REVIEW: ‘Fena: Pirate Princess,’ Episode 1

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Fena Pirate Princess Episode 1 - But Why Tho

Fena: Pirate Princess Episode 1 is a joint Crunchyroll/ Adult Swim exclusive adventure anime from Production I. G. As a young girl, Fena found herself castaway and ended up washing ashore on a bustling island. Unfortunately for her, this island doesn’t treat women well, and Fena soon finds herself being prepared for a life of servitude to the hungers of whichever man is willing to pay the highest price. But Fena isn’t prepared to give in to this fate and begins to hatch a plan of escape.

After an opening flashback that shows Fena being set adrift aboard a lifeboat to save her from whatever disaster is befalling her ship, Fena: Pirate Princess Episode 1 brings us to the present. No longer a child, Fena is spoken of in hushed tones as one of exquisite beauty. She lives up in a tower, and our first view of her sees her perched atop a balcony’s guardrail as she sings to herself. The wind is whipping around her, catching the loose strands of her hair, as well as the long folds of her dress in the whirling breeze. It is an elegant moment to introduce viewers to the show’s star.

While the show’s introduction to Fena establishes an almost regal air to the character, this feeling is soon shattered as Fena’s friend Angie enters the room to prepare her for her first night with the man who has won the bid for her body. Fena: Pirate Princess Episode 1 sees Fena outline a series of highly flawed escape plans which are easily torpedoed by Angie. Fena plays through the sequence like any other anime protagonist. As each subsequent idea is shot down, Fena goes deeper into hysterics. With arms and legs flailing in frustration, she settles on one last idea to escape from the island and reach the mainland.

While Fena spends the rest of the episode attempting to play out her escape, this comical side of her continues to be the side we see of the character. While this version of Fena is likable enough, she feels fairly generic overall. I hope we see more of a serious version of the character as the show goes on. Since Production I.G. handled one of my favorite female anime characters of all time, my hopes for Fena are admittedly high.

The animation style used in Fena: Pirate Princess Episode 1 delivers a striking look for the series’ initial entry. While not overly unique, the art delivers the humor that permeates much of this pilot episode and also truly nails the moments of elegance like the balcony scene with Fena. It is the pains that the animation goes through to highlight the elegance of certain moments that leaves me hoping that it is an aspect of Fena that will grow larger for the character as the show progresses.

As a first step into a new world, Fena: Pirate Princess Episode 1 brings everything I could ask for. It establishes characters, settings, and scenarios well while building future story points and being entertaining all at once. If the show can manage to do nothing more than what is delivered here it will be guaranteed to be a fun adventure at the very least.

Fena: Pirate Princess premieres on August 14 on Crunchyroll and Adult Swim.


Fena: Pirate Princess Episode 1

TL;DR

As a first step into a new world, Fena: Pirate Princess Episode 1 brings everything I could ask for. It establishes characters, settings, and scenarios well while building future story points and being entertaining all at once. If the show can manage to do nothing more than what is delivered here it will be guaranteed to be a fun adventure at the very least.