Perky, spoiled blonde 12-year-old Ruridou Doris is an heiress to one of the largest advertising companies in Japan. So, naturally, she's sent to one of the most prestigious schools in Japan, one so large that it has its own subway system, and even a stadium for mecha combat. It just so happens that Doris, like one out of every ten people in her world, is a panzer, someone who transforms into a superhuman wielding a very large object that can be used as a weapon, like metal crab claws, vacuum cleaners, beam weapons, et cetera. Unfortunately one can not choose their appearance as a panzer, and not only does Doris have a tiny hand drill for a weapon, but she has another, larger one spinning on her head like a top! Needless to say, she does not look like heroine material, but as befitting the daughter of an advertising company, she must train beyond her abilities, and prove herself in panzer combat in the gigantic Central Stadium of her school, while risking such perils as school lunches, impromptu fan service photo shoots, and (worst of all) the utter lack of servants!
I didn't expect much out of this series. After all, fifteen minute episodes are too short to do anything really important, so unless you come up with something spectacular like Neo Ranga or Kurogane Communication (rare), most of the time you come up with Adventures of the Mini-Goddess (silly, but fine) at best, or Di Gi Charat or (shudder) Ebichu at worst. This is gag comic material, right?
Well, yeah, but D4 Princess is charming and smart enough to be actually enjoyable, if hopelessly fluffy. That's what you get when you combine hardsuits with sports anime, naturally. There are a few funny parody scenes (like the opening roll call of the homeroom teachers), and the fact that Doris has such a stupid form for a panzer - well, this ain't Bubblegum Crisis, that's for sure.
Doris herself can be almost as annoying as C-ko, which will turn off a few viewers, especially when she keeps calling for her servants, or complains about her training, or the lack of Imperial-level food at the cafeteria. The parade of rich-girl jokes gets boring quickly, but the rapport between Doris and her roommates and panzer competitors more than makes up for it. Points, too, for the indignant expression on Doris's drill when you actually see her put it on. (Think baby thermometer ads.)
The animation isn't exactly big budget, as though it's generally bright and pretty, there's not a whole lot of detail, and there's one glaring CG synchronization error in the ending sequence, where Doris practically dances out of her panzer uniform! And if you're watching this series fansubbed, you'll be seeing that ending sequence quite a bit, as it's practically half the episode in length! At least that song is catchy. "Do-ri-ru ga runrun, kuru runrun ..."
D4 Princess isn't a title people will be lining up to acquire anytime soon, but it's a pleasant enough diversion that's like a light snack between meals - something to tide you over until the next really good thing comes along.
It's Battle Athletes Junior: fun and fluffy. — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: For how young the characters are, the fact that there's even a minimum amount of fan service is scary. Doris is just too young for Gainax bounce! (Gah!) There's a bit of panzer action here and there, but nothing too harmful. To be honest, seven and up should be okay with it.
Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Partial (12/24)
D4 Princess © 1999 Pony Canyon / WOWOW
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