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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.

Anime Review: Nisemonogatari

Want to find out more after what happened in Bakemonogatari? Then look no further as Nisemonogatari brings you an indirect sequel somewhat related to the original story.

NisemonogatariSynopsis:

After the events of Bakemonogatari, Araragi Koyomi wakes up to find himself being held captive by his girlfriend Senjougahara Hitagi. Koyomi flashes back to earlier in the day, where he meets up with the various girls he helped from the first series. On his way home, he meets a curious figure named Kaiki Deishu, the same swindler that once targeted Hitagi. Now, Koyomi’s own little sister is in danger of falling for one of Kaiki’s curses.

Review:

Nisemonogatari differs a lot from Bakemonogatari in many ways. For one, the story now is focused more on Koyomi's sisters rather than Hitagi. Hitagi plays a minor role as his kandere girlfriend but is less involved with the main plot. This time it is up to Koyomi himself and with the help of a few other girls to solve his sister's problems. One thing I noticed in Nisemonogatari is the lack of seriousness in the anime, sure there were some fight scenes, but they mostly felt a bit toned down compared to the sequel. Also, somehow this anime turned into one great big harem with many of the girls being so ecchi it felt a bit out of context to the overall story. Like I suddenly asked myself why did the anime just suddenly took a turn into a hare ecchi comedy show? It this actually a proper sequel at all? This still mystifies me as to why the story turned out that way.

The art was once again experimental using different camera angle shots and a variety of art styles in every episode. It was an interest take on the anime as nothing is what it seems. The character details were once again well illustrated and animated fluidly. I noticed some nice varied colour scheme uses and some figurative and symbolic objects in the anime.

The theme songs were quite enjoyable and rather appropriate to this anime. Especially the ending song was quite catchy indeed. Voice acting was once again perfect and consists of the same cast as before. Nothing majorly different than the prequel.

Since this anime is more comedy and romance than action, the character's personalities and attitudes have changed slightly to the more "appealing" type. Even the scary kuudere girlfriend, Hitagi, gets a bit emotional at times. I will stop here as explain how these characters differed from the prequel might ruin your viewing experience.

Overall, I enjoyed the anime to an extent. I was slightly disappointed that the story is more of a indirect spin-off than a good continuation of the action and mystery that Bakemonogatari presented. The character's personalities slightly changed whether that was a good thing or not I have no idea. Perhaps the creators meant this sequel to be more laughable and enjoyable than serious. In the end, some elements were funny and that is all that counts in this anime. Consider it to be a romantic comedy with a twist.

STORY: 7
Rather different from the prequel and more ecchi than serious.

ART: 8
Rather well animated and good use of experimental art.

SOUND: 8
Theme songs were catchy and character voice acting was perfect as before.

CHARACTER: 7
Some change in personalities with characters somehow ruined the show slightly.

ENJOYMENT: 8
As much as I love action, some romantic comedy elements is also enjoyable as well.

OVERALL: 8
I would say that Nisemonogatari may have been less of an action-packed anime than Bakemonogatari but some fight scenes were pretty awesome.

PSotD - Mirai Chizu

Title: Mirai Chizu (Map of the Future)
Artist: Otoya Ittoki (Takuma Terashima), Masato Hijirikawa (Kenichi Suzumura), Natsuki Shinomiya (Kishou Taniyama), Tokiya Ichinose (Mamoru Miyano), Ren Jinguuji (Junichi Suwabe), and Syo Kurusu (Hiro Shimono).
Year: 2011
Notes: Insert song for the anime Uta no Prince sama.

OAOAOAOAO! I can't believe I haven't posted anything about UtaPri yet, my #1 anime of all time. I can and will fall in love over and over again with these bishies and their amazing and beautiful voices. I promise I'll go and write an anime review on it in the coming weeks, after I rewatch it (for the 8th time). So I guess I'll ramble about how much and why I love it in the review rather than here.

This song moves my heart (almost to tears) every time I listen to it. The voices of the six boys just match and mixes so well together. The lyrics are also very meaningful.

DDL: From Gendou music (Requires account - it's easy to make one!)


Supercell to produce debut album for fictional artist, EGOIST

It has just been revealed that supercell will completely produce the debut album of the fictional artist “EGOIST“.
EGOIST is an artist that appears in the television anime “Guilty Crown“, and will be releasing a currently untitled first album on September 19th. The vocals are provided by chelly, a 17-year-old high school girl who was chosen by ryo out of 2,000 applicants to become one of the new vocalists for the group. chelly has been singing for EGOIST as the character Yuzuriha Inori within the anime
Although the track list for the album has yet to be revealed, it has been confirmed that the album will be available in two different versions: a limited CD+DVD version and a regular CD-only version. It will also include the hit singles “The Everlasting Guilty Crown” and “Departures ~Anata ni Okuru Ai no Uta~“.
Stay tuned for more on EGOIST’s first full album!
Source: Tokyohive