DVD Review: Princess Resurrection Complete Series Collection
A supernatural mystery/comedy with werewolves, beautiful vampires, grotesque flesh-eating Cthulhu-esque monsters!
Hiro Hiyorimi has been invited to live with his older sister, who has taken a job as a maid for a mysterious Princess. On his way to meet with his sister he encounters a young woman in the street just as she is about to get into a serious accident. Sacrificing himself to save the life of this woman he has never met, Hiro is killed and taken to the local mortuary. The woman is actually the supernatural Princess who Hiro’s sister has been working for and he is blessed with magical powers of regeneration and ressurrection. Struck by Hiro’s heroism, but also the needlessness of his sacrifice due to her own immortality, Princess Hime grants Hiro half immortality, resurrecting him from the dead. In return for this gift he is connected to her forever through his need to be regenerated daily by her power; and so becomes her slave.
The series is an interesting mix of modern technology and mysticism. Utilizing the popular Gothic Lolita style of clothing, Hime is your typical anime supernatural heroine with a brilliantly cynical script, sarcastic tone and uncaring personality. Unlike so many Shonen titles where romance plays such a crucial element to the plot, Princess Resurrection is far more action and horror based with some stand out episodes of suspense and dynamic fight scenes. While there is a small undertone of romance between certain characters, this is downplayed by Hime and the later introduced Riza due to their strength of character, sarcastic natures and Hime’s need for people to guard her as servants rather than actual friends.
The script itself is oftentimes incredibly serious, dealing with death, destruction and dependency. The plotline also deals with death of family and murderous siblings; familial rivalry and honor. However, this is often marred by the creator’s choice to fall into silly moments of comedy or awkwardness which clash with the well honed drama of the series. This is often paired with out of place soundtrack and needless jokes which create a levity to a series which would probably benefit from staying harsh and serious, which is definitely where its strengths lie.
While the series seems to omit much of the gore and bloodier scenes that the manga was known for, it still deals with some great moments of violence and action in a dynamic way. As early as episode 2, Princess Destruction, we are introduced to the use of classic Hollywood monsters in a modern, far more violent and destructive form. The use of an ‘invisible man’ as an antagonist and his inventive way of dismembering his victims using invisible thread like cheese wire is both a new and bold way of dealing with a Hollywood classic.
The animation is simple and basic in its line art with no stand out moments, even during the more dynamic scenes of action where this series’ strength lies. The faces are vapid and often emotionless with a clunky anglicized script and some poor moments of translation. That being said, the characters are fun and interesting with Riza standing out as one of the most emotionally connectable characters with the most developed script. Flandre (or Flan)’s script is often annoying with its repetition, however, her character is cute and fun with her small child’s body and overpowered android strength.
The series utilizes classic Hollywood monsters from werwolves to vampires to swamp thing-like mermen and has some stand out moments of horror. This is most notable in ‘Princess Lightning’, an episode in which a human doctor is the antagonist and experiments on Hiro for his regenerative powers. The use of typical horror tropes such as zombie like empty eyes, insane doctors and nurses as well as the creator’s use of shadow in its art style creates a palpable terror which makes sure this series stands out as a well directed piece of horror film making.
The soundtrack to this series can often be jarring and repetitive, switching between moody classical pieces of suspenseful music and jaunty comedic numbers abrasively. However, the moments of horror are wonderfully complimented by the eerie music and SFX, making for some brilliant cinematic moments.
Overall this is a promising series of horror and drama, marred only by its attempts to draw in an audience with lighter moments and comedy which become awkward and jilted in comparison to its far superior mastery of suspense and action. The story is interesting and enough to compliment the stand alone episodes of ‘creature features’ and action sequences.
Label: Manga Entertainment
Release date: 10th September, 2012
Running time: 625 mins
Director: Masayuki Sakoi
Stars: Ayako Kawasumi, Fuyuka Oura, Ai Shimizu
Anastasia Catris is a freelance illustrator, writer and actress based in South Wales. After graduating in English Literature from Royal Holloway, University of London she studied for a year in comic book art and design in The Kubert School where she nurtured her love of Japanese animation and cartooning as well as its cinema, video games and culture. You can keep up to date with Anastasia’s activity via her website www.anastasiacatris.wordpress.com or her Facebook page www.facebook.com/acatris. You may also follow her on Twitter at @acatris. View Anastasia’s showreel here.