Studio: Marvelous Entertainment
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Release: OVAs (2007)
I first stumbled upon Murder Princess on YouTube and found the title quite catchy so I checked it out right away. Usually, the term princess should indicate status of noble blood, being the epitome of beauty, elegance and all that jazz. But the moment we attach the word ‘murder’ in it, it makes one wonder on how the name plays out. The story progression in this anime has quite the twist, so put this on your list!
Plot: A coup d’état was launched in the castle of Forland Kingdom and with the king’s dying breath, he forces his daughter, Alita Forland, to escape from the castle and seek aid from her brother who is currently in an expedition abroad.
Upon reaching Elure Forest at the border of the country, the royal guards find themselves killed by an unknown monster, and Alita ran for her life. She suddenly stumbles upon a wandering bounty hunter named Falis. Scared and confused, Alita grabbed onto her and they accidentally fell off the cliff.
They were able to land safely thanks to Falis’s comrades Dominikov and Pete Armstrong. Though after waking up, Falis finds herself wearing the clothes the princess was wearing earlier.
It is believed (in this anime) that in extreme cases, when two people experience near-death situations, their souls could switch. Something what they call spiritual commutation or spiritual transmigration. In other words, that bloodthirsty bounty hunter Falis took over the body of Alita and vice versa.
Having no time to ponder about what happened, Alita, now in Falis’s body, asks the bounty hunters to help her kingdom and country from falling into turmoil– to go back and defeat the ruffians.
Initially declining Alita’s plead, Falis eventually gave in after the former offered herself, body and soul, as collateral. They went back to the castle via Dominikov’s Ghost Rider-ish motorcycle and gave hell to the ruffians and their leader, Dr. Akamashi – a royal scholar who was fed up with the government.
Everyone was surprised with how the princess suddenly had a change of personality as if she was possessed, but it mattered not now that the kingdom is saved. So what will happen next? Will Alita and Falis be able to go back to their bodies, or will Falis take advantage of the position as the new Queen? And will Dr. Akamashi attack again after escaping? And why did they launch a coup d’état in the first place?
Besides giving off that dark RPG feel quite reminiscent of Darkstalkers, they spice it up with a really nice OST that combines Castlevania, Guilty Gear and Final Fantasy. Personally, the background music is what makes this show stand out for me. It gets fast with heavy metal riffs and solos on fight scenes, and sentimental with orchestral wind and string instruments contemplating with slow drum synths on serious and dramatic ones. It’s really good.
Though if we’re to talk about graphics and animation, I must say it’s only sub-par compared to the other anime produced at the time (2007) like Shakugan No Shana II, Lucky Star, You’re Under Arrest (Full Throttle!), Gintama, Gundam 00 and Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni.
The writers concocted quite an interesting concept on how the world of Murder Princess came to be. Although there are cliche forest monsters, magic spells, goblins, dragons and other legendary whatnots you can find in the fantasy world of the middle ages, they are actually objects from what they call the “Old World“, remnants of “Lost Technology.” Cyborgs and machines much? It’s safe to say that the medieval feel was just the bi-product of the imagination and hi-tech works of the people from the old world– our future world, perhaps?
It is clarified in episode 5 that before the old world was annihilated, humans were the masters of science and technology and that they could even travel through space and time, but their existence came to an end due to war and malice. The survivors sealed the technology away and paved way to the era of Cyndina. The series is at year 672 of Cyndina Era.
That pretty much sums up Murder Princess and its first episode. The next five OVAs should be a good watch. I wish they would make more of it.