In a medieval world (that somehow doesn't look quite right), young Pacifica Cassul is on the run from- well, practically everyone, since the powerful Church of Mauser has declared her "the poison that will destroy the world", and ordered her killed before her 16th birthday. At first protected only by her adoptive brother and sister, Shannon and Raquel, others somehow also find reason to become "heretics" and support her, even as the forces that would obliterate her gather their strength (and threaten anyone who refuses to surrender her.)
The re-release of this show by FUNimation gives me an excuse to write about one of my all-time favorite anime series. Even among shows I've rated five stars, this one is unusual, for few have had so MANY moments that I wanted to re-watch again and again. A large part of this is that few shows in my experience have done such a masterful job of not only balancing the cosmic struggle all the parties are engaged in here with the personal relationships of the characters, but of allowing the one to enhance the other. It's also a prime example of a story that, at its core, is actually very simple, but is really just the climax to what we know must have involved some incredibly complex events; but we don't NEED to know all the complexities of its backstory to understand it: everything we absolutely needed to know can be found in the brief account, near the end, by the person who one could say had the most intimate knowledge of all concerning the whole situation (and soon after this we're also given some audacious graphics that fill in any blanks we might have had in our understanding.) In fact, about mid-way we're a bit overwhelmed with backstory, during an ocean voyage, and this is the closest the show's pacing comes to floundering, but I suppose it was necessary to let everyone know exactly why, and what, they were fighting, especially Shannon, who gets quite personally involved in the fight at a higher level than most of the cast. But even here the show doesn't completely lose sight of its balance of the intimate and the universal, and for once Pacifica's brash, even semi-tsundere, tendencies prove useful.
As to Pacifica's personality: she's one of those people who feels great compassion toward others (and as been made to feel guilty just for being alive), but she can be harsh to the people closest to her- perhaps those are the only people she can allow herself to give a hard time. This especially includes Leo, a young knight who develops a crush on Pacifica (and eventually joins her little circle of supporters), and most of all her brother Shannon, the person she leans on the most (and thus also the person she quarrels with the most.) There's a terrific little story arc, over a couple of episodes, where jealousy rears its ugly head when a stray little girl joins our sibling trio, and a self-appointed ally of Shannon's named Zefiris tells Pacifica she must perform an act which, given the context, would be guaranteed to make things infinitely worse.
Shannon, for his part, is stalwart but cynical ("grumpy" is the word Jason used in the original THEM review), highly intelligent, and of course completely loyal to Pacifica. Raquel is the reassuring, almost maternal kind of character, but is also quite skilled in "magic". (An Arthur C. Clarke quote would be perfectly apt here, but it would give the whole thing away!) Raquel at one point is seen in a medieval bikini (anachronism time here, though there are a LOT of those in this show, and SOME of them may be deliberate.) It's obvious she's pretty voluptuous, though one Winia Chester has her beat by several bra sizes. Winia's name is kind of a double entendre, not just for her bust size, but also because so many of the characters here are either named after firearms, or bear a TITLE that's related to a firearm, especially the chief villains here, the Peacemakers. Jason, in his review, commented on the chestiness of the show's women, but really they seem almost modest compared to the hugely inflated mammaries of females in some later series. Winia, by the way, has a rather persistent case of Stockholm Syndrome, the object of which is one Christopher Armalite.
I loved the vibrant colors and clean line drawing of the very "old school" animation of this show. But I have to admit that there are some concepts of the show that are a bit screwy - for example, getting to "dragon" from the word "dragoon"- and, as Jason noted, the visuals (especially during the battles) are sometimes, let us say, underwhelming. I really didn't like the music that much either, and that includes the incidental music as well as the opening and closing themes. (The opener features a bagpipe, and the "eyecatch" seems to feature an accordion, both instruments that are frequently the butt of jokes. I kind of lean toward the opinions in the jokes...)
But the show never loses its focus on our little sibling trio (except for a few episodes, where Pacifica ends up stepping out on her own), and the ending of the show is almost everything one could ask for, a glorious and satisfying experience. When you've got an apostate priest, a fake Scrapped Princess, and a guy who actually is meticulous about making beds and doing laundry, what else do you need? (I won't even dock points from the show for Mr. Soopie, though there I was tempted...)
A truly fun show that always keeps its cast's bonds with each other front and center, no matter what ordeals it throws in their path. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: Aside from the large breasted women everywhere, there is no gratuituous fanservice of any kind. There is quite a bit of violence, and many people die, but it also is neither gory nor gratuitous. Should be okay for young teens and up.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Partial (26/24)
Scrapped Princess © 2003 Scrapped Princess Production Committee
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