25 May 2019 | veronicadiall
This is a wonderful series. I don't normally watch Anime but I took a at look at it based on the recommendation of someone I know. It's very, very sophisticated and very nuanced and I've actually found myself re-watching episodes multiple times and picking up either new or different things each time and not getting bored
The story takes place in an alternate universe in a fictional steam punk England of the late 19th century, called Albion. Albion has gone through a civil war and the country is split in half. One called the Commonwealth of Albion and the second called the Kingdom of Albion. The Commonwealth is a break away country taken over by the poor and working class, and The Kingdom still retains the monarchy. Both portions of the country are involved in a secret shadow war involving the spies. At the moment there is a détente between the two sides. But there is a secret shadow war being waged between the two sides involving spies and scientists. With each side trying to get an advantage over the over.
The story involves two Commonwealth spies Ange and Dorothy whose cover are school girls at a prestigious boarding school located in the Kingdom. They are tasked with stealing secrets from the Kingdom. While at the school they take on three additional members to their crew. Chise a Japanese transplant. And Princess Charlotte ,the 4th in line to the throne and her young friend Beatrice.
The story is not told in a linear fashion and jumps back and forth between the past and present. And it is up to the viewers to piece together what is going on. There is a massive reveal in the show.
The animation is wonderful and so are the action scenes. As an Anglophile I preferred to watch the dubbed version as well as the action. Not only does it make for easier viewing. But the cool mellifluous British accents (voiced by American actors) lend more confidence to the characters. And gives them an air that they can handle whatever difficulties are thrown their way.
Not only is the story rich in terms of plot. But it also has wonderful themes. Such as friendship, loyalty, learning to trust, duty, service to one's country, being the bigger person and of course the courage and character you develop and in becoming someone completely new...better, stronger after encountering a tragedy. All of these themes are picked up without coming across as heavy handed and preachy. The characters are wonderful and fully fleshed out, In fact they came across more real and authentic and like flesh and blood human beings ,than much of what comes most of Hollywood. I especially the main protagonist Ange, and what drives her. The show determines that she really is a hero in the truest sense of the word.
It's been ages since I've been able to fall so deeply in love with a story and characters that I spend days thinking about it. Robert Ford in Westworld says that good storytelling is supposed to help us ennoble ourselves, to fix what was broken in us and to help us become the people we dreamed of being. Lies that told a deeper truth. And the truths that I've learned from watching Princess Principal have really added to my life in ways that I can not describe.