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June 19, 2012

Anime Review (v.P): Uta no Prince-sama: Maji Love 1000%

I promised a ramble review on UtaPri, and here it is! Phew, this is the longest post I've ever written.

Originally an Otome game (a game which is targeted towards the female audience and focuses on romantic relationships) developed by the company Broccoli in 2010, this popular game series was adapted to a manga and anime one year later. The green light was given for the second season of the anime, due to be aired approximately in late summer/early fall 2012 (Japan).

Synopsis(from myanimelist.net)

With dreams of becoming a composer and someday writing a song for her favorite idol, Haruka enters the Saotome Academy, a prestigious performing arts school. If successful there, she’ll be able to join the Shining Agency after graduation. However, it won’t be so easy when Haruka is already surrounded by potential idols and composers. On top of that, her homeroom teacher is a current idol, the headmaster was a record-breaking singer, and the academy itself is a chaotic place where anything can happen. Which prince of song will be paired up with Haruka?! Uta no Prince Sama is an exciting, coming-of-age romantic comedy that will be like sweet music to your eyes and ears!


Review:

[STORY]

The story is quite easy to understand. Simply stated, a group of six talented male performers, become bonded through the main female lead (Nanami), and everyone, over the course of 13 episodes, struggle through hardships and in the end becomes a successful idol group. There are not many parts that require thinking, and the interesting developments of this series relies on you, the audience, to get caught in the flow of emotions of the characters. That being said, if you weren't able to develop an affinity with the characters then this story would be pretty boring.

From the beginning, it was rather obvious where the story was heading and you could guess the ending after watching the first episode. A lot of foreshadowing was used, and probably includes only one tear-jerking cliff hanger.

Being an ex-musician, I couldn't agree more with the opening statement, "Music changes the world". The words from opening scene are repeated exactly in the final scene, this gives a harmonious and complete feel, leaving you with a warm fuzzy emotion in your tummy about the happy ending.

When I take the perspective of Nanami, this story fills me up with inspiration. She starts off as someone who knows nothing about music, but through her hard work and determination she eventually becomes the composer for her dream idol group. It motivates me to keep working hard towards my goal even if I encounter obstacles.

This anime is classified as a romantic comedy. While I'm not one for those lovey dovey romance stories, I was able to bear through this series because I focused more on the romance between the characters and the wonderful music they produced. Certainly, there were plenty laughable moments making this anime more enjoyable.

No matter how many times I've watched this series (by my count it's been at least 8 times), I always tear up at the scene where the six boys appear in front of Nanami's house, after Nanami ran away from the academy, and starts singing the a capella version of Mirai Chizu.
Rating: 8

[ART] 

Most importantly, there are plenty of bishies!
The art is drawn in the style used in most animes. There's definitely nothing unique or striking that differentiates the art of this series with other animes. In fact, I think the artwork is quite simple and not much effort was put into the backgrounds. It uses a lot of vibrant colours which helps the audience distinguish between the different characters.
Rating: 7

[SOUND]

With a story based around the music theme, I had high hopes and expectations for the sound department. I was in no way disappointed with their final products. I was entranced by all the songs. The background music was refreshing, and well suited to the atmosphere of the story. The character songs (released separately) adds another dimension to the characters, allowing me to love them even more.
Rating: 9.5

[CHARACTER]

The characters were well developed throughout the story. The medium-pace of the story allowed the characters to build uniqueness and individuality, providing fans with plenty of freedom to write fanfics

The characters listed in the order of my preference (with reasons): 
  1. Hijirikawa Masato (His hairstyle, his mole/freckle, his nose, his personality, his calm composure. He seems to be a quiet person that keeps his thoughts to himself, has problems in and is reluctant to express his own feelings. A very intelligent man with amazing musicianship.)
  2. Kurusu Syo (I'm a shouta-con, 'nuff said. But really, Syo is so cute and I fully agree with his dress sense. He plays the violin.)
  3. Jinguuji Ren (He is such a sexy beast with a very seductive voice. He plays the saxophone. I love his long blonde/brown hair. His winks kills me each time.)
  4. Shinomiya Natsuki/Satsuki (His curly blonde hair, his electric green eyes, his alter ego. He plays the viola and violin. His powerful voice)
  5. Ichinose Tokiya/Hayato (His voice - Miyano Mamoru is in the top five of my  list of favourite seiyuus. His character kind of irked me because of his stuck up nature.)
  6. Tsukimiya Ringo (I'm always jealous of guys who look as pretty or even prettier than real girls. I really like his voice and cheerful/playful personality.)
  7. Ittoki Otoya (I found his character slightly annoying, kind of like a spoiled brat that whines a lot.)
  8. Aijima Cecil (Neko's are cute :3 His hot body and brown hair.)
Rating: 8.5

[ENJOYMENT]

If I have watched this 8 times already and I still have the desire to keep rewatching it, then there is clearly no doubt that I really enjoy this show.
Rating: 8.5

[OVERALL] 

My heart is filled to the brim with love for these characters. I'm most definitely looking forward to the second season which comes out later this year. I hope there will be many more inspiring songs to be released.
Rating: 9.5

[SCREENSHOTS] 

I have yet to find "perfect" cosplays of these characters. I think Masato and Natsuki are the hardest to imitate.
Aside, here are a few (only 17!) screenshots with comments.

The boys - Who do you love the most?
The first time I died.

Comedy relief.

Masato's first appearance. かっこい!

Ringo sensei so cute.

Ohoho, those words make me swoon.

Ichinose's "meh" glare.

Jinguuji throwing a dart. His smile is so delicious.

A reminder for both Haruka and myself.

Ittoki is blushing!

This happens when Natsuki cooks.

I hope so too Masato.

Music, I miss those days.

The second time I died.

Satsuki is so darn hot.

Tokiya's "kind" face.

The scene that always makes me tear up - the boys comforting Nanami.