Petite Princess Yucie (ぷちぷり＊ユーシィ Puchi Puri Yūshī?) is an anime series, which was produced by Gainax, aired from 2002 to 2003, and ran for 26 episodes. Six volumes of videos were released on DVD by ADV Films in the United States. As of Sep. 1, 2009, the series is now licensed by ADV's successor, AEsir Holdings; with distribution from Section23 Films. Centering around Yucie, a 17-year-old who is trapped in a 10-year-old's body, the story follows her and her friends, all of who are designated as Platinum Princess candidates. A Platinum Princess receives the Eternal Tiara, which grants any wish, but only to the one it judges worthy and only one wish.
Petite Princess Yucie follows the adventures of country-girl Yucie as she is admitted by chance to the prestigious Princess Academy, where the daughters of royalty and nobles attend to learn magic, dance, etiquette, defense, art and music. There, she experiences many things in her quest to collect the "fragments" of the Eternal Tiara in hopes that she may become the legendary Platinum Princess, who is chosen every 1,000 years. Yucie, along with the four other Princess candidates who are initially her rivals but are won over by her offer of friendship, must grow in heart—if not in height—to become worthy of the Tiara. Yucie is a spunky heroine who is a genius of smiles, and who, despite her common lifestyle, is actually the daughter of a noble and former hero who has retreated from courtly life and lives in the countryside.
The fragments take the form of Crystal Flowers and are scattered throughout the five worlds; Human, Demon, Heaven, Spirit, and Fairy. Strangely enough, the five candidates Yucie, Glenda, Elmina, Cocoloo and Beth are representatives of these five existing worlds in this story's universe. As the legend goes, once the Eternal Tiara is complete, it will select the Princess from the worthy candidates and can grant her one wish. Unknown to the candidates and the viewers, until almost the very end, is the sad history of the Eternal Tiara and the inevitable fate of the Platinum Princess and all the other candidates.
Blindly pursuing what is her heart's life-long desire, to finally grow up and be treated and respected like an adult, Yucie must prove her worthiness to the Tiara and sets out to do many odd jobs as part of the Academy's special Curriculum (NOTE: community service) for the candidates, such as tending flowers, babysitting a giant fluff ball, helping to run an old church, helping to run a bakery, and overseeing a kindergarten picnic. Each task seems easy at first but problems abound in every episode. The girls must overcome all obstacles and complete their tasks, no matter how daunting, in their petite bodies. The viewers later discover that all the candidates are under the same 10 year old "curse" and their rivalry quickly turns into admiration for one another's determination in reaching their common goal. Yucie and her friends each have a reason for desperately wanting to become the Platinum Princess.
In a side-story arc, Yucie is also hoping to find clues about the lost prince of the Human realm, who once saved her life while she was lost in the forest, looking for Sunset Blossoms, and whom she wishes to meet in person some day to thank him. Her memory of him is vague, and he was an adolescent at the time, so she has no idea what he may look like now or what kind of person he's become. When she encounters a young man named Arc during one of her odd jobs who looks so familiar to her, she has conflicted feelings. Arc is rude, patronizing, unfeeling and insensitive but she feels drawn to him somehow. The prince was her childhood romantic ideal, but her seventeen-year-old heart falls for Arc. To the relief of viewers who hate love triangles, Arc is actually Prince Arrow in disguise.
As the girls continue to grow emotionally, their Platinum Princess candidate pendants grow in beauty and brightness as well, reflecting how much wisdom they have obtained. Towards the final story arc, Yucie and the others finally realize why the Fairy World princess was so troubled and uncooperative when Beth reveals that her father, King of the Fairy Realm, is dying. The girls are resolved in helping their friend and saving the Fairy Realm by defeating the ancient evil Diablo who threatens the existence of all the worlds. With the combined help of their stewards and friends, the girls succeed with the power they obtained as candidates, but the prince is badly injured.
The final story arc begins with the final test in which a magical judge will oversee the Tiara's choice. Yucie’s only wish now is to save the prince with the power of the Tiara.
Upon entering the place of judgment, Yucie and her friends meet a mysterious figure, wrapped in a tattered brown cloak. The judge's identity is hinted at when she uses her magic staff to change all of the candidates' clothing similar to her own. Out of friendship for Yucie, and to support her wish to save Prince Arrow, Glenda, Cocoloo, Elmina, and Beth all renounce their candidacy, making Yucie the only choice. The Tiara accepts Yucie as its new master. However, in one final twist, the girls realize that those not chosen by the Tiara will simply vanish. Yucie refuses to accept the Tiara when she learns this, and tells the others she is determined to save the Prince some other way, as she cannot sacrifice her friends in the process.
After careful thought, Glenda, Cocoloo, Elmina, and Beth ask the judge to erase Yucie's memories of them, so that she can return to the Human Realm in time to save the prince. In a tearful final goodbye, Glenda, perhaps Yucie's strongest rival, tells her to never forget to be her cheerful self. After Yucie leaves, the remaining four sketch a portrait of themselves and Yucie on a stone slab, in remembrance of their friendship, and disappear.
Yucie returns to save Prince Arrow and collapses from exhaustion. The Eternal Tiara disappears after its owner makes her wish, its immense power quelled by Yucie's strength of heart, and history repeats itself. Yucie awakens to the keen sense that she has lost something of great importance to her, but cannot remember what. Her father, Gunbard, feels responsible for her misery, since he was the one who put the Tiara together and restarted the Legend in their lifetime. With the help of the fathers of the missing girls, he opens the gateway to the place of judgment so Yucie and Prince Arrow can retrieve what was lost.
Yucie faces the cloaked figure once more and demands that what was lost be returned. The viewers discover that the ruined empty world that was the place of judgment is actually the lost Magic World, a sixth realm in this story's universe. The judge was actually a Platinum Princess Candidate 1,000 years ago, a princess of the Magic Realm, who refused the Tiara to save her friends, but lost her friends and her world to destruction as a result.
Yucie stumbles across Cocoloo's drawing, which breaks the judge's spell and unlocks all of her memories. The princess of the Magic Realm chides Yucie for not accepting her fate, but Yucie tells her how important friends are, as they are her true strength, and recalls all the great moments she had with each of them. With her power as the Platinum Princess, her tears shine brightly on the ground, causing a miracle.
All the spirits of the Magic Realm rush to Yucie, who can now hear them. She tells the princess of the Magic Realm that all who died there still love her, and that they have always been with her these 1,000 years, and they never regretted fighting alongside her to the very end. The judge realizes that she had never been alone and that she had made the right choice in trying to save her friends. Yucie's power covers the ground with Sunset Blossoms, and a Crystal Flower emerges from the ground to the hands of the Princess of the Magic Realm. The 6th and final fragment is added to the Eternal Tiara. Together, the former and present Plantinum Princess combine their strength to make Yucie's wish come true. The Magic Realm finally collapses after its last princess, smiling with joy, disappears.
In the end, Yucie and her fellow former candidates are readmitted into the Academy for further study. With the curse lifted, and the Eternal Tiara again fragmented and sealed, they can finally grow up normally and enjoy their mutual friendship at their own pace.
Platinum Princess Candidates
- Yucie (ユーシィ Yūshi?)
- Similar to classic Princess Maker tradition, Yucie was found as an infant by the knight Gunbard after a battle, and became his adopted daughter. Due to an unknown curse, she stopped growing at the age of ten, and looks like a child despite the fact that she is now seventeen. Yucie is very cheerful and gregarious, but she has a very strong desire to break her curse and become an adult. One of the reasons is that she oftens feels that being small in size is a hinder to others, thus wishing to grow up. Yucie becomes a Platinum Princess candidate after she sees the light of the Eternal Tiara, which is not visible to others. It is also said that she is the princess of the human world, seen in the last episode. However, there is no evidence to prove it. She also loves Arc.
- Kokoru/Cocoloo (ココルー Kokorū?)
- Kokoru (spelled "Cocoloo" in the subtitles of the ADV Films release) is a soft-spoken young woman who becomes Yucie's friend very early in the series. She is a fellow student at the Princess Academy (later revealed to be the Princess of the Spirit World), who wears tiny spectacles at the end of her nose, with her chief characteristics being self-effacing and gentle. Cocoloo is so gentle that she is often ignored and talked-over by the much louder Yucie and Glenda, which causes Cocoloo to lament that she "has no presence after all" (Which is rather ironic, as Cocoloo is the princess of the Spirit World). However, Cocoloo is amazingly kind and encouraging towards her friends, which makes an impression on everyone who gets to know her. She, too, suffers from a curse that makes her look ten, even though she is seventeen.
- Glenda (グレンダ Gurenda?)
- As Princess of the Demon World, Glenda is fiercely competitive and has strong magical powers. She immediately butts heads with Yucie, her rival to become the Platinum Princess. Glenda is a braggart who frequently proclaims herself as "fantastic" and "elegant," and is also often selfish, jealous, and temperamental. But she has a sweet side which she tries to hide, and eventually becomes very close friends with Yucie (perhaps, even overly-protective of her), even though she's loathe to admit it. Throughout her friendship with her new friends, she changes to more honestly enjoy friendship and have fun with her friends. She is seventeen, but like the others, has the body of a ten-year-old, although she looks rather developed. She desires to be the platinum princess because she wishes to become an adult. She believes if she becomes an adult, her dad will do his job as lord of the demon world properly, her mother would return, and she would have the power to protect all of the demons living in the demon world.
- Elmina (エルミナ Erumina?)
- As the Princess of the Sky Realm, Elmina wears white robes and has wings. Elmina is very studious and fastidious, and a bit of a humorless goody-two-shoes. When she was younger, her stern father (who is the king of the Sky Realm) would not tolerate imperfection. Elmina tries very hard to be perfect, and she is also very hard on herself whenever she makes a mistake. Once she made a mistake or is fail she will be depressed and loses her confidence to keep going, because of her sad memories with her father in the past. With her new friends at the Princess Academy, Elmina slowly learns to be more secure and not to give up even when she fails. Elmina is also the tallest of the 5 candidates. Looks ten, but is actually seventeen as a result of the same curse.
- Beth (ベス Besu?)
- Beth is the princess of the fairy world. She is very athletic, stubborn, and has strong magical powers (The helmet she wears acts as an amplifier for her magic). Although she is also a Platinum Princess candidate, she left the Princess Academy after an evil force named Diabolos attacked her world. She is so determined to become the Platinum Princess that she once kidnapped Cocoloo and tries to force her to give up on her candidacy. As a result of difficulties she is suffering in her world, she refuses the offers of friendship from the other girls and regards them as her enemies. Due to this attitude, the residents of the fairy world regard her as dangerous. However, after many meetings with the other girls, Beth learns to open up and accepts the other candidates' friendship, for which the most thanks can go to Cocoloo. Diabolos was later defeated by the power of the heart of Yucie, Elmina, Cocoloo, Glenda and herself. Her father in a form of tree which supports the fairy world and trapped Diabolos inside him before the girls came to help defeat it, with Arc hurt! She also suffers from a curse that traps her in a ten-year-old's body, even though she is actually seventeen.
- Gunbard (ガンバード Ganbādo?)
- Gunbard found the infant Yucie after a battle and raised her as his own. He was once a legendary knight, and is often referred to as "the Hero Gunbard". But now he spends all his time doting on Yucie and is always cooking her large amounts of food which she does not always appreciate. Gunbard, fondly called "Papa" by Yucie, may have a mysterious connection with Queen Ercell as well as one to the Eternal Tiara itself. It is found out later that he is the one to have completed the Eternal Tiara, which was then separated in different parts and scattered around the different worlds. At the same time, it was found out later that he was the first lover of Queen Ercell. This is also the reason why he wanted to complete the Eternal Tiara, so that he can gain a title in order to propose to Ercell. However much to his surprise, when he returned upon the completion of the Tiara, he found out that Ercell had gotten married (to the man who became King) and already had a son. Gunbard might be Arc's biological father. He once denied it, but may have simply wanted Arc to remember the King as his "real" father, since he was the one who raised and cared for him, just as Gunbard is Yucie's "real" father. Contrary to popular belief, he is blind.
- Cube (キューブ Kyūbu?)
- A demon and a loyal steward to both Yucie and her father, Gunbard, Cube is able to summon magical items through sorcery, with which he helps Yucie out in several occasions. He is one of Yucie's best friends. During the story, we learn that Cube was formerly Glenda's steward, but has been banished from the Demon World by her (Glenda's) mother.
- Queen Ercell (エルセル女王 Eruseru Ojōu?)
- Queen Ercell, in addition to being queen, is also the principal of the Princess Academy, and the keeper of the Eternal Tiara. She is in charge of finding the Platinum Princess candidates and guiding them through their tasks. She clearly seems to recognize Gunbard by the gasp she makes when Yucie announces she is his daughter to Queen Ercell, but what connection Queen Ercell might have remains is kept somewhat mysterious for much of the series. But Gunbard was actually Ercell's lover many years ago. Gunbard went to gather the parts of the Eternal Tiara so that he would be able to marry Ercell, to his dismay, when he returned, Ercell was already married.
- Arc/Prince Arrow (アルク Aruku?)
- Arc is a mysterious young man dressed in a cape and fedora. He first meets Yucie when he seeks shelter at a church at which she is temporarily working. It turns out that he is being sought by the castle guards, which alarms Yucie. Although Yucie is very saucy towards Arc, she finds herself drawn to him. Arc heroically saves Yucie when they encounter a demon from the Demon World. He also calls her "Huge Forehead" to tease her about her big forehead, much to her consternation. After kissing her on her forehead a few times, he finally gives her a real kiss, which is witnessed by her friends. Arc is also hunting for the one that first put together the Eternal Tiara, which he feels will lead him to his real father. In reality, he is Prince Arrow, son of Queen Ercell. (This is in fact the reason he is being sought by guards, as he escaped from the castle to find his 'biological father'.) At the same time, he is the prince that once saved Yucie when she was in danger when they were small. Later on, it was shown that Arc was also drawn to Yucie.
- Gaga (ガガ Gaga?)
- Gaga is Glenda's steward. He is a seven-foot-tall black-bodied cat-like demon with long, silver hair. This very old man demon has occasional accidents when his hip goes out and can make long-winded lectures that can put anyone listening to sleep, much to his annoyance. Always loyal without question, Gaga takes great pride in being a steward. He also has the ability to transform into a black, red-eyed cat with bat-like wings.
- Chau/Chawoo (チャウ Chau?)
- Cocoloo's steward. Chawoo is a ghost who often hides in her shadow, so the other characters do not meet him until well into the series. He is very devoted to Cocoloo and will always defend her. However, being too devoted to Cocoloo, he is often seem exaggerating events to others, even to much of the extent of lying. He speaks with a heavy Kansai dialect.
- Belbel (ベルベル Beruberu?)
- Belbel is a very cute little Tinkerbell-like fairy who is Beth's steward. While she is obedient to Beth, she also tries to talk Beth into giving the other girls a chance which actually ends up working in the end. Most of her sentences end with "desu" (です, "yes" in the English dub).
- Balizan (バリザん Barizan?)
- Balizan is a golden-coloured robot who is Elmina's steward.
- Music Instructor, Yellow-Dressed Princess
- "Genius of Smiles" (えがおのてんさい Egao no Tensai?)
- "Because I Cannot Say It" (言えないから Ienai Kara?)
- "Friends, Yet Rivals" (ともだちでライバル Tomodachi de Raibaru?) : Ep. 21
- Lyrics by: Hiromi Mori
- Composition and Arrangement by: Seikou Nagaoka
- Performed by: Puchipurīzu (Maria Yamamoto, Yuki Matsuoka, Yukari Fukui, Ayako Kawasumi, Fumiko Orikasa)
Takami Akai, the character designer for the Princess Maker series of games (also by Gainax), was the character designer and original creator for Yucie. Thus, there are many similarities between characters in the Princess Maker games and this series. Of note, Yucie's appearance is based on Lisa, the daughter from Princess Maker 3; the judge in the final episode has the same appearance as Maria, the daughter from Princess Maker 1; and the young Queen Ercell has the same appearance as Olive, the daughter from Princess Maker 2.
Around episode 14, the ending imagery begins showing images of all five girls instead of images of just Yucie, and while the ending theme title doesn't change, the wording does change slightly. This reverts briefly for episode 19 with the ending imagery returning to what it was before, while the wording remains slightly changed.
- "ADV Films Shuts Down, Transfers Assets to Other Companies". Anime News Network. 2009-09-01. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
- (Japanese) Gainax's Official Puchi Puri Website
- Petite Princess Yucie (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Petite Princess Yucie Full Episode Summaries and Screenshots