Puchi Puri Yuushi, perhaps better known by its English title of Petite Princess Yucie, is a nice little series that is often overlooked for more popular shows, yet it’s just as deserving of attention. The story begins on Yucie’s first day of classes at the Princess Academy, a school for young girls from the five different worlds who want to become princesses or like princesses. The thing is, Yucie isn’t a young girl but a 17-year-old trapped in the body of one! When she finds out that one student will become the Platinum Princess and obtain one wish, however, her mind is made up to
win the title. Watch as Yucie makes friends, learns about herself, and magically changes into cute outfits!
The story may be straightforward, but the execution is impressive. Most of the series is made of one-shot episodes about Yucie and her friends doing little things that bring them closer to their goal, but they’re each unique, taking place in different worlds and involving different characters. In addition, there’s a reoccurring cast with frequently-developed stories, such as those regarding their family life… and, as you would expect from a series like this, a sweet romance or three. Sure, not every episode is engaging or even interesting, but they definitely have enough going for them overall that makes them easy to enjoy. In the last few episodes, a serious plot develops, and while it will feel pretty standard to anyone who watches magical girl series, you can’t help but cheer for the cast to do their best and win. While there isn’t much plot substance overall, and what is there is quite predictable, it’s still a nice mix of fantasy, romance, and magic perfect for any shoujo lover.
The character designs are quite cute, and while they’re not amazing they match the series well. The creators weren’t afraid to make fun of themselves, either: Yucie is frequently mocked for her huge forehead. The animation quality is decent enough; nothing stood out to me either way. The music is also quite average, but overall fitting and likable, and there was a piece or two of BGM that really impressed me. Furthermore, the opening song, “Genius of Smiles,” stands out as incredibly catchy and cute, and is very much worth a listen even if you aren’t a fan of the show. These elements may not stand out, but they’re worthy components nonetheless.
The main five characters of Petite Princess Yucie are a solid cast. Yucie’s sweet optimism makes her a character that you can’t help but love, even if you are the type to get annoyed by magical girl heroines. The shy spirit girl Kokolu, feisty demon Glenda, and heavenly yet picky Elmina make a great circle of friends for her, while the final girl, Beth, is especially interesting as a character. That’s not to sell the rest of the cast short, though! Every last major character has a developed personality and grows through the series. I wish I could say the same for the rest of the cast, but it’s really only the five girls and their stewards (magical helpers) who have developed personalities. Still, the more one-dimensional members of the cast are just as likable.
Do you love cute things, magic, and fluffy fun? If so, Petite Princess Yucie is a great series that should defiantly be on your radar. Shoujo fans will find everything they enjoy about the genre in a series that’s more than the sum of its parts, while people who aren’t usually fans of shoujo may be pleasantly surprised. Sure, it’s not technically impressive or particularly epic, but Petite Princess Yucie is lots of fun to watch, and sometimes that’s all that you need. It may be a seven from a critical point of view, but it’s a darn high seven.
Okay, as a whole we are all different sizes in this world. Some big...some small...some average in height. Nobody really ever expects to remain the same height they were back when they were ten years old right? Well poor Yuushi, it seems like things didn’t quite work out for her in this department. "Puchi Puri Yuushi" takes place in a more mid-evil fairytale time, and comes with a lot of cuteness along with it!
Our story is all about a young girl named Yuushi (Yucie in America), she was found abandoned by her foster dad, who later finds out that this girl is different than
most, in that Yuushi is not able to grow to normal adult size, due to a curse placed on her! Upon her 17th birthday she sets her sites on a magical item called the "Eternal Tiara, " which only the "Platinum Princess" can obtain...to hopeful cure this mysterious curse on her. The whole story stays pretty linear in this regards, yet changes at the same time to help prevent the story from coming off as too tedious. Along the way Yuushi meets other Platinum Princess Candidates who she deems as her good friends, but also fellow rivals to her goal. (since only one can become the Platinum Princess) Now the story doesn’t stay with the same formula in mind all the way through, as a lot of episodes will show her friend’s troubles along with her own, as well as give good hints as to who they are and what obstacles they too have gone through in their lives, most of which are regarding their families. Since Yuushi can only obtain her goal by doing good deeds and collecting all of the crystal flowers (which happens ever few episodes, and require the girls to visit many different worlds), you will get to enjoy a lot of different aspects of the series. Such as Yuushi trying her hand at baking, becoming a librarian, nun, a farmer etc. All in order to rack up her good deed points. There really isn’t too much action that takes place here, especially considering this takes place in more mid-evil times, but you do get a fair amount in there as well...especially towards the end. The story doesn’t really contain many plot twists in the mix, with the exception of one that, again, only happens towards the end. I think many viewers will find that the overall plots in the story can get pretty predictable at times, which may turn off some fans who are looking for some surprises in their anime. The ending does tie up most loose ends of the series. Only bummer is, we never really get to find out much about Yuushi’s past. Still, getting there is quite fun, and you get a good supply of comedy, drama, romance, and adventure. Which helps the story from becoming stale.
"Puchi Puri Yuushi" shouldn’t really contain anything that viewers will find offensive. The violence is pretty mild, and there isn’t really too much of it. However there is a scene or two when one of the characters gets cut, and there is a touch of blood on them, but nothing gruesome is ever shown. Also, one of the girls does come from a "demon world, " so that might offend some. Other than that, there really isn’t much to worry about. Nothing ever crosses over a "PG" rating.
My favorite part in the artwork category was the characters themselves, (well, the main cast anyway) because all the girls are drawn with pretty good differences, so nobody ever looks like they were just copy and pasted from the same formula, I especially liked the design on Yuushi herself. All the adults in this title on teh other hand, seemed to look a bit more generic. I was never really able to find one that stood out for me...well other than a character named "Gunbard." The backgrounds were also another stand out feature, I think they pulled off the whole "fairytale" look quite nicley. Now I have to say that I wasn’t a fan of most of the actual clothing in this anime, they just looked so bland and boring. Overall the animation is nothing spectacular, but I think they pulled off the look and feel they were going for.
The opening and ending themes match well with the whole fairytale-ness of the title. The beginning comes in the form of a nice kind of out beat style song, while the ending is played a bit more suttle. The background music? Well...its okay and all, but nothing really ever stands out much. (lots of guitar picking tracks throughout the anime) Now when comparing the sub to the dub, I would recommend watching this in subtitle form. The dub isn’t really bad, and I honestly did get use to it after a while. But the voices just didn’t match nearly as well as the sub did, because some of the American voices actors they got tended to get a bit on the annoying side. The soundtrack can be somewhat generic sounding at times, but nothing really too bad.
I really liked the cast of characters, I felt they were varied so much that it was just great to see them all interact with one another. We had Yuushi the outgoing one, Glenda the rival and comic relief of the show, Kokolu the quiet one, Erumina the noble, and Besu the loner. (all of them come from different worlds) The supporting cast is also great as well, and some actually help in the comedy areas. As much as I did love them and all, I also couldn’t help but feel that their overall ways could be considered a bit stereotypical and by the book as well. What sets them apart from becoming tagged as soly that, was the great chemistry and friendship they had. It may not have been fleshed out enough to really set the stage for anything...but they did do it well enough for you to at least care about them.
Puchi Puri Yuushi may not be anything special, and some may not like the big amount of cuteness or it’s somewhat predictable storyline. But the anime is still a nice title to invest your time in, just for the sake of enjoyment and fun. If you’re a fan of fairytale style anime, and don’t mind a good portion of cuteness to go as a side dish on your anime plate? Then "Puchi Puri Yuushi" is a tasty treat indeed!
I'll let it be known upfront I am not a big fan of "magical girl" shows. Although I used to watch Sailor Moon when it aired on TV, I never really got into it. And although I watched some of Cardcaptors, when it aired on TV I really really hated it. So yeah was never big on the magical girl genre. I mean really a bunch of girls with magical powers, fighting bad guys with secret identities? Really? The power of love and good intentions defeating evil with ease, and lots of girly stuff abound. I think I'll pass. I am a dude after all.
Besides it felt like after a few episodes everything was the same. All the episodes were practically about the girls going out, fighting the bad guy of the week, using magic, and getting a magical thing back or something. Substitute one bad guy for another and each episode was practically the same. But there were two series, I first watched years ago, that opened my eyes to the entire genre. Two series that proved to me that not all "magical girl" shows are about that stuff, and really both just blew me away. One of them is Princess Tutu ( a future review) which is still talked about a lot today. It got a lot of great reviews from critics, and fans have a lot of respect for it. But the other show I saw seems to have (sadly) fallen into obscurity, despite being created by Gainax. And honestly I like it even more then Princess Tutu. That show is none other then Petite Princess Yucie.
Petite Princess Yucie started as a video game series, aptly named Princess Maker. These video games, also by Gainax, are about creating a character, finding clothes for her, and getting her jobs and such. The goal is for you to keep working your character up the career ladder, until you reach a prestigious job, or fall from the ranks and end up in a dead end job or something. The game even includes such jobs as prostitute and crime, so I don't really think they are for children. The game is famous for having over 70 different types of endings. Quite a feat in the early 90's when they were released. However the anime is free from anything risque, adult, mature, or graphic in nature. It seems to have taken the basic themes of games, and turned it into a true magical girl anime that could be watched by anyone (and it should be watched by everyone!). This is the perfect series to watch with children, but adults will like it too. The anime was created in 2002 and directed by Masahiko Otsuka. Otsuka is a veteran of Gainax Studios, but this is his first time directing something on his own, although he has co-directed many titles before. And I must say he has his own style, and helps make this series become something very special. In some ways it's very different then a regular Gainax series, but in other ways its deeply rooted in their style. Anyway, I do hope to see more series directed by the man, because he is quite talented.
As for the story, although nothing completely groundbreaking, it is very good. The setting is a standard "sword and sorcery" fantasy realm, and I really thought that gave the series a nice touch. There are dragons, mystical creatures, fairies and who knows what else out there. The show revolves around Yucie, a 17 year old girl, who's stopped growing at age 10. Yucie wants nothing more then to age like a normal girl, so people will take her seriously. This is very understandable, I mean everyone takes one look at her and thinks she's a child, not some older teenager. And I doubt many people would believe her, if she told them her real age. But she has another reason why she wants to be normal. When she was a young girl, she was saved by a little boy but never got the chance to thank him. By now he would be grown up, but she still looks like a little kid. She wants to properly thank the boy, and feels she can only do so if she looks her age. She also seemed to have developed a bit of a crush on the boy, even though she would never admit this. And what kind of a proper relationship could he have with a girl that looks like she's 10!? Yucie ends up being thrown into this whole "Platinum Princess Candidate" thing going on at the town. Whoever can find something in the castle can become a Platinum Princess Candidate, and Yucie sees a light at the top of the castle, and she's instantly drawn to it. When she makes her way to the light, she finds the Queen of the castle there, and she celebrates the fact that Yucie will become a Platinum Princess Candidate. It is revealed that once every thousand years a group of girls are chosen to be candidates, and one of them will eventually become the Platinum Princess, will be given the Eternal Teairra, and granted one wish. Luck (or faith) was on Yucie's side it seems. Perhaps she can get her wish to become an adult at last!
Yucie must go to the castle's own Princess Academy, and learn how to become a proper princess. At this school she slowly meets her rivals, and it becomes clear that the Platinum Princess Candidates must grow their hearts if they are to become the true Platinum Princess. As the main cast is slowly revealed we noticed that they all stopped growing at age ten. The first girl introduced is the quiet and friendly Miss Cocoloo. Cocoloo is the princess from the Spirit World. Next we have Miss Glenda, the fiery and competitive princess from the Demon World. And we also have Elmina, the stoic Princess of Heaven. Yucie and her rivals must go on jobs in which they must accomplish tasks for the townsfolks, or help them with errands, or merely babysit little children. These jobs are designed to not only help their hearts grow, but to also learn what it means to be a real princess, and become a generally good person. Each of these episodes have the girls work together to accomplish a goal, and toward the end they all learn an important less. And the lessons are never after-school special lame either. The girls, despite being rivals quickly become friends. Even though they know only one of them may get their wish, and so there may be some hardships to overcome in the future. In between these jobs, the girls must also collect the "fragments" of the Eternal Tiara, which are each in one of the many worlds (Human World, Heaven, Spirit World, etc). These episodes are usually quite light hearted, cute, and very fun to watch. There is some really funny moments in the early episodes. And despite the pattern, none of this is repetive and all of these episodes tend to move the plot along quite nicely. The series continues in this pattern until another main character is introduced (don't worry I won't spoil much). In which after this character is introduced the jobs and fragment collecting finishes up, and eventually the series heads toward a very dramatic conclusion. The last arch of this anime is quite dark, sad, and has a lot of drama. And although I loved the cute opening episodes, these last few are my favorite. The series deals with some really sad things, and although it never becomes depressing you may want to have a few tissues nearby just incase. The second to last episode is very powerful, and it's ganna hit you in the heart. There is a very beautiful and heart wrenching scene at the very end of that episode that probably will make the tears start flowing. And I really loved how the show concluded, although I suspect many will not like the ending. But I think many will enjoy the fact that every single thing is explained before it ends. And just enough back story and interlinkings of plot exists to make everyone happy. And luckily for us everything is resolved and it does end. Although I'd love to see another season of this great show. Please Ganiax? Use some of that Gurren Lagann money you guys got.
The series has many strong points, one of them being the interactions between the characters. It's just great to watch these girls become friends, and bump heads with each other along the way. I really enjoyed watching Glenda and Elmina fight with each other. The two girls are clearly friends, but they won't admit it. Glenda would usually say something about another girl not being up to her level, in a joking tone, and Elmina would always manage to turn it around on her, making Glenda seem like the butt of her own joke. Some of Elmina's lines are priceless, and since she speaks in an almost emotionless manor, it makes them even better. Since they are both princesses of the demon world and heaven respectively, it makes sense why the two fight a lot. They seem to always be at odds with each other, but manage to come together when the moment calls for it. Another thing I really liked to watch was the close friendship between Yucie and Cocoloo. And hearing Glenda joke that Yucie is a "brat" and that she's a "fantastic" and "elegant" princess never gets old. And surprisingly all the main characters evolve and change. The character development was handled quite well, and even the supporting cast changes somewhat. Each of the girls have a "steward", who helps them along their ways, and all of the girls fathers make an appearance. And of course a series like this would not be complete without a Prince as a love interest (although he may or may not turn out to be a surprise)Perhaps my favorite example of this is Glenda changing, which is clearly shown with a fight scene toward the end of the series (I'll be vague in order to avoid spoilers). Since she is from the Demon World, she has magical powers, and when she fights someone later on you can't help but feel for her. You notice how she changed and became a truly better person, caring for others more then herself. This fight was really a defining point in her evolution and I just LOVE that scene. And let me say this is one of the few series out there where I like each and every character. All the characters are interesting, unique, likable, and never annoying.
Another strength of the show is the many themes it deals with. And for this type of show it is actually quite deep. The show asks us what it truly means to grow up. Because Yucie and the others have aged, at least internally. But at times they still act like children, and their youthful bodies help to keep them young. This may be a metaphor for young adults. On one hand they look like children, but on the other hand they are mature enough to be considered adults. It's like they are trapped in between phases, in between ages. Just like the girls here, they don't fit in with the adults, but on the other hand can't relate well to the children. And their youthful appearance helps to keep them young and active. The series also deals with friendship in great detail. What does it truly mean to be ones friend? And how much do you really care about these people you label as your friend? Throughout life we will have many rivals and will bump heads many a time with them. But can we still be friends with them, despite fighting over something very dear to us? Petite Princess Yucie has a lot to say about that as well. And the series also deals with father-daughter relationships. I'm sure many fathers and daughters out there will get a lot more out of this aspect then me, but I did find it very touching and sweet. OK so this series may not come up with a new philosophy on life, or delve into quantum physics or anything like that. The plot is not overly complicated or complex either. And it doesn't dissect it's characters in classic Anno style either (although he was the supervisor on this series!). But it's certainly not some shallow throw away show either. It's not at all fluff. It has a real heart, and the story can move you and make a real impact on the viewer. To me that is a sign of good storytelling.
As for the visuals, well this is Ganiax after all, so expect some impressive stuff. For a TV series the artwork is very well detailed. It's colorful, light, and beautiful at times. The backgrounds help to give this a "fantasy" feeling, by detailing the towns, hills, valleys, and castles really well. The non-human worlds are also quite distinct, and not exactly what you'd picture. But they work quite well. Gainax seems to have ignored their other more common styles (FLCL style and Nadia style), and went with a more standard magical girl style that obviously is very fitting. Character designs are all cute, with big eyes and colorful hair styles. However the series style of characters does look different enough to help it stand out among other series. It should also be noted that AIC co-produced this with Gainax, so perhaps that's one reason why this looks so different then their other stuff. The animation is always great, and I doubt anyone would ever have a problem with it. All in all the series looks really great when everything is together. Well animated, light and colorful color palette, and great character designs. It may look a little too cute and childish for some, but I like the style.
As for the music in thsi anime, I found it to be above average. The opening is cute and fluffy, and really never fails to put a smile on my face. It has become a real favorite of mine! The background themes don't really stand out on their owns, but they are very fitting and I did really like them. There's one insert song toward the end of the series that I loved (and it's song by the English Dub actors as well who do an amazing job by the way), and the second to last episode plays a slightly different version of the opening theme that works really well with the final scene there. The ending theme is fitting, and more quiet then the opening. And it's also another good song. As for the dub, I really loved it! There's nothing anyone could ever find wrong with it. ADV gave this title to their studio in Austin, Texas to dub. Austin's studio was named Monster Island, and frankly I'm kind of sad they didn't dub more titles. Because Petite Princess Yucie was quite a dub. It's a very fresh, and expertly acted dub, with a great script and perfect casting. Rachel Rivera plays the lead, Yucie, and she does a great job. She makes Yucie quite adorable at times. You just can't help but root for Yucie, and part of that is because of Rachel Rivera's great performance. Cocoloo is played by Monika Bustamante, who has a really unique voice and helps makes the character Cocoloo come to life. Really, it's hard to imagine anyone else play that character. She has Cocoloo's quiet nature down pat, and sounds just a little strange, but not at all weird. So Cocoloo. It's hard to play the balancing act here between just a little weird, yet kind and warm, and also very quiet. But Bustamante handles this like a veteran. Kelley Huston plays Glenda, and her voice really suits the character well. She captures Glenda's more passionate side with ease. She knows exactly how to get worked up about something, and can say her little catch phrases perfectly. She always manages to get a laugh out of me. But she also knows when to tone her character down, and when Glenda's sweeter side is being shown is when Hutson really can shine. Elmina is played by Leigh Anderson Fisher, who mangaes to get her almost-emotionless state of being down pat. She can make Elmina sound distant, but not cold, monotone but still caring, and even can subtely change her tone of voice just enough for when Elmina is joking around that it sounds perfect (but never too much as to give Elmina too much emotion. After all angels in this anime are almost emotionless, stoic, and always calm or firm sounding). I must also commend David Jones, who plays Glenda's father, the Demon King.I have to say this guy is really good. He should move to Houston ASAP! I want him in more dubs! The Demon King is not at all evil, although he is a demon, so he must still sound powerful. And David Jones gets this. The Demon King really cares for his daughter with all his heart, and is always bossed around by her. David Jones does a great job at making the Demon King powerful, silly, and a little over the top, all which fit his character to a T. But he never crosses the line into annoying, which was probably hard to do. This is quite the contrast from his previous role, the cold hearted and evil Gargoyle from Nadia: Secret of Blue Water. Another role in which I really enjoyed him in. The supportive and episodic characters are all very well cast, and do a very good job as well. And almost none of the cast is recognizable There are practically no long time veterans, or fan favorite voice actors here. And so it all sounds very fresh, very new, and it stands out among the hordes of generic sounding dubs which have become the norm. This is a keeper.
So is the show perfect? Well for this type of show I would say just about. There are very few if any problems I can find with this show. Not many flaws overall. Perhaps they waste too much time early on with the light hearted stuff? And maybe it's a bit too episodic in the beginning? But I find that those episodes did add to the story, and they were never repetitive. And the early episodes are vital for fleshing out and introducing the main characters. So perhaps the biggest flaw in the show is being in the magical girl genre to begin with. Not because I personally dislike the genre, but because many will dismiss it just because of that. Which is really quite a shame because the show is worth a look at. In fact I specifically recommend this show to those who say they dislike magical girl shows. They may find that in Petite Princess Yucie, they finally have a magical girl show in which they can say they enjoyed. Ok so it probally won't change your life, but the story is very good, the characters are likeable, and it's very well done. And it's a very powerful story with a real heart. And sometimes that's just enough.
This anime is not for everyone. It's very cute, sweet, and at its heart it is a magical girl show. I mean the girls do have tranformation sequences, the show is about retrieving magical shards. Many people do not want these things in their anime, so I don't know if they would enjoy this. But it's also about growing up, and learning to love your friends and family. And it is a very powerful story. But if there's just one magical girl show you must check out, let it be Petite Princess Yucie. The show could easily be enjoyed by those that are not big fans of magical girl shows, and you will enjoy the very powerful story it has tell. One with a real heart, great characters, and great production values. It's very sad at times, but instead of focusing on only that emotion the series has you laugh along with the characters, get scared with them, get exited together, and finally grow with them. You may cry along with them, but on the large it is a very uplifting story that I cannot recommend enough. Are you manly enough to watch Petite Princess Yucie?
You see the words Magical Girl in the key words and what is your main thought? Maybe something like Sailor Moon where you have a 10 minute transformation scene, or maybe even Card Capture Sakura where she runs around trying to capture all the spirits of the cards. Well, this show is a little bit different (although there are transformation scenes). Instead, we have a girl who grew up in a pretty normal household. Sure her father found her in the woods but he treats her exactly how someone would treat a real daughter. He fusses over her, tries hard to have her wear pretty
clothing, and makes amazing meals for her. She has a best friend she can ask for help and just is over all a pretty happy girl. The only thing that is different about her is that she is a 17 year old girl trapped in a 10 year old body but even that isn’t all that magical. She was never in a 17 year old body to begin with, she just stopped ageing. They only speculate that she was cursed but from what I can tell, there is no actual way that they know for sure. Before someone tells me that that has to be magical, I am 26 but many people say I look 16 or 17 years old. It’s not all that magical and there are people in this world that look even younger then me like a young Indian girl who is about 22 years old and is only 2 ft 1 inch in height. For those interested, look up Jyoti Amge.
Now going back to the transformation scenes I was talking about, they are not super long and I wouldn’t consider it as her being a Magical Girl. In this world, anyone with a magic pendent might be considered a magical girl and we have already seen a lot of times where Cube, her friend, buys magical items to do things. Yucie isn’t out trying to save the world, she isn’t trying to capture rouge spirits destroying the land, and her transformation scene mostly consists of her changing into a school uniform or some other clothing style to fit what she is doing. It could of just as easily of happened with the girls changing clothing normally. Sometimes I wonder if this is for some sort of fetish because they dress up in so many costumes under the sun, from nuns to cooks, to school girls.
So let’s talk about the characters here. Yucie is a rather sweet and kind hearted girl who wants to help people most of the time. Though she has a childlike look, her personality does show that she is much older then she looks. There is still plenty that she tries to learn and even if she doesn’t want to do something, she will try to keep a smile on her face and look to the best case scenario. I do like her character although I get the impression she is like a Mary Sue character. Someone who is the ideal character in a show or book. This makes her slightly unbelievable and in that part, I don’t like it. I guess the concept works well for the story as she is trying to be the best princess out there so she could get the tiara, but even princesses have faults that should be explored and times in which they would fail. Yucie never seems to fail at anything, although she gets discouraged at times. The only that breaks her from that mold is that when she is around the demon princess Glenda, they tend to fight and bicker. I cannot stand Glenda at all so the less I get of her the better.
Glenda is a very bratty princess that is supposed to have the same problem as Yucie. She is just an opposite of Yucie in every way, making her more like a Tsundara (I guess that would be the opposite of a Mary Sue). Her big thing is saying that she is ‘…The Princess of the Demon World with elegant Beauty and fantastic magical powers…’ or something close to that. There really isn’t much that I can talk about with her because her personality is just being a rival.
Yucie’s father, Gunbard, is a really loving and caring father though sometimes he seems to try a little too hard. It could be because he didn’t have a wife I think so he works so hard being both sides of parenthood. Unfortunately, it seems he has what I like to call Brock Syndrome. It seems to be catching to a lot of anime characters. Symptoms include being a loving housewife style character who can cook well, make tonics to ease the body, have eyes that seem to open or are only horizontal lines, and seems to be obsessed with a girl (although in this case, its more of a fatherly way then a perverted way).
Next, we have Yucie’s school life friend, Cocoloo. Cocoloo is… well… A joke with her is that she ‘Has no presence at all…’ She pops up out of no where and asks if anyone noticed her and they say no, to which she always says that exact line. We get it; you have no presence at all so will you please shut up about it?! Later on in the show, we find out why but still, the joke runs long enough.
When we talk about characters that don’t have much of a presence in the story, I also think about Cube. When I first heard his name, it sounded like he was named Q instead and that reminded me of a character from Star Trek. Ever since then, no matter what spell or anything he did, I would see him as the character from Star Trek and that made me laugh. In reality, Cube is a demon who helps out Yucie and her father with his ability to summon magical items. I say again, this is one of the reasons I got confused between Cube and Q as Q has the ability to change the world around him. Unlike Q though, Cube is kind and gentle, always wanting to help out Yucie and her father but sometimes he does end up messing up. He has a very care free attitude and sometimes I wonder if he is more worried about hurting Gunbard’s feelings instead of Yucie’s since he very rarely takes her side when at home.
The artwork is rather good but definitely not looking like a show from 2002. It has sort of an old air about it like something that came out in the 90s instead. Just the way everything is colored and the design kind of has that vibe. Added to the soft lines around the characters and your seeing just what I mean. The characters are very well drawn, though the younger characters do have this sort of bubbly look to them. Even Yucie has that same sort of feeling to her and yet where in many other shows that might be a turn off to me, in this case not really. It actually works for showing how young they are. Now there are problems with some of the animation in later episodes in where they slacked on some of the art. Fine for some of the comedy, but then when it happens with spots that are supposed to be serious, I can’t take them seriously. The ending has its own sort of water color design to it that’s very pretty. It matches the idea that they are memories of when Yucie was growing up.
The English voice acting is pretty nice. The voice actor for Yucie, Rachel Rivera, plays her rather well. She keeps this sort of youthful tone to the character and yet still makes her seem like she is much older inside. Her voice is rather familiar but I can’t seem to find anything else that she dubbed and I think that is a bit sad. She has just the perfect voice that could work for a lot of different characters out there but sadly she is a less known voice actor. On the other hand, Josh Meyer who plays the voice of Cube seems a bit off. His acting feels like it’s a little bit forced or doesn’t have the right emotion for the character. I know he is supposed to be a ‘servant’ style character for Yucie and her father, but he just comes off as a bit to annoying with his nasally voice. After about the 12th episode, he did end up growing on me, but I think that may be a little to late but at least I could stand him for the rest of the show. Glenda’s voice is also rather annoying, getting to a pitch that actually squeaks and makes me cringe. The voice actor for her, Kelley Huston, just seemed to go a bit too high with the characters voice and couldn’t hit the points well when she is yelling.
Overall, this show is actually rather fun and I love how they didn’t actually go for the normal storyline that comes from what you think of with a magical girl title. Sure there are some tropes that it could of probably done without, but the overall presentation can actually be rather good.
Yucie is a seventeen year old girl... Although you wouldn’t know it at first glance, because a strange curse stopped her growth at age ten, freezing her permanently in the body of a tiny tot, and forcing her to go through the embarrassment of being treated like a child by every single person she encounters. Fans of a certain detective show may think they’ve seen a plot like this before, but where the two characters differ is in the fact that Yucie actually has some semblance of hope towards one day reaching physical adulthood. Hidden away in the highest point of her school is a
mysterious artifact called the Eternal Tiara, which is the prize for one lucky student with the qualifications to be crowned Platinum Princess!
While she’s gotten used to taking her vertical impairment in stride, Yucie becomes a candidate for Platinum Princess, and decides when she wins the crown, she’ll use the one perfect wish that the Tiara grants to bring herself back to what should be her actual height and proportions! But the task won’t be an easy one, as she must contend with and ultimately overcome four other candidates, similarly stunted girls hailing from the spiritual, demonic, heavenly and fairy worlds. One by one, these strange girls become friends with Yucie, helping each other to overcome the trials and tribulations of community service and hunting for crystal flowers, but as team work and loyalty see them through to the end, can their bond survive the very competition that drew them together?
I’ve said this before many times, to the point that I probably sound like a broken record... Gainax’s animation quality is inconsistent. I’ve said it for more or less every show of theirs that I’ve reviewed, and the same goes for Yucie... But to a different effect. Coming hot off the heels of reviewing Gurren Lagann, a series that could change animation quality on a dime, Petit Princess Yucie is instead restrained throughout the majority of the production, with fast imagery and high octane action being the exception and not the rule. That’s not to say this anime looks bad... Far from it. the low budget animation is handled extremely well, never feeling too cheap or lazy, with occasional cg effects incorporated in naturally.
When the budget needs to pick up, it doesn’t disappoint. The first time we’re given a taste of what truly looks like Gainax animation is in a chase scene in the Demon world, and while it may come out of nowhere, the bizarre scenario of a demon princess trying to cure her entire kingdom and friend/rival of the ruse that turned them into cats will have soundly prepared you for such shocks. Action packed chase scenes aren’t the only deviations from the norm, however, as this series can suddenly thrust you into unexpectedly inspired moments of breath-taking artistry pretty much whenever it feels like it. The overall effect can be very disarming, especially when in it’s worst moments, it resorts to bouncing characters up and down to simulate walking.
The design choices are a bit on the bland side, but it’s not like there aren’t any hints of inspiration and effort in it. The human world looks pretty standard for what you’d normally expect from a magical pre-technology environment, with your villages, castles, and horse-drawn carriages, with it’s only really unique element being the dragon in the lake that serves as the village elder. It’s a comfortable and homey sort of setting, but it’s fairly forgettable when compared to the much more visually pleasing alternate worlds that the other four candidates hail from. The character designs for the five girls do a great job of reflecting this, as do their familiars to an even greater degree. The music in this series is incredibly diverse, which is once again no surprise, coming from a Gainax show. The orchestration is very Disney-esque, relying primarily on light hearted piano and string-based tunes, but it’s not afraid to twist these conventions and in some cases even venture outside of them, whenever the mood of a scene demands it(Beth’s Scene is a perfect example of this). It’s a very pretty sounding show.
Well, it would be, if it weren’t for the dub. There are only a few actors who I’d consider straight up bad... Yucie’s first friend Cocoloo comes to mind, though... But I don’t recall a single performance sounding anywhere close to good. Rachel Rivera plays the title character Yucie, and she sounds like... What’s the best way to put this... She sounds like dora the Explorer with the accent. Similar voice, same pitch, she constantly sounds like she’s about to turn to the audience and say “Do YOU know how I can grow taller? That’s right!” which isn’t to say that she doesn’t have good emotional range, but it’s still really distracting. The rest of the cast... Main and supporting... Is made up about 90 percent with whose resumes are shorter than Yucie herself. That’s not a joke, either... I can’t for the life of me find a single other role from Rivera, and while there are a small handful of other mid-2000s anime roles sprinkled throughout the cast, the only noteworthy names are Jason Leibricht and Larissa Wolcott, who both play familiars to the main girls.
Surprisingly enough, most of the rest of the cast is credited to have appeared in the DC Universe Online video game, which might be a sign that they were outsiders to the anime medium. Lee Eddy, who plays the fairy princess Beth, had a few titles to her name, and she;s probably the best performer in the group... Having the most complex character probably helped... But it’s weird that her biggest roles were in Yucie and Red Vs. Blue. Monika Bustamonte and Leigh Fisher can barely act, and Kelley Huston... God bless her, she really tried, but enthusiasm doesn’t equal talent. I did find the actor playing Cocoloo’s familiar to be amusing, but that was more a matter of gimmick than actual acting. The show’s primarily for kids, so they probably won’t have the same complaints, but if you’re watching as an adult, subtitles are preferable..
One of the most problematic things a critic can do is try to review children’s media. I mean, you would think it would be obvious that some children’s movies are better than others, as anybody observing the vast difference in objective quality between Frozen and, say, Bebe’s Kids will tell you, but what does an adult’s opinion matter when either movie has the power to make a kid shut up and watch TV for over an hour? I’ve encountered this problem several times when dissecting popular kids movies, and especially when ranting about the Planes movies. “They’re just kids movies,” is what you’ll hear from hard working parents who just want to get a few hours of peace. “Who do you think you are?” Ask my own parents, who are fully well aware of the kind of terrible shit I watched when I was a tot. They’re right, for the record.
Petite Princess Yucie is a kids’ series. It’s very obviously intended for children, and that makes it very difficult to criticize. I know some of us like to think we’ll only show our kids good media, in order to help them develop good taste, but in reality, that’s more trouble than it’s worth, and people develop their tastes as they grow. Even the best of us will let our kids watch something dumb as long it’s inoffensive enough. But does this mean that, from the perspective of a target audience, is it okay to be lazy and pump out effortless movies? Is The Magic voyage really just as good as Frozen? Well, considering the fact that even little kids couldn’t make it through Norm of the North in theaters, it’s obvious that kids do have some level of standards. So how do I judge the quality of Petite Princess Yucie?
Well, ideally, what do people look for in Children’s media? Ignoring the lowest common denominator of “Make my kid sit still for a while,” what are children’s stories supposed to do at their best? I guess the first thing most people consider is whether or not said story teaches a lesson to the audience. Most childrens stories were founded as fables and parables for exactly that purpose, so does Yucie have any lessons to teach your tot? Well, sometimes, yes. It’s not often, I grant you, because most of the episodes revolve around conflict and magical solutions, but there are a few good lessons sprinkled throughout as well. The relationship between the Angel Princess Elmina and her father offers a touching window into the way a parent’s attitude and expectations can affect their children on a psychological level, and the fact that there’s no shame in failing and trying again. Aside from that, there are strong themes of friendship and tenacity, which I guess gives this series some value.
Well, what do we have next? Entertainment value. Could a child sit through this show from beginning to end? I gotta be honest, it was hard for me. I’m an adult, and I predicted literally every single twist and turn of the plot at least a few episodes in advance, sometimes more. Little kids won’t have that problem, or at least little girls wouldn’t. I guess I could see little girls getting invested in this series, at least in a Sophia the First kind of way. If you can get invested in Disney Princesses, than I don’t see any reason why this narrative would bore you. The plot might be a little too complicated for younger noggins, but the overall flow of the story is more than simple enough to follow, and even if it did get boring at times, I’d go so far as to say that the last third of the series is more than epic enough to reward even parents for their patience.
But speaking of parents, is this series safe for kids? Well, for the most part, yes, I’d say it’s sterile enough for parents to not have to worry about what their kids are being exposed to... The only exceptions would be, unfortunately, the difference in standards between Japanese and American cultures. Now, I’m not saying there’s any fanservice in this show... The count is just about exactly zero, with nary a single wardrobe malfunction, nude tease,or panty shot present in the entire run time. This is a feat unto itself, especially for a Gainax show, but I’d be remiss to not warn you that there are some interactions between characters that parents may find problematic. Yucie, despite being physically ten years old, has a 17 year old love interest, and not only do they both clearly have feelings for each other, but he even steals a kiss at one point, making for an uncomfortable situation all around. Also, some parents may see red over the mutual romantic attraction that takes hold between the Fairy princess and the Spirit princess.
But the most crucial element of a children’s show, that even parents will have to admit the importance of is this; Will kids want to watch it in the first place? Well, why would they? It’s a Japanese series that hasn’t even survived the test of time in it’s own country, wallowing in obscurity for most comers other than Gainax completionists. The only kids who are likely to have even heard of this title are the ones with otaku parents who introduced it to them in the first place, and I’m sorry, but that’s a very narrow margin. You can buy this title for your daughter in hopes of hooking her on an anime, and you may even be successful at it, but considering how obscure it is, I’d have to question whether it’s really worth the effort. And it’s hard to argue with where this final element leads us... Yucie’s appeal to kids is shaky at best, with even the most likely target audience being extremely unlikely to have heard of it in the first place, and thus unlikely to ever demand it.
So what about it’s appeal to adults? Well, i’ll admit that if you’re the type of person who just likes cute, pleasant stories, you’ll probably enjoy this one. For those of us looking for anything more, it’s a chore to sit through just to get to the episodes that are kind of good. Yes, there are a few individual episodes that can be somewhat emotionally compelling, and there are several of artistically impressive moments sprinkled throughout, and as I mentioned earlier, the ending is actually quite good, but there is so much pointless, inane fluff that you have to sit through in between that I considered dropping the series at multiple points and found myself constantly having to rewatch episodes that I’d slept through. I really want to give Yucie credit for all the little things it does right, but you just can’t forgive execution and pacing this tedious.
Petite Pruncess Yucie is available from ADV Films. It was initially released as five individual disks in the early 2000s, before being released as a thinpack box set in 2006, and... That’s it. It’s been out of print for ten years,with no signs of a re-release yet. The license is currently owned by AEsir holdings and Section23 films, but it doesn’t seem like they have any plans for it in the near future. It’s not available on Netflix or Crunchyroll, the single volume manga is not available stateside, and the soundtrack CD, which I actually would recommend picking up, also seems to be universally unavailable. Unless you’re planning to watch illegally, good luck with this one.
Petite Princess Yucie isn’t anywhere near Gainax’s worst work. It at least manages to be more watchable than about a quarter of the other work they’ve done. The animation, being as low budget as it was, is very impressive, as is the very lively soundtrack and musical composition. The characters are likeable, which to be clear is not synonymous with interesting, and while it’s surprising to see Gainax tackle such family friendly fair, it’s remarkable just how safe for Japanese children they were able to keep it. I don’t think it’s a bad series, but I just can’t forgive it for how boring it is. Maybe it would have been better if it had been condensed down into a 14 episode run, but as it is, I can’t think of anybody I’d reasonably recommend it to for any reason other than to make a point. I give Petite Princess Yucie a 5/10.
It probably wouldn’t appear to be so to many people, but Petite Princess Yucie deals with quite a bit of psychological analysis. What else do we expect from Gainax? Of course, the pedophilic content was tantalizing, but underneath that sweet sweet succulent surface is a fairly complex mesh of relationships that could very well send Carl Jung looking for phallic symbols to smoke.
First is Yucie. Our token heroine, who is unique as she lacks the beorgois attitude that seems to plague all the other girls with proper upbringing. The only exception would be Cocoloo, but she’s got issues of her own. As many of you
know, Yucie was raised in the countryside by a single father, a former knight, who’s protective nature burdens our young heroine with a sense of duty and initiative. With no mother figure to compete against for her father’s love, she ultimately finds no attraction to the womenly arts like sewing, magic and tea parties. During her princess training, her only skills involve physical labor. Her first love interest: The prince, Arc. A warrior like her father.
Next is Glenda. She is the demon princess, and a skilled magic-user. In her case, the role of father and mother had been reversed. Her father, the demon king, is pathetically sensitive and unmanly. During her upbringing, her mom has always worn the pants in the relationship. Glenda ultimately comes to respect her mom, who has become not only her role model but the first hurdle in winning the monopoly on her father’s affection. To catch up to her mother she always erects a tough front and tries very hard to impress, which leads to hilarious antics and ends poorly in her favor. Deep down inside, she knows this is her weakness, but she will never admit it, lest it be known that she takes after her father. Her first love interest: The frog prince. A frail girly man.
Elmina of the Celestial Realm has spent her entire life ‘being’ the best, because anything less than perfection would seemingly disgrace her old and stern father. Watching Yucie’s father being proud of his daughter for just ‘trying’ her best shatters the walls of strictness that she imposes upon herself. A bit of reality check is late in coming; but eventually helps her stand up to the source of her depreciating self-worth: her father. Her first love interest: The old and stern Lord of Rockwell Manor. He even comes with white hair and a beard, like her… father. Noticing something?
Cocoloo had a strange life. She is from the ghost realm, so she tends to see and talk to things that aren’t there. As transparent as this will sound, Cocoloo tries not to stand out in crowds much like a ghost. She’s come to develop a shy and introverted personality from her quiet nature. Her first love interest: Yucie, the only girl outside of the ghost realm to acknowledge her, whereas she would be a passing shadow to others.
Beth joined the show late and therefore has little character development. It’s pretty clear that she’s distrustful of others, close-minded, and possesses a self-destructive personality. She sports a lone-wolf behavior most of the time, and only reveals bits of emotions when she’s with her love interest: Cocoloo — she is the only character in the show who can quietly listen to someone. Yes, Beth is a hippie with anger issues. Her father’s a tree for God’s sake.
You can tell they put a lot of thought into each character’s background and resultant personality traits. So what are you waiting for, I advice you buy it today.