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AKA: 海賊王女 ; Kaizoku Ojo
Genre: Period Action Fantasy/Shoujo Romance
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 24 minutes each
Distributor: Currently streaming on crunchyroll and Cartoon Network.
Content Rating: PG-13 (Mild violence, mature elements.)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Nadia: Secret of Blue Water; Norn9
Notes: Directed by Kazuto Nakazawa. A joint production of Crunchyroll and Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.

Copyright: Kazuto Nakazawa/Production I.G., 2021

Fena: Pirate Princess


Relegated to being raised in a brothel, Fena Houtman is rescued from being promoted to Staff through the combined efforts of some old family retainers, and some blacksuited family allies. The latter join her on a quest to solve mysteries related to her heritage, which will lead her to her Final Destiny.


First of all, the "Pirate Princess" thing is completely bogus; Fena never does anything remotely pirate-y. Yes, there ARE pirates in the show, complete with Pirate Hats, and Pirate Eyepatches (though without any Pirate Parrots), but THOSE are among Fena's adversaries. Neither Fena nor any member of her own entourage ever buckles a single swash during the course of the show.

What the show really IS is a cross between a period adventure show such as 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea or Island At The Top Of The World, and a shoujo romance. (The period here seems to be mid-18th Century, I'd guess before the American Revolution.)

And the romance? Our male lead is named Yukimaru Sanada, and he's got the Universal Women's Romance Male Personality, namely cold and distant (at least at first), combined with the anime-specific male traits of being a bit physically abusive to Fena (he hits her in the head a lot) as well as being her Childhood Friend who's now re-entered her life.

And Fena? She doesn't match the classical women's novel's heroine, in that she DOESN'T have much Pride (with or without Prejudice); she much more falls into the classical anime heroine mode of lacking Sense and Sensibility. When we first meet her, she's considering numerous completely inane schemes to avoid her planned deflowering. She later admits to being "slow" to catch on to things. Ah, but of course there's a compensatory thing about her: she's also a Chosen Maiden who has to make a Critical Decision, and the path to that is mapped out in her genes, apparently.

The rest of Fena's little Fellowship of Some Thing includes a couple of would-be standouts. One is Karin, an inventor who apparently ALSO invented the ship they make the journey in. (Everything she creates is "powered by springs".) Another is Shitan, who we find out is actually hostile to Fena.

Now I said "would-be standouts" because the supporting cast really isn't given that much opportunity to emerge as individual characters, aside from brief introductions to their quirks ; they’re here for the fighting sequences after all. Even the inevitable altercation with Shitan seems to be there mainly to inject some drama into the proceedings, though it does give us the rare opportunity to get someone’s backstory here BESIDES Fena’s. The show, in short, has pacing problems, mainly because a large part of it is a long series of revelations about Fena and her connections to some very famous people. The show has one major blowup about mid-series (I'm NOT talking about the one with Shitan here; that's trivial in comparison), and it never seems to recapture that intensity afterward; everything else is anticlimax.

Setting aside the pirates (pirates HATE to be set aside), the major opponent our heroes face is an English aristocrat named Abel Bluefield, who's obsessed with Fena, though not really with HER per se. (I won't say more.) I thought that after the damage he caused he got better than he deserved.

I also wasn't that pleased with the Decision Fena had to make. In the first place, given Fena's generous personality I thought it was unlikely she'd make one particular choice. In a Period Fantasy, you also have to be careful not to violate history too much. I also was wondering who set up all this, and why. In Scrapped Princess we have a similar sort of choice to make, but we get enough information to know the Cosmic Backstory behind it all. I wish this show had been as generous about those sort of details.

And the Miscellaneous:

-I thought Fena looked the most attractive with her white hair long. Just my own opinion...

-That world map Fena and the others are examining late in the show is interesting. Mercator projection, so it's off near the poles, but it certainly seems to reflect a knowledge of geography not available in the mid-18th Century. The coordinates of their destination, by the way, seem to put it near Iceland, not at all where I'd expect this sort of place to be.

-Speaking of that, how did the TREES manage normally? (And I'm not talking about the cold here.)

-Part of the place they go to is like Earth's Attic; every famous missing thing winds up there. Certainly much classier than Ren and Stimpy's planet where all the lost socks end up...

Yes, I'm giving this show a hard time, but it's an earnest effort, and it certainly has its moments (that middle-of-the-show bit WAS pretty startling, but the losing party there was pretty much ASKING for it.) I enjoyed it more than Crunchy's previous "Original", Tower of God. It was between 3 and 4 stars here; for Fena's sake, I went 4, but it's a LOW 4.Allen Moody

Recommended Audience: Gun and sword violence, mature situations. I'll go PG-13.

Version(s) Viewed: Crunchyroll video stream
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Fena: Pirate Princess © 2021 Production I.G.
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