Murder Princess: The Complete Series
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In the kingdom of Forland - the stronghold of an ancient and powerful magic - a bloody coup led by Dr. Akamashi and his supernatural cyborg minions pushes the royal family to the brink of extinction. Forced to flee in the hopes of preserving her noble bloodline, Princess Alita crosses paths with the infamous bounty hunter Falis - a collision of souls that will alter the course of their lives forever.
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Top Customer Reviews
Voice acting is excellent & the dialogue does fit well with the setting & plot of the anime series.
I recommend this anime to all anime fans. Be prepared for a blood bath of epic proportion.
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The set, which consists of all six- OVA episodes, comes packaged as a single disc within a standard-sized DVD case. Total runtime comes in at 150 minutes and language options are nice and thorough as well: English language recorded in Dolby Surround 5.1 and stereo Japanese vocals (with English subtitles is so desired). Extras are pretty solid as well and included a commentary track with the English voice actors over episode 6, textless songs, and Funimation trailers.
The story goes something like this: The kingdom of Forland is under attack by one Doctor Akamashi and his horde of baddies including an adorable but nasty pair of androids Anna and Yuna.
The story opens with the death of the king and his son (Prince Kite) away on a diplomatic mission. As such the throne falls to the younger Princess Alita, who is anything but ready for the weight suddenly placed upon her shoulders.
In the process of fleeing the castle in disguise, the new queen smashes into a rough and tumble female bounty hunter named Falis. As the pair tumbles toward their inevitable doom, they swap bodies. Now the real princess, in the bounty hunter's body, assumes the role of a handmaiden to her body, which is now occupied by Falis until a means of undoing the transfer can be found.
As far as rough around the edges princesses are concerned, Falis proves capable of using her bounty hunter skills and blades to whip many seemingly overpowering threats to the kingdom while the real princess remains in the shadows as a mere servant.
Sure body swaps are nothing new in the realm of entertainment and the fantasy setting has been done to death but somehow the formula works here. As stated above, the name Murder Princess is derived from the fact that the always meek and mild princess returns to the throne a brash and skilled killer and her reputation as such quickly spreads.
The character models are very reminiscent of those made famous in fantasy/ technological video games like the Final Fantasy series: Think monsters the size of buildings, towering knights with ridiculously oversized swords, and robotic humanoids who ride choppers. Fortunately, the use of technology within the fantasy setting is explained quite believably here, as the timeframe is in fact the future of mankind once technology has utterly destroyed society. In effort to rebuild from the shambles, humanity has, in a sense, started over despite the fact that bits and pieces of tech (like cyborgs, missiles, and machine guns) have found their way into the new-old renaissance.
Pacing is spectacularly swift which I suppose is to be expected in a six-episode series. Visuals are crisp and clean and the dub work is perfect. My only complaint is twofold: First, the material is intriguing enough to warrant a continuation of the plot (at least 13 episodes would have been nice) and second (spoiler warning) I'm not sure if the fact that the two lead characters never end up swapping back to their original bodies fits in with the "fairy tale ending" shows like this thrive on.
The TV 14 rating is very conservative as well. The violence is limited to the hacking and slashing of monsters and mythological bad guys and there is no nudity to speak of. Language is limited to the typical non-offensive cussing.
In all, critics seem to come down pretty hard on Murder Princess, faulting it for relying upon body-swapping gimmicks and a cliché setting to make up for a lack of depth but judging it accordingly misses the point. This is a fun-filled fantasy romp with a solid cast of characters and some interesting explanations for the merging of technology and mythology. This is good clean fun that could have succeeded for seasons to come.
There are no weak episodes in the batch, and the English voice acting excellent. All characters from the various Forland family members to Faris and her clan come vividly to life, with vibrant widescreen visuals and entertaining swordplay. The 5.1 surround (English) also lets every slash come through with extra clarity.
Be aware that characters and storyline here are an often weird/goofy amalgamation of medieval royalty, (literally) colorful Frankenstein knockoffs, military weapons fashioned as crazy young "girls", mind/body switching, even a Ghost Rider wannabe. This combined with the sometimes truly "big-eyed" characters (even for anime) and vibrant color can even create a "Saturday morning" cartoon look at times. But such absurdity is part of this anime's charm.
Overall, Murder Princess (an odd name, as fortunately she isn't a murderer...) will never be a candidate for any awards but is very entertaining and somehow feels meatier than the mere six short episodes might suggest.
My biggest complaints are the lack of length, which sadly does not give enough time for character development, and the back stories seem pretty rushed. On the positive side, it was not so long that the staff had to put a slew of filler scenes in to ensure it ran long enough. I would say four to five more episodes would have made this one complete.
The other is the main motive for one of the bad guys. Yes its the most cliche thing here.
(Spoiler warning do not read past this if you want to avoid that.)
The big baddie is the older brother returned after years of absence, who wants to destroy the world in order to end all the suffering. Yeah, the same motive for about 75% of the main villains in anime.
Baring that the rest of the show is superb. The character designs are ranging from decent to excellent. I also did actually enjoy how it turned out at the end even with the exceptionally cliche enemy.
This is my official review of the 6 episode OVA series, Murder Princess, dubbed and subbed by Funimation. First, let's get this straight. I know it's too short for its own good but OVA's are usually only 4 to 6 episodes long. That's what you get when you buy OVA's. Don't whine and complain that the series isn't longer. Nothing is going to change the fact that it is only 6 episodes long. That being so, let's focus on the plot next.
Ah, the plot. It's basically a medieval/ fantasy based anime with some technology thrown in it, i.e. the cute android girls, Pete, and Dominikov. It really gets more on the technological side further in the series but still remains as a mystical fantasy. Here are the pros and cons of the plot.
Pros- Newer content that wasn't in the manga series (The real Milano and her death scene; which was truly touching, `Milano' getting kidnapped by the mad doctor, Kite (Kaito)'s true appearance, and more humor than the manga did.
Cons- Kite (Kaito)'s true intentions, a really creepy bath scene, the mad doctor's death was too fast, `Alita' getting beat up a lot more, the body switch wasn't as cool as the manga version, Dominikov being a cyborg instead of a shinigami, and newer content that wasn't in the manga (yes, this is both a pro and con).
Moving on, the next part will be about the character's dubbed voices. (There will be no sub review since most people just adore the Japanese audio and hate the English audio. Also, I will only pick and choose the characters I really liked).
Falis aka `Alita' voiced by Colleen Clinkenbeard - I really love all the characters that she voices (excluding DBZ stuff because I don't care for that series) and her playing Falis was unbelievably awesome. She used a fix between Luffy (One Piece Funimation version) and Riza Hawkeye (FMA), which suited the character. Falis is no princess that's for sure and Colleen really hit home with the gruffy but still a bit feminine voice.
Alita aka `Milano' voiced by Monica Rial- I also like this voice actress as well. Her voice was a mix between Sakura Kinomoto (TRC) and Renge (OHSHC) which suited the character since she wasn't always so serious and polite.
Dominikov voiced by Chuck Huber- This role was really nicely done. I was glad that they didn't have a cheesy creepy voice for him.
Overall, the dub was superb in my view (and few others that have reviewed this series before me) and the sub, well, was good too. Next, let's talk about the extras, plus the menu design, case design, and the video quality.
The extras included textless songs (only a plus if you like that sort of thing), trailers (a fairly good amount but only one was worth clicking) and audio commentary for episode 6 (which I love audio commentaries so this was a plus in my book. I wasn't expecting it).
There must be different versions, because the cover case that I saw on Amazon was just a simple picture of `Alita' on the cover but when it came to my house, the cover had `armored' Kite (Katio) in the top corner and `Alita' in a fighting stance in the bottom corner. Both of them were against a red and yellow background. I rather had gotten the first version that I saw (it had such pretty blues) but this one is good too. It's just up to opinion. The back cover has a close up of `Alita' against a red background but it also has several characters at the top of the case.
The menus were easy to navigate and easy to select. I ran into some DVD's in the past that weren't as easy. The video quality itself was excellent. It wasn't grainy or old like some new Anime tend to look when switching DVD formats.
Would I recommend this to a friend/person who likes anime? Absolutely. It may be short but it's a great add to someone's collection. It's also a great way to get into fantasy/ medieval anime if you wanted to try the genre out. I give this series a 4.5 stars out of 5.
Based on the manga written by Sekihiko Inui, who is also known for Comic Party. Murder Princess is a six episode fantasy-action anime, with sci-fi elements thrown in that follows Falis in her attempt to reclaim the kingdom of Forland and eventually defend it from its enemies. The anime really isn't much different from others of its type, and it really doesn't try to deviate from its main goal which is delivering an over the top action romp. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is solely up to the viewer. Fortunately though, it does pretty well in the action department and fans searching only for that will more than likely be satisfied.
Murder Princess is produced by Bee Train whose other works consist of Noir and Madlax, so despite being an OVA, I can imagine an anime fan familiar with the company coming into this expecting some nice visuals, and they won't be disappointed either because the anime does look nice. The artwork can be very good with some nice character designs at times. Falis has a cool, yet sinister look when her white dress is drenched in blood during battle, along with her fiery red eyes and long blonde hair. One of the main antagonist, which happens to be a man wearing jet black armor has a nice appeal to him as well. Some of the monsters on the other hand are lacking some variety, and I do feel that the choice of two cute, chibi characters kind of hurts the look of the show, no matter how dangerous they can be. In any case, these gripes aren't very big since the anime never takes itself seriously.
There are also some stunning backgrounds, blanketed with beautiful shades of blue during the night time, and the use of lighting during these segments brings out the best in the scenes. Now for the action scenes, despite the occasional sword swipes and static backgrounds; the action has moments of coolness with decent choreography here and there along with some bloody moments, plus there are some good sword exchanges. Murder Princess also boasts a pretty good soundtrack, it's nothing I would consider to be ground breaking, but the guitar riffs complements the style of the anime. Even though it kind of feels silly with the fantasy setting made up of knights, peasants, and maids.
Although it's very linear, and eveyrthing in regards to the plot can be seen light years away. The plot is fairly good with some nice pacing and there are traces of character development. Falis and Alita are likable characters who break their molds at some point and I feel their relationship was well developed. The rest of the cast are fairly decent and fill their roles for the most part. At first, the sci-fi elements which mainly involves androids, cyborgs, and advanced technology will feel pretty awkward in this setting. I recommend being patient to those who may feel this is just way too out of place, because this story element is all tied up by the end.
Besides predictability, there are several things that take place in the plot that really needed some explaining. At least one plot device concerning Falis really needed some background, because it feels way too tacked on, and this will prove to be an issue for those who prefer air tight stories. The mystery concerning this change in behaviour just doesn't work at all, especially since it plays too heavy of a role in certain scenes. In addition to this, the explanation involving the initial story is silly at best.
In closing, Murder Princess is a decent action romp that ties up quite a bit. Those who are heavily sold on the main characters will probably be hoping for a sequel. Personally, I had a bit of fun with the title, and it's nice to binge on those simple shonen anime once in awhile. Recommended only to those whom are not looking for high art.
Highs: Cool action scenes and visuals
Lows: A few plot issues here and there