DAMEPRI ANIME CARAVAN – Mid Season Anime Review
Synopsis: Ani is a hardworking, realistic and strong-minded princess. That’s a good thing because she will need all her skills to handle the problematic princes from Serenfaren and Midonia. (Official HIDIVE Synopsis)
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: What helps DamePri stand out from other visual sim adaptations featuring what looks like a romance aimed cast is that it has a very heavy comedic vein running through it, comedy that isn’t outstanding but nevertheless, enough to help it not feel like yet another cheesy otome adaptation. Even though the show introduces some political drama early on, it keeps returning to its comedic nature and showcasing Princess Ani having to deal with the over the top personalities of the people around her from the outrageous princes to her own off-kilter parents. Unfortunately, a lot of these over the top personalities are also one note, and since almost all the comedy is centered around them, the jokes eventually end up feeling just as one note.
Tom: These characters are fun early on, from Prince Narek who’s entirely obsessed with how handsome and dashing he is, to Prince Ruze, whose smile literally makes people faint. But by Episode Six, it starts to become painfully obvious that every character consists of near singular jokes, often providing little variety later on. I agree with Linny that the further you get in, the more the comedy wears down, to the point where things largely start to feel stale. The show manages to try and shift things up by plopping our characters down in a new area, with a new scenario of the week to liven things up. Sometimes the series succeeds, other times this change of scenery isn’t enough to restore the comedic vigor. Part of the problem is there’s really one three places to go, three kingdoms, and by Episode six we’ve seen each twice, with diminishing returns. The series doesn’t hit painfully bad levels of stale comedy, often spicing an episode up with one or two good jokes, but is so much of a rehash of previous humor that it never manages to achieve the charm it had early on.
Linny: Damepri doesn’t have much going for it besides the comedy and this becomes all the more obvious whenever the show tries to be serious or sombre as those parts drag, like padding trying to fill the run time till the next joke. The comedy may tend to be one note but it does make the show feel lively and entertaining. But DamePri also struggles to land any other emotion as evidenced in episode six where a scene with a ‘supposed to be’ menacing and overwhelming character, Chrom Rem, the prime Minister of Prince Ruze’s nation, never really lands that vibe though at least the music cue in the scene does a great job of denoting the menace when all else is failing. Any drama or tension introduced in an episode is often contrived or turns out to be a non threat all along. In a case of mistaken identity, the twist reveal is extremely random, completely forgotten and abandoned once the ‘joke’ is over, further cementing how thin DamePri’s plot can be.
Tom: Chrom Rem, meant to exude that palpable menace for the sake of comedy, is largely failed by the animation. The series provides art that is generally acceptable, but often flat and a tad boring at times. It’s best exemplified by Chrom’s lack of actual on screen menace during the gag Linny mentioned. We’re told by Ani Inaco, our main star and princess, that Chrom is exuding this incredibly scary pressure, but the art’s depiction of him is so basic, so mundane that it’s only thanks to all the other elements in the production that the gag makes a lick of sense.
Linny: Another feature that makes DamePri stand out from other visual novel adaptations with such a huge male cast is that so far, there’s been zero romance between any of our characters. There’s been no suggestive homoerotic moments nor any tender touches between any of the male characters and Princess Ani. There is the extremely flirtatious character named Vino who does hit on Ani but he’s a womanizer by heart, and hits on anything female that walks. Princess Ani also never treats his advances with any degree of seriousness. Also, there are a few male characters who likely had bigger roles in the visual novel and maybe even acted as romantic interests, in particular Riot, the army general assigned to protect Prince Narek but other than a gag of shadowing Narek in one episode, he’s often off screen or relegated to a background character.
Tom: DamePri Anime Caravan isn’t bad. It starts strong, but gradually loses itself, growing more and more stale as time goes on. By episode six I don’t think it’s actively bad, but to continue enjoying the series to the fullest you’ll need to find each princess’ one note gag near as hilarious as when it was first introduced. I think that’s a tall order, as comedic breadth is about variety, and DamePri is lacking that severely.
Linny: If you like the sound of an oddball comedy featuring a cast of wacky princes and a spunky princess who has to deal with all their drama and hi-jinks minus romantic content (though the show could always decide to inject it post mid point), you may take to DamePri Anime Caravan. Despite our critiques, the show isn’t something you can call outright unwatchable. It is repetitive at worst and has a simple, basic plot that dooms it to never rising beyond passable at best. If you find yourself extremely taken and entertained by the quirky princes and their one note gag personalities and don’t mind the thought of it being repeated endlessly for the show’s entire run, you may just end up having a decent time with it all the way through.
DAMEPRI ANIME CARAVAN is available for streaming via HIDIVE.