Puppet Princess box cover

© Kazuhiro Fujita / Shogakukan, Toho, TMS

Info

Available on VHS and DVD from Anime Works.
OAV
50 minutes
Ninja Action
Version I Watched: English dubbed
Objectionable Content: Graphic violence, nudity

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Puppet Princess

Puppet Princess suffers from one of the worst qualities I can think of: it's boring. And I don't mean boring in a "Valium-induced-coma" way. It's more of a "so-unremarkable-you'll-forget-it-fifteen-minutes-later" kind of boring. Maybe that explains why I'm having so much trouble trying to write this review.

The story is straightforward enough. The young Princess Rangiku has lost her home and loved ones because of the evil Lord Karimata. Before dying, Rangiku's father charges her to protect his puppet creations. Rangiku complies and plans to use the puppets for revenge against Karimata. She won't be able to do it alone, for the manipulation of the puppets leaves her own self vulnerable to attack. For insurance, she enlists the aid of a wandering ninja named Manajiri. Rangiku and Manajiri are going to have there work cut out for them, though, for Karimata has his own legion of unkillable ninja warriors.

While the story seems to have a unique take on the ninja genre, everything about Puppet Princess is bland. I guess I was hoping for a little more, my last "puppet" experience being the creepy second episode of Vampire Princess Miyu. But Puppet Princess is merely a generic ninja anime with a paper-thin "revenge" plot and forgettable characters. Even the puppets themselves, the focus of much of the story, are lifeless props that serve no purpose other than a few half-hearted battle sequences. There are some attempts at comedy, involving a running gag of Rangiku mispronouncing Manajiri's name. But it's as unfunny and dull as the rest of the show.

The artwork and animation are serviceable at best. Character designs are unremarkable, with ridiculous grinning villains and your typical cute heroine. The most interesting designs are the puppets themselves, but even they are derivative of other works. The English voice acting proves decent, but the voice actors didn't have much to work with. Top talent would've only been a waste on a title like this, anyway.

Puppet Princess is just too short and mundane to bother with. If you crave a ninja anime, leave this title on the shelf and pick up Ninja Scroll or Yotoden, superior examples of the genre.

The Verdict: * * (poor)


   

Puppet Princess image
Puppet Princess image
Puppet Princess image
Puppet Princess image