Princess Lover: not what I expected.
I walked into Princess Lover! expecting a sort of light-hearted, harem comedy. I'm not usually into the genre, but I figured a few cheap laughs invested into only 12 episodes would be alright, and Princess Lover! was highly recommended by a few friends. I'm pleased to say the "harem" aspect wasn't the focus of the series, and for that, I am glad.
Story: 8 out of 10
The storyline for Princess Lover! is fairly well original and fun to me (although not too ambitious). It revolves around a boy whose parents have been killed, and while visiting their graves, he spots a "damsel in distress". This prompts him to save the woman, who turns out to be the princess of the fictitious Hazelrink Principality.
Then being adopted by his super rich Grandfather, he enrolls into an elitist school in Japan, and the storyline progresses at a slower slice-of-lifey pace. Teppei (main) is charming, brave, reckless, faithful, hardworking, and of course for comedies sake (sigh) awkward around women. This prompts 4 females to fall in love with him, but luckily it never gets too annoying.
If I were to explain the "action" movements of the series, I would refer to (no spoilers) a scene involving a hotel, and then later a train. This series definitely tries to put in as much non-cheesy action, to counterbalance the awkward love-triangle humor it is based off of.
Animation: 8 out of 10
The animation for this series is absolutely gorgeous. All well done (which is peculiar, because I would assume a title like this to be low-budgeted) characters, that show tons of emotions, and constantly camera-panning out to show well drawn landscape. There are no budget shots, there are no awkward anatomical embraces during romantic scenes (I feel as if every anime I’ve ever seen with a romantic side seems to think humans move like blocks of wood rolling down a hill when they go to embrace or kiss someone.)
There is a specific scene I can remember being impressed with. Near the end, Seika is shown drawing in a notebook on a building top, and in her hands, she holds the very well known Copic marker. Even the marks she makes with it seem marker-like. Is this important to the storyline? Not in the slightest, but it tells me that the animators are either keen on detail, or were simply enjoying their job. I appreciate it either way.
Sound: 5 out of 10
I have nothing to say for sound. There was no real music that I can remember; the OP and ED songs are fairly standard. The voice acting is well done, but outside of that, a fairly average sound experience.
Characters: 8 out of 10
This is probably my hardest section to rate. There are NO unique characters in Princess Lover!, and usually that sentiment alone is enough to make me turn away, but something rare, and unexpected happened. Average characters were alright with the show. Why is that, you may ask? Well, I think that just put simply; the show doesn't try to make itself anything profound. It tries to be humble, and the overall message is that humans are beautiful creatures, and are capable of anything, no matter how small or important the person is. Having average characters being humans really worked for the series I believed. I would have given it a 10, but unfortunately, the critic in me cannot COMPLETELY overlook average characters.
Overall: 8 out of 10
Overall, I was very surprised with the series, and got much more out of it than expected. The harem comedy is low, the melodramatic speeches are short, and the overall message and theme is sweet. All in all, I would definitely recommend this to anyone with a little time on their hands who want a short, sweet anime series.