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Scrapped Princess #4: Spells and Circumstances PDF Print E-mail
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R1 DVD Reviews
Sunday, 28 September 2008 16:00
Scrapped PrincessSometimes, the weight of the world just gets too much and you want to forget it all and start a new life. After three episodes of having the world - and her role in saving it - painstakingly explained to her, Pacifica's just about reached that point. Time for the Peacemakers to make her wish come true, perhaps..?

13 - Distant Ricordanza
The Peacemakers have given Senes and the others an ultimatum - come to the city of Sauer within 15 days, or some unspecified retribution will happen. It's a trap, of course - advance spies have already found 2 Peacemakers waiting for them at the city - but Shannon and the others don't feel they have any choice but to go there anyway. Before they get there, though, Senes takes the time to fill them in on events 5,000 years ago, when humanity last took on the Peacemakers - and lost. The result was a world where humans are kept under careful control to ensure that the technological heights they had once reached could never be reached again - but Pacifica, the Providence Breaker, is the result of genetic engineering from that time long ago, specifically designed to break the Peacemakers' control. While Senes' ship heads towards Sauer, though, Zefiris and Natalie decide that knowingly heading into a trap makes no sense, and intervene to stop them. Meanwhile, Pacifica's natural brother Forsythe approaches Chris, wanting to know more about his sister...

ExplanationsRebellious

14 - Lost Quintet
The Skid is still dead in the water, courtesy of Natalie & Zefiris' intervention, but Zefiris is increasingly coming to believe that they've made the wrong choice - a Dragoon shouldn't interfere with a human's free will, and not on has Natalie done that directly by disabling the Skid's power, she's also considering using more subtle brainwashing on them to make sure she gets her way. Unused to having to make decisions on her on - that's her D-Knight's job - Zefiris approaches the one person she trusts for advice. Meanwhile, Leo and Winia finally reach the capital, where they hope to be reunited with Pacifica...

OverwhelmedEarlier days

15 - Opera of Power and Plots
With Natalie's delaying tactics overcome, the Skid arrives at Sauer, where the city authorities can only believe that a battleship from an enemy nation can only be coming with hostile intent in mind - they've got no way of knowing that the cruiser is trying to save them from disaster, not cause one. As a result, and despite calls for restraint from some wiser heads, the military believes action must be taken to destroy the Skid - especially after it's learnt that the Scrapped Princess is on board...

Keeping watchRuined shoreline

16 - Duet by the Riverside
The effect of Raquel's defensive spell leaves the Casulls safely on shore, but separated - and in Pacifica's case, without any memories of who she is or what she'd been doing. With no-one else to turn to, she tags along with the first person she meets - handsome young man Furet, who's surprisingly understanding of her predicament. Elsewhere in the city, Shannon and Raquel are both keen to find Pacifica, but in a city so large it's difficult to know where to start. After several weeks of searching on her own, Raquel runs into Berkens - the Mauser enforcer the gang had met previously - who offers to help in her search, while Shannon receives a visit from Cz. It's Leo and Winia that find Pacifica first, though - but Pamela, as Furet has named her, doesn't recognize her old friends...

Sorting troubleSwapping notes

Two words that can sum most of this volume: "plot exposition". There's a huge amount of time spent explaining the minute details of the position that Earth has found itself in (and despite appearances, this is really a far-future science-fiction setting). For Pacifica, it's enough to make her head turn and a large chunk of it goes over her head - for the audience, it's not much better in places. Sure, it's important to know some of these things, but equally a lot of it seems to be of peripheral interest, and explaining it all isn't exactly the most exciting viewing.

The nearest thing to "real" action comes when the Sauer military unleash some high-grade tactical magic on the gang's ship, while under the misconception that they're hostile. That's also the trigger for some changes - at the end of the disc, the whereabouts of Pacifica, Raquel and Shannon are known, but of the Skid and the rest of her crew there's no sign. There's also no sign of Pacifica's memories, which takes the story down another little side street as, under the name of Pamela, she finally gets to live the normal life that she's always wanted to have. She just doesn't realise that now. The life she lives with Furet is actually a fun little diversion - it's something different from anything the show has done up to now, and it also has the appeal of getting to see her get what she wants. It's just a shame that it's not long before people from her past - including Leo and Winia, along with Shannon and Raquel - soon track her down and threaten to drag her back to the life she'd been so keen to leave behind. The fates just aren't kind.

That's only one episode out of four that has any great appeal, though, and for all that it's enjoyable, "Pamela"'s life isn't enough to haul this volume away from verging on the tedious - there's just too much time spent explaining backstory in the earlier part of the disc. That said, that should be all the explaining done for now, so I'm hoping that volume five will see things get back to their usual rhythm, and the story get back to the main issue of having the Providence Breaker deal with the Peacemakers. I can hope. This volume, though, gets put down to being a hiccup along the way - essential from the point of view of all it explains, but far from being the most enjoyable of the series.

Rating - ***

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