Scrapped Princess, Volume 1: Family Ties

Matt Brown (Editor in Chief) — April 22nd, 2005
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For all intents and purposes, fantasy and science fiction are much alike. They both favor the big picture over the individual, and heroics over personality. They're more interested in the effects of individuals on society than the other way around, and so each character earns a permanent position on the totem of importance, according to their level of influence on world events. The appeal of these stories is in establishing parallels between the alternate worlds and our own, and in seeing the best of humanity in action.

Enter Scrapped Princess -- a story that pays superficial tribute to both genres of storytelling, but adopts a separate model of character development. The series is about how individuals adapt to the influences of society. Every character is important, not just the Frodos or Aragorns. The series concerns itself with the character of humanity instead of our potential.

Scrapped Princess has its roots all the way back in ancient Greek theater. I've thought for the longest time, "Anime needs a few good old-fashioned Oedipus knockoffs." (I'm lying, of course. That's what we critics do.) The tale is of a girl named Pacifica, prophecized by the Church of Mauser to be the destroyer of the world upon her sixteenth birthday. As these tales go, she was left to the wilderness as an infant, survived thanks to some people who found her, and is currently fifteen. (In case anybody's curious, this story does not in any way involve relations between the girl and either of her parents, nor does it involve a loss of vision in a violent manner. Them Japanese are softies.)

It whiness, precious. It scaresss us. Pacifica can be sweet at times.

When Pacifica's kindhearted biological parents discover that she's not dead, they go into damage control mode and summon every able-bodied citizen in the realm to put aside their honest livings and be thugs for the Church. Yet Pacifica has nothing to worry about, for her Adoptive Superhero Siblingsā„¢ protect her from the legions of pitchfork-wielding farmers. Her brother Shannon is a master of the blade, and sister Raquel uses powerful magic.

Their first real enemy in Volume One is Chris, one of those rare fellows who is actually trained to use a weapon. While the foreground of his interactions with our main characters is akin to a fighting series (clash, talk, clash, talk...), the characters are a good read. As you might expect, Pacifica is the center of all the character development, but each character develops his intentions toward her in his own way. Whether in friendship or otherwise, they are all drawn to her. Her effect on the other characters, contrasted with her spoiled and childish demeanor, is one of the more interesting facets of the series.

The support characters all have something good to offer, but the real meat of the story is the relationship between Pacifica and her siblings. The idea that she might destroy the world if she lives much longer is quite the burden on Pacifica, naturally. She questions whether it's really a good idea for her siblings to protect her. Lucky for her, Shannon and Raquel have level heads on their shoulders. They've made the decision to see their little sister through her difficulties, despite being branded as traitors to the whole planet. Their caring attitude is genuine warm fuzzy material.

Scrapped Princess starts off the right way. It doesn't waste any time in setting the stage, the action sequences and dialogue are entertaining, and the characters are organic. Being that the series has a true central character, each person's enjoyment will depend on how they receive her. I find her to be a good character, but some may not. Beyond like or dislike, the series shows a certain skill at storytelling that should persuade (if not compel) many to continue.

Distributor: Bandai
Creator: Ichiro Sakaki & Yukinobu Azumi / Studio BONES
Released: 2003

Video Quality: A
Audio Quality: A
Presentation: B
Content: A-
Overall: A-