Fena Pirate Princess Review: A Disappointment Of Epic Proportions

Oh, it started so great. It was a journey like no other until it came to a grinding halt. In this Fena Pirate Princess Review, we attempt to find out what exactly went wrong in a show that had almost everything going in its favour. Let’s get right to it!

Fena Pirate Princess Overview

Fena Pirate Princess Review
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Fena: Pirate Princess is an action-adventure series developed by Production I.G. Production I.G. is a studio that is very well known for developing instant classics such as Attack on Titan, Haikyuu, and Vinland Saga. It is an original anime, so it isn’t adapted from or inspired by any manga or light novel. The series was created and directed by Kazuto Nakazawa, previously known for directing episodes in anime like Samurai Champloo and B: The Beginning.

The series is known as Kaizoku Oujo in original Japanese. We covered this series extensively on our website, so you can check those out if you’re so inclined. You can also go directly to the review of the first episode, in case you want to watch this show after reading the review.

– Fena Pirate Princess Review does not contain spoilers –

Fena Pirate Princess Review- The Plot

Fena Pirate Princess Episode 3 Plot
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Fena Houtman remembers little about her childhood. Orphaned and raised as a servant in a brothel, her life changes when she escapes to an island of pirates where she discovers the truth behind her family. With Fena being the only one able to unlock her family’s secrets, and a formidable crew of female pirates on her tail, she must take her place as captain of her Samurai crew for a high seas adventure!

We have seen a few pirate-themed anime in the past. Okay, I’m kidding. We haven’t seen any except for One Piece, but that’s as big as you can get, so it counts. We have seen a lot of Samurai themed anime as well. With Fena: Pirate Princess, Crunchyroll and Adult Swim wanted to release a new title in the genre filled with shipwrecks and sword-fighting, and all it succeeded in creating was a massive trainwreck.

Fena Pirate Princess Episode 6
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Fena Pirate Princess had as good a start as any series can ask for. The show’s foundations that it established in the first two episodes were very solid and hinted towards a fantastic resolution to the mystery surrounding everything. The third and fourth episodes were just as good in establishing the rapport between the characters and chugging the story along at an incredibly fast pace. That’s where our problems with the show began.

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I don’t know why what was supposed to be a passion project by a notable name in the industry, Kazuto Nakazawa, got as little time as it did. I say this because, time and time again, it was obvious that Fena Pirate Princess was suffering from horrible pacing issues. The show rushed with a frightening pace to cover all of its plot points without giving any weight to the events in the story. This meant that despite the story being decent (until the last episode, anyway), it became hard for any of it to stand out.

Fena Houtman
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The plot was somewhat formulaic and generic at the start, borrowing from several better shows and Disney’s animated classics. However, despite not being an entirely original premise, it still had that Disney-like wonder and magic that was once witnessed in Treasure Planet, if you grew up with it. The show had bucketloads of potential just dripping out of it, and every episode was a treat because of that.

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However, the series couldn’t retain that interest throughout its runtime as the plot became more and more incoherent and nonsensical by the minute. There were too many relevant characters who couldn’t possibly have received a conclusion to their arc if they had it. There was also a “twist” at the end that came out of absolutely nowhere, and Fena Pirate Princess‘s attempts to explain its ending were as futile as anyone pretending the show was still good by that point.

Fena Pirate Princess Episode 11 Eden Yukimaru Fena
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Overall, the plot of Kaizoku Oujo was a huge missed opportunity that was killed by the pacing, as this had the potential to be a show that could have gone for multiple seasons. There was so much more to explore, so many characters that could have made an impact if given the time, and so many plot holes left unexplained. All of it was lost for reasons that I couldn’t possibly comprehend on my own. Maybe it was Production I.G., Crunchyroll, or maybe even Toonami and Adult Swim. All I know is what remained of the series at the end wasn’t how it started.

Fena Pirate Princess Review- The Characters

Fena Pirate Princess Goblin Knights
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Oh boy, there were so many characters. The titular Fena was a happy go lucky character that reminded me of white bread for multiple reasons. Her hair colour didn’t help, but it was mostly because of her bland and uninteresting personality that only shone when alongside several other members of her party, but her interactions with them were very sweet and brought life to the show at some of its darkest moments.

The other characters were a mixed bag with one thing in common- they were all criminally misused and didn’t get the time and exploration they deserved. That applied to almost all of them but one, Abel. Abel was the main antagonist for a lot of the show, and he got his moment to shine with his episode. He was a decent bad guy who could still generate a lot of sympathy for his character, which is always a plus.

Goblin Knights
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All of the rest of the cast looked like they would matter a lot more than they did. Even Yukimaru, the main love interest of Fena, was neglected because of the pacing of the show. The Goblin Knights, the Samurais alongside Fena and Yukimaru, were all tremendous characters with fantastic interactions left behind by the plot at the end. I wish they mattered more by the end because they were truly well-written characters.

The way the characters interacted at the start was truly unique as the show made them seem livelier and realistic than most other side characters. They weren’t afraid to speak over each other or hold conversations of their own while something else was going on in the show, which I appreciated. This just makes their mistreatment even more incomprehensible. Why would you ignore the best thing you have in favour of the bland nothingness of your main character?

Fena Pirate Princess Review- Art and Music

The animation is where Fena Pirate Princess truly shone the brightest. It was gorgeously animated, with every frame looking prettier than the last, and that’s counting the landscapes alongside the sporadic action scenes. Quality animation isn’t very hard to find anymore, but it should still be appreciated when we get it. Fena was perhaps the best-animated show of the last season and the current one, and Production I.G. deserves all the kudos for this fact.

The music was also good, but it could’ve been a lot better than it was. One imagines Samurais and Pirates with a certain aesthetic and soundtrack, which I’m not sure the show could propagate properly with its tunes. However, the opening to the show was utterly brilliant and very well done. It is very catchy and showcases exactly what Fena Pirate Princess is going to be about in a matter of seconds. Catch this one posthaste.

Verdict

Fena Pirate Princess had a great start but sunk under the weight of expectations set upon it. The fantastic animation and characters were let down by pacing and plot as the show crashed and burned under studio and viewer pressure.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Plot
Characters
Animation
Music
Rewatchability

SUMMARY

Fena Pirate Princess had a great start but sunk under the weight of expectations set upon it. The fantastic animation and characters were let down by pacing and plot as the show crashed and burned under studio and viewer pressure.

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