Haizakura, after waking up, and seeing Yugiri
"Haizakura, after waking up, and seeing Yugiri," Prima Doll, " The First Melody," directed by Tensho, 2022, (HiDive)

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“Prima Doll” may give you “Violet Evergarden” vibes as it explores the post-war life of mechanical dolls.


Aired (HiDive) 7/7/2022
Created or Developed By Visual Arts/ Key
Director(s) Tensho
Writer(s) Tohya Okano, Kai
Genre Action, Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi, Animation, Non-English (Japanese), War
Introduced This Episode
Haizakura Azumi Waki
Nagi Tooma Ayumu Murase
Chiyo Misaki Kuno
Yugiri Komatsu Mikako

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Summary

Haizakura, like many Prima Dolls, was once an instrument of war. However, like many weapons from the old days, she has been reset and repurposed. She now works at The Black Cat with other Prima Dolls, but unlike the others, she doesn’t find her purpose in her repairman, Nagi Tooma’s, shop so easily. She isn’t a good cook, server, or hostess.

Nagi Tooma (Ayumu Murase) introducing himself to Haizakura
“Nagi Tooma (Ayumu Murase) introducing himself to Haizakura,” Prima Doll, ” The First Melody,” directed by Tensho, 2022, (HiDive)

But, one thing she seems capable of, which could become worrisome, is having some level of control over Mechanica, less personable machines, and she can even active sleeping Prima Dolls. Which leads to the question, who was Haizakura before Nagi came to be in possession of her?

Things To Note

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Why did the war start?
  2. Is Nagi Tooma the son, nephew, or grandson of Professor Tooma, who seemingly invented Prima Dolls?
  3. How many Prima Dolls are there?

What Could Happen Next

  1. An exploration of each doll’s past from back when Nagi was a soldier

Review

Highlights

There Is Enough Presented To Get You Emotional

While Haizakura’s plight and the rest of the Prima Dolls we’ll see throughout the season aren’t dived into, we are introduced to Yugiri’s story and her being like a big sister to a young girl named Chiyo. Now, their story may not affect you if you’re not a big-time crier. However, if you are, watching a child finally be reunited by a caretaker after they lost most of their family, it will pull at your heartstrings. Not enough for an ugly cry and to start heaving, but enough to stir up your emotions.

Which, if “Prima Doll” can keep that up an entire season? It could make it an underrated favorite.

Haizakura’s Mystery

Haizakura (Azumi Waki) with a shocked expression on her face
“Haizakura (Azumi Waki) with a shocked expression on her face,” Prima Doll, ” The First Melody,” directed by Tensho, 2022, (HiDive)

Some of Nagi’s dolls seem to be part of his former regiment, others appear to be inherited like Haizakura. But, one thing not dove into is what these dolls did in the war. Are the skills we see, from cooking, serving, and pouring tea, based on skills they used when killing people and robots? If so, what was Haizakura’s skill?

Should we assume, with the introduction of Yugiri’s story and being told she is broken from commanding too many Mechanica, that maybe alongside Mechanica, Haizakura can control other Prima Dolls? Is her sugar-sweet look and nature made to get you a false sense before she snaps your neck, or has a weapon do it for her?

Like everyone else, she was reset, with memories erased, and it is assumed her more violent capabilities were disabled. So what’s going on here?

The World Building Which Can Be Done

We’re someone who is heavy into world-building, and a country post-war is ripe for exploration and development. Why did the war start, who was fighting, and how did things end? There are so many questions to ask. This is alongside, what was done before the creation of Prima Dolls, and what happened to the ones that weren’t subservient and willing to die for a human war?

These questions and a litany of others bubble up and drive the need for additional episodes.

Initial Impression

While it might be unfair to compare this to “Violet Evergarden,” considering the only similarity is that the show pursues having emotional episodic characters and has a partly mechanical lead, it is still a compliment. Not too many anime can easily stir emotions on the first episode. So there is hope that “Prima Doll” can fill the void.

Haizakura, after waking up, and seeing Yugiri
Prima Doll: Season 1/ Episode 1 “The First Melody” [Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Overall
"Prima Doll" may come off familiar, but with it being lighter fare than its contemporary and not an apples-to-apples anime, it might be able to tap into good memories of "Violet Evergarden" while creating its own path.
Highlights
There Is Enough Presented To Get You Emotional
Haizakura's Mystery
The World Building Which Can Be Done
Disputable
80

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