With a title that seems like it has come from the Bible of Generic Harems and a cover image that does nothing in disproving said theory, i can certainly see why many would have chosen to skip said series in fears of it being just as seemingly advertised – i wasn’t putting any great hopes on the composition either. 2 episodes in to the series though, i might just have to revise that opinion. I mean, yes – it is still harem (Not yet …but getting there), it still incorporates plenty of the usual elements and fanservice that come with the territory and the test-and-tried school setup, but at the same times it also manages to avoid in falling in many of the usual critical pitfall cliches, actually has one of the rare specimens that appears to be a decent male lead, a bit of unexpected political skulduggery in the plot setup (Whether they expand on it is yet to be seen though, or will it be drowned out as the school life hits full force), and a quite likable pink haired princess. And a Wakamoto voiced grandpa.
After falling asleep (On an enviable pillow) after all the stress and fatigue from events of the previous episode (Having his parents assassinated, saving a princess from roadkill thugs, finding out his grandfather is a gazillionaire, being introduced to the cream of society and declared the new hair of the family, meeting his newly appointed fiancé), Teppei misses a conversation between his pillow (otherwise known as Yuu) and his grandfather, who is actually worried about the new life he is thrusting upon Teppei (Like he had with his daughter (Teppei’s mother), who had eloped with her husband later), and whether that is the correct thing to do (Much like he has with Yuu, picking her up from an orphanage and enlisting her as a maid), though Yuu doesn’t think so and believes in the end it doesn’t matter much – environment is something others create for us, but making the final choices within said environment is still up the person.
The limo arrives at the destination and Teppei wakes up, only to feel like he is dreaming again (No breast pillow for you this time), courtesy to the spectacle in front of him – a grandiose mansion (Wait …said word doesn’t really do the structure justice) and an army of maids welcoming the arrival of the young master (A way he obviously doesn’t fancy being called, but met with a prompt refusal from the batallion to switch to anythign more casual than Tepppei-sama) – and his grandpa casually commenting how he used to live here at some point, but the building has been idle for a while now, hence Teppei’s new home.
After Yuu is done showing him around and led him to his luxurious room and notified how to call her at any time, we are treated to a pointlessly long flashback of his meeting with the quirky princess Charlotte whom he rescued, and his shotgun fiancé – Sylvia. Once the display of lacking time and composition management skill that is the flashback blows over, Teppei orders some hot milk and ends up briefly discussing his arranged marriage with Yuu – and i must say i am pleasantly surprised by his normal (given the circumstances) reaction towards it – especially wondering if the option of canceling it exists (Which Yuu confirms as indeed possible). What do you know, for once we have a male lead with a spine who looks like he just may not blindly take things everyone throws at him, which is a good prospect considering the usually clueless male. Yuu doesn’t really seem to grasp the importance of “knowing each other” that Teppei emphasizes on regarding Sylvia – seems like grandpa’s education has left something to be desired.
A new life, a new school – one that would likely turn Backingem Palace green with envy, and would have have seen Teppei’s jaw on the floor, if not for the anatomic impossibility of it. After being awoken and letting out a girly scream towards the maid army trying to nonchalantly dress him, Teppei arrives at the wonderland that is going to be his new school and gets greeted by a crowd of students that can’t seem to peel their eyes off him due to him being from the absurdly prestigious Arima family (“How do they know i am Arima !?” – why, simple – it says so on the limo side), Teppei makes a getaway and disappears in to the school before Yuu realizes her master is gone. The horror.
A challenger appears! Enter Charlotte who seems to be attending said school as well (Oh, look – is that Captain Obvious sailing with a new yacht?), arriving in her trademark carriage – the ecologically safest way to travel …probably.
Meanwhile, Teppei has ran his way to the school cafeteria (or a high class restaurant apparently), and while he is busy ogling the spectacle someone bumps in to him and sends him (and said person) sprawling on the floor. (You know, last time i checked, people didn’t fall over that easily from so little of an impact …). As it turns out, it is one of the four main females featured in the OP along with two of her cronies – Seika, who proceeds to accuse him of just standing there. (Really now, how exactly do you manage to bump in to someone who is just standing there and then accuse him?). After some brief exchange between the groups (And Teppei getting to ogle something pink, white and striped for his troubles before standing up) and Seika turning out to be a somewhat balanced mix between your usual self-centered and arrogant person on one hand, but somewhat “normal on the other, Teppei is found by Yuu who drags him off to the principals office – where he gets swooned over by every staff member, as it seems Arima are huge investors in said school. (Well now, someone has his scholarship guaranteed it seems. Puts a new meaning to “failure is not an option” i suppose).
Classroom is no better, as the student body seem just as impressed with a live specimen of Arima as the teachers are, so much to Teppei’s dismay he gets flooded by a following of worshipers, token gigolo character included who proclaims himself as Teppei’s best buddy. If Teppei could face-desk without losing face right about now, i am sure he would. At least, it certainly seemed like he would appreciate the action. While Teppei is busy being assaulted by his newfound sect of worshipers, a certain princess passes by the classroom, and shows a look that would make one believe Christmas has come early upon seeing Teppei.
I sense disturbance in the force
No Valdo this time, but lets play “Spot the predator” instead!
After being assaulted from behind in a playful manner one would expect from Charlotte and having his eyes covered, Teppei is unable to tell the attacker apart … until he feels the sensation of her breasts on her back, which triggers an immediate newtype reaction – seems like the feel he got to enjoy in episode 1 Teppei remembers well. Overjoyed at their reunion, Charlotte tackles Teppei in an joyful hug, sending the two spinning and landing in a predictably compromising (And highly improbable) position. (Allowing for some more playful quirks from Charlotte, and bewilderment from the surrounding classmates).
Of course, what would be a compromising position without something to milk it for its worth – and obviously, Sylvia appears who had thought of making a courtesy visit to greet Teppei, even if she isn’t exactly fancying the whole arranged marriage deal herself. The spectacle, expectedly, makes her dash out of the room while screaming something about indecency and leaving a deadstruck Teppei behind, while Charlotte happily announces she will show Teppei around the school, oblivious to the later’s plight. (I suppose it is worth noting Sylvia and Charlotte seem to know each other to some degree).
Ah, yes – meanwhile Seika is having a fit upon finding out Teppei is an Arima, towards whom she apparently holds some grudge, and is despairing she had spent any time at all on him during the morning. But who cares, really; moving on ..
Charlotte is having Tea with Teppei and the conversation turns to Sylvia, with her asking if Teppei knows her, and the later responding she is somehow his fiancé, towards which Charlotte has an immediate sad expression (Surprise, surprise, she is interested in Teppei, who would have ever guessed …), but she changes that to her usual happy one before Teppei can notice, and proposes they go and find Sylvia, since Teppei seems to be concerned over the “display” in the classroom.
As they track down Sylvia while she is practicing fencing, Teppei comments how she seems lonely because no one here can really match her level (Wouldn’t “bored” be the appropriate term ? Since when did he turn psychic anyway), which causes Charlotte to flare up with her usual quirkiness and call out to Sylvia, saying Teppei Teppei is commenting she looks lonely, which causes the later to flare up in anger and challenge Teppei to a duel, to which he agrees, saying this will finish the one that got interrupted in ep1.
So … yeah. While it can’t be denied the show has a certain amount of the usual romance harem comedy structure behind it, it also manages a surprisingly pleasant mood behind it, and a sense of competency. I am finding it hard to describe the actual feeling the show generates, but somehow it just feels “right”. Since the vast majority of people who watch this have commented it is turning out quite better than expected, i am daring to assume it is not me going senile just yet. Teppei is a fairly respectable male lead thus far, which is rare enough to be celebrated, and Charlotte is made from a lot of win, having a very likable and friendlily outgoing personality, with a quirky playful streak, one she is surprisingly self-aware about.
Yuu turned out to be a fairy respectable character as well, and she had some insightful discussions with Teppei to cement her role as someone who will likely serve as Teppei’s “advice” (or at least an ear for listening) when the later is going to be pondering some heavier issues. Sylvia i am less fond of, as there is not all that much about her that would appeal to me. Somewhat prideful and rash, she is quick to fluster and prone to some over-reacting, although she does share Teppei’s passion for swordplay. Seika is … well, not much on her at this point, aside from the fact she seems to be out to get Teppei as of now – something i am expecting she will fail at, given that she appears unexpectedly clumsy potentially.
As for the obvious love triangle that will develop between Sylvia and Charlotte – for now it seems like it will tread down a fairly common path – Charlotte trying to help the other two get closer, while harboring feelings for Teppei herself. And we all know that is a time bomb, just waiting to explode. Since both Teppei and Sylvia are not pleased about the arranged marriage at this point i can see it taking a lot of time, also meaning a lot of time for the snowball to accumulate mass. Either way, it is early to say how exactly the triangle will progress, but what i am willing to bet on is Teppei eventually ending up with Charlotte. The pair has all the obvious hints going for them ever since episode 1, and feels just plain obvious once you are somewhat familiar with all the usual tropes that come with watching more than your share of similar shows. They could always pull a non girl ending though (in which case i would rage so that hell would tremble from my anger …. – yes, i loathe inconclusive endings), but i will remain optimistic on that front – that we actually get a conclusive ending, and i am willing to eat my hat if it turns out anything but a Charlotte one.
I suppose the only way to find out is wait and see (Optionally, you could go to Japan and threaten the script writer), which is perfectly fine – the series has had a rather nice start thus far, and i am hoping they can keep the tone up. As long as they don’t ultimately forget the whole deal about Teppei’s parents being murdered and someone potentially being after him as well, now that he is the heir to Arima wealth, i will be pretty satisfied.