A show about cute robot girls in a post-war steampunk world. If that got your attention join me as we find out if Prima Doll is worth checking out.
Genres: Action, Drama, Idols, Maids, Music, Steampunk.
Themes: War, Memories.
Number of Episodes: 12
G-Rating: 8/10 or 7. It depends on the viewer.
Plot Summary: The Black Cat Café boasts an unusual roster of employees. A group of automata, or autonomous mechanical dolls, serve their patrons with a smile, but they weren’t always so suited to domestic life. Just a few years prior, automata served as weapons in the great war, fulfilling the bloody purpose for which they were created. Now that the war has ended, these machines with human hearts search for their place in an unfamiliar, peaceful world — and their search begins at the Black Cat Café.
This show is like a two-sided coin:
On one side it is about cute doll (robot) girls doing cute maid/waitress things as they work together in a cafe and do their best to work together and make it a fun and welcoming place for customers. Haizakura herself is a lovable klutz brimming with positive energy and optimism always doing her best to help everyone in need. Her cuteness and determination are the biggest highlight of the show along with her new friends who all have their wonderful charms and later on surprise sexiness. Yes there is a sexy episode. Not swimsuits sadly but given the setting what we got instead was great too.
On the other side it is a war drama with occasional creepy moments. As mentioned in the plot summary all our heroines and their comrades were part of a great war fought mainly between automata and mechanika (robot drones with less sentience) commanded by strong automata. One important detail is automata have the power to control/guide mechanika in good or ill. Remember this detail while watching. Back to our heroines. Through Haizakura we get a glimpse of the girls’ painful pasts on the battlefields as either soldiers, victims or both. Each girl has their own traumatic experience that still haunts them in present day. Thanks in part to Haizakura they do their best to move forward. As the story continues more of Haizakura’s own past is slowly unraveled. She has “main protagonist amnesia” see but here it is presented and handled well thanks to there being a valid plot related reason rather than being a forced mystery. Besides our main heroines there are other automata who have sad stories to share. I talked mainly about the robot girls but obviously the humans they cohabit/try to live together with also had their lives changed by war.
Another important part of the girls’ development are their purpose. It is made clear from the first automata introduced that having no purpose is an automata’s greatest fear. Being useless is almost as terrifying as death/ Maybe I am looking too deep into this but something that was in the back of my head while watching is the connection between automata’s memories, post-war trauma and mental health. Themes that made me think of early Alzheimer’s and PTSD came to mind among other known emotional struggles. Whether they were handled well or not I leave to viewers. I thought it was mostly pretty good.
There are action scenes too. Pretty good ones surprisingly. Nothing too intense (for the most part) but as the story progresses they get more hardcore without becoming ultra violent. Do not take these cuties lightly is what I am saying. The presentation is solid with some CG here and there. The setting and character designs for the ladies are cute and for some quite sexy.
With all this talk of war drama I did not forget the last piece of the puzzle, the music. This is technically a robot maids idol anime and music plays an important role in the story for more than just cheering up everyone around our heroines and viewers. I will not spoil what exactly but singing serves a key purpose in the story. The songs themselves convey multiple themes and are fun to listen to, even the somber ones.
Without going into much detail Haizakura kind of has more than one love interest. Not all her homies are part of it thus it is not yuri harem but she creates very strong bonds with some other girls besides Chiyo here. Cute stuff and solid shipping material…Yes. A het pairing get more attention in the intimacy part but they do not threaten Haizakura’s kind of chick magnet status.
Overall Prima Doll is as cute as it is dramatic with its robot maids in a post-war world. The fun stuff is delightful while the dramatic stuff can be a one two punch depending on how the stories affect viewers. The presentation is good and songs nice while there is solid yuri shipping potential…Mmhm.
PS: The ending made me feel things…Many things…