Princess Principal 11 Reaction: Xanatos Gambit Pile-up

I was planning to make a review post for Episode 2 but seeing the newest episode made me change my mind. Not that it is bad; Episode 11 does a good job of setting up things up for the Finale. But, like the first part of a detective/mystery novel, I believe said episode cannot be judged on its merit until we see the solution/key to the mystery.

Until now, the cases are episodic; we are presented the problem, the clues and the solution within the same episode. This time though, what we have are problems and some of the clues – the resolution still lies next week unaired.

This does provide a unique opportunity to truly guess and not rely on hindsight. Lets see how much we’ll get right on the next episode!

For those who are reading this post, here is a simple legend:

Normal text= Fact or something that I believe is 100% true

Italic text = Speculation/Guesses/Wishful thinking 

The Kingdom is divided into 3 major active factions with differing agenda right now.

Rebel Colonist  – In exchange for helping the Princess get the throne, the Princess will help the Commonwealth. On paper, this is a pretty sweet deal  for Control – they could use the Princess to gain access to things not possible for their normal spies and they could install a puppet ruler once the deal succeeded. On the other hand, if the Princess proved false, they could just assassinate her with the team that is assigned to Operation Changeling and have her replaced.

For control, they must feel that Operation Changeling is a sure bet, no matter how it goes. Thus, out of sight of our protagonists, they went and spread propaganda and dissent  in the Princess name. This enabled  faction Rebel Colonist to form – a group who wants to put the Princess on the throne for a better future.

The Queen and her Loyalist – While the Queen isn’t aware of the plots around her. She should still have a power base that is loyal to her. This faction most likely believe its  business as usual and would most likely blindsided by the events to come. It doesn’t help that the one who’s supposed to prevent that from happening is  actively helping to pull the wool from the Queen’s eye  – cough Duke of Normandy cough.

Duke Normandy’s Faction – the Kingdom’s head of Intelligence is up to no good. Noticing the rebellion forming, he is preparing the army but doesn’t tell the Queen. This would lead the Queen to not be heavily guarded at a crucial moment and  thus easy pickings for an assassination.

The Duke of Normandy is most likely in the line of succession. He is going to let the coup happen to get closer to the throne and come off as a hero. The forces he command might arrive purposely late to save the Queen or other noble personage the Duke doesn’t like but early enough to defeat the coup and their entrenchment.  

The other possibility is letting it happen fully. He might hope the incoming fight would kill most of those who have power leaving the Duke as the only viable candidate. This could also Duke to set-up a separate capital at Normandy, his seat of power. 

 

  • The Commonwealth

The Commonwealth had a change of leadership. It seemed like that whatever faction “L” belongs to got supplanted by the military. And the military wants Operation:Changeling to happen now. They ordered the assassination of the Princess and for Ange to replace her. This though is just step 1 of their plan, as they are going to use Ange as “Princess Charlotte” to rally the Rebel Colonist and kill the Queen.

While the Commonwealth appears to be not as divided as the Kingdom, I believe there is factions in there as well. “L”‘s faction is probably okay with using the real!Princess or a fake!Princess as a puppet ruler on the throne. But, the military faction is probably not content playing intrigue and politics. 

 With the Military ascendant in the Commonwealth and the corresponding information of a military build-up surreptitiously dropped  in the previous episodes, I believe that Control currently has no wish to put a puppet ruler on the Kingdom Throne. They are most likely using the Rebel Colonist to stage a coup in order to destabilize the kingdom as much as possible in order to prepare for invasion or a full scale war. 

 

Now we begin at the juicier parts, what does our main characters have to add to this xanatos gambit pileup? Is the break-up of the such a hearthwarming friendship inevitable? Who is the right one on this argument?

I chose to believe on a third option.

Ange and the Princess are freaking lying. 

Let’s start with the easier to understand one – “Princess”.  (Note: I’ll call Ange the Spy, “Charlotte” in this segment to help drive my point home).

“Princess” is committed to her ideal and won’t back down even if it cost her life. This puts her at odds to “Charlotte” who seemed to want her safe at any cost.

That said, I believe the harsh words Princess said to “Charlotte” is a lie. This is the classic “hurt your loved ones to keep them safe strategy”. The anime isn’t even shy about this with their choreography. Not showing Princess face while having tears fall from her eyes.

 From the time she locked “Charlotte” at that room, everything Princess uttered is false. Seriously, how many times has Princess said in the  previous episodes that she loves “Charlotte” past personality? Heck, just this last scene we have Princess happily reminiscing about their escapades.

In fact  judging from the content of Princess’ words,  she’s most likely talking about herself.   I really doubt Ange  even as “Charlotte” have a sunny, mischievous personality. We know that  “Charlotte” is borderline depressed just this episode. That is not a personality conducive for mischief making. Instead the show has consistently portrayed  the Princess as the adventurous, mischievous one and “Charlotte” as the one who goes along her whims and fixes any mess that result from it.

Also, note the Princess wording.

Goodbye Ange.

The Princess always calls our resident superspy in private as “Charlotte”. Not anything else.  This is her saying goodbye because the Princess believed that she’s going to die. But, as she argued to “Charlotte” she is going to do her best to make a difference.   

 Personally, I believe that Zelda will discover the Princess is pretending to be Ange and then try to kill her. But not immediately, the Rebel Colonist still need a figure to rally around.  After that, its fair game.

Note that the Princess have no idea about the coup in progress or the Rebel Colonist so I doubt she has some grand plan on using them before. That said there is still hope that the Princess could use them to her advantage in the next episode. 

This is going to be controversial and might be a product of wishful thinking.

 But, there are two ways to read Ange this episode – straight –  as someone who is getting increasingly desperate so save someone she love or as the show has repeatedly taught us – a lying liar who lies. 

I chose to believe that Ange is lying.  

Remember the beginning of the third episode? Ange and Princess have a conversation that mirrors what they will have at the airship. And Ange learned from that conversation that the Princess wouldn’t be dissuaded from her path even if it cost her life. 

Do you guys remember what Ange said? 

I will deceive them all.

I’ll deceive you, the world and even myself.

Ange is making good on her promise. Besides that, there are several things that doesn’t add up:

  • We don’t know the result of Ange and Dorothy’s conversation. Only that Ange said “Thank you” at the end of it. Dorothy is also suspiciously absent for the rest of the episode. 
  • Ange blatantly telegraphed that she is lying  when Chise offered her help. 
  • Ange is a deliberate character. The fact that she kept calling her childhood friend by “Princess” – a name that she admitted denote respect and the person is now worthy of that role when Ange want said Princess to toss said role to the curb is weird.  Its like she’s sabotaging herself. 
  • The fact that Ange got tossed around by Princess. Seriously. Ange is consistently portrayed as an expert at close quarter combat. We have a scene about that a few minutes ago. How did that happen?  

So yeah, I’m  betting my pokedollars on Ange having another plan.  And hey, there could be allusions to this on the previous episodes. 

Notice on episode 3 that while Ange says that she’ll deceive everyone, Princess gets blinded by the rays of the sun. Could it be foreshadowing that Princess will at one point not be able to see through Ange’s lies?

And another interpretation of OP.  While, Ange   jumps to rescue the Princess, Ange for a moment turned into a lizard in the Princess perception and then back again to Ange. Could it also be an allusion to the above?  That while Ange is doing her best to rescue Princess, for a moment Princess will not be able to recognize Ange? 

That said, even if Ange doesn’t have a plan and there isn’t an agenda in the works I’m confident that she’s still going to try to rescue the Princess next episode.

These are my final speculations. Even if I get an egg on my face next week , I hope we have a satisfying conclusion. Also praying for an S2. ^^

Thanks for the ride PriPri!

 

Moving Shadows – Princess Principal Character Song Mini Album 5 (Ayaka Imamura, Akira Sekine, Yo Taichi, Akari Kageyama, Nozomi Furuki)

A Page Of My Story (Princess Principal Outro Theme Song) (Angie (Ayaka Imamura), Princess (Akira Sekine), Dorothy (Yo Taichi), Beatrice (Akari Kageyama), Chise (Nozomi Furuki))

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10 Responses to Princess Principal 11 Reaction: Xanatos Gambit Pile-up

  1. deihiru says:

    I’m hoping for the same here. I’ll feel like it would be a waste if Ange’s words from ep3 werent foreshafowing whatever is going to happen in the next episode. Like, at this point, the person who benefits the most from the coup is the Duke of Normandy, and Ange as both an incredible liar and down to Earth person should have at least come to that conclusion at this point.

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      The only thing I can be sure of if Ange has a plan is that it will involve rescuing Princess somehow. Everything else, I feel is fair game. Off the top of my head – the following avenue maybe worth pursuing stopping the Queen's assassination, sabotaging Normandy somehow, bringing back "L" faction to call the shots back to Control or maybe just rescue the Princess and retreat with the Rebel Colonist. If there is one good thing this episode brought, its the reveal of that particular faction. Since if I'm reading it right it meant that they are loyal to the Princess ideals above all.

  2. Cytrus says:

    Glad to hear your impressions on this episode. Ange will surely still be involved in the final episode (assuming next week is the last), so it is a matter of whether she switches to a Plan B, or whether everything was part of a greater plan all along.

    Your "all according to the plan" interpretation does leave two questionable scenes: Ange's internal self-admission that she may be unable to protect the Princess as well as her emotional reaction right after the two have a fight and part. Nobody is watching (much less mind-reading) during those scenes, so it does not make sense for Ange to act at those times. However, you could challenge this with Ange's "I will deceive even myself" lines.

    So, for my bold predictions.

    1) There will be a happy (or at least bittersweet) ending.

    PuriPuri kept the threat of a tragic ending alive through a series of close calls and character deaths. However, the current developments would not make for a good downer ending. For a tragic, "it was always going to end that way" ending, you could show the characters about to achieve something great only to be crushed by the size and power of what they are up against. However, with the last episode putting the good guys at a tremendous disadvantage, a tragic development would not come as a shock, but only a depressing experience. Right now, the Duke could let the Queen die, and then immediately announce the Princess's involvement, marking her as a traitor to the crown. He would then step in to "stabilize" the situation and either put himself or a puppet in power. The Princess would quickly be killed either by the Duke's men or by Zelda once the agent deems the Princess no longer useful. All the other spies could be either killed off one by one, or left unaware of what even went down.

    To keep the narrative twisting and turning, I rather expect a comeback from the girls, and a huge one. It might still be possible for the girls to start fighting back and somebody (Ange or the Princess) getting shot as they are a step away from victory, but I would expect something great achieved in return for the sacrifice, like exposing the Duke and his co-conspirators and the Princess (or Ange) gaining more political influence for it – a kind of ending which would allow the characters left behind to look towards the future.

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      To be honest, I wonder how much of my speculation of "its going according to plan" is a product of wishful thinking. After all, it is the prediction that will have a greater chance of having a happy ending and I'm honest enough with myself that I want Team White Pigeon to have a great victory in the next episode.

      From that point of view, I'm glad that from as you've pointed out from a narrative view point its unlikely to have a completely tragic ending, I don't think my heart can take it!

  3. Cytrus says:

    2) The final clash will involve and be decided by all of team White Pigeons

    From my perspective, the staff made a commitment when they aired Wired Liar as the first episode. We meet the girls as a fully-formed and functioning team. Yes, Ange is the MC if you have to point to one. Yes, Ange and the Princess share a secret which is central to the plot and can make or break the team. But this is a story of the five White Pigeons, and it can only be ended by all five of them making their moves.

    This can work in several patterns. One would be the "Ange's masterplan" angle you propose. Ange's increasing desperation this episode is a suffocating experience, but conveniently, it develops in stages over several days. Ange gets a final conversation with Dorothy, and then one with Chise. There is no obligation for the staff to show us everything that went down over the span of those several days or explain the significance of certain actions. For all we know, all or most of the members might be well prepared for Day X.

    However, it is also possible that the joint battle is NOT part of Ange's plan. And as she attempts to carry out her all-or-nothing backup plan, probably ready to kill herself if it means the Princess survives as a result, the team's involvement might be what changes a bittersweet ending into an all-out victory. This path would address Ange's biggest character flaw – her stubborn attempts to shoulder anything and everything by herself. Everyone on the team except Ange herself already knows that Ange is very much human and has emotional burdens to carry, much unlike a robot or a black lizard would. And just as Ange aids them with her great skill and abilities, they could be there to return the favour when she gets carried away.

    The above possibilities get further complicated by the possibility of several Batman Gambits at work. It is possible to get somebody involved in a plan without manipulating them or giving them any special information. Beato and Chise in particular are (ironically) very honest people – as long as you are their friend, you can easily predict how they will react when placed in a given situation. So it is enough to adjust to that and prepare the right situation, and no previous communication is necessary. And whether Ange admits it or not, she is friends with those people, though those relationships are still weighed down by secrets and lies.

    And for all that I wrote, I would love a second season as long as that was the original intent and the staff have something solid planned. There are many cases missing chronologically, and the nation won't be changed overnight regardless of the finale's outcome. So there are many ways the story and cast could still be developed. In Chise's words: "I don't know if they stand a chance, but I want to see them victorious."

    (Btw, I had to divide this in two for the server not to time me out, didn't even know there was a character limit to comments xD.)

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      Yes. I agree with you on point 2 completely. The staff has committed a certain direction in the previous episodes and that was making "Team White Pigeon" who should be a hodgepodge of loyalty to be closer to one another. They will undoubtedly be back for the Team Finale to help. Its the single thread that is present in every episode even the supposedly "plot-less" one like Chise's duel and the laundry episode.

      And while I would prefer that Ange has an unknown plan in the works, as it would infinitely make it easier for Chise, Dorothy and Beato to have a gathering and do something in this clusterfuck with the Power of Friendship without being too cheesy. (Though, that may just be Dorothy, as you've surmised Chise and Beato are honest persons and easy to predict even without giving them special instructions.)

      That said, if Ange is being painfully honest in this episode and there is no greater plan, I agree that this could be setting up to address her personal flaw. The wall that could fall in the episode could also metaphorically refer to the wall inside Ange's heart. Though, even in my preferred speculation, that metaphorical wall is going to fall regardless since we almost sure that Team White Pigeon is going to be back and have a friendship moment cementing their loyalty to each other.

      It could also be a great way to interpret, "Ange will die" tweet that my friend said to me. Apparently someone in the production said that? I'm hoping if its true, its a metaphorical death of Ange's cold superspy "I only care about the mission" persona and not referring to the resident superspy or the Princess. I want a second season of this dammit! There should still be plenty of materials left for them to do so and give tomorrow a nice ending. ^^

      • Cytrus says:

        We're almost sure to get at least one positive "reveal" in the next episode, since information tricks are one of the show's constants. We can hope there is some plan brewing in the background. Many scenes this episode were left ambiguous for that purpose, I believe.

        Let's just wait and hope everything turns out alright >_<.

  4. deihiru says:

    I think it could be a combination. I doubt Ange is aware of everthing that’s going on or that she has the reach to manipulate hundreds of people, but I do believe she was deceiving Princess with her second attempt to elope to Casablanca. Both for the reasons you stated, but also because, the more I think about it, the more I think it was a little too easy for Ange to run away with the Princess to that aircraft. Maybe she wasnt planning for Princess to lock her or to say those harsh words (which, by being completely alone in the room, would give her the freedom to show how much the Princess hurt her).

    I also think that Ange hopes for the rest of the team to come back. She was deliberately lying badly to Chise and I wonder if she or Dorothy may have been able to make contact with Beatrice. but Ange is Ange and she cannot leave things to luck, so she has also made uo her plans to ensure Princess makes it out alive and still in line for the throne.

    Although, it would also be nice if Ange becomes convinced the team will helo Princess but then be surprised when they want to save her as well.

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      That is an interesting speculation. And yeah, even if Ange has some greater plan, there is so many moving pieces that will be involved in the next episode that its so easy to see how she could not plan it all.

      And I can see what you mean. One of the nice things about the series is how we see the spies slowly becoming True Companions even though the threat of backstabbing and the presence of lies hang in each episode. I imagine that its not just the Princess, if Ange is ever in trouble, Team White Pigeon will exert the same amount of effort to save them.

      Also, noticed something on the rewatch. Unless, there is some missing scenes. Lying badly to Chise is the only way for Ange to ask for help because Zelda is outside the door and might be listening in.

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