Petite Princess Yucie DVD Review

Yucie is no ordinary child. For some reason her body stopped growing when she reached the age of 10. Now at the age of 17 she yearns to become an adult, just like her peers. Luckily for her on her 17th birthday she learns about a magical item called the Eternal Tiara that can grant any wish. Only a princess that appears once every one thousand years and is called the Platinum Princess can become the Eternal Tiara’s wearer. Luckily for Yucie she has the qualities required to become a Platinum Princess. So with the queen’s blessing Yucie enrolls in the Princess Academy in order to receive the proper education befitting a princess. She soon finds she is not the only Platinum Princess candidate – four other princesses, each from a different world, arrive at the academy to train for the coveted title. There’s the feisty princess of the demon world Glenda, the gentle princess of the spirit world Cocoloo, the serious princess of the Heaven world Elmina and the tomboy princess of the fairy world Beth. Each has her own reason for craving the Eternal Tiara and will try her best to be the one chosen as Platinum Princess. Of course no one said this is a journey that should be taken alone, and the candidates soon discover they have more in common than they might have initially though.

Petite Princess YuciePetite Princess Yucie has a fairly simple premise. The five girls who strive to be the Platinum Princess must “refine their heart powers” by learning in the Princess Academy during the morning and working part time jobs after school. This all takes place in the human world. From time to time they also travel, with the queen’s assistance, to one of the various other worlds in search of allusive Crystal Flowers – items of great power that serve as the keys to complete the Eternal Tiara. The story advances in small steps: every few episodes a new princess candidate is introduced and once in a while a Crystal Flower is obtained. Initially not all the candidates get along, but as time passes all the candidates discover they have much in common and become close friends. Like Yucie all the other girls are also 17 year old girls trapped within the body of a 10 year old. Each girl has her unique characteristics that define her and most of the series revolves around the different ways in which they go about completing their part time jobs they are challenged with. The jobs themselves vary but are mostly mundane things like helping in a certain store or assisting a certain citizen with a personal problem.

The only exceptions are the episodes when Arc appear. Arc is a young man who seems to be bound by fate to Yucie in the strangest of ways. He has traveled the world in search of clues regarding his father and Yucie gives him a helping hand when the two chance on meeting. Arc eventually becomes Yucie’s subject of love, but in order to win him over she must first convince him she is not a child. So while Yucie seeks the Eternal Tiara in order to become an adult in physical terms her relationship with Arc is what gradually helps her reach adulthood in emotional terms.

Petite Princess Yucie originally aired in an aspect ratio of 4:3 but did not look stretched even after I upscaled it to widescreen. However the visual presentation is not without issues. The images tend to shake from time to time and in the first couple of episodes when the “camera” focuses on a specific character the picture tends to get blurry. These issues do not persist for the entire show and hardly affect the viewing experience. That said, Petite Princess Yucie is by no means a good looking show. The character designs are ugly. Both Yucie and Glenda wear atrociously tiny mini skirts while Cocoloo and Beth are super plain-looking and Elmina’s bangs make her extremely ugly to behold. The backgrounds and visual effects are, likewise, not something worth mentioning. One nice touch though is the constant clothes-switching. The girls all have magical pendants that allow them to change their clothes on-the-flash so they switch their wardrobe frequently (in fact they change clothes each time they start a new job).

The series comes in a bulky plastic box with all 6 DVDs stacked on top of each other inside one case. When watching the show you can choose between the Japanese 2.0 audio track and the 5.1 English one. The included English subtitles are good. The English dub on the other hand proves to be too extrovert. Additionally, in the English dub all the girls are dubbed by mature women, which kind of goes against the main point of the show. Each DVD includes extras in the form of textless opening and ending themes, a picture gallery and some trailers for other shows from ADV.

The universe of Petite Princess Yucie encompasses several worlds that live in harmony alongside each other. Each princess candidate comes from a different world. The series shows six worlds and make a reference to a seventh one. The worlds seem to be parallel to each other, with no real interaction or passage between them. But the representation of all worlds aside from the human world is lacking. The human world is varied and vast, with many people and fauna living within it. The other worlds appear tiny in comparison. When the girls do venture into them these worlds seem like they are comprised of one city and nothing more, making it hard to be impressed by them. Thankfully the background music of Petite Princess Yucie covers for that. Although not impressive in any way, the music in the series fits perfectly with the overall themes and adds much needed depth to the visual representation. Some tracks did strike me as beautiful. I never got bored of the short music loop that runs in the beginning of each episode and found the heavens world’s soothing theme to be exceptionally charming.

Because it is a light show with emphasis on friendship and mundane tasks Petite Princess Yucie won’t appeal to everyone. It’s a very laid back show with little development. The reoccurring themes can be tiring and the odd jobs the girls do lack ingenuity. Marathoning this series without yawning is almost impossible, but sticking to it until the end will reward you. The series do pick up the pace in the second half and has a surprisingly strong ending that tie almost everything up in a convincing manner.
Keep in mind, though, that Petite Princess Yucie isn’t very tight when it comes to common sense. There doesn’t seem to be a regular school and small children are attending an “academy”, at the physical age of ten Glenda already possess fully developed breasts, mothers are always absent, no one seems to pay attention to the humongous dragon that lives in the lake at the outskirts of Yucie’s town, and magic is widely available yet hardly ever utilized in daily life.

If you came here looking for moe, fanservice, comedy or action you’re looking in the wrong place. Petite Princess Yucie is a series that can be enjoyed if viewed with little expectations and in several sittings. It doesn’t stand out in any field, but will be appreciated by those who wish to see a cute lighthearted story with simple ideas and an appropriate (if not very unique) set of characters.

 


Pros:

- Some music themes are impressive.

- The ending is surprisingly tight and satisfying.

 

Cons:

- Ugly character designs.

- The reoccurring themes and slow pace are tedious.

 

Final Score: 6/10 (Mediocre)

 

 

Product Information: Petite Princess Yucie DVD Complete Collection. Published by ADV Films. Release Date: January 5, 2010.

Review Equipment: A Samsung 32-Inch LCD HDTV (LA32B530) connected to a Premier DVX131 DVD player using an HDMI cable.


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