So the first three episodes of Fena: Pirate Princess are out and I believe that’s enough time to get a good understanding of how the rest of the 12 episodes will be.
For those unaware, Fena: Pirate Princess is an anime that was co-produced by Production I.G., Crunchyroll, and Adult Swim. Crunchyroll has been working on establishing a line of original content to compete with other services. Netflix has beaten them to the punch with notable shows like Devilman Crybaby and Dorohedoro.
Fena: Pirate Princess is the service’s first originally produced show, a distinction that was supposed to go to High Guardian Spice, but numerous problems have delayed the project for years now. So the question remains: Is Fena any good?
A Good First Try
I think Fena: Pirate Princess is a pretty decent show. It’s an above-average series with great animation, great character designs, a fun high seas adventure, and good acting in both the sub and dub versions of the show. There’s nothing really bad or wrong with Fena but it lacks that killer personality. It’s not S-tier material.
— Ochan30🏳️🌈 (@Ochan30) August 22, 2021
Take Devilman Crybaby, for example. While it may not be the prettiest anime out there, the story, its themes, and action made Devilman Crybaby a jaw-dropper of a show. Fans and critics raved about the show with some calling it the best Netflix anime.
As I mentioned, Fena is a fun high seas adventure. The show combines pirates with feudal Japan as Fena’s crew are all made of up ninjas dressed in traditional Japanese armor (yes, this is a show about ninja pirates). Fena takes place in an alternate 18th century where she goes on an adventure to discover the secret of her family while trying to escape the British Navy.
Famed anime studio Production I.G. (Ghost in the Shell, Haikyuu, Eden of the East) is doing most of the heavy lifting with Kazuto Nakazawa as the director. Nakazawa is mostly known as a character designer but has directed other projects like Parasite Dolls and was the chief animation director on Terror in Resonance.
Pulling No Punches
The best thing about Fena is the animation. Production I.G. really gave it their all when producing the series. Yukimaru’s ninja moves are satisfying to watch, the twins’ personality shines through in their swordplay, and the steampunk submarine is a joy to stare at. It’s like looking at an art book of Gundam cockpits; there’s so much detail that you discover something new every time you look at it.
My biggest critique would have to be the story. It comes across as a generic adventure story that has me wanting more, something totally unique. Perhaps it’s because we’re still in the early episodes of the series, but nothing really blows me away.
It’s hard to put into words how decent this show is. While there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with Fena: Pirate Princess, there’s nothing amazing about it either. It’s just an okay show that’s consistently pretty. I do recommend you give Fena a shot, but if you don’t watch it, you’re not missing out on much.
I give the first three episodes of Fena: Pirate Princess a 7.5/10.