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Anime review: ‘The Princess and the Pilot’

The Princess and the Pilot
The Princess and the Pilot
© 2011 Koroku Inumura, Shogakukan/Taoru Hikuushiheno Tsuioku Project

The Princess and the Pilot

Rating:
Star4
Star
Star
Star
Star

As I continue to dig myself out of a pile of backlog titles, we review NIS America’s military/romance/drama anime film, “The Princess and the Pilot”, based on the light novel by Koroku Inumura.

The Princess and the Pilot” takes place in a world where a war between two powerful countries, the Levamme Empire and the Amatsukami Imperium, has been going on for years. In the midst of the conflict, the prince of the Levamme Empire confesses his love for Juana del Moral, and he promises to bring an end to the war within the next year. When the enemy learns of this, they launch an attack on Juana’s home and she is nearly killed, leading the Levamme Empire to sneak Juana to the capital by plane.

Enter Charles Karino, a highly skilled mercenary pilot looked down on by everyone for being of mixed blood, his parents were from opposite sides of the conflict. Despite the discrimination, out of all of the available pilots, Charles is chosen by Levamme to fly the future princess to the capital.

A lengthy journey, Charles and Juana attempt to fly through enemy territory, but their journey won’t be easy. Their secret mission is discovered and because of the very important cargo that Charles is carrying, it will take everything he has to escape the enemy, who ruthlessly pursue the two.

Despite only being about an hour and a half long,“The Princess and the Pilot” had a good story and it does a great job of fitting everything in, with such a small amount of time. The film does seem to suffer from a lack of originality, but even though it is predictable, it still draws viewers in.

Initially Charles and Juana don’t seem to get along too well, but as they get to know one another they begin to develop a strong bond. Charles is the ideal soldier, even though he is treated poorly by his peers, he is dedicated to his mission, which makes for an interesting internal conflict. Juana also grows throughout her journey, she is a kind character from the beginning, but she does start to show a little more strength and she becomes more outspoken, which was nice to see.

A series can’t take place during a major conflict and not have any combat, so “The Princess and the Pilot” also has some interesting aerial battles. Nothing jaw-dropping, but there are still some great moments.

Visually, “The Princess and the Pilot” is a beautifully done film, the animation is detailed and the picture is clear and vivid. The action sequences are also very smooth and look good. The characters have some nice designs as well, Charles looks exactly like what you would expect a dedicated soldier to, and Juana is beautiful and her kind nature shows in her look, while her change in personality also shows in her haircut later in the film.

NIS America’s titles typically come with the Japanese voices only, and “The Princess and the Pilot” was no exception. The Japanese cast did a fair job, Juana’s character was a little weak, but overall the voices were alright. The subtitles were clear, easy to read, remained on screen for a fair length of time and the translations has nice flow.

Included as on-disc extras are Japanese commercials, theatrical previews and trailers for other NIS America releases. NIS America’s premium edition releases also include a beautiful art box, housing the single Blu-ray disc along with an insert that was a little strange but necessary because of the size, and a hardcover, full-color art book that includes character info, rough sketches and interviews with key staff.

“The Princess and the Pilot” offers beautiful animation, entertaining action scenes and an enjoyable story that will please fans. While the story doesn’t feel very original and it is definitely predictable, it is still told well and from start to finish it grabs the viewers attention. The ending however, does leave a little to be desired.

If you enjoyed anime series like “Last Exile” and “Allison and Lillia”, then you may also enjoy “The Princess and the Pilot”.

The Princess and the Pilot

Publisher: NIS America
Runtime: 99 minutes
Number of Episodes: 1 feature film
Number Discs: 1 Blu-ray
Languages: Japanese with English subtitles (non-removable)
Age Rating: Teen
Release Date: May 14, 2013

(A review copy of “The Princess and the Pilot” was provided by NIS America.)