The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Princess Princess

Title: Princess Princess
Genre: Comedy
Company: Studio DEEN
Format: 12 episodes
Date: 5 Apr 2006 – 21 Jun 2006

Synopsis: Kouno Tooru transfers into an all-boys school and is incidentally greeted with the sight of a beautiful girl. Confused, he is introduced to the class by his teacher, where he gets an unusual warm welcome. The reason for the warm welcome: he is seen as a potential candidate for the title of ‘Princess’, where a beautiful boy must cross-dress daily to lighten up the usually tense masculine atmosphere.

The Highlights
Idea of “cross-dressing”: Interesting… ludicrous, but interesting.
Comedy: Hits the mark most of the time.
Characters: Delightfully quirky for most of them; the “princesses” stand out the most.
Ending: Satisfactorily tied up.

Its idea didn’t really fit with my choice themes in selecting anime to watch. Beautiful boys in frilly female costumes frolicking within a school compound? Male students those are tense enough to be aroused by the “princesses”? I wasn’t really compelled to watch Princess Princess until I reminded myself that sometimes, good anime can come in any form. I watched it, and was pleasantly surprised that it was actually good.

To be honest, I thought that incorporating the idea of cross-dressing beautiful boys in an all-boys school was a uniquely interesting idea. It may be ludicrous by common sense, but for the sake of entertainment, why not? Princess Princess does that very well and what ensues in a blend of laugh-out-loud comedic situations followed by a nice dose of drama. Most of the comedic moments managed to tickle my funny bone, while at the same time I was presented with moments of drama resulting from dilemmas faced by different character. Ultimately, the light-hearted comedy and dramatic tones are able to shine without getting in each other’s way, a common trap for any comedy-cum-drama series.

I have to credit most of the comedy and drama to the nature of the three “princesses”, Tooru, Yuujirou and Mikoto. The princesses are distinctive from each other, both by personality and by the circumstances through which they become involved in the “princess” system. Mikoto is the evidently reluctant one who succumbs to peer pressure. Yuujirou knows how to get things done, even at the expense of his fellow colleagues. Lastly, Tooru is mild-mannered and likes to form a pact with Yuujirou to tease Mikoto. Due to each of their problems with their private lives, each has his own motives for becoming a princess. These differences in their perceptions to the system enrich the credibility and variety of their characterization and additionally the effects it has on their private lives. Also, I have to hand it to the seiyuu who have done a great job as the princesses, paticularly Yuujirou’s Romi Paku who can seem to do nothing wrong with her work in any anime. Apart from the “princesses”, other characters get their fair share of the spotlight with their quirky hobbies and even quirkier behavior.

I think what will rub some viewers the wrong way about Princess Princess is the theme itself – beautiful boys dressing up as girls. It is a barrier that even I took a considerable amount of time to overcome before deciding to watch the series. This is unfortunate because it’s the theme that actually makes this series and yet it is the same factor that may repel some unsuspecting viewers, be it trivial or not. Also, among the interesting subplots in the series, I thought that one of them was resolved too conveniently; in other words, it ended too hastily and left a lot to be desired.

Princess Princess eventually succeeds in tying itself up nicely, just like the bows on the dresses the princesses wear each day. As it is appropriately only 12 episodes, it is a recommendation to anyone who wants a quick view on something amusing and dramatic at the same time. I’d also recommend this to anyone who has enjoyed Ouran High School Host Club, since there are some resemblances in my opinion. Note to all viewers: don’t let the premise scare you away; it is a blessing in disguise, really.

The Rating: 7
7/10

Reviewed by: AC

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