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.
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