Thoughts on Princess Lover

princess lover 1

About a week ago, I felt rather lonely. Not lonely because of a lack of human affection or company, but lonely in the sense that I was lacking my occasional need for stupid, ecchi, romantic garbage. I make it no secret that I have a strange fondness for awful romantic comedies or off-the-wall ecchies. I even made a list documenting it. Due to my love (or perhaps some self-conditioning throughout the years) of these titles, I have to indulge in them every once in a while in order to satisfy my thirst for variety, lest I want to go crazy. That is why the topic of discussion today is what it is.

Princess Lover is an anime that accurately fits into the category of “awful romantic comedy” or “off-the-wall ecchi.” However, what I didn’t expect from this anime is the randomly dramatic twists and turns that plague its entirety. The show opens up with a gathering of the male lead and his parents discussing his future. Soon after, it cuts to the present as it’s revealed that his parents were killed “in an accident.” That’s a somewhat harsh way to begin a stupid romantic comedy, huh? It’s interesting, really, to see the kind of mood Princess Lover takes with its story. It begins on a dark note, continues on a semi-serious note, then quickly manages to cruise into standard high school slice of life territory, only to go back to dramatics whenever character development is necessary. However, the last four episodes or so are mostly serious, with a sprinkling of comedy.

Of course, going into this I expected nothing. I expected writing on the level of MM! or Senran Kagura, but I ended up with something a tad more mature. But before I admit anything that would imply that the writing in Princess Lover is good, allow me to state that the writing is anything but that. The writing is incredibly faulty. The resolutions to the plot are absolutely fanatical and the male lead’s situation and surrounding cast are heavily embellished. Despite its more dramatic and mature structure, it does not shy away from up-skirt shots, cleavage-friendly camera angles, or random, sexual dialogue off-screen for humor. What surprised me most about the writing is more noticeable within the characters, rather than the story. The story is hilariously bad. The characters? Not entirely so.

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I can honestly say that I didn’t hate any character in this show. Not a lot of them are really likable or developed, but I didn’t hate any of them. That may seem like bittersweet praise, but it’s a lot more than some series could ever ask for. Princess Lover‘s cast of characters all offer some sort of enjoyability to them, even if it’s minute. Even the male lead is likable to a degree. And I hate male leads. There’s a strange determination to make each female character as cute as possible, while also giving them their own sense of identity and things to grow from. It is, in a sense, mature. The women handle the prospect of competing with each other for the male lead’s hand in love realistically, with some giving up while others feel they can’t try simply because they have no shot. I never really cared for the whole “rivals in love” sort of thing. It felt simplistic and childish to me. Here, we have the women thinking of the man rather than their own desires, knowing that he’d probably be happier with one other girl rather than themselves. That was fairly surprising to see in an anime like this, and I for one appreciate it.

Aside from that aspect, there is evidence to show a level of sense-awareness with the subject matter. Episode six is a nice indicator of this, as it shows the male lead far different from his typical, male-lead demeanor. Episode six is basically the “joke episode” of the series, or the “fan service episode” of the series. It shows the most tits (and it shows a lot of ’em), it shows the most comedy, and it shows the most carefree atmosphere between the characters by a long shot. It also has nothing to do with anything whatsoever. It could be cut from the series completely and nothing would be lost because of it. However, it does offer a subtle jab from the creators that they aren’t taking their series too seriously. This can be both good and bad. Good in the sense that it’s a little variety in a mostly dramatic series of beautiful and OP women, and bad that it completely takes away any seriousness this series could have maintained by that point. However, it’s hard to really take an ecchi seriously anyway, so I don’t see much of the point in it regardless.

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It’s a fairly enjoyable series for what it is. It tries really hard to be dramatic and breath-takingly epic, and that’s ultimately its downfall. But hey, I adore these types of pseudo-intellectual mockeries of storytelling among big-breasted babes with different colored hair. What makes it better is how it looks. After all, why have an ecchi show not look beautiful? It’s ecchi. The better it looks, the more it will sell. For 2009 standards, I think it pulls it off quite well. Animation-wise…. Eh. It could be better, but every character looks presentable enough and the effort based around the humor is commendable. The ecchi segments start off slow, with a shot of cleavage or underwear here and there, but nothing too explicit. It’s not until episode four or so that it begins to show quite a bit of skin. And tits. With nipples. I once wrote an entry on the OVA special for Cat Planet Cuties commenting how all the girls’ nipples looked the same. It’s no different here. All breasts are essentially the same. Copy/paste from one girl to the next, with slightly different skin tones or sizes.

It’s brainless nonsense, but enjoyable brainless nonsense. A show that fits exactly with what I desire from horrible anime rom-coms: good-looking characters, a story written by corporate drunks on their day off while skimming through porn channels, and a surprising amount of care given to expressing the strengths of its female cast. Again, don’t get me wrong. This show is fucking awful. It is not one I would willingly recommend to those looking for “quality anime,” but it’s something of a time-waster with a little bit of a kick. For those looking for something “to turn their brains off to,” this would be a ripe candidate. But for those more like me, who enjoy ripping an anime to shreds objectively, this is also something to rattle the bones with.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

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