Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Uta no Prince Sama Review

Uta no Prince Sama Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers of the first season of Uta no Prince Sama. If you wish not to know some events in the story, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please leave the page, since I don't want to damage a watching experience for you.

With that said, thank you, and onto the review:

Like I did with Kuroko no Basuke's review where I talked about my history with sports, I'm going to talk about my history with music. Music is one of the major themes in this show, so it's only right to start off with this.

Back when I was 5, the first radio station I can remember listening to was a local country one. These days, I don't listen to a lot of country, and if so, I tend to stick with Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift (who recently made her way into pop), but I'll always stay away from bro-country.

But then, I found that that there were other radio stations I could listen to, and got hooked on a pop/top 40 one back when I was 6. This radio station led me to discovering new artists that I love today, new songs to jam out to, and overall is a lot of fun to look back on the days where older songs made a big splash.

Music, for me, is a joy to listen to, and I love electronic and pop the most. I believe that music has made an impact on everyone at some point in their life, and if some don't think so, I'll think they're lying. This is because music is important to me, whether on the radio, CDs, Spotify, online, in video games or in anime.

Speaking of anime, this show in particular brought more reverse harem shows into the limelight. I would call this the bringer of a revival of some sort. Not only is this one of the more popular reverse harem shows (heck, its 3rd season is airing as of right now), but it's also one of the most talked about.

Maybe I'm a little late jumping on the bandwagon, but I first heard of this show when I joined Youtube. I've heard of great things about this show, as well as some bad things. But then again, what would I think of this show? Would it be fun? Funny? Melodramatic? Too cheesy it would make me want to puke?

Well, the show is all of these things, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Yeah, at some points the show becomes incredibly cheesy and has some pretty bad melodrama, but the show knows what it's doing, and doesn't try to be something it's not. It's clear which fan circle it's appealing too.

By the end, Uta no Prince Sama lies in the "so bad it's good" pile, and it doesn't downgrade the show as much as I feared. I also found this show to be a good mood booster during some episodes, as it put me in a great mood for the day to come.

Let's start off with the story:


For as long as she can remember, Haruka Nanami has always loved music. Even though she grew up in the countryside due to her frailness (we never know why she is this way, or how long she's suffered from it; oh well, minor details), she always liked to play the piano with her grandmother. Now, at 15 (that's her age in the first game, so let's assume), she is about to attend Saotome Academy, a prestigious art school formed by Shining Saotome. A former idol, his first (and only) hit single made tons of money, which he used to build this famous school. 

Though faced with slight difficulty on first entering after showing up late, 2 males help convince the security guards to let her in, where 1 reveals why she didn't arrive on time. Yes, heavy foreshadowing that these 2 will become some of our main eye candy. After getting to do the entrance exam, she passed, and becomes a student at the academy.

During her time there, Haruka will meet more of our main set of males, face some difficulties of playing the piano after rumors about her emerge, having to choose between 6 males for the known graduation audition, and find out more about herself and what she is capable of.

No romance is on the cards, seeing as it's forbidden at the academy. But that doesn't mean we can assemble the boys together! But a little more on that later in this section.

Anyways, the story for this anime is kind of like Kamigami no Asobi in a way, though a little bit better in aspects. Rather than circling around a major plot point that dwindles the focus down to a certain set of characters, most of the males get equal development and aren't left out. Some may get a little less than others, but it isn't uneven on most ends. Bonus!

The story doesn't play a major impact until the graduation audition talks come up. At Saotome Academy, 2 students are paired up (one being the role of an idol, and the other of a composer). After pairing up with one another, they will write and compose a song. If they are successful, they will be signed to Saotome's agency, and the idol will become a professional.

This becomes insanely problematic, because Haruka is asked by all 6 of our male leads, which leads to a tricky situation. Of course, since we aren't adapting anything romance worthy, and since it was SO HARD for Haruka to choose between them all, she decides to unite them as a group. Because GOD FORBID we give her the right to choose!

This typically happens in reverse harem adaptions. While the staff does adapt backstories from the game, they also have the power to tweak them as well. Such as Shou in this case, but I'll elaborate on that later. Also, the staff doesn't have the protagonist end up with just 1 guy in the end. In fact, they usually end up removing romances altogether. I think this is understandable, and Uta Pri does solve this by uniting them as an idol group rather then letting Haruka compose songs for just 1 of them. That'd be unfair, since all of them really love her songs. 

There's also a bit of comedy and melodrama in this show. And unlike Arcana Famiglia, which failed in all aspects of trying to be dramatic and tense, this anime doesn't at points. Sometimes, it does fail when it becomes utterly ridiculous and cheesy.

This is true in the case when Haruka is asked to play for the class on the piano. There's a slight problem in this, since Haruka can't read music. She can play it and create melodies, but she can't read music when she tries to play it. This causes some talk between some of our background characters with some rumors being very far-fetched. During Episode 3, it becomes disastrous for Haruka, because OH NO! SHE CAN'T PLAY THE PIANO ANYMORE! HER HANDS GET CRAMPED WHENEVER SHE THINKS ABOUT THOSE BACKGROUND STUDENTS! WHAT WILL SHE DO?

This problem is solved later in the episode when Masato helps her out, but I felt that this was portrayed too dramatically. Same goes with Tokiya hiding that he's HAYATO, where it's done like this:

But in actuality, it's not that big of a deal. I was expecting worse for the HAYATO deal, but it was still too over-dramatic for my tastes.

Then of course we have the comedy, and this anime actually manages to have some great funny moments. There were parts when I laughed out loud, or in my head, since I watch the majority of series in the morning when I wake up. Those mainly had to do with the chibi faces, or when Shining made another grand entrance.

So overall, it's still a nice story, though sometimes it pushed a little bit too much on the cheesy and melodramatic line.

Character time!


Let's be honest here, we're not expecting all originality in these characters, since this is a reverse harem after all. And while Kamigami no Asobi has less of the generic tropes of the trade, Uta Pri has more. But it's not overbearingly so that the characters become bland (excluding Tomo, of course). Each of them at least have some part of them that makes a difference.

First up is our main protagonist, Haruka:

Haruka has 1 unique feature about her, and that would be her weird eyes. They remind me of hard lemon candies (I hate lemon) with lime centers (I also hate lime). Reviewers I've seen have talked about her eyes in a bad way, about how strange they are and how creeped out they are by them. I think that they make Haruka stand out, though it's almost like every single female main YA protagonist. You know, she has something special about her that makes her "different." But like with Mare from Red Queen, it doesn't impact me as well as with others.

Anyways, Haruka is our lead lady who wishes to compose music for her favorite idol named HAYATO. The reason why she wishes to do this is explained in Episode 1. During a trip to the city, Haruka got overwhelmed by everything happening. It was right before she passed out that she saw a projection on the side of a building with Hayato singing. After this, she becomes more dedicated to music, and from this decides to attend Saotome Academy. She is in Class A.

Does Haruka have depth to her? Kind of. I mean, at least she has a brain and is capable of functioning like a human being. However, she does have a habit of tripping on nearly anything (not as bad as Heroine of course) and her song praise isn't very believable. Somehow, every single song she composes happens to be Beyonce FLAWLESS with no questions asked. It may be a while later in the episode or never when we get to actually hear the song, and most of the time, they're not really amazing or anything. They can be nice, sure, but I've heard better anime music, She also rises to be the number 1 composer in Class A or in the entire school, since the subs weren't really clear. Gold stars for you Haruka! *sarcasm*

So overall, I would say Haruka's decent. She doesn't have a lot of those moments where you question how smart she is (Yui has one in Kamigami no Asobi, and thank god! If it had been more, she wouldn't be good as she is compared to the generic reverse harem leads we see all the time) but at the same time, I feel like she has something missing. Sure she has a good backstory, but there's something about her that I think could be developed or shown a bit more. Season 2, perhaps?

Tokiya's our first male we need to discuss:

Tokiya is in Class S, and bears a resemblance to Haruka's idol, HAYATO. According to him and Saotome, he is HAYATO's younger identical twin brother who despises him because he's always in his shadow. However, we later find out that Tokiya is actually HAYATO, and let's cue the GIF:

But to be fair, I actually found out about this plot twist before I watched the anime. However, I'm pretty sure if I didn't know it before going in, I still would have figured it out pretty easily. Because IMO, it's very obvious.

Anyways, the reason why Tokiya is attending the academy after he has debuted is due to his work. These days, he is getting less and less time to sing, and his schedule is always packed. This has caused him to not particularly like working as HAYATO, and he would rather work as his own person.

Normally, Tokiya is cold and aloof, as well as a perfectionist as seen in Episode 3. Even though his songs are good, Mr. Hyuga, the Class S teacher, says that he lacks heart in his music, which prevents it from truly shining. This later causes him to be dropped from Class S to Class A with Saotome's involvement.

In my opinion, Tokiya is a little flat compared to our other males. I think it has to do with the fact that his personality is a little bland compared to the others, but he does get better as the anime goes on. He opens up more, and during his talk in Episode 12 after his HAYATO identify is confirmed on national TV, I felt more for him than I did in the rest of the show. 

Otoya's next:

Otoya is the boy who is constantly cheerful and happy, and you can tell he enjoys singing when he does. He and Tokiya share a room (there are 3 boys in Class A, and 3 boys in Class S, so 1 of each pair up in rooms), and he is one of the least developed out of the pack. We don't really find out anything about his backstory, though there is some in the games from what I've read. So I'm just going to end this describing section by saying he's almost never in a bad mood, and is one of the more memorable characters.

I honestly don't mind that at least a little bit of his backstory wasn't developed, since his personality is what makes his character. It's the stereotypical bubbly one, but I think he manages to be one of the stand-outs of the anime. Maybe it's because he's the first one we're introduced to, with Ren being the second. Ah, anyways, he's still a good character.

I'll proceed to Masato now:

Hmm, normally the serious types don't always work for me in harem shows. If they're in a cast where there are a ton of personalities, they probably won't stand out as much. Hades managed to be the first one touched upon in Kamigami no Asobi, and he definitely had an interesting quality about him. Jolly is more of an annoyance who feels like he's oozing evil, though he seems to not at the same time (weird, I know).

Masato, on the other hand, manages to be present, though he doesn't fully grasp my attention at the same time. Simply put, he's not my favorite. I wouldn't say he's my least favorite, because that would have to go to Mr. Convenient Cat aka Cecil. Talk about boring and being obviously put in situations for convenience.

Wait, where was I again? Oh yeah, Masato.

Masato is the oldest son and the heir to the Hijirikawa Group. I don't really know what the Hijirikawa and the Jinguji families do, but I don't think we need to know. I'm just going to assume that they're rich and wealthy, though Masato was raised in a more traditional environment. Due to this, he is mainly very serious, which causes him to not show his real self. He and Ren have a rivalry, due to their families being rivals in the business world. However, the boys do have a genuine friendship and can be concerned for one another.

So overall, Masato's alright. I do think he could be more interesting rather than being more serious, but it's understandable why he's like that. My favorite moment from him though would have to be the Dam of the Heart scroll he drew. Anyone get reminded of Reika from Smile Pretty Cure with her The Path scrolls? I for sure was.

Our playboy's next:

Ren is our resident playboy of the show. He has a very flirtatious personality, fangirls flock around him, he is very charming, and oh so handsome.

If we had a snarky character such as Rhiannon in Easy A and Max from 2 Broke Girls, we would view him like this:

Now onto his background. Like I mentioned with Masato, Ren is also from a well known family, the Jingujis. Besides having a flirtatious attitude, Ren has shown to have a little more underneath him. He was the 2nd person to help Haruka go do the entrance exams after arriving late, and actually supplies the reason to why she was late to one of the guards, as Haruka was helping a child find her mother. The power of observation wins this time!

This doesn't really help the fact that he is immediately drawn to Haruka, along with Otoya. For some of the others, it takes them a while to be fully drawn to her, but not for these two. The sparks happen pretty much from the first moment they meet. In fact, Ren names Haruka as being his in Episode 1 when they collide after she trips, right after Shou makes his debut.

Yeah, back up on that. You've only seen each other once before, so don't coin her as yours just yet. Ren also give Haruka the nickname of Little Lamb (yep, it's so romantic *sarcasm*).

At the beginning of the show, Ren doesn't really care about being at Saotome Academy. This is because he was forced to go since his family wanted him to make a good name and be successful. Haruka helps him out with his "last chance" assignment in order to still be in the school. After this, he remembers when his mom was an idol and his dad seeming to be ashamed of her face due to something. Because of this, he destroyed all of his mom's CDs and videos except for one that Ren found and kept, which was meant for him. That causes him to be more passionate about music, and it sparks feelings for Haruka.

I found Ren to be one of the more memorable males from the anime. Due to his flirtatious personality and his rivalry/slight friendship with Masato, this made me like his backstory more than I probably should have. Also, some of the moments where he tries to flirt with Haruka made me laugh.

Another thing to mention: he was one of the first males that I discovered in the Top Model community way back in the day, along with Otoya. They were the first 2. There was also Shou, but I didn't fully figure what show he was from until I connected the dots.

Speaking of Shou:

If you're wondering why I'm typing Shou's name the way it's pronounced rather than Syo, it's just personal preference. Much like the Kyoukos from Danganronpa and Madoka Magica, I guess it just stuck with me.

Anyways, Shou is much like Otoya, since both are often cheerful and energetic. However, Shou has the tendency to have a short fuse, and can get angered quite easily. It's not as violent as, let's just say, every single shonen protagonist ever, but still, some of these moments can be quite funny when they come out from out of the blue. He also has a fear of heights because of Natsuki and an incident in their childhood.

The main reason why Shou is at Saotome Academy is because he admires his teacher, Mr. Hyuga. This is because he is happy at all of the things he has accomplished, and wishes to be like him when he becomes professional. He starts to develop feelings for Haruka because they both share the same trait: sharing admiration for someone.

I would have to say that at first glance, Shou really wasn't my favorite character. But after watching the first season and looking at him more, I'm definitely starting to like him. I've found out more about him, such as his admiration for Hyuga, and the fact that his hair does have more pink in it than at first glance XD. But beyond that, I think he's very cute, and I'm excited to see how his personality might develop more in Season 2.

Natsuki's our last guy:

Natsuki has a fondness for everything that is cute and small, which helps him take a liking to Haruka. At first glance, Haruka reminds him of his dog from home named Elizabeth. Besides making Shou his guinea pig whenever he wants to take photographs of cute hats, he also likes to cook. However, his attempts at doing so are disastrous at best.

There's something more to him than meets the eyes though. Every single time his glasses fall off or are hit, he turns into another person. This other personality is named Satsuki, who is more violent and is pretty much the exact opposite of Natsuki. However, when his glasses are put back on, he forgets everything that happened to him as Satsuki. And that's pretty much the only thing that I like about him.

I'm honestly not a big fan of Natsuki. In some ways, he reminds me of Rias from Highschool DXD, but he's better off than she is. I honestly find him pretty boring, and for most of the time, he's just used for comic relief. So like for Rias, I can understand his appeal, but as a character, he's pretty weak for me.

Other characters in this anime include the throwaway best friend character, Mr. Convenient Cat, our trolling principal (Saotome is one of the most entertaining characters in the show though, so I can't complain), and our 2 teachers for Classes A and S.


The animation for this series was produced by A-1 Picutres, who are also known for animating Black Butler, Fairy Tail, (co-production with Satelight, and now Bridge) and Your Lie in April.

First off, let me just say that this anime looks SO! GOOD!

And I know you're probably thinking, "But Dazz, you say that about almost nearly every show you watch." And yeah, that is true. But this is one of those better ones where everything literally looks almost perfect, you just want to drool looking at it. There was some nice sky and sea animation in Episode 8, and that made me happier since the weather was so gloomy outside that day.

Also, the show used some chibi animation for some funny moments. This looked rather nice, though maybe a little out of place. They don't use it as much from what I've heard in the next 2 seasons, but that's fine by me. But then again, I've heard the animation dwindles in the third season as well.

The scene I watched from Episode 7 of Season 3 looked really good (I mean, hello; RANMARU!), and some other things I saw in that episode weren't too bad as well. I hope that the animation continues to be great throughout the series.


The score for this series was composed by Elements Garden, who also composed the OST for animes such as Bodacious Space Pirates, The Fruit of Grisaia, and Kamigami no Asobi.

It's been a year since I've seen Kamigami no Asobi, and back in August, there weren't any OST tracks from the anime that I could find. I did look back recently, and there is some now, so I probably need to re-listen to some tracks, as it's faded from my memory over time.

I do prefer it over this series though. Though there are some nice tracks here, I honestly think Elements Garden did a better job at arranging the individual songs that our boys sing. This also includes the opening and ending. Those were more engaging.

Now, about those songs that our lovely males sing, they're great for the most part. A couple of them aren't as strong as others, but my favorite would have to be Kisho Taniyama's song from Episode 6 as Satsuki. He's great from what I've heard of him in GRANDRODEO, and he's good here as well. We also get one from Haruka, which also was a very nice song

Though I swear, if I hear another form of "knocked out." in Engrish in this show, I'm calling up Chidori:

Hearing it in 3 songs from 3 episodes in a row doesn't really make it easier. Now, when should I plan on finding it in at least one of Quartet Night's songs? And also, when can I listen to one of their songs?

Meanwhile, the vocal work for this show is actually quite nice. There's a lot of ear candy for the females if you can recognize one of your favorite seiyuus in the bunch, and it's nice to hear some of my favorite seiyuus all in 1 anime.

Interesting fun fact for you all: Kenichi Suzumara and Kisho Taniyama both voice Masato and Natsuki, who are in Class A. I recently discovered they were teammates in Kuroko no Basuke at Yosen High (Kenichi is Atsushi), and they were also lovers in Sensitive Pornogrpah, a yaoi OVA that I probably have mentioned before. It's also one of the most explicit ones I've heard about, and probably have accidentally stumbled into. Not my fault that Youtube doesn't age restrict it. -_-

Highlight performances go to Miyuki Sawashiro, Mamoru Miyano, Takuma Terashima, Hiro Shimono, Junichi Suwabe, Yuka Imai, Norio Wakamato, Yuichi Nakamura, and Koji Yusa.


Before I even started this series, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to enjoy it. However, I actually managed to in the end, which is awesome and unexpected. Overall, this show is a pretty fun one, complete with some memorable characters and music. Let's also not forget the gorgeous animation and some of the songs.

What I'm looking forward to in the upcoming seasons is Cecil's arrival at the academy, since that might lead to some more trolling, and don't forget boy bodyguards. Oh, and Quartet Night, since they may be a fun bunch, and I love Ranmaru and Ai already.

Hmm, let's see what I have to review next.

Oh good, looks like Freezing's going to be blistering cold when I talk about the censored simulcast version and the horrible censoring. That section's going to be fun! There's another 2nd season I'm looking forward to watch, though slightly more than this show.

In the meantime: If you're a fan of reverse harem shows but haven't watched this one, I suggest you do. I also recommend this to fans of music in general, and for fans who like shows that focus on it as well.

Score: 8.5/10


Okay story, with some nice elements.

Good main cast.

Trolling Saotome will always be entertaining.

Amazing animation.

Individual songs are great.

Highly enjoyable, puts me in a good mood.


Show can get corny and melodramatic at some points.

Some characters don't stand out as some of the others, while a couple are merely tropes.

Score isn't as good as individual songs.

Mr. Convenient Cat.

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