Created as an anime-original project in 1998, Princess Nine spends the first three-quarters of its 26-episode run with an often spot-on understanding of the sexism girls and women face when trying to enter traditionally masculine fields. Through its narrative and characters, it challenges gender norms and argues for female participation both in boys’ sports and adult leadership positions.
Unfortunately, the series falls into its own sexist assumptions in the last act, becoming mired in a melodramatic love triangle and undercutting its progressive messaging in the process. It makes a strong early pitch for feminist-minded viewers to cheer it on, but by the time it staggers into home plate, it’s hard to manage more than a halfhearted sigh.
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