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Case Number 07298: Small Claims Court

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Scrapped Princess: Melancholy Wagon Trails (Volume 2)

Bandai // 2003 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Joel Pearce (Retired) // July 28th, 2005

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All Rise...

Call him old-fashioned but Judge Joel Pearce believes 15-year-old princesses—scrapped or otherwise—should be hanging out at the mall food court, not trying to save the universe.

The Charge

A turn for the worse!

The Case

Princess Pacifica is back for more adventures, and everyone is trying to kill or protect her. This second volume of Scrapped Princess eliminates some of the problems of the first few episodes, but replaces those problems with a bizarre and muddled mythology that has made matters worse.

This second volume contains four episodes as well, which tell two stories. In the first two episodes, a singing assassin who controls deadly robot bugs (seriously) tries to kill Pacifica, and Leo learns that she is the scrapped princess. His loyalty and affections are called into question, and he needs to make a choice whether to follow his heart or the call of justice. It is then uncovered that these strange demons called peacemakers are behind the attempts on Pacifica's life. Although the reasons for this are fuzzy, they seem to be part of an ancient race connected in some way to humans, and the battle lines among the peacemakers are also being drawn. The second story concerns a young girl named Cin that Shannon meets and brings back to camp with him. She is an adorable little girl, and Raquel becomes immediately attached to her as well. Pacifica doesn't like her, and hates the attention she gets from Shannon and Raquel. Is Pacifica just imagining things, or have they become too obsessed with the young girl. In the subsequent tale, we get to learn more about the peacemakers and the nature of Pacifica's hidden powers.

Some things have developed nicely since the last volume. Pacifica has suddenly grown up a good deal. She is less annoying than she was, and she is starting to take matters into her own hands. Since Scrapped Princess is a coming of age story, her immaturity at the start of the journey can be quickly forgiven. After all, it would be hard to come to terms with the fact that your upcoming birthday is connected in prophecy to the end of the world. Watching Shannon and Raquel in action is also cool, and this time around we get to learn a bit more about the magic of this world. Raquel's magic springs from the power of the earth, which she can manipulate because of her perception.

I have quite a few serious issues with the series, though, and these problems are getting worse. Learning more about the peacemakers is a good thing, but the way they describe themselves is another matter. The peacemakers introduce themselves as demons—powerful creatures that can travel from another dimension and have some holy connection in the world of the humans. They are charged with keeping balance, which has been possible thus far. The problem is, they use digital terminology in order to explain their powers. One of them introduces herself with her serial number. They are not magical beings, but rather some sort of product or construct. They announce their powers like characters in a mecha series. They describe themselves as being compressed and uncompressed in different forms. I don't necessarily have a problem with that system. What I do have issues with is the way it's been clumsily grafted into the fantasy setting. Fantasy is fun. Science fiction is fun. But it's very hard to blend science and magic together in one story. I hope that these elements are explained better as the series wears on.

Some of the other minor issues from the first volume remain. Why is everyone in the series so young? Aside from the handful of older characters that live in the towns and work in politics, everyone is in their teens. Christopher, the key warrior that was hunting Pacifica down is a teen. Leo is a teen. Even the bard assassin is quite young. The only reason I can see for this is to keep the series accessible for the target audience. It feels off, though, and a better mix would have created more interesting dynamics in the relationships between characters. As well, none of the powerful beings and assassins are doing a very good job. If I were hired to assassinate her, I would just walk up to her and stab her with a sword. Any number of characters have had this opportunity, but they don't take it. Instead, they use the deadly bugs, or use magic to get Shannon and Raquel to kill her. The characters comment on this in the last episode of this volume, so perhaps a better explanation is on the way. I hope so, because otherwise these powerful peacemakers are pretty pathetic. What's the point of being a powerful robot/demon if you can't take out a 15 year old girl?

The transfer on this disc is on par with the last one. The animation is very high quality, but there is still visible compression and digital grain at times, as well as some truly hideous reds. This is especially true in the opening credits, but it shows up elsewhere as well. The sound transfer is crisp and clean, with good separation. The Japanese language is still preferred, since the English dub makes all the characters sound like they're 13-year-old brats. This disc has almost no extras, just the clean closing credits and a handful of trailers.

If you enjoyed the first volume of Scrapped Princess, you will probably enjoy this volume as well. Fans of fantasy anime don't get much to choose from, and the mythology of this world is starting to get fleshed out this time around. It has serious flaws, though. If you are checking out the series because you heard it's one of the must-buy titles of the year, you heard wrong. Scrapped Princess is simply an amusing and confusing journey into a new fantasy world. I am going to give this volume a small fine for disappointing me, but the ultimate judgment for the series is yet to come.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 76

Perp Profile

Studio: Bandai
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Subtitles:
• English
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Anime
• Fantasy

Distinguishing Marks

• Textless Closing Credits

Accomplices

• IMDb








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