Review: Scrapped Princess – A Tale of Destiny

(art by Yukinobu Azumi)
(art by Yukinobu Azumi)

For general information on this series: Scrapped Princess entry

This review is for the first volume of Scrapped Princess by Ichirou Sakaki (with art by Yukinobu Azumi). The English edition was released by Tokyopop in October 2006. Two more volumes followed, but the remaining ten novels were never localized.

Vol 1 - A Tale of Destiny
Vol 1 – A Tale of Destiny

The story of Scrapped Princess fits squarely in the realm of YA fantasy, with its group of teen protagonists and a somewhat medieval setting with swords and sorcery. I have not seen the anime adaptation for this one, but reading the light novel gave me the strong impression that it was perhaps planned from the start to play out in a televised format.  The plot for this introductory novel is straightforward, and filled with lots of lighthearted scenes that border on self-parody at times. It works with a tone that switches between corny and serious at the drop of a hat–a style that may feel familiar to fans of 90’s anime in general.

The element of the story that keeps things from feeling too rehashed is how the premise subverts the theme of prophecy commonly found in fantasy fiction.  Instead of the main character being the one destined to save the world, Pacifica is instead the “scrapped princess” apparently destined to bring about the world’s destruction. How this ultimately plays out will likely only be clear to those who read the whole series, however, as this first novel is mostly just about Pacifica and her two step-siblings (a swordsman and a sorceress) on the run from assassins. There isn’t much to be said about the antagonists in this one, but this can be chalked up to the novel’s focus on establishing its premise.

The writing is concise, and keeps things to the point–but unfortunately I felt the author went too far with this at times, as characters rush through life-changing events rather quickly. It would have been nice to grasp a bit better the reasoning behind some of their decisions. Overall though, the story acts as a decent introduction for the characters, despite the simplistic plot. It is worth a look at if you are a fan of the genre, and don’t mind switching over to the anime once you’ve read the first three volumes.

Cho’s Rating: Maybe Recommended

3 thoughts on “Review: Scrapped Princess – A Tale of Destiny

  1. Great review. A shame ALL these didn’t eventually release. I read this first volume.

    Slayers light novel fans will be right at home with this. Which, in certain circles, is a high pedigree and lofty compliment. And I don’t necessarily disagree.

    Like you, I kind of have mixed feelings about it on reflection. When I first finished it, I sort of loved it cuz I was in the mood for just that sort of breezy, easy silly-entertainment. But I kind of find that the sword-and-sorcery anime/LN genre has its share of cliches, tropes, and over-saturation fatigue.

    And I mean, if you are in the mood for silliness and swords – Scrapped Princess and Slayers here we go, rock and roll – but it’s kinda like if you’ve watched 100 campy episodes of the old Hercules/Xena TV show already, do you really need to watch the next 100 corny episodes? The jokes/set-ups/everything *might* just feel a bit similar, formulaic, etc if you read me…

    Still, in-the-mood genre fans or Slayers fans who didn’t know about this absolutely should seek this out to try it out. Fatigue or no, I’ll be among the first to admit that some of the original gags and choices made by Hajime Kanzaka in various Slayers novels were kinda brilliant. And Scrapped Princess fits that mold, almost like a copycat, but you don’t really mind or nitpick it.

    I appreciated that vol 1 is obviously a lot of set-up, yet STILL feels like a complete story (if only just barely; it still crosses the mark, I thought).

    It’s a bit like an hour-long TV episode or pilot – you get a self-contained plot that more or less concludes while it’s VERY CLEAR that the multi-season background story-arcs are a LONG way from concluding (if ever, lol).

    It’d be worse though if they hadn’t at least released vol 2 and 3 though. I haven’t read those but I’m guessing they might add enough to the overall narrative for just these three to feel even more worthy of picking up (despite the fact all the other vols are in COMPLETE limbo-hell; once again, a shame).

    1. Thanks for the comment, Adamgri! I agree it’s a bummer the whole series wasn’t released, but Tokyopop ran into too much financial trouble unfortunately.

      To some degree I’m a bit tired of fantasy stories where rag-tag team of misfits save the world–but on the other hand there’s a general atmosphere to those stories that has become less common over the last decade. Fiction trends tend to cycle in and out, so I don’t think this sort of story will every truly die, and I can understand there being fans eager for more during the “droughts” (as it were). Perhaps that is partly why the currently-airing anime Chaika: The Coffin Princess (also based on LNs by Ichirou Sakaki) is being enjoyed as much as it is? It’s that sort of rollicking fantasy adventure many of us enjoy, capable of blending swords and sorcery with character-driven humor and drama.

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