Life is tough for Hiro who has just been granted half-immortality and is now a weak Royal Soldier for a chainsaw wielding princess of the monsters.
What They Say
Hiro Hiyorimi is an orphan who goes to live with his sister Sawawa, the caretaker of a creepy old mansion. He ends up saving the life of the mansion's resident, who turns out to be a princess of the monster kingdom --- and his new master.
Princess Resurrection is unfortunately another new title from Sentai Filmworks that doesn’t receive an English language adaptation. As such, we do get a good Japanese stereo mix encoded at 224kbps which serves the material well. The show makes good use of the forward soundstage throughout, particularly in the action sequences, and it has a warm feeling to it when required. There’s a good bit of directionality at times, with dialogue as well, which helps give it a bit more impact during some key scenes. There isn’t anything that has it standing out above and beyond most other shows, but it’s done well and it has a strong feeling to it. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2007, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. This two disc set has the thirteen episodes split in a seven/six format and the show does seem to suffer a little bit for it. There’s a lot of dark sequences in the series and there’s a fair bit of noise throughout a lot of them with bitrates often falling into the twos or threes. The average seems to be in the fives and there are a number of scenes where it peaks into the sixes, but it doesn’t have as strong a feel as one would expect from the material. Colors generally look good and without any added saturation and it’s free of line noise outside of a few pans here and there, but the noise problem crops up a lot just because of how many scenes take place in darkened areas or at night.
This two disc edition is in a standard sized keepcase which doesn’t include a hinge inside to hold the second disc. The front cover artwork is very appealing as it features Hime in her standard outfit with her chainsaw in hand, blood all over it and over parts of her outfits as well. The background has a striking black and red design to it which uses pieces from the logo design and the whole work really looks great. I’ve always liked the design of the manga covers and this is no exception. The back cover uses the same kind of background design and has a fun picture of Hime and Hiro together along with a few small shots from the show itself. The summary is a bit small on the font size but it covers the basics well enough. They make multiple mentions of the episode count and disc count which is a good thing. The discs features are clearly listed as well and the technical grid is solid, if a bit empty with only one language listing. Add in the production credits and you’ve got a solid looking release here. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menus work off of the same kind of design as the front cover with the striking black and red backgrounds. Each main menu for the release is different as it mirrors the character artwork from the silkscreening on the disc itself. The first volume has a good shot of Hime while the second has one of Flandre. The menus are very easy to use as it just has the episode selection on it and what available extras there are for that particular volume. Beyond that it’s just the disc credits and that’s it. Submenus load quickly and access times are nice and fast. Due to there being only one language, player presets are obviously a non-issue.
The only extras included on here are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences on the first volume.
Based on the manga by Yasunori Mistunaga, Princess Resurrection is a twenty-four episode series with two OVA episodes. This collection brings out the first thirteen episodes of the series and it mirrors the manga in a lot of ways but diverges in others which in turn makes it a bit less gory and thereby a bit less violent. The show has a certain appeal with its basic imagery that has the attractive lead character wielding chainsaws set against a stark background. I've not read the manga much but I admit to loving the cover artwork, much of which is mirrored here in the anime release for the menus, silkscreening and general design.
Princess Resurrection revolves around two primary characters. The series introduces us to Hiro, a middle school student who suddenly finds himself dead on the way to meet his sister at the mansion that they're going to live at where she's now a live-in maid. Hiro gets killed when a bunch of girders fall on him when he tries to rescue someone but finds himself waking up in the hospital hours later after being pronounced dead. Fleeing into the night, he finds himself at the mansion where he discovers what's happened. The woman he saved is actually his sister Sawawa's new boss and she's a princess in the Royal Family of monsters. And she's granted him the “gift” of half-immortality which is why he's alive.
The princess is literally named that, or at least that's the name she goes by as she's known as Hime. Hime is a very cool and collected woman who is attended by her pint sized android in a maid outfit named Flandre. Hime's just moved into the mansion her father has given her and she's preparing for the next phase of her life as a member of the Royal Family. The decree of the Royal Family is that the children of the king will fight it out amongst themselves to become the next king so she has plenty to be on alert for as her brothers are out to eliminate her. She's able to use her power of half-immortality to build up her forces of Royal Soldiers in order to combat what her siblings will throw at her. Hime does take a somewhat laid back approach to things by settling into the mansion and practically waiting for the others to come after her.
This sets up the series in its basic ideas as Hime uses Hiro to fend off those that are coming to get her, though he's not all that up to the task for awhile. In fact, it's often Flandes that takes care of things with Hime providing the knowledge and sometimes the verbal wit to end things. Princess Resurrection brings in a few more characters along the way in the first half that helps to flesh it out a bit. The first is Liza Wildman, a half-breed werewolf girl who has come seeking revenge for the death of her brother at Hime's hands. She's actually more interested in killing those that pitted he brother against her and she takes on a sort of hired gun role for Hime and not quite a Royal Soldier since she's not gifted with half-immortality. Liza provides some of the spunk for the series with a more tomboyish air about her and a very hands on aggressive approach.
One of the more intriguing character additions is Reiri, a vampire girl who arrives in town and takes a liking to Hiro. She's playing him which is plainly obvious, as she's doing things to get closer to Hime and tweak her along the way as she wants some of her blood. The promise of the blood of a princess of the Royal Family holds immortality for the vampire that tastes of it. Reiri is also a key player as she's the one dealing with the main villain that we see so far in a few background scenes as he pulls the strings. The other main character that gets brought in during the first half is Sherwood, the younger sister of Hime who has come to try and form an alliance. With both Sherwood and Hime being the younger ones of the siblings, there's something to be said for the two working together. And Sherwood brings in an android of her own as well, a more typical maid with glasses type named Francesca.
Princess Resurrection does play in fairly familiar territory. It's generally an episodic series that does bring in smaller plotlines throughout that carry it all together. It's woven together nicely, if predictably, as we start to see the larger story come into the picture. The episodic nature does work well as we get the relationships of the characters dealt with in very small but enjoyable ways. There's generally a monster of the week approach to it, but it's tied to the characters in a way that makes it interesting. The opening monster isn't worth the time, but what he leads to is. The same can be said for some of the other critters that show up and how they bring about new things, such as Hiroko. The last story in particular on this set is good for this as it plays in a very familiar monster of the week story format but it provides for some wonderful relationship growth and exploration between just Hime and Hiro.
One of the things that had me most concerned with the show was the android aspect. Not so much that it's not really explained at all, but rather just Flandes herself. With her being small in stature, she could easily become a very annoying character very quickly. If she had a very squeaky voice and ran around with lots of catch phrases or an overly active personality, it would have bothered me immensely. Instead, she gets one word – huga – and only the Royal Family members seem to be able to understand what she's saying. She's quiet, she's expressive with very plain eyes and she's a solid workhorse for Hime and the household. Much to my surprise, she's one of my more favorite quirky characters. Especially when you see her sinking to the bottom of the lake.
Visually, there's a lot that I like about this show. The character designs in particular are rather pleasing, especially since outside of Hiro they tend to be drawn a bit more maturely. Hiro has the look of a middle school student which is good as he's shorter than most everyone else and almost looks a bit more roundish. When it comes to everyone else that's older, they tend to be a bit more angular. Hime carries off the quasi-goth thing well with her costumes and Reiri really sells the dark and mysterious vampire in a schoolgirl uniform. Even the maids come out well because they're doing things in a straightforward fashion where it doesn't play heavily on the fanservice by showing off their form. They're fairly restrained and even the maid outfits themselves come across as a bit demure and realistic which is a very welcome choice.
Princess Resurrection hasn't gotten a lot of good word of mouth, either from the manga or anime version, but I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by it. Perhaps it's just lowered expectations, but each episode and bit of progression had me wanting to see what was going to happen next after it got past the opening couple of episodes. There's some visuals to be had here, I like the characters themselves and the kind of strange little family that's coming up around Hime and the action as well. What's most pleasing I think is that there really isn't any kind of forced relationship of an adult nature being thrust on Hiro with Hime. She sees him as little more than a servant in my view of it, one that is getting better and better at what he does. And for Hiro, he's looking for her approval as he gains confidence in himself and what he can do but it's not out of some sort of strange love or desire. I don't think Princess Resurrection will be a standout title, but I thoroughly enjoyed this set and am looking forward to the next one.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 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.