In the kingdom of Leiwan (Linewan) there is a prophecy from the Oracle of Grendel that the king's daughter, who was born under an unlucky omen, will bring about the downfall of the world if she is allowed to reach her 16th birthday. In an effort to save his people from destruction (for the Oracle has never been wrong), the king orders his infant daughter eliminated. However, the Knight in charge of carrying out the king's edict falters, and the fate of the young princess remains in doubt for fifteen years. Now, accompanied by her foster siblings, Pacifica Casull, the "Scrapped Princess", is fleeing across the kingdom with all manner of assassins, bounty hunters, and even the king's elite guard in pursuit, intent on eliminating the "poison that will destroy the world". Behind the scenes, power intrigue is at work as people in high places within the kingdom's church and government obey the will of the Peacemakers, a mysterious group of god-like beings that manipulate the world at their whim. What sort of calamity will the Scrapped Princess bring if she survives? Who or what are the Peacemakers? Will Pacifica and her family ever be able to live peacefully, or will chaos and destruction follow wherever they go?
Scrapped Princess is a wonderful blend of classic fantasy, science fiction, and drama that is often strived for, but rarely achieved. The setting is immersive and believable. The characters are fun, well written, and superbly portrayed. The "lost technology" element of the plot is well thought out and incorporated into the overall story, rather than simply being a means for the main characters to blow things up with wild abandon.
The world of Scrapped Princess is steeped in classic fantasy cliches. There are dragons and magic, swordfighting and brave knights, evil villains and dashing heroes. What keeps all of this fresh is the realization early on, that not everything in this world is really as it seems. The "gods" that the people worship or revile are named after old gun manufacturers, "Browning" and "Mauser". The Peacemakers and their names (Cz, Steyr, etc) are also hidden firearms referances. There seem to be a lot of vague anachronisms floating around at first, and after the first five or six episodes I had a sinking feeling that this show was going to play out in a similar manner to certain other anime based off console RPGs. However, as the story develops, the reasons for all these strange names and references is made clear and the plot, rather than becoming trite, develops into something even more involved that it was before. No, it wasn't some eccentric mangaka or scriptwriter playing with Engrish, there really *is* a reason for it all! The setting reminds me a lot of some of the better written Final Fantasy games, and if you enjoy that kind of story, then you won't be disappointed by this series.
The plot revolves around the character of Pacifica Casull, the "Scrapped Princess", and while she knows she's being hunted because of the Prophecy of Grendel, her confusion about who she really is and her helpless rage when people are killed because of her enemy's pursuit of her do not sink to the level of low melodrama seen in other anime of this sort. Precocious, energetic, a tad spoiled, and often sad about the pain her existence brings to the people around her, she is neither angsty or overly bratty. It's a difficult trick to pull off the way the story is wrtten, but her seiyuu delivers her role flawlessly. You want to be the one to protect her.
However, her adopted family, consisting of an older brother and sister, do an admirable job of that. Shannon, her brother, is a skilled swordsman, trained by their father at a young age, and her sister, Raquel, is a wizard of no small power (it helps that their mother was a court magician herself). The relationship between these three is what really drives the show, but besides them, a large cast of side characters, from the aspiring knight, Leon, to the exlied princess of the neighboring kingdom, Seness, to the traveling Inquisitor for the church, Bergens; every character is as fun to watch as Pacifica and her siblings and never wear out their welcome.
The art is beautiful, with colorful, detailed cityscapes and attractive character designs. I suppose one small niggle might be the breast sizes of the female characters, which never seem to fall below a C-cup no matter who it is, but actual fan service is kept to a discreet minimum. The animation is smooth during the action sequences, and the glowing magical patterns that appear when a spell is cast are a nice touch. However, things like horses and ships obviously got the short end of the animation budget, so be prepared for some rather lackluster naval and riding scenes. Overall though, it is a worthy effort for a regular season TV series.
Scrapped Princess is a rare gem in the fantasy anime genre. Not since Lodoss War has there been a fantasy world so completely realized. Not since El Hazard has there been a cast of fantasy heroes and heroines that are so throughly fun to root for. Not since Final Fantasy 4 has the incorporation of lost technology into a fantasy setting been done so believably and with such great care not to become anachronistic. If you are a fan of fantasy fiction, or are bored by some of the current titles in this genre, give Scrapped Princess a look, it's worth keeping.
The rating may increase depending on how the story concludes. If you don't like fantasy anime or prefer comedy to drama, you may remove one star. — Jason Bustard
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: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Partial (22/24)
Scrapped Princess © 2003 Scrapped Princess Production Committee
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