Episode 3 of Fena: Pirate Princess aired on Saturday and it gave fans yet another adventurous experience. The series is only three episodes in so it’s extremely difficult to make any sort of overall judgment on it. There are still things that need to unfold and we have to wait for them to do so. But from an interesting story to compelling characters in just three episodes, we have received it all.
One of the things that can make an anime original series great is by leaving no stone unturned. The ability to answer any questions fans may have while simultaneously maintaining a certain pace is extremely difficult to accomplish. When this feat is executed, you just can’t help but slam a “perfection” stamp onto the series.
Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song was the perfect example back in the spring and now Fena: Pirate Princess is working its way to such perfection. And if it reaches this feat, it’ll start to paint Crunchyroll Originals in the right light that we all thought Tower of God accomplished. Fena: Pirate Princess is managing to do everything right so far and it’s absolutely beautiful to watch.
Here is how.
Animations Are Crisp
In the modern age of anime, every time a new series airs the main question that is always asked is “How does the animation look?” This has become so extreme to the point it will either draw people in to watch it at some point or never at all. Animations can not only make or break a series but also its popularity and the reputation of the studio.
Some anime fans have this unfortunate expectation that every scene is supposed to look like something from Ufotable, Kyoto Animation, or Wit Studio. I’m here to break the news to those people that animations can still look amazing without the frame rate of Attack on Titan.
Luckily, for Fena: Pirate Princess, the series has looked exquisite in all aspects. One of those is its animations. While episode 1 gave us a brief look at some action, Production I.G. really gave fans a taste of the animations in episode 3. The fight with the twins and pirates in the video below is just a small sample size of what you’ll get with a fight scene in Fena: Pirate Princess.
What happened moments before and after this fight ensued had me jumping out of my seat and you will, too, if you start watching the series.
The Pacing Has Been Perfect
A series’ pace is also crucial to a series. While it may not make or break it, pacing definitely affects whether a fan loses interest or maintains it. Fena: Pirate Princess has perfected its pacing so far.
The series has managed to flawlessly flow the timeline of events within the first three episodes. It also manages to introduce new characters in a way that doesn’t disrupt the flow of the main story. In fact, the characters introduced in the first three episodes are actually crucial to the plot.
Episode 2 was our big character introduction episode. By the end of it, Fena’s new journey began with those same characters we were introduced to. At no point did the episode slow the pacing nor rush it. It felt very streamlined and kept the viewers interested every second.
In episode 3 the crew reaches their first destination on the journey – Bar-Baral. Beautiful scenery and ocean views gave fans a true feeling of a pirate-fantasy adventure and this was the first stop. During this stop, Fena finds a stone just like the one her father gave her that we saw in the previous episodes — further moving the story along while creating a mystery for what’s in store.
The Characters Are Amazing, From Personality To Design
Depending on your own personality, there’s a character in this series we can all love, including Fena herself. When I say the term “amazing characters”, I mean characters that are written perfectly for the series they’re in. I also said Idaten Deities has amazing characters, but those kinds of characters wouldn’t fit in the Fena: Pirate Princess world and vice versa.
Having amazing characters in an anime series is crucial. It doesn’t matter how great the animations are or how perfect the pacing is. If the characters can’t draw our attention with their designs and personalities, neither will the series. The designs in Fena: Pirate Princess bring their own unique style. Nothing makes a character design more unique than fitting it to its character’s personality.
Kazuto Nakazawa, director of Fena: Pirate Princess, even talked about how the character design influences came from an array of old-school Shojo manga series during this year’s Crunchyroll Expo. In fact, his interest in Shojo manga is the whole reason Fena became the main character in the first place.
“When I read Shojo manga, I realized how good manga is,” said Nakazawa. “It made me want to make an anime with a flavor of Shojo manga which is the main reason I made the main character a girl. The ones I would read are from the late ’70s to early ’80s. I used one of the heroin characters in those Shojo mangas as an inspirational image for Fena.”
From the long, black hair and toned jaw of Yukimaru to the vibrant design of Fena, each one is perfect in its own ways. There are absolutely no flaws in any of the designs in Fena: Pirate Princess.
The Background Designs Are A Masterpiece
During the 2021 Crunchyroll Expo, a prime topic of discussion with the staff of Fena: Pirate Princess was the background art in the series. This was such a focal point of Fena: Pirate Princess that even Director Nakazawa wanted this to be a big part of what makes the series what it is.
“I really wanted to portray ‘fantasy’ correctly,” said Nakazawa. “I had to beg the art director to put in all his creations into the background designs.”
And this specific art director and background artist is none other than anime industry legend Yusuke Takeda, whose resume is out of this world. His recent works include Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song, Great Pretender, and Vinland Saga. But he’s famously known for his work in Ghost in The Shell, Neon Genesis, and Eden of the East. So it’s only right that Takeda was chosen to be the Art Director for Fena: Pirate Princess and the upcoming Chainsaw Man anime adaptation. And for all of you Linkin Park fans, he also worked on the art for the “Breaking The Habit” music video.
Director Nakazawa had nothing but praise for the star-studded artist. When asked how Takeda became part of Fena: Pirate Princess, Nakazawa didn’t hold back on his praise for Takeda.
“The truth of the matter is… we don’t select,” said Nakazawa. “The whole industry chooses to work with Takeda. Takeda is the first thing they all ask for. We just got lucky that he agreed to work with us.”
And we, the fans, are also lucky. Here are just a few shots of the kind of backgrounds we’ve seen so far from the first three episodes.
The Villain Set Up Was Excellent
In episode 3, we are finally introduced to the true villain in this story and that is Abel. We saw Abel back in episode 1 when he protected Angie as others tried to physically get information from her on where Fena ran off to. Sitting in his study at the start of episode 3, and having arranged a group of pirates to capture Fena, it’s now clear who the main antagonist is.
But what shrouds him in some mystery is what he ends up saying at the end of episode 3, “Fena… Do you have any idea who you are?” While muttering this to himself, he’s sitting up on his bed while holding a turquoise-colored heart necklace — the same one that Fena wears.
A villain who knows the main protagonists’ background while she’s oblivious can go in several directions. So what is the history between the two? Fans could find out in the next episode.
One could argue the best part about all this is that it’s an original series so no manga readers can spoil what lies ahead.
Article Wrap Up, Next Episode
It’s too early to call this original anime series a perfect 10/10. In fact, it’s too early to rate it properly at all. However, everything they’ve done up until this point has been stellar in so many aspects that I could write 20 articles about it. Smooth scene transitions and a stellar soundtrack, including the opening and ending themes, are just a couple more topics left for another day of discussion.
Can the series continue to reach perfection? Absolutely. Will it? We just have to wait and see.
Episode 4 of Fena: Pirate Princess will air on Sunday, August 29th, on Crunchyroll and Adult Swim. If you thought episode 3 was fantastic, make sure to vote for it in our weekly poll.
Also, congrats to Fena: Pirate Princess on making its chart debut last week at #10! Let’s get this series into the top-5 this week!
All images via Crunchyroll.