow much but they’re definitely fun and amusing as the show goes on and gets past that opening episode. The character designs for the show are quite good as well and definitely feel more towards the early 90’s, which isn’t surprising since the manga that it’s based on ran from 1994 to 1999. Amusingly, the original title for the show is even a play on words with Princess being done in such a way as to corrupt it to sound like the Japanese word for pudding, so the show can literally mean Pudding Princess, which is one of the original translations for the show.
Though it started off a bit rough and not terribly interesting, it picked up very well in the second and third episodes and had us laughing a fair bit. While it’s playing in a genre I’m not much of a fan of anymore, it’s done well and to the usual traditions while still spending enough time skewering some of those traditions. There’s a lot of on-screen text that gets translated that helps push the humor that’s done, like the writer making jokes about the characters while they’re doing things. This helps a lot in doing some jokes that couldn’t be done otherwise. While Detatoko Princess isn’t an out of the ballpark hit, it’s one that we definitely enjoyed and laughed at more than we expected to. I’m even interested in the manga now.
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Media Blasters
Release Date: May 25th, 2004
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.