Based on the popular Japanese visual novel series and otome game, Uta no Prince-sama 1000% LOVE (2011) is a vibrant coming-of-age romantic series that will have you entertained non-stop with a brilliant overdose of bishonen-love and cheesy songs.
Produced by A-1 Pictures (The Idolm@ster, Sword Art Online, Vividred Operation), Uta No Prince stars Haruka Nanami (Miyuki Sawashiro) entering the prestigious performing arts school Saotome Academy, as she dreams of becoming a composer and someday writing music for her idol, Hayato (Mamoru Miyano) .
But it’s not easy at all as Haruka is surrounded by determined classmates who want to enter the industry as pop-idols and musicians. After many months of mingling, students are faced with the decision to pair up with an idol/composer and must compose an original song together. If successful, the pair will join the Shining Agency as debut artists. The question is, how would this work when every guy wants to work with Haruka?
Unfortunately for these boys, Haruka only cares for the one and only Hayato, the infamous pop idol who is the source of light and hope for Haruka. But when Haruka stumbles upon the mysterious yet moody Ichinose Tokiya and mistakens him as Hayato, the audience is suddenly stirred by this arousing encounter between them. Secrets will always find its way out as it is revealed that Tokiya is indeed Hayato after all and has disguised himself as a student at Saotome Academy in the hopes of reviving his music career.
It’s your classic story of ordinary girl-meets-pop idol and they potentially fall in love in the end. But to spice things up, romance is prohibited amongst the students which makes it difficult on all of them since it’s obvious that everyone has fallen for Haruka.
For an idol show, its bishonen characters magnetically draws in the fangirls. Keeping the game’s original character designs, Mitsue Mori has done a brilliant job in adapting the game’s original character designs for the series. Visually, Uta No Prince is a nice change from your usual anime. The art is exceptionally clean, vibrant and beautifully coloured which perfectly reflects the mood and style of the show.
Uta no Prince also overly decorates itself with stars, love hearts, sparkles and a sense of sophisticated kawaii. From time to time, the series would artistically incorporate other styles of animation and illustration to suit the storytelling (e.g. medieval action) which can be a real treat for its viewers. With this sort of attitude, this distinctive vibrancy is what we want from an idol musical series, and Uta no Prince has achieved exactly that.
Despite its fun storytelling with rivalries and popstar drama every now and then, the series present many plot-holes that will have viewers criticising its material. How does one get accepted to a musical school without knowing how to read music? How can a girl afford to attend a rich performing arts school when she comes from an unprivileged background?
It also doesn’t help to have Haruka –a one-dimensional character — as the show’s leading female protagonist. To see these guys flaunting themselves at her and fighting for her love becomes slightly unbearable for one’s eye. Well, who wouldn’t feel that way? By the end of the day, Uta No Prince is simply pleasurable entertainment, and although these plot-holes (and Haruka) occasionally annoys us, we can forgive and brush aside these negative points.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a musical series if it weren’t for the interludes of cheesy musical entertainment. The selection of original songs and animated performances in Uta no Prince is overall fantastic. Naturally, Miyano’s voice as Ichinose Tokiya/Hayato shines in this anime with hits like ‘Nanairo no COMPASS’ and the anime’s opening theme ‘Orpheus‘.
Other hit songs include ‘BRAND NEW MELODY’, ‘Sekai no hate made BELIEVE HEART’, ‘Otokogi Zenkai Go! Fight!!’, ‘Mirai Chizu‘, and of course, the ending theme ‘Maji LOVE 1000% (マジLOVE1000%)’ which features the entire main cast of ST☆RISH (Takuma Terashima, Kenichi Suzumura, Kishou Taniyama, Mamoru Miyano, Junichi Suwabe, Hiro Shimono).
Verdict: Uta no Prince-sama 1000% LOVE is a highly-amusing and entertaining series to watch, with many thanks to its bishonen characters, happy-cheesy songs and a musical-romcom plot. Since the anime has proven to be a massive hit, it’s no wonder that the second season has been green-lit which is currently airing on TV with the official title of Uta no☆Prince-sama♪maji LOVE 2000%.
And as a bonus, here are two videos for your entertainment:
Magi Love 1000% (live):
Mirai Chizu (Live):