O-hai lucky! This is your charming host, pluffei~ For today’s menu, we have the first impressions of Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji Love 1000%!
Let’s dig in, itadakimasu~
I’ll put it out there now, I dislike it when otome-games (reverse harem games) are turned into anime (i.e., Hakuouki and Starry Sky were utter disasters for me). The art is always spectacular in the games (it’s guaranteed to have plenty of fanservice for the growing number of otaku girls out there), and the voice acting is usually stellar as well, but aside from the two aforementioned qualities, it just seems too hard to have anything else good carry over to anime. In-game, the main chick always pissed me off, character development only happens to the character you choose to pursue (because girls obviously can’t whore themselves out like how guys can pimp and play), and everyone has approximately the same 6 expressions: normal, embarrassed, angry, happy, sad and
herp-derpy confused. Translated to anime, what we get is a show with too many BL references with stereotypical male personas and this one useless girl who just happens to be there.
<<Skip to the end of this article to see the one thing in this show that’s worth watching!>>
One can imagine that I started watching this series with very low expectations. But I figured I might as well try out the series, because I always try out reverse harem series. UtaPri seems to be about girl who enters Saotome Academy in hopes of becoming a songwriter. I was pleasantly surprised that she wasn’t some random transfer student or that she happened to be the only girl in a previously all-boy’s school, or something silly like that. However, I was not impressed the opening scene –which kindly informed me that once again the main character was going to be a flimsy overly gentle high school girl — nor was I impressed by the OP. If anything, the OP lowered my expectations for the show (if that’s even possible) because it was (and still is) the most flamboyant thing I’ve ever seen. It consisted of 6 anime boys dancing and singing in broken English a la Japanese boy band style, all of whom were wearing various flashy clothing and accessories that I can’t even name. They were color coded in the colors of the rainbow to boot. I am sad to say that though my endurance is high, I was not able to sit through the OP and promptly skipped to the episode portion.
The episode itself wasn’t awful, but it was far from good. All the characters were introduced one after another, in an obvious and clichéd manner. First to be introduced was the main character’s (oh yeah, she has a name, doesn’t she? It happens to be Nanami Haruka, voiced by Sawashiro Miyuki, who is one of my favorite VA’s; she voiced Celty from Durarara!, among others) best friend and coincidentally her room mate, Shibuya Tomochika (voiced by Imai Yuka). Next were some of Haruka’s pretty boy classmates and her cross-dressing teacher:
Ittoki Otoya (VA: Terashima Takuya; i.e., Apollo from Sousei no Aquarion) – the token rookie boy-next-door type; Haruka meets him in the opening scene, before she tested into Saotome Academy.
Shinomiya Natsuki (VA: Taniyama Kishou; i.e., Ikuhara Takeya from DearS) – he looks like a Canada from Hetalia, but he’s loud and spontaneous, and loves cute things; Haruka meets him because he tries jumping her because she looked like his dog, Elizabeth.
Hijirikawa Masato (VA: Suzumura Kenichi; i.e., Asuka Shin from Gundam SEED Destiny) – the stereotypical quiet cool and snooty type; he saves Haruka from Canada-look-alike’s molestation tendencies.
Tsukimiya Ringo (VA: Nakamura Yuuichi; i.e., Okazaki Tomoya from Clannad) – Haruka’s cross-dressing super idol teacher. I still can’t believe he’s not female.
During class, Haruka discovers that her teacher is actually a male, and to my amusement, he promptly walks over and denies his sex. The episode fast forwards to lunchtime, and we (the viewers) are introduced to yet two more pretty boys:
Kurusu Shou (VA: Shimono Hiro; i.e., Katsuragi Keima from World God Only Knows) – the really really pretty boy type who tries too hard to be manly; he catches Haruka’s lunch pass before it drops on the floor, and before she trips in the process of picking it up.
Jinguuji Ren (VA: Suwabe Junichi; i.e., Archer from Fate/Stay Night) – the playboy type, and he doesn’t deny it; he’s the other person Haruka meets in the opening scene.
As the episode finally moves on, Haruka divulges her past and reason for wanting to become a songwriter to her roommate. Haruka was a weakly child who lived in the countryside with an old lady, so when she moved back into the city, she was unused to the hustle and bustle, and fainted in the streets. There, she hears the heavenly song of an idol singing on one of those big fancy screens one often sees attached to skyscrapers. The idol’s name is Hayato, and for the sake of one day writing a song for said idol, Haruka decides to be a songwriter. This flashback could have been a lot more sentimental and heart warming, but the way the anime portrays the story is just too boring. Characters are introduced as if they were names on a list (you see what I did up there? I made a list), and generally the events that occur happen as if they were being read line for line, word for word, from a really boring summer reading list book.
At the end of the flashback the two girls exchange meaning words and glances, and the roommate leaves to get some water. During the time she’s gone, a cat conveniently steals Haruka’s handkerchief, and leads her to a garden-ish area, in which she meets the final member of her potential love interests of the episode:
Ichinose Tokiya (VA: Miyano Mamoru; i.e., Setsuna F. Seiei from Gundam 00, or Light Yagami from Death Note): Haruka first mistakes him for her beloved Hayato, but it turns out that he’s actually Hayato’s twin younger brother.
It also turns out that Tokiya hates being compared to Hayato, and feels some sort of deep set resent for his brother. Well, we’ve all seen that before. Nonetheless, the episode ends with Haruka being shocked by the fact that someone could possibly hate her beloved idol. The ED rolls in, and I’m relieved that the episode is finally over. I admit there were parts that I just couldn’t sit through, so I fast forwarded through them and basked in the glory of high pitched high speed talking.
I would likely never recommend this to any heterosexual male. However, the show does have its good points. The character designs were amazing, since very little quality was lost in translation from PSP game to anime, and the animation is good too as far as slice-of-life/romance is concerned (the frames were fluid, walking looks like real walking, running looks like running). Therefore, for everyone else, I would only recommend if they’re able to sit through just episodes and episodes of nothing more than fanservicey bishounen voiced by popular male voice actors set in (again) clichéd situations.
And finally, the best part of the show. The PRINCIPAL of Saotome Academy. Saotome Shining, voiced by Wakamoto Norio (WAKAMOTO NORIO, ALL HAIL BRITANNIA) is the by far the best character in the show. In fact, they should rename the show from Uta no Prince-sama to Uta no PRINCIPAL-sama. Starting at the 7th minute of the show, the principal shows up to the opening ceremony donning a crimson robe, ruff and masquerade mask, and jumps off the rooftop of a nearby building. A whole minute of a Wakamoto Norio soliloquy ensues, peppered generously with his striking poses both in midair and dancing on a stage in front of the new students. I found this to be the most amusing and informative minute of the entire episode, although sadly it’s not worth watching all 24 minutes of the show for.
Gochisousama deshita, over and out!