Princess Principal Episode 5 Review – “Case 7 Bullet & Blade’s Ballad”

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(Spoilers in this review

This episode takes place after the third episode (case 2) and before the fourth episode (case 9). Long story short, a lord from Japan, who is fleeing from an assassin called Todo Jubei, heads over to Europe and is accompanied by Princess (and Beatrice and Ange and Dorothy). Chise is introduced as a stowaway who serves the aforementioned lord and who is determined to kill Jubei, claiming that he killed her father. After the bloody conflicts aboard the trains are resolved, Chise ends up joining Team White Pigeon.

In short, I found this episode to be entertaining and a strong means to show us Chise’s character as a person who prioritizes honor and duty above personal feelings (just like an ideal samurai who is loyal to a lord). We also get some insight into other characters such as Duke Normandy. Although some may argue that the twist in this episode was a bit cliché, I thought it was handled well, as with the cultural exchange that occurs within this episode (speaking of the reveal, the use of Chise’s “traditional Japanese spell” near the end of the episode had me in tears). More mysteries are also introduced and dangled in front of our faces – the series still has some tricks and reveals up its sleeve!

At times, the animation was a bit spotty or indistinct, but Chise’s action scenes were fluid and beautifully rendered. If only a certain series that starts with F and is being animated by A-1 Pictures handled actions scenes like this.

The rest of the episode review contains my thoughts on specific scenes and instances during the episode (along with pictures!) Heavy on spoilers from here on out!


Racism (towards the lord and his retainers) is alive and well here, huh? Well, the series seems to take place in the 19th century so I guess it’s not out-of-place here.

Why does Control send Princess and the others over to help the Japanese? No reason is explicitly given. When one of them brings up the possibility that Princess might get injured or even killed during this operation, another individual replies, “Well, that’s why we have the Principal.” Who’s the Principal? Is it Ange, who resembles Princess? Didn’t think the title of the series might be referring to both of the girls until this episode.

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Control talking about this and that. Who is the Principal they speak of?
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Just a traditional Japanese greeting (heh)

Chise drops down uninvited onto the top of the moving train. The accompanying oriental music lets the audience know she’s a stereotypical samurai/ninja, as with the small scuffle she has with both Dorothy and Ange before misunderstandings are corrected.

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Armed with Glorious Nippon Steel Folded Over 1000 Times.
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Apparently she knows Todo Jubei the better than the lord’s other samurai.
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Princess handles Ange well by telling her to be buddies with Chise. “If you’re distrustful of her, then you should watch over her, Ange.”

Ange and Chise attempt to get to know each other as they walk through the car containing the soliders sent to guard the Japanese lord. Ange and Chise also repeatedly messes with the cards the soldiers are playing with by grabbing them from one soldier and then giving them to another solider. I don’t understand why this was included.

Chise is the first one to buy Ange’s lie of being from the Black Lizard Planet, which surprises Ange. There must be some sort of reason why Ange keeps bringing that line up. Chise then goes on to talk about Kaguya living on the moon as well as the thousands of gods that inhabit everything in daily life. Both girls are learning so much about each other’s cultures!

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“The first girl who believed my origin story!”

Once they make their only stop before reaching London, Ange sees Chise use the traditional Japanese spell (“Pain, pain, go away!”) to help a crying child get over a scrapped knee. Chise mentions that her father taught her such a “magic spell.”

We also get to see some suspicious behavior from a janitor as well as learning that Duke Normandy actually wants to kill off Princess since he thinks she might ascend to the throne in the future despite only being fourth-in-line. This makes him the enemy of Princess on several levels.

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“Pain, pain, go away!”
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What you doing, dude?
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Oh, you’re marking when the actual attack is going to happen.
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This guard is also rather suspicious.
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So this explains why they’re helping out Todo Jubei – they hope Princess gets caught up in the assassination. But I still don’t know why Princess is helping them in the first place.

Things get hectic from here on out. I’ll just talk in the captions for pictures or else I’ll spending a lot of time on this one post.

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Turns out he had a bomb concealed, which he blows up to separate the train cars. Dorothy tries to stop him to no avail. I guess he was basically a suicide bomber.
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Ninjas always run like this in anime.
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Todo Jubei in the flesh!
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True beauty is never tarnished.
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Chise asks for Ange to let her help stop Jubei. Despite her earlier misgivings of Chise, Ange accepts her offer.
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Chise and Ange work well together. The enemy samurai/ninja call her a traitor, but she calls them traitors, too. Who betrayed whom?
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Upcoming disaster! If the two trains collide while traveling at such high speeds, it’ll be a tragedy!
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Beatrice steps up to protect Princess, but she is easily taken out. Thankfully her voice modulator keeps her alive by blocking the blade (but she’s knocked out).
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JUBEI (no honorifics means it’s personal)
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This is one of the animation hiccups I was talking about.
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I liked how the series continues to make Princess useful without baselessly inflating her skill. She obviously can’t overpower a skilled assassin. But she can stop the train while everyone else is fighting.
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I want to hope the lord is protecting the unconscious Beatrice here as (what’s left of) the train screeches to a halt.
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The climatic finish!
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It’s gonna be close!
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Saaaaaafe!
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Around here is when I figured the twist: Todo Jubei is Chise’s father.
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In other words she told us a Ben Konobi lie. Ange thanks her for helping guard Princess indirectly.
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“Pain, pain, go away.” That’s strange. The spell isn’t working ;____;
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Back to regular health! And drinking booze! Atta girl.
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The newest transfer student is Todo Chise!
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Beatrice is the only one who didn’t think they’ll see Chise again. Seems like Dorothy introduced the lord to Control, thinking the Japanese will join the Commonwealth. The previous episode establishes that he doesn’t blindly join the Commonwealth, however.
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They mention that they thought Chise would help Operation Changeling occur smoothly. But wait. The operation is still ongoing? I thought it had concluded back in episode 2. What this bodes for Princess and Ange (and the others) should be intruiging to see. Also more cultural exchange happening here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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