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[R1 DVD box art.]
AKA: N/A
Genre: Fantasy
Length: OAV series, 6 episodes, 25 minutes each
Distributor: Currently licensed by Media Blasters.
Content Rating: PG-13 (violence, adult themes)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Night Warriors, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
Notes:
Rating: Four StarsFour StarsFour StarsFour Stars
 

Shamanic Princess

Synopsis

Sent from the Guardian World, Tiara is to reclaim the Throne of Yord from a renegade. Concealing herself as a student by day, she scours the area at night with her partner, looking for the Throne of Yord.


Review

Shamanic Princess isn't exactly a well known anime title, and it was fairly low key when it was released ten years ago as well. What's more, the show seems to have a rather distinct art style, which, while not exactly turning me away from the show, didn't really pique my interest in any way either.

That's not to say the show looks bad. In fact, even by today's standard, the show looks very, very good. Characters are very well defined and the show, as I found out when I eventually purchased it and watched it, is also very well animated -- again, even by today's standards.

The thing that had me cautious about the show was the .... well, the very CLAMP-ish character style (the characters were actually designed by Ishida Atsuko, who designed the characters for the anime version of Magic Knight Rayearth). The cast consists mostly of females, almost all of them dressed like they come right out of ye olde classic European fairy tale; long, flowing dresses, hair ornaments ... the works. And while our main character, Tiara, wore quite the smokin' tight, red leather outfit, her puffy hairdo had me thinking that the show itself was probably more aimed for girls.

One AMV featuring the show set to Manowar's "Master of the wind" later, and I was reevaluating my initial assessment of the show. And, since the show had been released on a single DVD, the choice was quite easy.

Even now, about three years later, I don't really regret my purchase. In fact, Shamanic Princess has aged remarkably well, all things considered. Maybe it's because the show is mostly about action, atmosphere and its own brand of magic and fantasy, but nothing about the show really feels out of date in any way, except maybe a little in the dialogue, but I'll get back to that a little later.

For the visually oriented, Shamanic Princess is a good show. It HAS aged a little in that regard, but the fact remains that it's still a damn good looking show, all things considered. Not only on the characters, but the settings are wonderfully realized as well; ranging from towns designed in a somewhat old-fashioned style, with modern cars being the only indication that the year is 1990 instead of 1950. And outside of town, we're treated to lush grasslands, fields of flowers and mountain plains where the wind makes flags, banners and ... well, strips of cloth flutter wildly. The scenery is so nice, it's a shame we don't really get much of an explanation about where we are and the significance of the places we visit. Which is one of the show's shortcomings.

And that's the thing; aside from Tiara's mad hunt for the Throne of Yord, nothing much is explained. The throne of Yord is vital to the Guardian World, it says. Why? And just WHAT is the Guardian World in the first place? What kind of magicians ar Tiara and Lena? What is the Neutralizer's role in all this? These are but a few of the many questions I had, to which Shamanic Princess provided no answers.

Oh well, at least the spell effects are awesome, especially the ones used in battle. Despite the shoujo-like character designs, the show seems to follow a more shounen-based story, with confrontations galore. One might be inclined to think the spell effects are too convoluted or longwinded for their own good, but the battles are swift and cool, so I can certainly live with that. In fact, I find the various spell markings giving the show much of its personality, which, to me, is a good thing.

What's more, I like the characters. Tight-fitting leather outfit or not, the moment I put my eyes on Tiara's big, fluffy Baby Spice-like hairdo, I halfly expected her to be one of those somewhat ditzy, airheaded leads created to fulfill some bizarre, otaku femininity ideal. I certainly never expected a tough-talking, temperamental and stubborn bitch (in a positive way, of course) threatening to beat the snot out of anyone that got in her way. I guess you could call that one of those pleasant surprises. Not that the rest of the cast is any worse by any means, as most of them do at least have their own agendas and personality traits that extend beyond the average shounen or otaku fare. Even Japolo is hilarious at times, partly because of her noticeable Austrian accent.

So basically, given that the entire show is out on a single DVD, I do consider it a good purchase. It's old, and I'm guessing it's just a matter of time before it goes out of print, so if this show sounds good to you, you might want to pick it up.

And lastly, if you choose to do this, I'd like to inform you about the story continuity according to the DVD. In this show, the first four episodes contain the main story arch, while the last two seems to make a turn for the past, unfolding the events that eventually lead to the happenings at the beginning of the first episode. Personally, I didn't find this to be a problem, but if you are one of those who want the story presented chronologically, you may want to start on the fifth episode, and then playing the DVD from the beginning as soon as the sixth episode finishes.

If you demand a complete explanation of just about everything, deduct a star or two.Stig Høgset

Recommended Audience: The violence is... well, not too extreme nor is it mild. These people can take their lumps like no human beings, so expect some oomph in the fights.

And if you think Tiara's outfit is the bees knees, wait until you get a load of her transformed shape. Wowza! Also, in one of the last two episodes, there are at least one scene of nudity, though it was too shiny to make out much. It shouldn't be a big deal.



Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (6/6)
Shamanic Princess © 1996 Princess Project / Bandai Visual / Movic
 
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