Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Here's the Wikipedia entry for Scrapped Princess. (if you read that Wikipedia article, don't read past the "Story" bit - the character profiles and everything below are rife with spoilers). I bought the boxed set (6 discs in one plastic box - the best deal for your money). In Japanese and English, though I always watch my anime in Japanese with subtitles.
Scrapped Princess is about this 15 year old girl, Pacifica, who was born to the royal family and then ordered to be killed as a baby when a prophecy from the Church of Mauser was made saying she would become "the poison that destroys the world" upon her 16th birthday. Well, she wasn't killed and was instead sneaked to a family who raised her as their own. Their parents now dead and the Church of Mauser aware that the princess lives, Pacifica and her two older adopted siblings, Shannon (a very awesome swordsman) and Raquel (a wizard), take to the roads to escape.
The story takes place in a high-fantasy type world, swords-and-horses kind of place with a *very* slight steampunk aesthetic, mostly in terms of clothing technology. As the tale wears on, though, sci-fi and high-technology creeps in as we discover more about this worlds past. It's pretty neat - I'm guessing this whole world and society is post-apocalyptic, only the sci-fi apocalypse happened 5000 years ago.
The characters are very three dimensional right from the start. And none of them are stereotypical - I honestly haven't seen characters like these in any other anime yet. Pacifica wears pink and acts the spoiled princess, but under it she's honestly a sweet person, very caring about others, and is SUCH a tomboy (reminds me of Aeryu from "Simoun"). Raquel is the tall "Sachiko/Sakaki" looking older sister - she's very quiet and can seem absent minded but as you learn more about her powers, you start to realize that she's just extremely understated and has WAY more awareness and power than anyone lets on. And Shannon, the older brother, is the biggest surprise - I thought I'd hate him. I thought he'd be the gruff, "dark horse" brooding swordsman. But he's not - he's the housekeeper, OCD, cynical, mother-bear of the group, quickly becoming my favorite. Side characters are just as interesting, too.
The story is neither dark and heavy nor silly and over-the-top. No high-pitched voices anywhere, no goofy faces. Humour is actually more realistic (often in the form of sarcastic comments between the siblings). The plot is detailed and complex and only halfway through I'm having fun guessing at what is around the corner.
The music is also very good, fitting the setting and era (i.e. no bubblegum pop or heavy metal or anything uncharactaristic of existing technologies for the most part) - and the animation itself is high quality stuff, from Studio BONES (the folks who brought us Wolf's Rain, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Cowboy Bebop). I'm starting to see a trend with BONES productions in that they're rock solid in all departments - characters, animation, story, music - everything. It's a whole package.
Conclusion: I'm only halfway through but I'm really fond of this anime already. It's solid: no single element is carrying the series on its own. I'm made to care about the characters and I'm interested in finding out about this world's past. Halfway through, it is worth watching. And heck, I even got my anime-hating sister to watch and even enjoy it thus far, so it must be good, right? :D