To the upper class, espionage is considered honorable work.
――Are there any other settings that piqued your interest?
As I said before, the mechanical aspect is developed and the transmission of information is still slow, so that gap is interesting. So that the spies could carry out their activities, they have inverted the world view.
If it were an internet society as in current times, one could hack the target and find out all kinds of information, but in a society where the internet isn’t developed, HUMINT (intelligence which uses humans) exercises great power.
Currently in America there is the NSA (National Security Agency) which has a lot of power. They are analyzing big data on various things in their enormous data center; that is information that far surpasses the CIA’s spying work. In the world of Princess Principal, they actually infiltrate and acquire information so the work of a spy has value.
Also, the setting is a divided London and it is only 10 years after the revolution, so the people, language, and culture easily come and go, making it an easy setting for spies to carry out their activities. In Japan’s case, its hard to do that with foreign countries and even in the case of South and North Korea, after 60 years of division, differences emerge that hinder intelligence activities. England is a class society so even one’s use of words is also analyzed. I am interested to see how the girls from the lower class managed to mimic the mannerisms of the upper class.
――Within the characters, the Japanese exchange student, Chise, is a spy from a foreign country. How do you view her?
She is an exchange student spy so it is possible that she is a double spy attached to some other information agency. Or, through allowing her to enroll at the school for high-class girls, she could be learning about the manners and behaviors of the upper class. Spying is not a job that can be done without education because you need to be able to infiltrate the place you’ve been assigned to and expertly conduct oneself within the social circle.
It seems that when one actually meets Putin, he is very sociable and often makes people laugh. You don’t know if this is his real character or if he has been trained this way. It seems that you are taught table manners, the art of conversation, and Western capitalist economics. In that meaning, spies can be called sophisticated people who are capable of free thought. Ange is able to change her exterior very quickly and I think it’s a result of such training.
Also, depending on where the spy was trained, their character is different. Putin was a spy from the first head office assigned overseas so he received training to be a likable person with good mannerisms, but those from the second head office are trained for domestic supervision agencies so they don’t need to be sociable. In this anime, Chise is not sociable but she may be necessary because she is a sword-wielding assassin. The princess has a perfect cover so she uses sociability to negotiate. They are both spies but their roles are different and this is reflected in their character.
――Where would the motivation be for noblemen to become spies just like the princess?
Since the war, there hasn’t been an intelligence agency in Japan so it is a bit difficult to create an image, but depending on the country, working in an intelligence agency is an honorable way to serve the state. The workers have a lot of pride and just like in England’s MI6, there are noblemen who believe that because they are noblemen, they should serve their country by entering the agency; it is kind of like becoming the highest form of civil servant.
――I see. That may be why James Bond is treated as a hero.
In the West there is 007 but in the East, there is the 1968 Soviet spy series The Shield and the Sword which became the reason Putin looked up to the KGB. I think they may be portrayed the same as the heroes who punish the bad guys in the detective dramas we watch. This is unrelated to the truth.
So in light of that, the princess joining a spy team should not be interpreted badly. Also, she is fourth in line to the throne so for a somewhat unimportant princess to do such an honorable job made me think that she is a very ambitious person [laugh]. In the princess’ case she is active as a spy in the capital, London, but it is rare for her to be sent to enemy territory. But stories of change are like that. I am very curious about future developments.
――Now then, to conlcude, which points are you excited about from now on?
The seemingly close girls themselves say that ‘lying is their job’ so I am interested to know if there is actual friendship between them. They have to tell lies but what kind of relationship will be built between them? If I watch while thinking that they want to be friends, I feel very sad.
Also, as a military critic, I am curious about how this divided world will develop. As the colonel says, it is a situation in which if you make one misstep, a Scandinavian war will break out. The part that interests me is whether the girls’ spy battle will continue in these peaceful times or whether the perilous blanace kept by the country will crumble somewhere. I am looking forward to watching it.