Tooru Kouno's attractive appearance draws unexpected attention on his first day at an all-boys school. Having to transfer to a school without girls has been bad enough, but adding to his list of frustrations are boys staring at him all day long. However, he hopes that there may be girls around, since he ran into a lovely pink-haired girl on campus earlier that day.
After being escorted to his dorm by his classmate, Yuujirou Shihoudani, he meets a student named Mikoto Yutaka, who looks eerily similar to the girl he saw previously. To his shock, he realizes Mikoto is the girl and confronts him about this revelation. Yuujirou divulges that he and Mikoto crossdress as part of their job: a school tradition in which attractive first years are chosen as idols called "Princesses" in order to boost the morale of the students—and because of his looks, Tooru has been chosen by the student council as their third Princess!
To watch Princess Princess you have to keep in mind, it's a bit weird.
First off, the story. If we're really being honest here, it's kind of something out of a fangirl's mind. A prestigious all-boys school where a 'lucky few' are picked to dress up as princesses. Yes, you did hear that right, boys dressing up as princesses is the basic idea of this anime. And is there any more story than that? Not really. There's a bit of character development, one actual relationship involving one of the main characters and a teeny bit of shounen-ai to make the fangirls, who are undoubtedly watching, happy.
So the story gets a 6 from me, it's not terrible but it kind of makes you go '...really?' to accepting the fact that, not only would this happen, but that anyone would agree to it (thought the perks the princesses get are nice).
Don't be fooled by the anime's picture. The art is decent enough, but it's nothing special. I do have to give props to whoever designed the princesses outfits, at times they were really cute. Character design was alright, but it's all something you could find in any other anime, nothing is particularly unique. It's simply good and nothing more.
As for sound, I'm a big fan of Romi Paku who does Yuujirou's voice and the other voice actors are good enough. The music was so-so. Usually I love or hate OPs and EDs, Princess Princess didn't give me much feeling either way. Sometimes I half-listened to them, other times I skipped them. I don't actively seek the songs out to listen to them, but they weren't bad, just not anything that stuck with me.
The main characters are nothing special, but it's unlikely that you'll dislike them. They all have their own quirks and backgrounds which, for a series of only 12 episodes, were explored adequately enough to leave you hoping for, but not needing, more. So, the characters were handled well, but there honestly wasn't much to work with. They were pretty much average.
But when it comes to enjoyment? Well, that's a 10. Despite all its flaws and drawbacks Princess Princess is a fun watch. If you're looking for a blatantly yaoi/shonen-ai series, that's not what it is. And if you're looking for something mind-blowing and new, this isn't it. But if you're looking for something that's short, sweet, and simple, then you're in the right place.
Clearly intended and marketed as a yaoi/shounen-ai series, “Princess Princess” will no doubt find most of its fans in that demographic, but those not akin to that genre will surely enjoy the series too purely for its comedic value. While not as a funny as “Ouran High School Host Club” or using offbeat humor like “School Rumble”, “Princess Princess” still delivers solid comedy.
To really enjoy “Princess Princess”, you do have to accept its somewhat ridiculous premise, an all-boys school where the most effeminate and pretty boys of the first year students get designated as 'hime' (aka princess) and cross dress as girls in order to
boost the morale of the boys all round the school, much like some sort of cheerleaders. While the princesses have many chores and duties, they do get benefits so one could view it as a paid part-time function.
Then again, such a premise isn't all that silly if we look at that of “Ouran High School Host Club” for instance. Anime series have their share of silly premises one must accept to enjoy them.
“Princess Princess” focuses on Shihoudani, Mikoto and Tooru, how they live their year as princesses and reconcile with this rather peculiar job.
Even excluding the comedic scenes, Tooru and Shihoudani are brought forth as a possible romantic pairing and part of the plot is spent on their relationship which may be more than friendship. It is never explicitly stated they are or will become involved, but it's a clear possibility. Even those who are not into the yaoi/shounen-ai genre will not mind it one bit as it's handled well.
With the main plot focus being on Tooru's character development and past, Shihoudani's character is also sufficiently fleshed out so they're less two-dimensional and their respective past experiences helps in set up the believability of their mutual understanding and bond.
Mikoto's character provides a nice contrast, being the most effeminate of the three yet also the one who opposes his job as a princess the most, and who has a heterosexual relationship. Regardless, he does seem to fantasize about wearing matching female attire with his girlfriend Megumi. (No one would mind, they'd definitely look gorgeous together.)
Other than that he gets little background for his character, one could say even Sakamoto, a friend of the three, gets more character development than Mikoto.
The student council was another matter, they were so blatantly gorgeous, perfect males and aimed at the yaoi/shounen-ai fan demographic that it did bother me at some times and put off some of the comedic aspect of the student council presidents shenanigans and plots. But one might rack them up as pure fanservice.
Sayaka's character is another matter entirely, largely used as plot development vehicle for Tooru, it's hard to try to understand her perspective. Even though one could imagine her parents' dire situation in how to deal with a daughter's predicament like Sayaka's, often you wonder why they simply do not get her professional help.
Speaking of fanservice, all the scenes of Shihoudani, Mikoto and Tooru cross-dressing as girls are off course, purely aimed at that. One mustn't fear to recoil at seeing cross-dressing males appear on-screen, in those scenes Shihoudani, Mikoto and Tooru are simply drawn as girls in typically frilly, gothic-esque girl attire. And yes, they do look very cute as girls in their princess appearances.
The animation in “Princess princess” is decent, most budget and effort clearly having been put into the above mentioned fanservice scenes. Other scenes are visually unremarkable, backgrounds are very simple and plain. The lackluster animation will not put off enjoying the series, but it does not add positively in any way either.
The same applies to the soundtrack, which is unremarkable, standard fare as well.
One will no doubt enjoy “Princess Princess” as a comedy, and if you're into yaoi/shounen-ai, then you've probably already watched this series.
The story is interesting... Makes me wonder if an all boys school actually does that... It's an interesting storyline but I really can't complain. Humor, humor, humor is basically what this anime tries to get you with. It does a good job, and it compensates for the man on man atmosphere. If your looking for some shoujo-ai you will be sadly disappointed.
Art is good, no repeat scenes... thank god.
Sound is good, no problems. Character voices are perfect.
Character's were great, all with individual problems, while caught
up in a mess of school activities. Development was great, and you'll come to like maybe even love the characters :D
Why did I like this anime?
It was funny, and a good breather between serious anime's (if you like more of the drama/sad type animes). However I was GREATLY disappointed there was no shoujo-ai between a "certain" two characters (once you see it you'll understand). The manga creator was "advised" not to make it into a shoujo-ai manga.
the world is a fucked up and wonderful place. the lines are blurred and the freedom to disregard common sense is beautiful. i love this anime to death and everything it stands for.
for this review i guess it might be nessecary to point out that i am a straight male (ok not 100% but i swear anime made me slightly bisexual).
this anime is largely a yaoi fanservice anime, focusing mainly on genderbending. kinda like harem/ecchi but for girls, or just anyone who is a bit curious and confused. i don't know what i am so i
guess i'm confused.
genderbending was a concept that i barely even knew existed until maybe a year ago, now i love that shit and i don't know why. i love traps, i love reverse traps too. and at this point i don't know if i'm a virgin because i like this shit, or if i like this shit because i'm a virgin. but somewhere in my brain it feels inherently logical to equate sexual desperation to an increase in sexual perversions.
anyway lets get down to it. our protagonist tooru kouno transfers to an all boys high school, where there's been a secret and several decades long tradition to take the most attractive male students and dress them up as girls to become the rest of the schools mascots/eyecandy. this is sort of an inevitable perversion in an environment where there are no females around and just a bunch of pubertal teens going rampage. which is actually quite similar to my own life situation, except i'm not pubertal and it's just me alone in my college dorm room where only other guys live, and i very rarely go outside.
but enough of my self deprecation. so this school has also found that making these attractive people crossdress impacts the school as a whole in a very positive way, due to the "princesses" cheering etc their sports teams are doing better than they ever would have if not for the school's princesses cheering. they also resolve conflicts with their effeminate mannerisms so everything is peaceful. in return these princesses also get cash money from the student council.
the characters themselves have an exceptional amount of depth for being a yaoi fanservice, seeing shihoudani and tooru on their summer vacation gives you a taste of what their "non-professional" personalities are like, and their family problems etc.
so much praise from my side but here is some criticism. i feel like they could have made this anime into something much more profound by for instance involving parts where the main characters go through identity crisis. due to all their acting, they start to forget who they really are/were, become confused and/or uncomfortable with their gender roles and have no idea what to identify as anymore. something like that, you get the picture.
the concept of vanity is also a large part of this show, quite rarely seen in anime due to most characters being way more attractive than the average 3D person. but in this show the contrasts are vast. the regular people look unappealing and the princesses+sakamoto have big kind looking eyes and shit. and generally are better looking and more effeminate than most 3D women out there (jesus christ since when did i start comparing people in anime to real life people, i have become a monster).
that is enough. just go watch it right now and become a more fucked up person than you were before.
A mind-bending list of 15 anime series where gender-bending is the main plot or a recurring theme. Most of these are comedy series because, well, when was cross-dressing, body-swapping, or whatever not the source of hilarity? Get ready to dive into the unique world of gender-bender anime!