Uta no Prince-sama – Season 1

Uta no Prince-sama – Season 1

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With dreams of becoming a composer and one day writing a song for her favourite idol, Haruka Nanami enters Saotome Academy, the prestigious performing arts school. If she successfully graduates that means that she can join the Shining Agency to begin her professional career. But this won’t be as easy at it first seems. On her first day Haruka is surrounded by potential idols and talented composers. Her tutor is a successful idol, the headmaster was a record-breaking singer and life at Saotome Academy looks to be competitive and hard work. Haruka meets some very promising male performers, but which one will she choose to work with?

Uta no Prince-sama is a coming-of-age romantic comedy that is essentially a reverse-harem. Haruka ends up with six very attractive bishounen vying for her attention: Otoya Ittoki, a boy-next-door type; Masato Hijirikawa, serious and traditional; Natsuki Shinomiya who is gentle and kind; cheerful and energetic Syo Kurusu; rich playboy Ren Jinguji and the dark and mysterious Tokiya Ichinose.

IMG_1965.PNGWhat attracted me to this anime (besides all the gorgeous bishounen) was the fact that the main character actually had some substance to her. Usually, in harem animes, the protagonist has a very bland low-profile personality to make room for the large personalities of their harem such as Souta from If Her Flag Breaks and Angelique from Neo Angelique Abyss. Haruka, on the other hand, doesn’t fall into the same type of character pitfalls or is in danger of becoming a Mary-Sue. Whilst she is sometimes dwarfed by the big personalities surrounding her in what can only be described as a love-hexagon, I can forgive her being generally passive and naive because, if her personality was any different, the guys’ personalities would have never come together like they do.

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Uta no Prince-sama‘s two main selling points for me were, of course, the gorgeous guys, and the music. Even though there’s six male leads, they all have their own time in the spotlight and plenty of time to develop their character as well as interacting with one another as well as Haruka herself. Since all the personalities are so strong, some of them are bound to clash, and we see some great scenes with conflict between Masato and Ren as well as Syo yelling at Tokiya (with the more good-natured characters of Otoya and Natsuki trying to keep the peace, of course). There’s also a decent amount of group interaction, which can be difficult when keeping dialogue flowing convincingly and realistically.

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The music is absolutely fantastic – and you would expect so, being as this is an anime all about musical geniuses. Both the opening and ending scenes are ridiculously catchy. Whenever I hear “Maji Love 1000%” it stays in my head for hours. I’m not one for repeatedly sitting through anime ending credits, but I couldn’t help myself in this instance. The music within the show is also great, taking in some really gorgeous melodies and heartfelt lyrics. There’s real passion to be sensed within the songs and, as a result, they are a real pleasure to listen to.

There are a few supporting characters that, whilst pushed into the background a bit, still contribute to the story and don’t feel like they’re there for the sake of it. There’s Haruka’s best friend Tomo-chan, who helps to keep Haruka’s feet on the ground whilst her head is in the clouds (and her eyes firmly locked on all the gorgeous men), the cross-dressing idol/teacher and the hard-to-read headteacher, who all play their own parts in moving the plot along.

The animation, too, is very fluid and smooth. The mail leads all have their own styles, carry themselves differently and even walk differently – from the carefree run to the predatory strut. I do have an issue with Haruka’s eyes, though. I don’t know why they’re so different from all the other characters but they have a peculiar glazed quality that make her look almost lizard-like in some scenes. It’s something that I’ve never been able to ignore.

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One thing that doesn’t go in Uta no Prince-sama‘s favour is the strength of the plot, and the fact that Haruka often gets forgotten in the midst of the suddenly-more-exciting supergroup the boys form: STARISH. In the concluding episodes, where they look to make their singing debut, it feels like the producers realised that nothing much was happening with the main character anymore and suddenly made up something silly to pull her back into the spotlight. The headmaster revealed that saying she “was missing something” for being able to compose songs for STARISH was his way of testing if she really had the one thing that he thought she lacked: an ego. It didn’t fit at all with Haruka’s character at all and felt like this part of the plot was just an afterthought.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this anime. Aesthetically, musically and eye-candy-wise, it was an absolute delight. And with light elements of comedy, constant entertainment and a solid cast, I would definitely suggest you watch this if you’re looking for a decent reverse-harem anime.