English: Uta no Prince Sama
Synonyms: Uta no Prince-sama: Maji Love 1000%, UtaPri
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 3, 2011 to Sep 24, 2011
Producers: A-1 Pictures, Dwango, Showgate
Genres: Comedy, Romance, School, Shoujo, Harem
Duration: 25 min. per episode
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
When I first heard about this show, I already had suspected that it was going to be a harem, for I had already watched La Corda d'Oro, which also had a musical theme to it.
However, the only differences... Uta no Prince-Sama Maji Love 1000% doesn't center around magic, and the talent is all real. The show is pretty predictable as your watch. But if you know that going in, it makes it enjoyable. You’re waiting for those expected moments to happen and can celebrate when they do. Utapri is cheesy too. Though like the predictability, it adds to the show’s charm.
Haruka Nanami who has a dream of being a famous composer after falling for singing idol Hayato. She attends Saotome Academy, ran by a headmaster who’s so eccentric that it would put Albus Dumbledore to shame. There she meets six lovely men all with talent for singing and music. At the end of the year to graduate, one composer must be paired with an idol to pass and win their debut. But Haruka must face her biggest trial when all six men choose her to be their partner.
The cast of characters is definitely a high point. Though, Nanami is much to be desired as the main character. She’s the stereotypical “Oh no! Look how clumsy I am, but I have a huge heart!” This is nothing new in this genre. It would be nice to see a new mold in reverse harem anime where the main chick is actually mean and catty. She meets the men and gets put down. It’s the kindness of the men that help her change into that better person. Nanami does have some redeeming qualities that make her tolerable. For example, she starts the school lacking the ability to read music. But through hard work and effort, she teaches herself to not let her friends down. Her talent is something she works for which is admirable.
The men are honestly the greatest part of the show. The six of them counterbalance each other well. One or two of them aren’t quite as interesting, but they would miss them if they weren’t in the show. First there’s Ittoki, who’s the optimistic one of the group. He pairs well with Nanami and usually can help her convince the group to partake in activities. Ichinose is the boy who has the biggest drive in the plot. The last several episodes revolve around him and for good reason. He has secrets being kept from the rest of the cast.
Hijirikawa and Ren are the next two. They grew up together and are roommates, but act as if they don’t like each other. Hijirikawa is serious and conservative while Ren is quite the flirt. Finally, there are Syo and Natsuki who are childhood friends. Syo’s character is interesting because he’s the shortest. One would think that he would be cute and adorable. But he’s tough and won’t take crap from anyone including Natsuki. Natsuki takes the role of being the one in the group who loves adorable things. But he has a dark side which was both humorous and surprising.
Music is such a big part of this show. Every episode has a character song in it. It’s well written. The metaphors in the song usually push the underlying feelings of the character singing. These feeling might not have a chance to be directly stated, so adding that extra layer adds to the character development. But since it’s such a big part of these characters and their lives, one must be curious to read the manga. I want to know how the music transfers over, and how it transfers to written form.
But if you are a fan of character songs, you won’t be disappointed in this show.
The art and animation is great even if the boys frolic like they’re trying to fling off invisible jellyfish. The fluidity of their movements is well drawn as well as their facial expressions in the moment. It is subtle aspects and details that can really make an anime. For example, the frays on their clothes actually move. Other shows sometimes make the option to overlook this detail. The end of the last episode when Starish (the boys’ band) performs their debut song has surprises too. Instead of replaying the ending animation again, they added new parts to look for through the end credits. It’s rewarding that they didn’t repeat material.
One big critique lies in Nanami’s animation. She is the only character that doesn’t have light drawn in her eyes. It’s off putting especially since she’s the light to these men.
If Utapri was a few episodes longer, things could have more time to be fully explained. But there’s so much time focused on Ichinose towards the end of the season that the other men are left out. It’s the only bit of insight we have on everyone’s past
Overall, Utapri is definitely not for everyone. It’s not the greatest or most ground breaking anime, but it’s enjoyable. Ladies would appreciate it if they want to have a fun girl’s night together. You can stare at the pretty men and roll your eyes at Nanami. The characters are fun while the music will get your toes tapping.
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