Uta no☆Prince-sama: Maji Love 1000%: Currently watching
I’m a bit bashful to have this show on my “Currently watching” list, especially since I made it clear on my Full season preview that I wasn’t going to even give this show a chance. However, I found myself obtaining the first two episodes anyways and sitting through the first with the intention of reviewing it then dropping it. Unfortunately, my fan girl side came screaming out with the first episode, and I ended up hungrily moving to the 2nd. Yes. There we have it. I love reverse harems under one condition: the inclusion of a music environment. Written in the same vein as Kiniro no Corda: Primo Passo, this anime features one girl in pursuit of her dream to become a music composer for idols. Like in Corda, she attends a school dedicated to music, and again, like in Corda, she quickly finds herself surrounded by a handful of bishounen male idol and composer wannabes who all seem to find her irresistible. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME!? The simple answer? I’m a bit of a music freak. Having played classical music all my life, and as a once music performance major, I still have dreams of living a life of music. Though that dream has come and gone, I find myself living it out through these types of anime (perhaps also the reason for my inclusion of The IDOLM@STER). Though romance between students is strictly forbidden at Haruka’s school, I still smell love in the air. I already have favorites from the first two episodes, including the cheery Otoya, the serious Masato, and the brooding Tokiya. Ahhhh, I eagerly await to be swept away by their shiny locks and smooth-as-caramel voices….. /fan girl squeal
The animation and art are clean and cover a wide gradient. Haruka, in particular, catches my surprise with her yellow, yellow eyes. I hardly ever see that color featured in eyes, and when I do, they usually indicate some magical interaction as a vampire or something of the like. I’m not yet sure if I like yellow for her regular color, since it also lends her a bit of a blank-eyed look. The males are very pretty with their multi-color hair and clothes, but I do wish there was a bit more variety in their facial structures, which look too similar. Without the hair and eye color, there’s no way to really distinguish them unless you listen to their voices.
As the opening and ending themes were interchanged in the first two episodes, I’m not sure if each episode will continue to switch back and forth, or if they’ll introduce new themes.
“Maji LOVE 1000% (マジLOVE1000％)” by ST☆RISH (Takuma Terashima, Kenichi Suzumura, Kishou Taniyama, Mamoru Miyano, Junichi Suwabe, Hiro Shimono)–Boy band, J-Pop galore, this song really fits the image of the Japanese idol. It’s paired with equally glitzy colors and stage dancing. One listen was enough…any more and I’m afraid I’ll turn into a “KYAH!!!!”-ing fangirl.
“Orpheus (オルフェ)” by Mamoru Miyano–This theme is more to my tastes, with a slower and sweeter theme, though it’s still voiced by male vocals. Unlike the previous theme, which felt too boy band-ish, the more prominent single male voice is soulful and strong. The piano music intro also works well to help soften up the other-wise edgy theme.
Dantalian no Shoka: Currently watching
When previously discussing another currently airing show, Kamisama no Memo-chou, I had compared the protagonists and case-solving episode arcs to those of the recently finished GOSICK. Here again, we have yet another anime that resembles GOSICK, with its characters as well as setting. Our main characters are a young man and a girl who is more than what she seems, living in post-industrial Europe (England? France?). Hugh “Huey” Anthony Disward comes into this season as one of the few male characters with actual capability; as a pilot and experienced handgun user, he is able to protect Dalian in life-threatening situations. Dalian, too, is no burden, as she is the gateway to the Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian and all its demonic books. In a way, she reminds me both of Victorique of GOSICK and of Index L. Prohibitorum of Toaru Majutsu no Index. Like Victorique, she keeps herself isolated in a the lower chambers of the household, surrounded by books. However, like I stated in my season preview, her isolation seems more to be of her own choosing than by force. And like Index, she possesses exclusive access to a large number of books whose knowledge is too much for most humans to handle. But, then again, Dalian is not just the human that she appears; on numerous occasions she calls Huey a “human,” and does so in a way that differentiates herself from him. Is she a demon? Or, perhaps a demon-possessed girl? What is a Dantalian, anyway? Another similarity to the female leads of GOSICK and Index that made me laugh is Dalian’s fondness for food, sweet food in particular. One of these days I’m going to have to try some fresh bread coated in sugar.
The graphics and music work well to set this show apart from many others, and would perhaps be the best if not for Mawaru Penguindrum. Gainax is not shy about combining animation and live shots of scenery and history, creating a visual treat that is both beautiful and mysterious. The mystical properties of the books and their tangible creations also make for an adventure that would otherwise seem mere optical illusions. The music throughout the episode is primarily instrumental, from strings, to wind ensembles, and to my personal favorite, solo piano. I greatly look forward to obtaining the original soundtrack whenever it comes out.
ED: The monochromatic images and music are…well…creepy. That isn’t to mean that I do not like them–they just work well to establish the unsettling nature of the demonic books that serve as the center of this show. What makes the ending sequence even more disturbing is its use, again, of real images depicting the unlocking and opening of a chest filled with supernatural beings.