NicoNico announced they were streaming two shows outside of Japan with English subtitles. The first I took a look at was the latest incarnation of the Blood franchise, Blood-C, which I had a hissy-fit over, and the second was Uta no Prince Sama – Maji Love 1000%. The world must be spinning backwards or something because I like the second show a lot.
In this coming of age comedy the main protagonist is Haruka.
She is a girl with dreams of becoming a composer and writing for her favourite idol. She enters Saotome Academy which is a performing arts school run by legendary idols past and present. If she can graduate she will become a member the Shining Agency. Also at this academy are others following similar dreams.
These other wish to be idols and composers. Haruka will have to dig deep to reach her potential as she finds herself paired up with fellow classmates with varying skills in order to compose music to pass various tests.
Based on a shoujo manga this anime contains so many elements I dislike:
- High school stories,
- Coming of age dramas,
- Pop music (although I am partial to a bit of electro/J-pop),
- Musical segments.
So Uta no Prince should be like kryptonite to me. Like Blood-C the atmosphere is candy-floss and the music not much different but I find myself drawn to Uta no Prince because while it contains all of the above elements it delivers them with a sugary sweet overdose of heart, dedication and fun that I can’t fault.
Central protagonist Haruka is an interesting yet familiar case of naturally gifted but lacking in technical skills which her class-mates have in abundance. Taught to play the piano by her grandmother, she cannot read sheet-music and plays by ear (and heart!) which is the cause of much embarrassment and conflict but she has enough determination to learn through studying.
Surrounding her are a cast of characters who are very familiar yet distinctive in a shoujo type of way – and this includes boys who look a lot like girls which threw me at points but is a source of great comedy.
The fact that the show is so OTT means their personalities are that much more interesting than the cast of Blood-C. Over the course of the series Haruka will have to team up with some of these guys so hopefully interesting songs and situations should emerge.
The animation is gorgeous, highly detailed and very colourful. The songs are the sort of J-pop I tend to avoid (especially the end theme) but some of them really grew on me. I’ll probably forget them anyway and the story is utter nonsense but it is all delivered with so much spirit that I find it hard to criticise it for promoting hard work and dedication to a craft.