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Anime Reviews Shamanic Princess

Copyright © 1996 - 1997 PRINCESS PROJECT / Bandai Visual * MOVIC

—by Michael Poirier

With lavish animation, a unique take on magic and an above-average dub, this first English volume of SHAMANIC PRINCESS promises to be an intriguing anime. While not a paradigm-shattering show, nor an especially action-packed one, SHAMANIC PRINCESS nonetheless exhibits high quality and real entertainment value.
  Originally released in Japan as an OVA series in 1996, SHAMANIC PRINCESS follows a comely young woman named Tiari who, dispatched by the magical Guardian World and disguised as a school girl, must regain a talisman called the Throne of Yord. Assisted only by a wisecracking ferret-like creature named Japoro, Tiari learns that the Throne was stolen by her own ex-boyfriend, Kagetsu, and another Princess of the Guardian World named Lena is now protecting the thief.
  Naturally, Tiari confronts both her rival and her ex, with spectacular clashes of magic and tensely emotional moments. It is with these scenes of magical combat that SHAMANIC PRINCESS truly excels, as the depictions of magic are awesome and breathtaking. Presenting visually fascinating uses of runes and tattoos, a panoply of shifting shadows and terrifying summoned beasts, magic in SHAMANIC PRINCESS is much more complex and refined than the "magical" changing costumes or bright lights that waste screen time in other fantasy anime. My only complaint: I just wish that even more wizardry is shown.
  This is not to say that the non-combat animation of SHAMANIC PRINCESS fails to be lush and vivid in its own right. The character designs are wide-eyed and visually compelling, presented in front of intricately painted backgrounds. Of course, the shapely (and occasionally shape-shifting) heroines are the focus of the camera, but the supporting characters are depicted in great detail as well, particularly the lively Japoro.
  I find the English dub to be an asset, rather than a hindrance to this production. The female voices are for the most part mature and breathy, avoiding the whiny little girl screeches found in so many other dubs. At times, especially in the case of Lena and Kagetsu's sister Sara, the women's voices are almost too subdued, making them difficult to hear without adjusting the volume. (But I for one would rather turn the sound up to catch a whisper than crank it down to avoid a shriek). Japoro is especially well voiced with an entertaining eastern European accent that evokes a wise and sly gypsy, rather than a pompous Transylvanian.
  All in all, this show made me think of SORCERER HUNTERS with higher production values yet without the sappy happy endings HUNTERS had at the end of its early episodes. SHAMANIC PRINCESS is a darker series from the start, with occasional moments of humor and poignant emotions nestled between truly spectacular depictions of wizardry. I look forward to seeing where this elegant and bewitching series will take us next.

Product Information

Released in North America by U.S. Manga Corps
VHS, 60 minutes
Dubbed: USM_1852, $19.99
Subbed: USM_1853, $19.99
Available now in the U.S.
Where to buy

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