Alternate names: UtoPrince, Uto no Prince-Sama Maji Love 1000%
Episodes: 13 (Japanese-dub, English-subbed version)
Genre: Shoujo, Romance, Harem, Drama, Comedy
Reviewer’s Note: This review contains a few spoilers. Sorry about that, but I considered it necessary in order to better review this title.
This series is based on a popular Otome franchise. The story revolves around a group of musicians and composers attending the prestigious Saotome Academy. The academy is an audition for the Saotome Music Agency and is helmed by a former male idol named Shining Saotome.
When home-taught composer Haruka Nanami arrives at the academy, she has to contend with the harsh reality that simply wanting to succeed is not enough. Over time, she gains support from six idol contenders, each with their own baggage, as well as a female friend named Tomochika Shibuya and a meddling cat.
Whilst this series is a huge advertisement for King Records, it manages to be a good blend of drama and comedy. The reverse harem elements are there, but we see more of a focus on the creation of an idol group and their composer team. This makes for a compelling and sometimes humorous story. We see rivalries and the bizarre world of Saotome Academy which is heavily surveilled by the eccentric Shining Saotome. It is at-times over-the-top and silly, but it somehow works.
To the characters, there is plenty of variation in the personality and appearance of the characters. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of male love interests as in the case of that delightfully absurd series of Brothers Conflict. Brothers Conflict was made entertaining because of it. However, it was a tad silly.
To the music, which is a big part of this series, I probably enjoyed about half of the songs. It is more of a personal preference thing, and likely won’t be a big problem for most fans of J-Pop. I simply liked the tracks with more of a rock edge.
The voice acting for the Japanese dub version was reasonable. I recognized a few familiar voices in there (even if I may not be overly familiar with a lot of Japanese voice actors), which did a good job of their roles within the show.
To my rating of the guys in the series, here goes:
- Otoya Ittoki: Otoya is sweet and a lot more stable than the other five guys. He is cute, kind and hard-working. He is also one of the first two members of the school that Nanami meets. His character design works because it doesn’t try to be quirky for the sake of being quirky.
- Cecil Ajima: Whilst he only appears in human form once (Otome series periodically have shapeshifters and guardian spirits as side characters that are often tools to move the story forward), he is an ever-present guide for Nanami. His character design is attractive and his personality easily places as number two on the list.
- Satsuki/Natsuki Shinomiya: Satsuki is more honest than his glasses-wearing counterpart, even if prone to bouts of superhuman levels of violence. He also exudes sex appeal. Natsuki is a little over-protective and a bit of a meddler when it comes to best friend Syo. Whilst Natsuki’s attempts to help often result in trauma and/or food poisoning, both he and Satsuki are otherwise good-hearted.
- Ryuuya Hyuuga: Ryuuga is the teacher for Class S and a popular actor in action films and television series. Whilst not one of the wannabe idols that are the focus of the reverse harem element of this series, he is still level-headed and hard-working. His cool exterior and athletic physique give him a place on this list.
- Shou Kurusu: Shou is adorable, even if prone to shouting in annoyance. His lack of emotional baggage and lack of whining put him higher on the list than the likes of Ren, Masato, and Tokiya. His character design is also quite reasonable even if his hair is a bit weird.
- Ren Jinguuji: Whilst the hottest guy in this series, he is a bit of a whiner and tends to spend more time hitting on the ladies instead of focusing on his music. The saxophone thing is also a bit tacky.
- Masato Hijirikawa: Whilst good-hearted, Masato comes off as way too broody for his own good. Still, he is a lot less whiney than Ren and Tokiya. The only reason he is lower on the list than Ren is that I am not a big fan of his character design. His hair is weird. His beauty mark is also a bit distracting.
- Tokiya Ichinose: Whilst Hayato is the reason for Nanami wanting to become a composer in the first place, he comes off as way too whiney on account of his unwillingness to clearly and firmly convey what he is thinking. He creates most of his own problems, which places him at the bottom of this list.
So, to some points of humor, this series played around with some cliches. Whilst some of these related to character drama, we did see some amusing use of tropes to create drama. This included the following:
- Workaholic Exhaustion: Over-work creates an immediate effect on the immune system.
- Recharge a phone? Hell no!: After all, what better way to create drama than to have the phone go dead in the middle of a conversation?
- Eccentric Overlord: Oh, Shining Saotome… Where would we be without this eccentric mastermind with “white devil” hair? (If you don’t get that film reference, you’ve been living under a rock.)
In conclusion, this is one of the better anime adaptations of an Otome franchise that I have also never played. Given how fun this series was, it is no wonder why it saw three more series. Whilst it may not be the most “realistic”, it was a pretty enjoyable and cute ride that I can see myself rewatching sometime again in future. I look forward to watching more in the series in the not-so-distant future.