With no title too great or too small, my next epic odyssey fell to the shoujo sounding Princess Lover! Thinking it would either be over the top girly fluff or yet another high class harem, I have to admit I felt relief as it fell into the camp of the latter and played out as a not completely terrible ecchi.
|Face down in a maid's lap - the way to solve the |
woes of the world
Arima is a young boy living a simple life in a noodle shop when his parents are suddenly and tragically killed. Soon contacted by his super wealthy grandfather who invites the young boy to come live with him, Arima finds himself joining an upmarket school that is home to numerous aristocrats, idols and royalty. Having saved the life of the voluptuous Princess Charlotte, he finds not only her favour but also that of his new fiancé Sylvia (who looks suspiciously like Saber from Fate/Stay Night, right down to the military outfit), his maid Yuu and the feisty Seika. Day to day life in this high-class college isn’t easy, especially whilst trying to learn some social etiquette and the final half of the series is a complete about turn from the predictable fluff that came before it.
|My thoughts too|
Now, I’m never first in line to complain about breasts in anime, but the combination spectacle of Princess Hazelrink’s, Sylvia’s and Yuu’s breasts take a few episodes to overcome. If I’d been asked to describe the story 2 episodes in, I probably would have muttered something about large, squishy, oversized, sumptuous boobs. Once past that, and you’re into typical harem territory: Arima is the new blood in the school and his kind nature instantly wins him the hearts (and panties) of many of his classmates. The girls are cliché, the plot leaves little to the imagination, but there is something that kept Princess Lover from falling into the lowly realms of mediocre. One scene that jumps to mind is a tribute to the superb Kaiji during the hot springs episode; totally unexpected, and fitting perfectly with the mission of the boys, it really gives a laugh out loud moment to what could have been otherwise dull.
|This would have been a great picture if not for the |
censoring steam - DAMN YOU!
The surprising twist in the second half turns the atmosphere somewhat darker, and the main focus becomes Arima’s vengeance whilst trying to maintain his role as the knight on a white steed. Be prepared for betrayals and double crossing which causes team “Good Guy” to pull together in a time of need. Unfortunately, politics and harem are two genres that should probably never mix, and the poorly executed scripting goes to prove this point further. Sadly at the end of the day there is no resolution to any of the numerous romances and what started as a fun tale soon degenerates into something disappointingly forgettable.
Boobs. Lots of boobs. And with the look of two puppies wrestling in a sack, I think I can safely say that not only do the laws of physics not apply here, but the girls are going to have some serious back problems in the future. Despite the obvious obsession with sweater potatoes, the girls are quite cute and sport the typical saucer sized eyes. Unfortunately, any action scenes seem to be hampered by awkward movements that spoil the flow of excitement compared to shows, such as Kara no Kyoukai. Another sticking point is the frequent recycling of material through pointless flashbacks. Seriously, if you can’t remember what happened in the last episode, a quick lobotomy could be in order. That said, the show is still reasonably pretty and the backgrounds sufficiently detailed to keep fans of modern animation happy.
|Did someone call for Saber?|
Opening with the typical pop-fluff you would expect for a series of this calibre, the cutesy feel continues throughout the majority of the incidental music. The audio during the closing credits is much more to my tastes, with a rousing slow rock anthem that gives a different side to the anime. Featuring the accomplished voice of Ryoka Yuzuki as the ditzy Charlotte Hazelrink and the gruff tones of Megumi Toyoguchi as Sylvia, the entire vocal cast provide a consistently entertaining experience.
|Not wanting to overdress for her first date, Charlotte |
decided bra-less was the way forward
With their looks taking the forefront, it is glaringly obvious that the characters have been transplanted directly from an eroge; the proportion between breast and brain size certainly attests to that. Charlotte especially has been afflicted by the “vapid bint” flu (H2N2) currently sweeping the globe. A clueless ditz, she has moments when she opens her heart and I think she could be likeable, then she finds herself riding (also known as grinding against) Arima like a pony and asking innocently what is wrong with that. On the other hand, Sylvie is the sword wielding, uptight heroine who keeps herself to herself. Of all of the female troupe, she edges into top spot as the most likeable, and those in agreement can watch the questionable OVA to see just a little more of Lady Van Hossen.
|Even fangirls aren't forgotten with these studly men|
Arima himself is much more likeable than most ecchi protagonists. Kind hearted with an occasional compulsion for perversion, he has a difficult decision ahead with so many wealthy women throwing themselves at him. Shining most notably during the vacation episode, it’s a shame that his over-the-top heroic antics seem totally unbelievable and leave him looking like a bit of a berk.
|Boobs and upskirt! Double win!|
Starting as quite a fun harem show, the mid-twist puts poorly thought out politics at the forefront and what made the series so different before quickly becomes forgotten. With nice looking graphics that are nothing special, and characters that have been seen before, the only thing that I will take away from this, despite the slightly better than average start, are the big and bouncy boobs.