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17 home / august 2002 / reviews Turn Page BackwardBack to HomeTurn Page Forward

Princess Nine Vol.5 - Strike Zone! DVD
Bilingual DVD
4 episodes
100 minutes
Phoenix Entertainment
Kensei Date
Tomomi Mochizuki
A.D. Vision, Inc.
Finding out Fifi is gone is pure torture.
Overall Rating:

Animefringe Reviews:
Princess Nine Vol.5 - Strike Zone! DVD
By Adam Arnold

Princess Nine and Excel Saga have become two of ADV's star series; Excel Saga because of its crazy antics and Princess Nine because of the characters. In 32 words or less, Princess Nine is a girl's baseball drama that tells of the Kisaragi Girls' High School's struggle to overcome the gender barrier and get to compete in the male-dominated Koshien baseball tournament.

What makes the series work is an interesting cast, each supporting character somehow affects the lives of the other girls. For instance, Ryo is the star pitcher and Izumi is her greatest rival. Ryo has unsuspectingly stolen Izumi's closest friend Hiroki, who just happens to be a boy. This leads to an assortment of true-to-life problems that teenagers often face when someone they are close to ends up going for someone they can barely stand.

Bases Loaded! Picks up with episode 18 as Ryo is finally starting to recover from the events of the previous episode. Since anything more would spoil some good drama, let's skip ahead to the next episode. In "Hearts and Diamonds," we finally get to see some plot advancement in terms of how Seishiro feels for his best friend Ryo. In this episode, Seishiro reveals that he wants to enter an art competition and use Ryo as the model for his work, but he's uncertain about what Ryo will say and asks Hikaru for advice. She tells him to just ask her, and when he does, Ryo just laughs it off. With nowhere to go and ready to just give up, Hikaru confides in Seishiro that she will be his model. It seems that while Ryo was off with Hiroki, she forgot about her own childhood friend.

The next two episodes involve the team heading off to a special mountain training camp so they can put in some serious baseball time. The strangest thing happens though - Izumi seems to be not quite with it. After a late night call to Hiroki, he makes the trek all the way out there only to be told it was nothing. Izumi is actually feeling the burn from slowly losing in her rivalry with Ryo for Hiroki's affections.

In the final episode included on the volume, a major crisis befalls the team... Yuki's prized doll Fifi is missing! That's right the cute little string and pipe cleaner doll that she carries around with her everywhere is gone and she has regressed into a catatonic state. Accusations, revelations, and even some very strange Nene shenanigans come to the surface in this episode, making it one of the finest of the series. However, don't think the mystery of where the alien doll Fifi has disappeared to will be solved in this episode, because it's most assuredly continued into the next volume. Talk about your torturous cliffhangers.

Princess Nine is based more in drama than action. Still, fans wouldn't have it any other way. Each of the characters in the show has their own individual quirks about them, and they have all grown remarkably over the course of the series. The biggest of the changes involves Yoko, who started out as a stuck-up girl who just wanted to be a star. She literally would scream and duck if a baseball came near her. She, more than anyone else, has evolved into a decent character that actually tried to learn how to play baseball.

The fifth volume of Princess Nine is sadly lacking in terms of cool extras. The standard clean opening and ending return once again, along with a nice, but ultimately short, gallery of the original Japanese cover artwork. Strangely, with next volume wrapping up the series, it's hard to see how far it is going to skip forward. It is clear that the girls will be playing at Koshien in the final episodes, but the girls really haven't played that much baseball. At any rate, any type of conclusion, be it happy or sad, will likely leave fans wanting more. Hopefully, ADV will release English versions of the drama CDs for the series, since they have some rather unique slumber party experiences. Did I hear anyone say Fifi Mk II?

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