After that cliff-hanger ending from last season, it feels like a blatant excuse to setup another season. And thus that is why we have a fourth season, Uta No Prince-sama Legend Star. Though, it took more than a year for this sequel to pop up on air. I suppose this is the most popular franchise of the hot guy idols genre so better way than to milk it even more and get girls squealing in delight with more hot guys on stage. Oh, who am I kidding? Me? I’m just here to find out the conclusion to their decisive battle although I have an idea who might be the winner who will take it all.

Episode 1
It has been a month since we left off from last season, the three-way fight for the SSS crown. Therefore a short flashback of the results that night. Due to Heavens’ surprise entry, they have been disqualified. Not sitting well with fans… The winner goes to… Quartet Night! But guess what? They decide to turn this opportunity down! WTF?! They feel all of them were equals and suggested another competition to finish this. Well I’ll be damned. It’s like Brexit and the US elections having another go. The next scenes are absolute nonsense as it supposed to introduce and showcase how important these guys are as they sing and try to steal Haruka’s heart in their extravagant and elaborated set pieces. From Heaven’s cosy limo before being hijacked by Quartet Night’s makeshift pub truck and then being whisked away by the royal ballroom of Starish’s aircraft. WTF???!!! Haruka beats The Bachelorette anytime! It is finally decided that another competition among the 3 boy bands will be held. But there’s one catch. Haruka will write a song for each of them! Holy crap! Not her again?! Can she play fair? Of course she can. Finally all the heartfelt thanks and gratitude from Starish to Haruka because without her they won’t be making it this far, blah, blah, blah.

Episode 2
Saotome and Raging announce a surprise duet project. A member of Starish and Heavens will be paired to sing together. Guess what again? Haruka will write the songs! OMFG! They’re really going to work her to the bone and milk her dry! Of course this has both sides wondering if they can even work with each other seeing the intense rivalry. Before Quartet Night is blown into oblivion, the reason why we need to have this episode mainly focused of them. Since it is Reiji’s idea for his comrades to live together, of course those grumpy and moody guys hate it. With Camus and Ranmaru constantly bickering and at each other’s throats for the silliest reasons, suddenly Reiji drops the bombshell. He can’t do it anymore. He quits! OMG. It’s real. Sh*t is hitting the fan. It is no joke when he never comes back and the rest starts thinking how important Reiji was as the glue that kept them together. Then after they get a lecture from Ryuuya how they won’t capture any hearts if they continue to be divided (because they should be putting all their efforts being in a group rather than an individual), this real shake up has them call a truce. They realize they aren’t bad singing together in a group. Miraculously all of them reunite again at the beach. They seek Reiji’s explanation and honestly he really thought he couldn’t continue anymore. He forced them to live together to bond and when it backfired, he panicked. With the group whole again, Reiji suggests going on a national tour. A blatant excuse for them to showcase their music.

Episode 3
The first duet project is on and it pits Tokiya with Eiji. Tokiya is blown away after hearing him sing. Like an angel! Aside that, Eiji is a pretty nice guy. He even invites Tokiya to come practice at Heavens’ studio. Taking up his offer, he sees the high concentration and power of Heavens practising. Due to his numerous visits, the media soon picks this up and writes rumours Tokiya might be leaving Starish for Heavens! Starish is of course worried although Tokiya rubbishes it. One day, Tokiya bumps into Raging who hints he wants to recruit Tokiya into the team because of his talents. Although he declines, Raging hints his doors will always be open. This leaves Tokiya thinking. As more rumours surfaced and Starish believing Tokiya will not simply transfer to another agency, Tokiya finally snaps at his comrades that he might really go over. Because he feels that the group is not advancing and if they remain stuck, the gap between the bands will only widen. If that happens, he plans to accept Raging’s invitation. So we have all the Starish members being gloomy thinking about this break up but eventually they can’t let this get to them and the need to improve. It’s their fault they drove Tokiya to this. On the other hand, Tokiya really doesn’t want to go over and did this as a wakeup call in hopes his comrades would change. So with everyone reconciling and accepting to push to greater heights, Tokiya realizes the importance of Starish to them. He wants to continue singing with them. Tokiya and Eiji and complete their duet together as we get to hear the sultry and sexy R&B beat of Mighty Aura.

Episode 4
Next up is Sho and Yamato. However Yamato despite talented isn’t interested in going through this. When Sho identifies him as Ryuuya’s little brother, Yamato punches him in the gut! So Sho talks to Ryuuya about this and it seems the only way to settle it is via this celebrity sports variety programme, Muscle Fight. When the brothers meet, Yamato is looking for to fight Ryuuya. However he says Sho will be replacing him and this doesn’t sit well with him. Asks why Yamato wanted to become an idol, he doesn’t have the slightest bit of that. He joined Heavens to beat Ryuuya. If Yamato beats Sho, he will get to fight Ryuuya but if he loses, he must do the duet with Sho. On Muscle Fight, we skip all the other events because it is down to a boxing final match between Sho and Yamato. At first Yamato is beating the shorty up. But Sho always stands back up no matter what. The power of being an idol? Since we can’t have just a bunch of guys throwing punches at each other, we have to make them sing while doing so! Yeah. I guess this is the song Haruka wrote for them. In the end, double knockout. At the end of the day, the duo somewhat make peace and despite Yamato’s haughty behaviour, he will still do the duet with Sho.

Episode 5
Haruka and Cecil go meet up with Shion to discuss about the song details. However this guy is in his own world, ignoring them and doing his own things. Cecil is a bit dense, that’s why he is able to keep up with the cheery positivism. Unfortunately Haruka can’t understand what they’re saying. With Shion keeping up this attitude, Cecil’s enthusiasm also wanes. It becomes damning when he sees Shion smiling in Heavens. So when Cecil talks to him, that is when Shion blows his top. He says something about his oath only to sing for Heavens otherwise his soul will be defiled. Chuunibyou case? He has now had it with this and was putting up with this thinking it would help Heavens. So he runs back and locks himself up in the closet? So when Heavens can’t even bring him out, they barge into Starish’s dorm to find out. Thankfully rational heads prevail instead of starting a brawl because they know this project is to help them polish up for SSS. If both sides cannot complete this project, they cannot participate in SSS. After Cecil tells what Shion said to him, they explain Shion was the last to join Heavens and fears losing the group more than anything else. Cecil seeks Camus advice on the matter. He interjects what if he joins Starish. This surprises Cecil a lot. The point in matter is that they are intruding into Shion’s space. Eiichi talks to Shion that they can allow him to stay true to his oath although it might hurt Heavens’ reputation. Of course that won’t do for Shion. Between a rock and a hard place now. Well, at least they succeed in bringing him out of the closet but he is now running away. Coincidentally Cecil happen to be nearby and chase after him. Once caught up, Cecil explains how he too was the last to join Starish and the group feared the additional member would diminish their brilliance (or was it the competition over Haruka?). He tells Shion to sing for Heavens and he will sing for Starish. Yes, they can sing together for different things. So Shion finally turns up and sings a duet with Cecil. Shion is amazed at the different experience outside Heavens. They make peace and accept each other and everybody is happy.

Episode 6
In addition to their duet, Ren and Van will be starring in a movie together (I have a feeling it parodies Phoenix Wright). Because Van is such an outgoing and playful guy, this makes Ren seriously worried. Even more so when he expresses in dating Haruka! Time to step in. But Van tells him back that he really likes her and is just saying his feelings unlike Ren who is untrue to himself. If you lie to yourself, your music is a lie too. Then it becomes a competition to see who can get the higher praise for the movie will get Haruka. Ren notices Van’s superb acting chops like as though he is a different person. In the final climatic courtroom drama scene, both sides are equally intense till Van starts adlibbing. Ren equally responses and both sides manage to keep up with each other. Why didn’t the director stop filming? He doesn’t want to lose the intensity of this scene. In the end, both acknowledge each other as equal. But Van sneakily confesses to Haruka and wants to date her, promising he can make her happy. What is Haruka’s reply? Music is all that she can think off now! You’re rejected. He accepts and encourages her to write a great song so he can greatly sing it. Ren was too late coming in the picture but don’t worry, Haruka rejected him, right? Van insists his confession is because he is serious about her. Ren’s silence on his feelings for her also means he is serious. Narrating how she helped him find his way back to music, that is why he puts her happiness before his. Right now he is watching over her as his way of showing his love. Van admits his loss this time but won’t give up. They are motivated to sing their duet, Lovely Eyes, a jazzy and playful Broadway-like piece.

Episode 7
Nagi is being a brat during a meeting with Natsuki. But he upgrades to a dick when he questions about his past of tossing away the violin to play the viola (because he wants to play them in their duet). This leaves Natsuki in some sort of trauma. Nagi accuses him of not wanting to play as the reason for acting like this. This stopped when Satsuki comes out to put his foot down. Later Haruka learns from Satsuki the reason of his existence is to protect Natsuki. Of course Haruka tells the rest but there is nothing they can do since Natsuki wants to go ahead with this project. Nagi adds fuel to fire after researching more about Natsuki. He brings a violin for Natsuki to play at their next meeting and when he questions about him crashing into Hayato’s concert and he couldn’t remember, this makes Nagi certain that he has a split personality. He wants to tell everyone but Satsuki comes out of his own. He has had it with this and storms home to pack his bags. He is going to quit this project and being an idol! Putting his glasses back on doesn’t even change him back! This is serious. But with the rest showing their support, Satsuki decides to give this another chance. After an interview that has Natsuki thanking those around him for his sweet smiles, he decides not to run away and face this. Thus he is going to play the violin. A night talking with Haruka, Satsuki reveals why Natsuki tried to toss away this painful past of his. His beloved violin instructor whom he trusted plagiarized a song he wrote. Satsuki was created to help protect him but now seeing Natsuki is eager to change and accept his painful past, there is no longer any reason to protect him. So both alter egos make peace with each other. With that, Satsuki is gone. So it is a surprise to others when Natsuki doesn’t change when he doesn’t don his glasses. The duet goes well but is it me or do I find Grown Empathy sounding a lot similar like Lovely Eyes? Just add violins…

Episode 8
Masato and Kira find they have so much in common. Even their families have dealings with each other for generations! You bet they’re going to get along very well till Masato gets a call (after 20 miscalls!) from home. His father has collapsed. Masato cuts short his practice and postpones the duet to return to his home. Although father is stabilized, Masato didn’t expect this turn of events as father wants him to be the heir and succeed him. Masato was supposed to be in music for only a year but father quietly allowed him to prolong it. As he explains about the important SSS coming up, father argues it is why all the more important he has to leave the group now before he becomes too important to part. WTF. Masato is forced to extend his stay for another 2 days because there is an annual dinner his family hosts and since father cannot attend, he will be his proxy. Masato realizes nothing has changed. With this, Starish and everyone else get worried but believes he will pull through. Kira talks to Ren about Masato. He realizes they are different because Masato lacks resolve. There are still doubts in him. Masato is shocked to see Ren and Kira at his home. He believes there is more to them attending as their father’s proxy. Masato explains he has talked to his father but he won’t budged. They think he is running away from making his own decisions and if they go back to Tokyo now, nothing will ever change. Masato thinks Kira’s father blessed him with freedom but on the contrary he took it with his own hands because his dad too opposed him entering the music industry. Not convinced? Hear this song then. During the dinner, Masato’s dad makes his surprise appearance. All just to announce his son will be taking over. Masato quickly pops up to denounce that. He claims music is now very important to him unlike the last time where it was his only escape from reality. He might risk making lots of people suffer but he is prepared to bear those sins. So literally f*ck everybody else just for my own selfishness? As proof of his resolve, Masato and Kira perform a piano duet of Lasting Oneness, a techno and Chinese blend. Is father moved? He warns him continuing his music path risks severing ties with the family. So be it. Then walk that path knowing he will never be part of the family again. Thank you. It seems father let him go because it was the first time he looked him in the eye and told him how he felt. He believes his songs will one day support millions around the world. So money it isn’t money?

Episode 9
Eiichi is delighted that he is paired up with Otoya and is one friendly guy. Wow. This guy is so different from the snobbish dude we know. When Eiichi returns to Heavens, he notes the group moving forward well. However Raging disagrees with all that. The reason for this duet project is to show Heavens they are better than Starish. Their goal is not improving but to become the best. That is the meaning of their existence! Haruka has written a song that it motivates Otoya to write the lyrics. He pours his heart and time into it. However Eiichi is not pleased because such awesome song requires some soul shaking lyrics instead of just scratching the surface. He thinks he should look into his soul and be true to himself to be able to sing it. Of course the stress gets to Otoya. He isn’t smiling like he should and if he is, it looks fake. Starish can tell he is acting strange so Reiji advises them to talk to him. However they can’t because Eiichi has whisked him away to a training camp. Any contacts become futile. He isn’t picking up. Haruka finishes her masterpiece and sends it to Eiichi who believes Otoya might be able to do it after hearing this. However this isn’t the case. He still can’t come up with anything despite being true to himself. Maybe he needs to look deeper. Oh, the power outage is great so they can look at the darkness of his heart. At this point, I’m starting to think Eiichi is getting very creepy… Indeed. He has researched all about Otoya! He knows he is starved for love. He shows him a sunflower painting. And then burns it! Otoya has lost his parents and everything. Not wanting to lose anymore, that’s why he put on a fake smiling mask. Otoya sees how Starish becomes disappointed in him and leaves. Even Haruka. And after all that caressing from Eiichi, it’s time to open up to his true self. Wow. Creepy indeed. So gay… And so Next Door is a dark rock piece that is a personification of the dark and tragic past of Otoya. Just creepily insane.

Episode 10
Otoya calls Tokiya. He can’t smile. He can’t be part of Starish. Bye. Tokiya is super confused and tells this to the rest. Even more baffling is that Haruka has just received mail from Otoya and Eiichi’s duet recording. They hear it and are shocked to listen to the dark lyrics. Is this Otoya? Tokiya calls Eiichi to find out what happened. Eiichi tells the truth that he wanted to bring out his the darkness of soul for the ultimate music. He claims they do not know the true Otoya, a sunflower field of despair. Tokiya leaves Eiichi to his crazy delusions. So when Raging is pleased this rumour is going about in the industry, he praises his son for doing a good job. Eiichi is shocked to hear this and he really didn’t intend it to go this way. Now that Otoya is missing, Tokiya does some research on his past and tells what he has found. He never knew his father and couldn’t remember his mom. His aunt took him in but she died of an illness (she promised to bring him to the sunflower field when she got better). This made Otoya blame himself and by the time he entered the orphanage, he realized he can’t smile. They deduce by being with them, he will also start to lose them. Tokiya feels the need to find him before tomorrow’s broadcast. He isn’t prioritizing work but rather Otoya’s safety. If this gets out, he will be hurt even more. First, Starish sends out a message by singing a song with hope under the guise of Saotome’s debut anniversary. Guess who is it targeted to? Guess will it have an effect on Otoya? Sure it did. He wants to see them but he still can’t smile and must resolve this himself first. At the withered sunflower field, he remembers his aunt’s hopeful words to shine. Otoya comes to terms to do his best and make everyone smile. But he isn’t alone. Because Starish is here.

Episode 11
Some apology here and there. They give Otoya some hope about their bonds while revealing they talked to the orphanage director to get directions to this place. With Otoya’s genuine smile back, he adds that there is no such thing as eternity. He doesn’t know what the future holds or if Starish will sing forever. The important point is that what they do is limited and they have to cherish every moment of it. With that, their high level of motivation has them run and sing their way back home. Even rejuvenating the sunflower field! WTF?! With Starish back as a whole, Raging is not pleased as Starish’s reputation has increased. He is disappointed Eiichi didn’t fully crush Otoya. Eiichi says he only wanted to make the ultimate music. Raging blows his top that they are just his tools. Heavens disagrees. They want to compete fairly with Starish and Quartet Night. Raging is the only loser. Eiichi knows his history when he retired early thinking his single became the top seller. But he lost because Saotome beat him subsequently. Therefore Heavens is his tool for his ultimate revenge. Raging will not allow it and begins his underhanded scheme. Starish is shocked when they head for their individual duet projects, their Heavens counterpart has seemingly cancelled the appointment. Soon rumours are swirling that Heavens have dropped out from the industry. Of course as our protagonists discuss, they know Raging is behind it. As Heavens has defied him, he is going to make things go his way even if it means smearing the name of his own agency. This means Heavens might not make perform at the decisive concert. Heavens is reeling in despair over their fate back at their estate. They cannot do anything. Then surprise! Here comes Starish to give them a little pep talk about giving up. Don’t. Because they hand them Haruka’s song for them. Be there or be square. Heavens takes a look at Haruka’s work and finds it super good. Goooooooood!!! They can’t let it go to waste and want to sing it badly.

Episode 12
The decisive concert is here. As Quartet Night and Starish are being introduced on stage, suddenly it is announced that Heavens has dropped out and won’t be participating. Man, you can hear the uproar of Heavens’ fans. They won’t accept this! Everyone is in shock except for Raging. All as planned. Quartet Night then has something to say. They believe this is not the decisive concert they have been waiting for otherwise the re-election would have been a waste. They will wait for them no matter how long it takes. Starish also give their opinion and believe they will come back because their love for music is true and won’t give up. And what do you know? Here they are! Heavens has answered your prayers and returned! Raging is upset with this turn of events. He thinks Saotome has put them up to this although that eccentric guy says he didn’t do anything. But there is nothing they can do now once the concert begins. Just shut up, sit back and watch their performance. Quartet Night goes first as they belt out God’s Star. After their amazing performance, they thank Haruka backstage. She also meets Heavens who also thank her for her song. They are going to give their best performance yet and if they win, Eiichi wants her to become Heavens’ composer. They go out on stage to perform the energetic Immortal Inferno. Finally it is Starish’s turn to hit the stage. They’re so excited to deliver their feelings to everyone.

Episode 13
Raging is true to his name. He is mad. But that is because he realized when did his love for music die and started becoming interested in numbers. Leave it up to Saotome to show his usual trademark exaggerative effects to tell him about how love never dies! His love for music might be lost but it isn’t dead! Love is forever! Ironic because a couple of episodes ago, Starish didn’t believe in eternity. So before Starish take centre stage, their usual thanks to Haruka and this time each of them give her their personal hug! Then out onto the stage where they sing their self-titled song, We Are Starish. Damn, if those girls just stopped screaming, I could decently hear their song. You can guess their performance is so dazzling that it wins praises not only from the crowd and judges but their fellow competitors as well. What’s this? Raging is crying?! So beautiful?! This is the power of love?! He isn’t staying for the results because he needs to concoct a plan with Heavens to defeat Saotome and overcome his sales record. And finally a decision is made. The winner who will sing at the opening of SSS goes to… STARISH!!! With the ‘losers’ taking this loss gracefully and vowing to aim higher, more congratulations to Starish and since they still want to sing, all of them starts singing the ending theme. Wow. Enemies now singing like best friends together. In the aftermath, Starish meets Haruka and they have this idea to do a great concert involving Starish, Heavens and Quartet Night. Sounds wonderful till you realize who the heck is going to write the songs… I don’t know. That last scene the way they showed it at that angle I imagined Haruka wanted to scream and run away… Just kidding of course.

Let The Music Heal Your Soul & Past
Well, everything was as I expected. Starish winning this decider. Actually I was also predicting the other outcome whereby nobody could really decide which of the trio wins since everybody is so damn good and thus all of them would be singing at SSS opening! Yeah, screw your limited opening screen time because these hot guys are much more important and popular than your whatever SSS event. Look at how all the girls are going crazy over them! And poor Haruka has to again write the songs… Poor Haruka… More about her later on. And damn if the 3 groups should merge into one big group, a few more members and maybe they can give AKB48 a run for their money. Maybe they should just do that because it would be a shame to leave such handsome men behind. So therefore this season doesn’t really come with any big surprises that would shake everything up. Despite some ‘shocking’ revelation of a certain character’s background, it is overall still pretty much the same thing all over again. As if this is just an extended season 3.

I should have expected that with this kind of genre, the story and plot of each episode more or less plays out a similar formula. You get an episode focused on a particular character and because there are too many guys this time and it won’t be enough and impossible to give each one of them their own single episode, that is why they pair up Starish and Heavens. It ‘hurries’ the pace of the season and at the same time doesn’t bore you to death because if they really did focus on the individual, I mean how much can they really tell about them individually? Sure, they can do for a handful but if they want to cover all of them, there will be some that would be incomplete or just feel forced.

This season it feels like it didn’t do much to develop the characters much. At least most of them. Because if you have been following this series from the first season, you would already have known Starish well enough. It is like there isn’t anything more left to tell about them. Except for Otoya. But more about him later. So I thought with Heavens in the fray, they might have some sort of background stories to tell. Uhm… Not really either. With the exception of Shion being a chuunibyou, the rest didn’t really have much to tell. Even Shion’s case itself isn’t much but at least with his chuunibyou personality, he stands out a bit more than the rest of Heavens. Even the original trio of Heavens, Eiichi, Nagi and Kira don’t even have any back telling to tell. Instead, their episode in focus actually focuses more on their Starish counterparts instead. So if you are a Heavens’ supporter or fan and want to know more about them this season, you would be disappointed.

Back to Starish, Tokiya, Sho, Cecil and Ren’s episodes feel like nothing. Fillers and standalone that don’t really do much. It’s a reason why I really started to feel even more boring. My sentiments of last season were already bored and this kind of similar styled episodes made it even worse. Then they start to shake things up with the remaining Starish because Natsuki, Masato and especially Otoya feel like they have actually unfinished business. It looks a bit interesting but not enough to overcome that overall boredom of mine when they break the mould with Natsuki reconciling with his alter ego and Masato taking over his destiny to not follow his father’s footsteps and pursue his own dreams with his own hands.

But such personally and family matters pale in comparison if you look at Otoya’s case. That is why they took 3 freaking episodes for Otoya! Wow. Has any Starish member get so much attention and focus in a single season? You could say he has to most tragic past which is kept secret from us in previous seasons till it exploded right in his face. I know this isn’t the darkest of all traumas but considering this bright and lively musical genre, this has got to be the bleakest of the lot. And yes, it is always the power of friendship and music that brings back our lost souls back to the path of the right. They make those who oppose you vehemently at the start to eventually give in and somewhat support you in the end if you show enough determination and willpower. Ah, if the answer was only this easy in real life…

Enough about those handsome hunks because now it is time to mention about Haruka. Poor girl. I feel she is milked and worked to death in writing songs for all of them. Just like my sentiments on her in my previous blog, I feel that there are no other capable songwriters other than her because otherwise why only engage her in writing the best songs for important concerts for the most popular boy bands. Poor Haruka, poor her… I know she enjoys it but if this was reality, this is really slave driving. However this season I feel her presence are particularly less. She doesn’t really play some sort of active role and is more in the background. It is like she doesn’t want to get in the way of the bromance between the guys. At least she has better presence than other supporting characters like Tomo, Ringo and Ryuuya. They only make their appearance and comments just to remind us that they are around. Saotome who was very flamboyant in previous seasons also feels missing here. Yeah, that last episode thingy was just a reminder he still has that ‘flair’.

Raging is painted as the antagonist here but even his revenge story doesn’t feel dark enough. Remember, this isn’t the kind of anime genre you think it is. In a way, it feels pathetic that he is forming a new group of youngsters to defeat Saotome. Even in the case he defeats Saotome, so what about it? It isn’t like he can rewrite history again because history will always point out that Saotome has beaten Raging in sales records. It is his own fault for prematurely retiring. So what if he gets bragging rights? That won’t change anything either. He will always be remembered as a grumpy old man and sore loser oji-san anyway. So he just needs to get over himself. It is a good thing he did in a way although he is still out for revenge. Just trying to go at it from a different (better) way.

I am so indifferent about the music they sing now. Sure, there are some good pieces like the jazzy ones but I can’t seriously remember them by the time I ended watching the fourth season. Eventually I have this mentality that all of them are generally the same boy band-like material. The more members you have in it, the more you need each member to take turns singing a line before everyone sings together as a group. It’s like that, right? Anyway, this season’s opener is Tempest by Mamoru Miyano. Is he trying to sound very sultry or something? The ending theme is of course by Starish, Maji Love Legend Star (at this point we should have guessed that the ending themes of every season is part of the title of the series). Nothing really special. Sounds okay enough but I will state it here again and again that the first season’s ending theme, Maji Love 1000% is still by far the best song from the series.

Overall, this isn’t really an exciting season and I can feel the waning of my enthusiasm as the series is milked even drier. Sometimes I also feel that because of that, they decide to make up for the lack of quality with quantity because if you can’t get quality story, character development or even music, spam us with more hot guys for eye candy instead! Yeah, that is how I feel what this season actually is. Unless you are big hardcore fans of one or all of the big groups here, there is nothing other casual anime viewers would particularly like about this season. So I heard they announced this franchise another new anime project. Wow. That is really milking it dry but with a different look in hopes that they can deceive us, huh? Don’t tell me the trio are going to combine into one big group. I hope it goes well because it takes so long to build up their legendary status and just a while to turn destroy all that. A kind of legend that nobody wants to live with forever in history. Might as well stop and crystalize that legend while you’re at the top and ahead, don’t you think?

You mean there is more?! I wouldn’t have guessed that there would be a third season but it wouldn’t be called Maji Love 3000% this time. Yeah, that would be over doing it. Instead, we have Uta No Prince-sama Maji Love Revolutions. Yes. The revolution. I guess things will go stale, get stagnant and be the same if you rely on the same ol’ formula. That is why you need revolution to spice things up and bring you to new heights. But for an anime series like this, I am already expecting more or less the same thing even though there were only 2 seasons before this.

Episode 1
Haruka is walking back to Saotome Academy in the middle of the night. A cue for each of the Starish members to get a little romantic with her and refresh our memories of how hot these guys are. Really. Like Otoya’s hug, Natsuki’s princess carry, Cecil kissing her hand, Ren closing up on her face, a waist hug from Sho (part of his acting stint), accidentally touching hands with Masato (to pick up his dropped piano scores) and a shoulder hug from Tokiya. Oh, how romantic… If that wasn’t enough, Haruka too has some sort of encounter with Quartet Night. From Camus riding his white steed into the forest (no sunset, though), some chat with Ai, Ranmaru’s patting of her head (just to pick up a sakura petal) and encouraging words from Reiji. Not forgetting the only other female in this series, Tomo gives Haruka a big girly hug as well as a souvenir as she has returned from Hokkaido after a shoot. If you can get through 2/3 of this episode which is just that, now here comes the supposedly plot of the series. Oh, not forgetting to introduce the teachers as well. The eccentric principal Saotome with his fancy exaggerated grand entrance, the transvestite Ringo and the macho Ryuuya. Saotome announces the international sports festival called Super Star Sports AKA SSS. This year’s host is Japan and they will grace it with an opening ceremony of performance. Quartet Night has been chosen to do that and Saotome wants Haruka to write a song for them. Everybody is darn excited about this, including our Starish guys. Till Cecil brings up this idea: He would like to sing at the next SSS. It makes the rest think. When will it be their turn since SSS is hosted by different nations? It could be an awful long time before it returns to Japan… So everybody runs down to Saotome’s office to bug him about wanting to sing at SSS. Sorry boys. If that is their wish, no can do. Do they understand what it means to enter SSS? REVOLUTION!!! What? I don’t understand!

Episode 2
Well, it seems Saotome has come up with a plan for Starish to revolutionise. He calls it cross-unit groups. So who will be their cross-unit groups? Oops, he hasn’t worked out the details yet. Check back later. Starish and Quartet Night fly off to some beach town for some promotional shoot. Of course our Starish will be paired with a Quartet Night member. Like Otoya and Tokiya with Reiji entertaining kindergarten kids. Reiji is so hot and cool that even young girls start falling for him! Then we have Ren and Masato walking around town with Ranmaru. That’s it?! What the heck is this for? When a street band is playing, Ranmaru joins in and attracts the crowd (and ladies!). If you think that is WTF, wait till you see Camus and Cecil booking an entire restaurant for themselves just to eat cakes for the filming. Of course some customers aren’t pleased with that but thankfully those ladies got charmed by Camus’ apology. So everything is okay? And I really lost it when Sho and Natsuki with Ai trying to find some haunted spot. WTF… Sho is a big scaredy cat… Despite these events give Starish a huge morale boost to impress Saotome, Quartet Night had to play their arrogant villain role to quit dreaming. They are not on par at their level. You want to bet they’ll not give up? Finally Saotome has got their cross-unit groups figured out. He pairs Otoya with Natsuki, Ren and Sho with Cecil, last but not least Tokiya and Masato.

Episode 3
First up on the focus is Otoya and Natsuki. They have received a direct offer from a legendary Broadway director, Gen Isurugi to play in his upcoming rock musical. Of course, Haruka will have to compose the main song. So the plot of the play has 2 princes of opposing personalities have to stop an impending war with their power of music and love. But after the first rehearsal, they got a ‘warning’ from Isurugi to do better next time. Depressed mode… Talking out with the rest to find out their problems, it is mainly because Natsuki and Otoya had to play characters that are opposites of their own natural character. I suppose the best way to learn one is to imitate another? That is what Otoya tries to do while he copies every of Tokiya’s moves. Every. Move. Like the Tokiya we know, he tells him copying won’t do and whatever that solution is, it is Otoya’s job to find it out himself! We’re not going to have the same for Natsuki because Sho is showing macho films of Ryuuya. But he acted out as the wrong prince. At the end of the next rehearsal, another personal note from Isurugi: Don’t overact. Just act naturally like yourself. Eh? What? Another downer… The duo work hard and their confidence boosted by who else but no other than Haruka who has written a song for them based on their ‘colour’ that will draw out their strengths. Therefore, the play is perfect that the duo have become such fabulous princes. Thanks to Haruka’s music too.

Episode 4
Because Haruka writes the song for the film, she gets to watch Ai, Sho and Natsuki act in it. Despite Ai being flawless, he doesn’t understand about emotions at all. Baffling isn’t it? Haruka sees Ai practising in the rain. And then he collapses! He is burning up. After putting him to bed, they see lights flickering in his eyes. That is when Ai reveals he is a robot! OMG! WTF?! We had some magic touch with Cecil and now they’re adding sci-fi?! He is made by Saotome who paid a lot to get his ideal idol created. But there is a bigger problem whether you want to believe Ai is really a robot. And that is the rain is draining his power and at this rate he will not make it. He can switch to low power mode but that would make him start overheating. Oh, the irony. Such sophisticated AI (I have a feeling why he is named so…) with lots of RAM to memorize and learn emotions in which he can’t understand but yet gets power down when exposed to rain. What kind of freaking logic is this?! Anyway, Ai manages to continue putting his best performance but once the director yells cut, he shows signs of wavering. I’m not sure how effective is when Haruka and the duo want to fan him dry. It will take ages! Then there is a talk between Ai and Haruka about emotions in which he thinks he must have made the right decisions since those ‘emotions’ resulted in the right reactions. But he did say the more he learns about it, the more accustomed he becomes to them. Isn’t that like a human being? There is a scene in which Ai dramatically collapses. The director thinks this improvised scene was damn good! But his friends no better. Ai promises this will not happen again but they are really, really, really worried it might be a lot worse next time. And the magical part of their concern somehow has Ai understand what it means. It makes him want to act some more. So here is Ai doing his solo singing for us as he wraps up the last scene of the movie. He finally collapses on Haruka’s lap but there is a big smile on his sleeping face.

Episode 5
Ren, Sho and Cecil will have to do a TV commercial for a Smartphone company. Of course with Haruka writing its theme song, the guys must also help choose its concept. Heck, I thought the phone company was being lazy and just throw all the work to them. So it starts out high with enthusiasm all of them discussing what the phone is supposed to be. Ren vouches for passion (Latin style?), Sho for strength (superhero style?) and Cecil for elegance (Arabian prince style?). But cracks begin to surface when they think their concept is better than the other and cannot compromise. Oh dear. The biggest bust up ever in the series? You can’t blame them for feeling the pressure for doing better after the smashing success of Otoya and Natsuki’s musical. They get a little advice from their friends and they start again their talks. Unfortunately it ended the same way. They’re not giving in. Dead end. When Saotome learns Haruka hasn’t composed a song yet because the trio are still in disagreement, he wonders if they should cancel the project. It wouldn’t be nice to the client if they cancel it last minute, right? And so Haruka is given until tomorrow to come up with a song or else he is calling the project off. So she gets to be put on the heaviest pressure? She goes to talk to the guys individually. They feel bad for worrying her. She doesn’t mind. They vow to work together. Yeah, basically the same thing 3 times over but in a different way. Haruka thinks deep about their connection now and then a spark of inspiration. She texts the guys the song she wrote. They love it. Now we get to see the final product of the Smartphone commercial that has them singing and incorporating all their ideas. Somehow I feel for a Smartphone commercial, the song is just too flashy like it was tailor made for a boy band. And besides, is this song supposed to promote the Smartphone but why do I see prominence given to our hot studs? Now you know why pretty models are always there in promoting gadgets, eh?

Episode 6
The world’s tallest tower is opening soon and you bet it is going to be Shining Tower! Since Camus is to perform on its opening, Haruka as usual must write a song. But that guy as usual is being the cold jerk and tells her only to come to him once she has written one. Cecil can even vouch how cold this bastard is as he lives with him. Despite all the odd requests, he does everything perfectly but yet never does anything earnest. After watching Camus in a programme that has all the fan girls screaming, Haruka requests to watch him work so she can write a song. His first order? Become his ‘slave’! And so Haruka is subject to odd labour especially making his perfect tea. Cecil is not amused and is going to give his piece of mind but when Haruka says it is okay, then everything is okay. Besides, if she accepts it, there is nothing everyone else can do. Haruka continues to be his assistant till she manages to write a song that will bring out the sincerity in him. But he shoots her down just after looking at her score! WTF?! Shell shocked! He also ends her assistance. This is the last straw for Cecil because it is as though he is making fun of Haruka’s music. But Haruka the good girl as always, blames herself instead. While everything seems to go smoothly, suddenly Camus ushers her to Shining Tower! Everything happens so fast that Haruka is probably in shock over the developments. And this guy starts singing Haruka’s song in such a sincere way that he brings everybody to their knees! OMG! I’m not kidding!!! Food for thought: I wonder how Camus knows how to do everything perfectly because if he has rehearsed a single time, I’m sure Haruka would have known since she was always with him. I know he is a genius and can understand things with just a look but you should look at all the choreography, stunts, special effects and exaggeration! Can a mere rehearsal make it so freaking perfect?! Like as though he did everything. So what gives for this? Answering Haruka’s questioning about how he sings in a sincere way, he is always perfect in every way without the need of going that far. But being sincere sometimes isn’t so bad.

Episode 7
Everyone is shocked when they hear Haruka explaining Ranmaru telling her to write an idol song for him instead of rock. He was a bassist in his rock band before they disbanded and he joined this agency. Then Haruka overheard Ranmaru turning down his ex-bandmate for a reunion. The story goes that the outdoor stage is going to be torn down in favour of the SSS stadium so the band wanted to reunite for one last time to play there. He turned him down because he is busy with another job. Haruka asks if he really had to give up his love to be an idol. Well, he can’t handle 2 jobs at a time. Ranmaru is seen training hard. Though it is commendable and professional, the rest feel like he is trying to forget his rock roots. I suppose he trained too hard that he got some ‘trauma’ thinking about his band. Haruka tries to wake him up but he got startled and accidentally grabs her hand. As she keeps bugging if he is fine not turning up for that concert just as a spectator, he tells her he can’t forgive himself. His friend wanted him to play together one last time so bad but he turned him down. He really wanted to go. But with all the work in Quartet Night, he can’t. He never understood things when his band broke up. After joining this agency and meeting everyone, now he understands what is important. He now has a place and won’t make that mistake. He will be an idol and forget his rock and past. Before Quartet Night’s photo shoot, Haruka has written a song for him that is both idol and rock. It is what makes him today. As the photo shoot consists of the members holding their instruments, the moment Ranmaru picks up the bass, he could feel the excitement. After it ends, he grabs Haruka’s hand as they rush to the final concert. Changed his mind, eh? And did he smile? Too bad everybody is already packing up. No matter. Ranmaru gets on stage and starts singing. So awesome that it draws everybody back! OMFG! It’s like they reversed time and the full crowd goes wild over his singing! At least he looks happier.

Episode 8
Otoya and Natsuki won an award for their musical. Ren, Sho and Cecil also won an award for the best advertisement. Now it is down to Masato and Tokiya. They will be performing at Neo Dream Music Festival. In short, the biggest and most famous shows around. The freedom to come up with what they want makes it harder for them so the guys decide to write the lyrics first. They are so perfect in sync that nothing could go wrong, right? Right?! Then this deadlock happened… Reading each other’s lyrics, hmm… Sounds cheesy… Back to the drawing board. Trying to change their thinking styles and even meditating under the waterfall didn’t do much. This deadlock has everyone soon worrying about them and it puts more pressure because as long as they haven’t got the lyrics out, Haruka can’t compose her music. Of course all they can do is to believe in them. Like always. Haruka then motivates them by telling how everyone has been supporting them in the background like cooking for them, etc. A song pops up in Haruka’s head when she looks at them. Then the words just came out naturally from their mouth. Soon they get it going with their lyrics. So during the start of the festival, needless to say that they blew everybody away with their talent. A fist bump for such awesome display from the duo. And Saotome is screaming “Revolution!” with delight.

Episode 9
Otoya and Tokiya help Reiji in a magic show variety. Otoya fails but because it was funny, the audience still had a good time. Haruka is tasked to write a solo song for Reiji but she would like to know him better first before she starts penning. So he takes her on a detour and summarizes his life as a performer during various stints since a young age before becoming part of Quartet Night. Of course they also talk about Starish who is growing and singing song that makes everyone smile. Reiji would also like to sing a song that puts a smile on everyone. Meanwhile Otoya practises his magic before the Starish guys. Still fail… Reiji leaves for a job overseas. He expected his fellow Quartet Night would be sad but you know those stuck up guys, right? No feelings at all… And when he is gone, they realize how quiet everything is. But I don’t think they will go as far as missing him. As Otoya and Tokiya helm the magic show, Reiji ‘usurps’ the show with his live broadcast. He could have stolen the show had he not stopped. At the end of the day, Otoya, Tokiya and Haruka are surprised to see Reiji back. His job went well and that live broadcast was just a pre-recording. So to say he predicted their moves?! Is he a psychic?! He steals the show from the guys again by ‘stealing’ Haruka so that he could let her hear the lyrics of the song. At the end of it, he says he didn’t expect her to find the real him. What does he mean? He confesses he loves her! OMG! After 3 seasons, this is the first guy who has the balls to confess to Haruka! But then he brushes it off as a joke and all is well again. Bummer. I guess that is why Quartet Night doesn’t take him seriously.

Episode 10
With Haruka needing to compose a song for SSS, she is whisked away for a special camp with Quartet Night. You should have seen this coming… As the opening concert will be a big thing, Quartet Night for the first time tries to work together with Haruka with suggestions. Normally they do not interfere with the songwriter and just sing the submitted songs. It goes without saying that with their varied personalities, they have different ideas. It is a surprise that they have worked with each other for so long. With no headway, they take a break with lunch. Can’t think without an empty stomach? That night as Haruka starts composing, she is met and chats personally with all the members of Quartet Night. As expected. Then when she plays her song on the piano, you can bet Quartet Night is going to say how awesome it is and how it fits who they are. Then we hear a demo of them singing to Haruka’s song. It is done. As SSS draws near, the people are being interviewed about it and many feel it is a shame that both Quartet Night and Starish cannot perform there as only a group per agency rule.

Episode 11
With Starish gaining more popularity, the baffling question still remains why won’t Saotome let them perform at SSS. You can tell some serious sh*t is going on when even Reiji himself is not being jovial. Why so serious, Quartet Night? They have returned from the trip but Haruka chose to stay back. They give Starish the CD of their SSS song they co-wrote with Haruka and warn if they don’t buck, they’ll take Haruka away from them. As expected, you can see Starish being blown away after hearing the song. They’re starting to worry now. But they put that behind first and attend an interview which covers their experience during their cross-unit stint. In the end, they always had Haruka to thank for (cue for flashback of personal moments with her in previous seasons). It makes them want to see her. They thought of going to where she is but look, she is just on her way back. Why so surprised to see them, Haruka? Why the heck do you need to say “Welcome back” 7 times? So happy that she is back that they start singing for her. They want to write a song for SSS with her. You don’t say because she already did! Isn’t that why she stayed back? Oh, you don’t have to say her name 7 times either. And you don’t have to praise her 7 times too! Amazed by her work as always, Starish gets straight to work. It is a sign that they work so hard that they just sleep where they stood or sat. So when Ringo comes to wake them up the next morning, everyone agrees to just let Haruka sleep. She’s the one who worked the hardest, right? When Haruka and Starish present their song to Saotome, he looks like he is so undecided that he is shooting beams out from his eyes!!! OMFG!!! Then he kills the mood by saying their revolution isn’t complete yet. That’s like saying no, right?

Episode 12
As expected, Starish explains how hard they have tried so they need to know why. Even Haruka pleads to Saotome but despite all that, he feels something is missing. Quartet Night enters. They have considered Starish good enough to enter and that it would be meaningless to perform without them. So they are giving the green light? Suddenly Saotome becomes ecstatic. Is this the true revolution he is waiting for? There is his passionate explanation about new replacing the old and not only changing themselves but others but I wasn’t listening. Because I was more amused seeing all those explosions, burning flames and light beams from all that!!!!!!! Saotome adds that Starish had already garnered fan mails (the number is still rising as they speak), petition from the web and social media. The only thing left was Quartet Night to stand up to complete the revolution. And with that, Starish is in. Later as Starish tries to thank Quartet Night, the latter of course want them not to get the wrong idea. They’re doing this for themselves. Despite saying there is no point performing without them, it is only so that they can prove why they are much better. It looks like they might be putting up a tough act because at the backstage, they realize how awesome the song Haruka wrote for them. They continue to practice hard. Apparently that wasn’t enough so they call Haruka to rearrange the score again. Not to say that the original one was bad, after hearing Starish’s song, their feelings have changed. They have tried changing the lyrics and dance but nothing that really stands out so they thought they would start with rearranging the song. So as Haruka works with Quartet Night, Starish also work hard in their practice till the day of the opening act of SSS is here. Is it me or do I notice the queue and the crowd consist of mainly women? Quartet Night is chosen to perform first. I can only hear the screaming of the girls’ voice as it drowns out the announcer’s voice when he is introducing them. I know, passionate crowd, right? I wouldn’t even be able to hear their song if they didn’t cut out all that screaming shortly after their performance begins.

Episode 13
Girls screaming. Girls swooning. Girls fainting. So awesome that everybody is blown away! OMG! Cool special effects?! Needless to say, they’re awesome. So this is not revolution but evolution?! Now it is Starish’s turn. Of course the inevitable backstage face off with Quartet Night. We’ve done our best. We’ve levelled up. We’ll go higher. Starish pays a little respect to Haruka about her words that their music will change the world, before they go on stage. And yeah, double high 5 with her. Each. Same thing. Girls screaming so noisy I can’t hear their introductions and initial parts of the song. But if you’re wondering why you aren’t surprised with their hit it is because we have glimpsed it as the ending song of the series. As expected, Starish blows away everybody. Even Quartet Night is surprised at their level and acknowledges them as equals. Before things could end, suddenly somebody returns to steal the limelight! OMG! Look who is back?! It’s Heavens!!! And they’ve brought back more members! 7 of them?! They sing their way into everybody’s hearts! Everything is so exaggerative! How the f*ck did they manage to get that heavenly arc prop on stage?! So awesome that they’re shooting beams at everybody! Shooting blue flames at everybody! Some even blown away by the ‘bomb’!!! OMFG!!! When they end, everybody is so stunned that the silence is deafening! Yeah, I think some judges ‘died’!!! OMFG! Then it is time to introduce themselves. Besides Eiichi, Kira and Nagi from the original line-up, we have newbies Eiji Otori (Light/Kira from Death Note?), Van Kiryuin (Aizen from Bleach?), Yamato Hyuga (Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club?) and Shion Amakusa (Maximilian from Senjou No Valkyria?). They claim the world will be ruled by them. But of course. The crowd is split. Some are chanting Heavens. Some are chanting Quartet Night. Some are chanting Starish. Oh God. Hell on Earth will soon begin. Could this be part of a bigger conspiracy plan by Saotome and Raging?

Same Ol’ Revolution?
Guess what? With that kind of cliff-hanger ending and those 3 inevitable words… Apparently there is going to be a fourth season!!! Obviously. OMG! Does this mean I am obliged to watch it?! Well, if not for nostalgia… And if not because it isn’t complete yet and so I must finish it! Also because now that I know that reverse harem anime especially of the music trope isn’t my cup of tea (that is, this genre is not trending now for me), I am staying away from such genres. Because I haven’t watched animes that are suspiciously similar to this. Say, High School Star Musical AKA Starmyu. Yes, another group of hot guys singing. Or even Shonen Hollywood -Holly Stage For 49-. Or even Bakumatsu Rock. I wanted to say that these animes are not as popular as Uta No Prince-sama series and most probably they are but since Shonen Hollywood already had a sequel and Starmyu is going to get one, the force of singing handsome guys is still going strong.

But as far as this season is concerned, the entire third season seems to be close to a bore. Not that I am saying it is bad but there was nothing much to call it any different. That is why the only most exciting part where I sit up and actually take notice is Heavens’ surprising entry at the end. And here I thought even if they did pop up, perhaps it was to congratulate our eventual winners but who am I kidding, right? If you know these guys from last season, they are as arrogant as f*ck. And nothing has changed since except their arrogance level just gone up. For a group that has been missing for the entire season, only to pop up at the end and throw the spanner into the works is just amazing and yet shocking. Out of nowhere to come steal the limelight. Great job guys? Almost pull the rug from under everyone’s feet. So just when I thought the third season will come to a boring predictable end, here they shock us with this cliff-hanger. It is indeed a twist and perhaps the only revolution-cum-evolution that I can attribute to this season.

They call the change in Starish a revolution but personally I don’t see any difference. Maybe because I have always had this in the back of my head that since they are the main characters and that everything no matter how dire the straits (really?) will turn out alright for them. They will always be tops. Fans will always love them. Girls will always scream out their names. They can never get enough of them. Always. That is why when Saotome was screaming revolution and all that crap, I didn’t notice anything so different seeing they won the Utapuri Award last season and that already made them the most awesome of all awesomeness, right? Of course when you take into account their rising popularity on the internet, the people down in the streets and even their closest rivals, maybe this was the revolution that Saotome had intended all along. It is only the final episode that was the most amusing and had me laughing because of the exaggerated effects! Yeah, that one was a real killer. Yeah, those beams can kill! Just like cooking shows have their exaggerated reaction effects, I think this one takes the cake for this genre. Truly epic revolution-cum-evolution then.

The flow of the story remains the same as in previous seasons. Haruka as the only main recurring character in the series because all of the guys need her to conduct their business. And I don’t mean it in an ambiguous way. Please, this is a very pure romance show aimed for pure girls. And because whatever personal issues Starish had in the previous 2 seasons, Quartet Night takes up the other half of the focus. It isn’t all that bad but it does mean the roster is getting bigger and we can’t afford to spend a single episode for a single character. At least for Starish. So while each Quartet Night member will get their own personal time with Haruka, they ‘speed up’ the Starish members by putting 2 or 3 of them in focus for a single episode. Because like I have said, there is nothing more to tell about them so they put random filler-like events, a reason why they need to be with Haruka for that particular episode.

So with Quartet Night having more focus this season, we get to know more about them but nothing that really is revolutionary because from last season despite their cameos, we already know what kind of characters they would be. They hardly change albeit a bit because of, wait for it, Haruka. Yes, this girl is an angel. A miracle. A goddess. Not only is she the academy’s slave to write songs, but she manages to churn out hit after hit! I thought songwriters have their up and down days but this girl somehow can write good hits after another. And you know why I said that she is a slave is because Saotome is like a slave driver, entrusting her to write songs for very important and crucial events. Sure, there are problems but it is so minor that you don’t really see the big pressure on her. Do you not believe me when I say that I have not seen Haruka actually go under pressure? This girl is good. And where the heck are the other songwriters in the academy? Is Haruka so good that she can only be relied on to write good songs? Apparently. Saotome is one lucky bastard to have a girl like her. A golden goose. Speaking of Saotome himself, he is still quirky and all those flashy moves define his eccentricity. Still amusing to watch but it gets tiresome and it makes you wonder if he does all that just to get your attention. After all, nobody pays close attention to a boring strict old guy giving lectures, right? Other recurring characters like Tomo, Ringo and Ryuuya are around just because of the need to. Otherwise they don’t even contribute anything much to this season. I guess this means Natsuki’s dark alter ego, Satsuki didn’t make a single cameo. Yeah, was there a need?

On to Quartet Night themselves, I believe I have also said that nothing much is expected to change of them because they continue to remain the same obnoxious, stuck up, arrogant hotties that we would ever know in this idol world. It is like they’re putting up fake smiles before the camera and fans but behind the backstage, they are like conceited idols who think everyone else should bow at their perfect feet. At least for Camus, Ranmaru and to a certain extent Ai. Reiji could have been one too but I figure somebody needs to be the joker and clown of the group or else it would make the entire group look more spiteful. The only ‘shocking’ thing that I never expected was Ai to be a robot. This explains a lot but I guess when a series is based on a game of the same name, something like this should be expected for an element of surprise. Thus I was hoping to learn that perhaps Reiji was an alien who crashed on Earth, Camus the prince of an alternate world fleeing a war and Ranmaru a fallen angel!!!! OMFG!!! Thank goodness that never happened, right? I thought they forgot all about Heavens. Although I did have a hunch that they will make a cameo return somewhere in the middle (though I didn’t expect it to be at the final scene of the final episode).

The one thing that I had predicted but never came true is the fact that Starish and Quartet Night combine into one big group to perform at SSS. I mean, that is how you are going to satisfy all the fan girls and comply with the rules, right? Then we can name their newly combined group as… Starry Night!!! Oh yes! Think 11 hot men in a group is not big enough? Yeah, think South Korea’s Super Junior… I even had another idea that this group will ultimately combine with Heavens to make it even bigger!!!!! I had a hunch Heavens will make a comeback somehow but what caught me off guard is that I didn’t realize they will come back with more members! If they do combine, what better way to make your group even better by absorbing former rivals. But looks like nobody is combining to make into one super group like AKB48 and instead it has become a 3 corner fight to determine who will become the ultimate idol. And this time I can see how bloody it is going to be considering that the fans themselves have quickly divided into supporting their respective camps. Why can’t they just love them all?

To show important Quartet Night is this season, they sang the first opening theme for the first episode, The Dice Are Cast. You can also sample the awesomeness of their magic in the ending theme for episode 12 during the SSS opening act, Evolution Eve. Of course seeing this is Starish’s series, they cannot be left out entirely as the group sings the main ending theme, Maji Love Revolutions. And in all previous seasons, the main opening theme is also sung by Mamoru Miyano entitled Shine. There are also a bunch of insert songs from the cross-unit groups and solos but none of them and not even this season’s opening and ending themes could match the catchiness and greatness of the trademark song of this series that started it all, Maji Love 1000%. Yes, this is still by far the best song ever from all that I have heard. That is why whenever Haruka is said to have written better and much superior songs than before, I could only note the irony that is so because these latest songs don’t move me as much as Maji Love 1000% did.

Overall, unless you are a hardcore fan of the series and love the reverse harem trope, this season is yet another one of those fixes for you to swoon over your handsome guy. Otherwise, seeing handsome hunks battling out via singing feels a bit odd because you know, where is the machoism? You’re in the wrong anime then. Since the ending caught me off guard, I must mentally prepare myself not to fall into the same trap when the next season comes. This means I am making wild predictions as far as now to where our idols will go so as not to go into that ‘shock’. Therefore I am predicting there isn’t going to be just 3 idol groups but there will be a fourth one entering the fray too! Then a fifth! A sixth! A seventh! An eight! Oh yeah, the boy idol industry is going to be crowded with so many handsome boys jostling for screen time and fans’ attention. Then more rivals in the form of… Girl groups! Battle of the sexes! And at the end, they’ll all just join up into one big group, bigger than your choir and orchestra band combined and sing a song that unites the world. Sniff, sniff. Oh, I love the drama of it all. Hey, something feels wrong. Why do every guy here looks f*cking hot and handsome?! I guess there are some things that don’t need to undergo revolution and evolution anymore.

The boy band phenomenon hasn’t died out yet! Actually, it is more like the idol sensation. Can’t we ever get enough of them? So many idols today. A dime a dozen. So many idols come and so many go. But how many do we remember that leaves a lasting impact for the rest of our lives? How many of them have hits that will be evergreen? It’s testing times for our idol boys in Uta No Prince-sama Maji Love 2000%. Now that they have graduated from school with their superb debut concert, they will be making their debut in the real world. This is where the real challenge starts. Can they maintain their momentum and etch and leave an impact in the hearts of those who hear their songs? Well, even if their songs don’t make it, I’m sure that with such good looks, the girls will have their hearts melt like a hot knife through a hot butter. But seriously, they have such melodious voice, that it will be double treat for their fans, visual and aural candy. Looks good, sounds good and even act good. Wow, if this really was a reverse harem romance story, it will be a race to see which girl can marry any one or all of their ideal prince. Since this is not, let’s just enjoy the musical and adventure in store for them.

Episode 1
What a better way to start the series with Starish having a performance to their screaming fans. And it’s not just the 6 of them! Why, Cecil is part of Starish and that makes the boy band idol group to 7! As narrated by Haruka, they have already graduated and are taking their first step in the working world of show business. To support fresh graduates, Shining Agency has a system to support them called the Master Course. Haruka, Starish and of course her best friend Tomo are all under this programme. Haruka gets lost on her first day to the dorm she’ll be staying but I guess it is fated because it is somewhat an opportunity for her to meet the other Starish guys along the way. So people. Do you still remember Otoya, Sho, Natsuki, Tokiya, Masato and Ren? They still cherish our sole female and they are looking forward to work together again. Despite Starish will be living in the same dorm with Haruka and closer to her, the rule of forbidding idols to fall in love is still enforced. Haruka surprises everyone when she has written songs for each one of them to sing! That’s 6 of them! But our eccentric Saotome had to make his usual flashy grand entrance to remind them that even though they did well, reality is that many bloom splendidly but fade like fireworks. So in order to help them continue shining, he will be introducing someone important for this. And boom! Herald senior idol professionals as they dance their way and charm our newbies. It’s like magic, no? Hey! I thought there were 4 of them? Suddenly when the show ends, there are only 3? The trio will be assigned to Starish. Reiji Kotobuki gets Otoya and Tokiya. Ranmaru Kurosaki assigned to Ren and Masato. Ai Mikaze will have Sho and Natsuki. Guess what? The seniors (with the exception of Reiji) are not happy to have juniors and even view they won’t get far if they start relying on others. They don’t care about them. But our juniors tell them they aren’t doing this half hearted and are serious. Of course they won’t be a pushover and will work hard themselves too. All the seniors need to do is to observe them. Also, the seniors will be living with their assigned juniors and this means the latter’s space and all are reduced to a miserable corner. That night when Haruka unpacks and sees the clover leaf memento she got from Cecil, she heard the sound of Kuppuru meowing outside. This leads her to meet Cecil again and he is pleased they have reunited as he kisses her hand.

Episode 2
Cecil thanks her for saving him. Her songs she writes did so. He’s been waiting for a day like this to come. Before things can get steamier (Cecil touching her all over), Haruka wakes up from her dream. She is called to Saotome’s office and he requests her to write another song like Maji Love 1000%. Haruka says she didn’t really come up with that song herself and a prince in her dream who taught her. Well, would Ringo believe that? Ah, such a romantist. Outside, Haruka and Starish hear a very nice and warm singing voice. It leads them to Cecil hanging out on a tree branch. And this is not a dream. Because Cecil is touching Haruka like a romantic, our jealous Starish rush to pull him away and protect their Haruka. Yeah. Who needs the extra competition, right? Again, Saotome barges him to introduce Cecil as the Prince of Agnapolis, the land of music. A real prince, huh? And starting today, he will be a member of Master Course! Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. So some of our Starish guys are not so happy to welcome this dude. Cecil is like playing fortune teller because he can tell their personality and what awaits them in the future. All good readings, though. Haruka reveals that Cecil was the one who advised her to choose all of them during that graduation audition and thus the person responsible for forming Starish. They won’t be here if it had not been for him so she hopes they could have some faith in him. However Cecil isn’t interested in becoming an idol. All he wants is to combine his poetry with the music she writes and sing. His family have been serving the Muses for generations and her music has guided him here. He shocks everyone by confessing he loves Haruka! No shame in doing that? Yeah well. Starish was so reserved in saying those magic words and this new guy just comes along and easily says it right in her face? Before he could get close to her again, Starish pulls him away.

Count of the Silk Palace, Camus makes his frosty entrance. He has been assigned to be Cecil’s senior. Cecil rejects him but Camus reminds him this is necessary if he is to stay in this course. Plus, can an amateur like him compare himself to a professional? Cecil is confident that the Muses are smiling on him and can sing better than everyone. Everyone! Wow. Such confidence. They have their first special idol training. It’s some sort of twisted and bigger version of karuta. Shouldn’t they be battling with songs? As Camus puts it, they’re too inexperienced for that and must start with the basics. Cecil vows to win and prove his love for Haruka so this gets Starish motivated to win too. Haruka will read the cards and the juniors need to run and grab the correct cards. Cecil outruns everyone. Man, he is fast. But because of his unfamiliarity in kanji, he picks the wrong cards. The final card seems to be hanging on a tree. Cecil gets there first. Sho shakes the tree and this throws him off and falls into the river. Seems this guy has a fear of water and fish! Well, the water is only ankle deep… You can stop pretending to be drowning now… He runs away after he sees a fish out of water. To the horror of everyone, Cecil is seen napping inside the dorm. He still doesn’t respect Camus so he drags the prince away to make him learn some respect. Starish comments they have an unbelievable kid among them but couldn’t have imagined what would have happened had he won the training. That night, Cecil visits outside Haruka’s window. Because he lost to Camus, he will obey him. He was also told romantic relationships are forbidden here and laments she saw his embarrassing side today. Though the song he sang today was wonderful, singing to him is as natural as breathing. All he wants is to sing the song she writes.

Episode 3
Sho is happy that he has been selected to play a big role in Ryuuga’s movie. Don’t worry, he won’t be cross-dressed like a girl again. A real manly role this time. Saotome comes in. He heard they rejected their seniors and reminds them about that fading thingy again. In that case, he wants them to claim this title called Utapuri Award that is only granted to brilliant new idols. This title will open their path to be a true idol. Tokiya notes what Saotome is saying isn’t entirely wrong because Starish is not as popular as they think. The quickest way to be an established idol is to get that title. Of course it won’t be easy or just about CD sales. Everything in what they do is taken into account and each individual will also affect the overall performance. Sho is at the movie set and is excited to be co-starring with Ryuuga. He profusely thanks him that his dream came true. However Ryuuga tells him off to stop acting like an amateur because they’re already professionals. They should be rivals instead. This jolts Sho’s confidence but this doesn’t stop him from doing his best. Till the ultimate scene that he needs to jump quite a distance. Because Ryuuga’s words are still ringing in his ears, he fails. Sometimes I think that it is partly of his short stature… He tries again but fails. The only option is to use a stuntman but Sho pleads for another chance. Ryuuga talks to the director. Sho works hard as the rest notice how hard he is pushing himself and not relaxed. Next day, Natsuki brings Cecil along to the movie set so they can help Sho relax. The training continues but Sho is still unable to meet that required distance. At the end of the day, Cecil takes Natsuki away because there is nothing more they can do for him. That night, Haruka comes looking for Sho at the set to bring his new clothes. I don’t know how she ended up on the wrong high end of the set. She realizes it is too high and almost lost her balance. However she wants to save the bag she brought for him! WTF?! She would risk her life for that?! Because of that, she is hanging precariously for her life! Sho’s desire to protect her makes him do the impossible. The leap of faith! Manliness! He manages to jump across and pulls her up. He hugs her and is worried if anything should happen to her. Haruka’s words later calms Sho and made him realize something. Next day, the shooting continues. Everyone rejoices when Sho successfully jumps and reach the other end. Ryuuga then shakes his hand and apologizes for pushing him away when he was admiring him. He is a true man now. Sho is grateful he learnt a lot. Later Sho talks to Haruka and tells her he was singing the song she wrote for him during the shoot. It calmed him and thanks to her words, she is able to be his usual self. Nobody understands him better than she does. He will be an idol who doesn’t forget what it’s like to be a fan. Haruka wants to join his fan club (if he forms it) so he gives her his hat as certificate of membership.

Episode 4
Masato will be auditioning for a historical musical play and thinks of using Haruka’s song. If Masato is successful, Starish will be one step closer in obtaining Utapuri Award. The rest of Starish start fantasizing their own period drama. But the most hilarious one has got to be Tokiya acting as Masato’s lover! Yup, that is going to be the main scene. Masato needs to embrace passionately. Obviously he has problems of hugging a girl he will just meet despite this is just acting. He doesn’t think he needs help but he looks obviously troubled. He visits his grandpa’s grave and remembers some of his words about performing arts. It is not something to be done alone but to be made together with those performed with, being supported with and those watching. Camus visits Haruka’s room and gets all clingy over her. Could have gotten steamier had he not spot that clover memento. Haruka treasures it a lot so this prompts Cecil to ask what is so great about them. They sparkle and make her want to watch them forever. Cecil thinks she is their prisoner. When Masato returns, he finds the rest of Starish preparing to help him out in his practice. Tokiya willingly dresses up as a lady for that embracing part since he has the most experience in acting! Cecil is brought in to watch the practice. Masato of course still has problem with the hugging scene, so much so Tokiya even starts doubting if his own acting was perfect. If it was, Masato would have embraced him, right? Or maybe too perfect that Masato sees him as a woman! Or don’t want to gay? Cecil suggests asking Haruka (since she is a girl and they can use her instead of a guy to act) and would you believe it, nobody thought of that? But Masato doesn’t want to bother her and will think of something himself. That night, Cecil talks to Masato and the latter explains how a fateful meeting with a certain girl led him to this path. Cecil says if he imagines the other actor as the girl she likes, he will easily embrace her. Masato remembers grandpa’s words that a good actor enters the world of dreams with his audience and enjoy the fleeting dream together. Masato’s mind is clear now and knows what to do. It is Masato’s turn at the audition and he performs so brilliantly and ends the clincher with the passionate hug (he uses visualization of Haruka as his motivation). The judges are so impressed that they are moved! Needless to say, he passed. Haruka congratulates him as he thanks her. He wants her to come watch the play once the date is decided. Cecil realizes that Haruka is the girl he loves but is puzzled he won’t confess his feelings to her despite being so close. It’s not because of the forbidden idol love thingy but because those feelings are important to him, he cannot say them. He is connected to her through the bond of music. By singing her songs, he believes he is firmly bound to her.

Episode 5
Cecil somewhat ends up in the same variety show as Otoya. He does an impression of Saotome, which sends the female audiences bursting into laughter. He’s so spot on! Haruka got lost on her way home from an errand. But this causes her to stumble upon an orphanage whereby she sees Otoya being flocked by the kids. After introducing herself (to dismiss accusations she’s a suspicious person as the kids pointed out for sneaking around), Otoya explains that his mom died when he was young and never knew his dad. This is a place he called home so he sometimes stopped by here. He tells her they’re going to do a bazaar for the festival. Also… A haunted house. Can this work? The kids tease Otoya and Haruka as an item. Flustering time. The duo stay behind and help the kids setup their haunted house. They also become their first test subject. Couples must go through the haunted house together, right? So young and they already know these kind of stuffs. It is somewhat a little emotional roller coaster ride. One moment Haruka is scared to be in the haunted house, the next she flusters to be next to him. But when he holds her hand and takes her through the dark corridor, she felt calm and warm. At the end of the passage, the room turns into a bright, colourful and happy place. There is a note from the kids expressing their thanks. Haruka notes Otoya has always been their family since he is kind, cheerful and warm. She is glad to have come here and felt she has understood him better than before. Otoya wanted to confess something but it’s taking too long so the puppet ghost Cecil made sprung down and scared the daylights out of them. I guess that scream is proof of success. Cecil too had lots of fun and hopes tomorrow there’ll be lots of customers. However come tomorrow, not a single soul at the bazaar! Turns out there is a flea market nearby. To cheer the depressed kids up, Otoya starts singing. And what do you know? His lovely voice attracts customers to the bazaar! Wow! Hey… Noticed most of them are females? Otoya thanks Haruka for the song she wrote for him but she credits it to his singing power that gives everyone strength and energy. The rest of the Starish guys soon drop by to help out. Dressed in coloured bear outfits? Later, Haruka hands Saotome several songs she wrote. But instead of choosing one of them, he wants her to write more because this is a battle of numbers. The more she writes, there is one that is bound to be a hit.

Episode 6
Ren has been invited to participate in a famous fashion show, Japanese Boys Collection. It is a show that not only has professional models but singers and actors taking on the catwalk featuring real clothes for young men. However Ren is not too thrilled because the sponsor of this event is his family’s conglomerate and his older brother whom he is not seeing eye to eye right now, Seiichirou is the CEO. Of course Ren’s pondering has him stumble upon Haruka writing her songs. Their usual talk. Thanks to their meeting, they changed and would not have become the person they are today. Haruka notes how his song heats up her heart. I hope he doesn’t get the wrong idea about this. Once the show is over, he wants to sing it to her and give it back with full of love. Did Haruka understand that? Ren also bumps into Cecil and he tells how he was forced by Seiichirou to join Saotome Academy to become the company’s poster boy. Haruka meets up with Tomo at the fashion show. Ironically, all the audiences are females… Cecil is also there and he knows a lot about Tomo because he knows everything about Haruka. Get it? Tomo got the wrong idea and warns him not to do anything funny to Haruka. As the show starts, the girls are already screaming. And when Ren takes the stage, the screaming decibel just increased. It’s a scream fest! The more he poses, the louder! Suddenly the place blacks out. As the people are starting to panic, Ren remembers Haruka’s words and calms the crowd down. He is going to sing for them and light up their hearts. I hope it’s not a pun because it is dark or something. Haruka instantly gets the message so she rushes down in hopes she can play his CD but was stopped by the guards. Seiichirou happened to be there and when he learns she is Starish’s composer, he immediately takes the CD and dashes to the hall’s operator room, the only place where the other PA is still working. It looked like a funny scene, him trying to run there but tripped (how the heck this happened? I thought girls only look cute in this) and how he slam dunked the CD into the player once he reaches the room. Ren begins singing and it’s like everybody had some sort of automatic candle in their hearts as it lights up the dark hall! Wow. Magical. At the end of the day, Ren thanks Haruka and was even going to kiss her. But seeing her so innocent, I guess he isn’t going to spoil her and wait till she grows up. Seiichirou comes in to talk to him. Ren notices he hurt himself trying to play his song. But Seiichirou didn’t do this because he is CEO. He did it for him because he always loved his songs. It wasn’t his parents that supported him but his songs. They have the ability to draw people but that isn’t the reason he wanted Ren to become the company’s poster boy. As he was rebellious back then, he couldn’t think of any other way to tell him about joining the academy. Ren realizes he has been watching him and his grudge for forcing him to join the academy subsides.

Episode 7
Natsuki gets an offer for an advertisement. The kind that needs to be strong and manly. Natsuki? Strong? Manly? Unless you’re talking about… SatsukI! Fearing this might happen, Sho and Haruka reveal to the other guys about Natsuki’s dark alter ego. Since Sho is busy on the shooting day, he has Haruka accompany him. Natsuki shows her the lyrics he wrote for the song. She is impressed that it is overflowing with lots of strength. However he doesn’t feel so and it’s like there’s someone protecting him all his life. He wants to grow stronger. As the shooting starts, Natsuki doesn’t seem to be in the groove. During the break, Haruka encourages him that he could do it. He gets a little motivated and thinks of taking of his glasses like the cameraman suggested. No, wait. Oh sh*t!!! Hello Satsuki. He’s back! He didn’t hesitate to get rough with Haruka and claims he will protect Natsuki especially from people like them whom he considers as most dangerous. Flashback reveals some teacher gladly wanted to help Natsuki write a song but when he does, she stole it and disappeared. Satsuki was born out of his despair and will stand in for him. Satsuki wants to force kiss her but Sho and the rest come in to check on things. Upon seeing him without glasses, they go into alert mode trying to put it back on him. His piercing stares are deathly! You’d get scared the moment he looks back at you! Satsuki is like a monkey. In terms of agility. Nobody can put the glasses back on him. Not even calling Ren and Tokiya as back up. Not even their hot guy combo can do it. Now it’s Haruka’s turn. When Satsuki tries to go back to the shoot as Natsuki’s replacement, Haruka tries persuading him to have faith. Then she shows the lyrics Natsuki wrote. These are his feelings and she hopes he could protect them. He is trying to change and become stronger. Satsuki is puzzled that he is trying to change without him looking and always thought he would be fine as long he is around. So happen, Cecil just came in. Wearing cool shades. Satsuki now understands why Natsuki likes her and takes Cecil’s sunglasses and put them on! The shoot continues and Natsuki is oozing with hot and wild pheromones! That’s not the sissy boy we know! But he’s cool! In the end, Natsuki thanks Haruka for her help and the shoot was a success. The other guys wonder if he has changed. Fundamentally, no. Haruka thinks Satsuki must have understood Natsuki’s strength and hence the change affected the latter. Lastly, though it may be late, Haruka hands Cecil her personal she song she wrote for him.

Episode 8
The gang are brought to the agency’s villa for some respite. Last time it was an island of their own, right? Now we’ve got a cabin kingdom in the lush jungle! How big is Shining Agency? But Haruka continues to work on writing more songs but feels something is still lacking. Haruka gets some motivation when Starish leaves a card with words of encouragement. Starish finds out Haruka has written a song for Cecil and gives him support and to ask them for anything should he need help with the lyrics. But Cecil feels lost. Viewing Haruka as always important, she gave him lots of love and saved him. He was freed from his curse by the power of her music. He wants to return the favour, the reason he entered Master Course. So when Haruka happened to pass by, Cecil instantly hugs her! He can’t hold back his feelings anymore. He came here to make her happy but he can’t forget the smiles of other people too. He wants to see all kinds of smiles and not just hers. He wants to be an idol and make people happy. Did I hear that right? Haruka relays this good news to Starish and though they are surprised of his turn around, they are glad he has finally decided to become one. Cecil uses the power of the Muse to write him the lyrics. Seeing Starish in their work made him realize how wonderful it is to be an idol. He feels grateful to them and starts singing. His beautiful voice echoes through the area and everyone heard it. Starish even joins in the singing. At the end, they notice how good they sound together. That’s when Cecil realizes the Muse’s lyrics contain a hidden meaning. It wants him to sing with others and not alone. Haruka also realizes it was Cecil’s voice that is missing from her songs and hopes he could join Starish so she could write more wonderful songs. The rest agrees seeing they want to find out if this harmony is indeed genuine. When Cecil returns to his cabin, he sees a letter from his king. He has learnt Cecil’s curse has been lifted. He wants him to return to Agnapolis now since he plans on passing the crown to him. Camus sees Cecil alone leaving that night.

Episode 9
Morning comes and everyone is so excited that they couldn’t sleep last night. However they are shocked when Camus tells them Cecil has returned to Agnapolis. But they feel something odd. Why did he leave behind his music sheet and pendant? Is he trying to forget everything that has to do with music? Starish starts thinking the good fellow Cecil is (cue for some previous episode clips). No point feeling sad about it so Haruka pounds her piano away to compose a new song. She completes it and gives it to Starish. They really want to sing it but can’t do so without Cecil. While they believe and wait for his return, they will write their share of the lyrics. All that is left is Cecil’s portion when Saotome makes his flashy entrance. He has decided the song Starish will sing from the bunch written by Haruka. Haruka wants him to hold his horses and mentions about the newly composed song that would sound good with Starish and Cecil. However Saotome says Cecil has returned to his kingdom and is living a new life. So forget about him. Even if Cecil is here, Saotome won’t accept it because Starish have been nominated for the Utapuri Award. He won’t allow anything to jeopardize that so any further crazy request from them, he will decline their nomination. They remain stubborn and will believe in Cecil. Saotome is about to announce the unfortunate news of making them spectators for the award when Cecil skydives from a plane! WTF?! With a loud speaker in hand, he tells Saotome to listen to this beautiful harmony otherwise he will regret it. So our gang starts singing this song (which is the ending theme) and this sends everyone listening being wrapped in some harmonious wave! Such ecstasy! Such happiness! Guess what this song is called? Maji Love 2000%! But of course. At the end, everyone is amazed how good the 7 of them sound together. Cecil expresses he wants to continue singing with them and bring more smiles to others. He also admits he was jealous about the bond Haruka had with the other guys but the rest are cool with it. Cecil requests Saotome to make him part of Starish. Since Saotome has heard this happiness and can’t let this chance slip, he makes Cecil part of the brand new Starish. Rejoice! He is about to get down to work for some diplomacy thingy but no need for that because Cecil has brought a scroll as proof from the king himself, permitting him to be part of Starish! How? Reiji sent the music sheet to Agnapolis out of curiosity. Wow. Snail mail so fast? I believe he didn’t send it via internet either. Suddenly an announcement is made. There are 2 idol groups who will be vying for Utapuri Award. Of course Starish is one of them and the other half is the 3-member group, Heavens.

Episode 10
The live broadcast is switched over the Heavens’ concert. When asked about their nomination, Eiichi Otori becomes arrogant. He is not pleased that they are being compared. The rest of the group members include taciturn Kira Sumeragi and cutie brat Nagi Mikado. Just hear the girls screaming in the background… Of course Starish also gets their live broadcast. Right now? I guess that’s why Ringo and Ryuuga tag along with Saotome. Soon Saotome hijacks the interview and introduces Cecil as the new member of Starish. Wow. I think they might have raked in a few new fans seeing how some of them are already swooning over this new guy. I never noticed this but with Cecil completing Starish, it seems their initials are the ones that make up the group’s name. Now it’s Raging Otori’s turn to barge in. He is the big boss of Raging Entertainment, the industry’s greatest agency and Heavens’ creator. He is also Eiichi’s father. You can tell Raging and Saotome are big rivals. Saotome throws down a challenge that their groups will sing the same song written by the same composer. That’s right. Haruka! He throws him all the songs Haruka has written and gives them the freedom to rearrange or do anything with it. Is that why he asked her to write so many songs? Raging agrees to do it so as the expose their differences and also announces that if Heavens lose, they will disband. Because his agency doesn’t need losers. Saotome also agrees that if Starish loses, they will disband. What?! No way! Think of all the fan girls out there having a heart attack now. What happens if you’re fans of both?

Due to this shocking announcement, the media makes big changes in their schedule to do special focus on both the groups. Tomo sees Haruka and Starish to give her support. They talk about Raging and Saotome’s rivalry that goes back a long time ago. Raging was the top idol before Saotome came along. Haruka spaces out due to the dilemma but Starish is confident they will win. Cecil thanks Camus for everything and though the latter feels he doesn’t have anything to do with this, Cecil disagrees since he was the one who taught him the basics of becoming an idol. Had it not been for him, he would never have been one. Also, Cecil didn’t abandon his throne, he is merely postponing it. Starish just finish their recording and as they exit, they come face to face with Heavens. Nagi didn’t mince his words to mock them all. So arrogant this little guy that it’s just annoying. After learning Haruka is their composer, Eiichi riles up the guys by putting his hand on her and wants her to become their composer. Eiichi loves to see those upset faces of Starish and wants to see more of their expression. He is bloody confident both the award and Haruka will be theirs. This motivates Starish to do better to protect Haruka. Meanwhile Tokiya is still having problems with his ‘assignment’. I take it as the song Haruka wrote for him. So he is practising singing it outside in the gardens late in the night so he can make it a song he can be proud of. He sees Haruka ahead but with a gloomy expression.

Episode 11
Saotome wants Tokiya to appear in an advertisement so as to draw in as many fans. Meanwhile Haruka is burning the midnight oil just to pen and arrange her songs. Not hitting anything, isn’t she? The guys know Haruka is trying to shoulder everything herself and wish there is something they can do for her. Haruka has written a bunch of songs and shows them to Ringo. Although she is impressed she feels it lacks some sort of excitement. Seeing Haruka gloomy, Tokiya wants her to come to a certain place where he will sing his song. That place is in the streets where she first met Hayato. And soon Tokiya starts singing on screen. All the girls just went wow over his new song. Because of that, they didn’t realize he is disguised among the crowd as he takes Haruka away to a nearby festival. So they have fun and she feels better. Later Tokiya reveals the need to change something to sing that song. As he has always been curious of Hayato, he was born within him and needed to accept him as part of himself just to sing this song. Haruka is amazed he has been working hard all this time (hasn’t everybody else too?). Though Haruka is determined to write a song that will beat Heavens, Tokiya calms her down. He says he loves the music of her true self. Those words were what Haruka once said to him. He took those words to heart and promised to use his voice to make others happy. Thanks to her, he is now here. Haruka breaks down upon realizing she lost sight of her goal (to write songs for the happiness of others and not to beat somebody in some competition). Great chance for Tokiya to offer his words of comfort-cum-encouragement and to also not shoulder everything by herself. So as not to make Tokiya hog the limelight, we have the other Starish guys start their group singing for Haruka. It’s the only way they know they could do for her. They wanted to let her know how much they care for her. This time Haruka breaks down into tears of joy. She will put all her feelings into her arrangement. And to top off the night, we have a lovely fireworks display. Isn’t this just perfect?

Episode 12
Haruka has written great songs for Starish and now it’s up to the guys to put in the lyrics. Ringo and Tomo have made costumes for them too. As Starish begins their dance practice, it seems Cecil only knows how to spin around. It’s the sacred dance called Agnadance. Apparently princes are taught how to dance when he is old enough and it is to pay tribute to the Muses. It’s the only dance he knows. Just great. They have no trouble sounding good together but they didn’t foresee this problem. Don’t worry. Sho will personally teach him. To think that he is the one most loggerhead with him to be teaching him dancing. We take a side distraction to Starish’s seniors. Camus talks to Ranmaru about Ai’s strange behaviour. Ever since they heard Maji Love 2000%, they have been acting strange especially Ai who is watching Starish practice without orders from Saotome. He never cared about others before. And Reiji, he is already quite carefree and he is even more so while believing in Starish. Though Camus stops short of saying he is affected. Oh, really? He also notices Ranmaru also acting strange. Not wanting to admit? Anyway, he thinks back how the band he was in broke up despite being friends. Haruka and Starish come to peep on Cecil working hard on his dance. Looks like their worries were for nought. Next day, it is the final showdown for Utapuri Award. As Haruka makes her way back from the studio, she bumps into Heavens. As arrogant as ever. They force her to follow them so they can show her their rehearsal and a fantastic dream. They are put a stop by Ranmaru who tells them to settle it via their songs. They are confident the match is already settled. Ranmaru asks her what friends mean to her. People who feel each other’s passion up close. She’s not talking about sex, right? Whoops! Sorry, my bad. The performance gets underway but first without the big bosses of both agencies laughing like mad men. Heavens kicks off the night with a sterling performance. I wonder if they are singing a musical or doing some action adventure fantasy because the effects must be so superb that a blue dragon is blowing flames to everybody! And the girls just go wilder and wilder! In the end, everybody is amazed at their performance. Even Haruka and Starish themselves. Oh no. Looks like they’ve got an uphill battle.

Episode 13
Eiichi is cocky in his after-performance comments. He thinks this competition is a waste of time since the outcome has been decided a long time ago. Counting his chickens, eh? He revs up the crowd and wants to perform their own concert right now. I guess those screaming girls don’t mind. Meanwhile backstage, Raging is thanking Saotome that because of this, it empowered Heavens a lot. On the other hand, Saotome is also grateful that his experiment worked out. He wanted to see if Haruka’s song would disappear when others arrange it but it didn’t. It proves that Haruka is one of those few who possess the Happy Pulse. Those who hear her music will be sent into the kingdom of happiness. Saotome has been experimenting and trying to capture this wave and although he only has a little, it was enough for this experiment. Raging thinks he has gone mad and no longer views him as a threat. While Starish is worried if they can match up to Heavens’ act, here comes Heavens just to further mock them and claim Haruka as theirs. However Haruka asserts she will always be Starish’s composer no matter what. She believes they can sing her songs more wonderfully than anyone else. Wow. So much confidence. If that doesn’t move Starish, I don’t know what. In short, Haruka rejected Eiichi. And so Starish vow to do their best and sing for their fans and deliver their music to them. Starish bursts onto stage with some kung fu and acrobatic moves and just like the opening scene, Maji Love 2000% has the fans screaming along. At the end of the song, everyone is suddenly engulfed in white lights! Those are the happy waves?! Even the enemy can’t contain their happiness! It feels so gay… Everyone spinning to the stars while they are wrapped with white lights that ecchi fans would think it’s some sort of light censor.

So happy that everyone has been brought to the edge of the universe! It’s resonating throughout the universe!!! Will the aliens here it and be brought to their knees too? JUST WOW!!!!!! Such shocking happiness!!! It’s a miracle!!!! Even Starish couldn’t believe how much happiness and warmth their song brings. And with everyone recovering from the happiness, it’s time to judge who is the winner. While the votes are still counting, Raging then hops onto stage and I thought he was going to admit defeat. He didn’t. He’s just here to tell his Heavens about the desire to make others happy with music. The results should be obvious after seeing Starish perform. The final votes are in and Starish wins! Heavens can’t believe they lost. That’s what you get for being arrogant. Raging announces their disbandment. But wait! To show how angelic our Starish guys are, they plead not for Heavens to disband. Because in music there is no winning or losing. Besides, can you hear all the fan girls screaming and crying not for those hot trio to disband? Saotome comes in and he says that the winner also has other ‘prizes’. One of them being any wish will be granted for the victor. This means Heavens need not disband! Hooray! Raging accepts Saotome’s proposal because he doesn’t want to owe him anything and will return the favour to him one day. Of course Heavens doesn’t think this is over and Starish says the same too. It’s just the beginning. Starish also wants to do another performance. This time they sing the song that started it all! Oh yeah! Maji Love 1000%!!! Not only is Cecil is singing with them this time, the entire audience. And this includes Haruka, Tomo, Ringo, Camus and the rest, Heavens and Raging with Saotome. Just everybody! Wow. That song brings everybody together. Oh yeah. People, are you ready? I said, are you ready?! Let’s sing along!

Sing, And The World Sings With You!
And so as expected, Starish becomes the most famous idol band around. They even defeated their main cocky arrogant bastard rivals and at the same time show mercy. Isn’t that great? Yeah well, like they said, it isn’t about winning or losing but in reality, that isn’t really going to happen. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and you need to stay on top if you are going to be relevant in the hearts of the people for a long time. Because you know, even despite the millions of female fans screaming Starish or Heavens’ name, I bet that if there is some other hot idol group that pops out, they would quickly shift allegiance. Well, I won’t totally say that they would be abandoning Starish or Heavens for good but they’ll just be thrown into one dusty corner while they focus all their screaming attention to the new one. Yeah. I think it’s like that. The only thing that I tried predicting for this season’s ending and didn’t come true is that Heavens didn’t join Starish after their defeat. Woah. That’s like 10 hot guys in a group, right? That’s nothing compared to Super Junior… In the event if they do join up, I think fans of both divide will be very pleased. Overjoyed in fact. Now they don’t have to pick which one is superior and they can love them both the same as one. And while at it, I think I have come up with a new name for them: Starry Heaven! Haha!

I felt that the seniors for Starish are somewhat redundant. The only reason I can think of is to add more handsome and good looking bishonen to the list. We don’t really see them act like seniors since they don’t really enjoy working with others. Heck, they don’t even have any decent screen time besides their debut as we mostly see Starish left to their own devices. Maybe they did something together in the background but from the way I see it, Starish and Haruka made it by their own efforts and the seniors have nothing to do with it. So when I thought that these seniors in the fray, maybe they will have a dedicated episode each just like how Starish have theirs with Haruka last season and also for this one. But nope. Just hanging around, watching their juniors, not very pleased. What’s the point? Even if Saotome assigned them to it but since they didn’t do much, it feels like they’re wasting their time, right? With the exception of Reiji, the rest are just snobs and arrogant. They don’t even work with each other so it bugs me how come they are successful idols. Unless they’re just putting up a façade in front of their fans and return to their sullen mood once it’s over. That’s not good right? So with the penultimate episode, just to show us that they are totally not jerks, we see them changed after hearing Starish’s new hit. They started caring and although if it is just a little, it is better than they never did in the beginning. Yeah. Even the seniors eventually learnt something from their juniors. Heck, even Cecil too started changing. From someone who boldly gets physical with Haruka and stating early intentions of never wanting to be an idol, looks like even a prince can grow up and do things for the sake of other people’s happiness. Is this the miracle that is Haruka? No. I think this is Haruka and Starish together. You could say she changes the lives of others that she touches. An angel? It depends how you want to view it all.

The only reason I can think of that the guys in Heavens (Eiichi and Nagi in particular. Kira feels like a robot…) are being made so proud and spiteful is to make us viewers support for Starish. This is after all their anime series. Imagine if these set of trio are nice guys like their counterparts, I’m sure viewers would be torn as to who to support. With their boastful and overconfident outlook, it only makes the victory for Starish at the end sweeter. Their downfall teaches us never to count your chickens before they hatch and also to be humble. After all the confident boasting and what they said, it’s just a big smack in the face that they lost, right?  But something in me tells me another reason why their bad behaviour is a blessing in disguise for Starish. In order to improve oneself, you need to have a villain to push you forward, right? So did Heavens unwittingly play the villain part so that Starish could get all the will and determination to do their best? I am sure they will even if they weren’t but with Heavens being such a$$hole$, there is that motivation to do even better because you know, Haruka is at stake. Of all the characters, the best still goes to Saotome because of his colourful and flashy expressions. There is never dull moment when that guy is around and despite his playful appearance, he has got a deeper and serious intention behind it all. Raging could have been on equal eccentric with Saotome but when you see a guy in shades, fur coat and smoking a big bad cigar, the owner of a cocky idol, well, you’re going to think he is the big bad boss for this anime. Well, even he too was humbled. Nobody stays at the top forever.

As usual the story and flow of this season is somewhat predictable and the challenges didn’t really feel, well, challenging. Like how Starish was first assigned to seniors but as mentioned, they didn’t really play an active role in their development even if they were just told to observe them so it was forgettable. Thus for the first half of this season, we see the usual Haruka and one of the Starish guys having their focus episode (also to showcase the individual songs that Haruka wrote for them). Seriously, I don’t really feel the impact that their relationship has deepened because from the last season they have gotten really close enough and we know their relationship is like that so with such focused episode, the impact isn’t just there. Of course this time Cecil has got his own episode but by that time, I was wondering if they forgot to put in Tokiya’s because of the little issues that cropped up such as Cecil leaving for Agnapolis and the Utapuri Award that pits them against Heavens. Of course eventually they can’t really forget about this guy that Haruka once loved as Hayato but even so, I feel his focus episode wasn’t anything much. In fact, it might be the weakest among the members of Starish. I suppose Tokiya doesn’t really have issues like the rest such as Natsuki’s alter ego or Ren’s family business problem so he doesn’t have that much to tell. Even Sho’s acting or Otoya’s orphanage adventure wasn’t so bad. Tokiya cheering up Haruka at the festival might bring lots of relief to her (isn’t that the case with every other guy in Starish?) but somehow I feel that doesn’t cut it as compared to the rest.

So while Haruka is a true blue composer of Starish and her new rare ability of Happy Pulse is revealed, I thought it was really silly to see how everyone was engulfed in the light of happiness. It felt cartoonish and funny. Really. I think they want to show us the ultimate greatness of Starish and that they have reached the maximum of putting all their love, heart and soul to sing the songs to their fans. What can be the only thing that beats out of this world? Out of this universe, of course! Next I think they’ll try to envision something godly. Yeah. I can’t really imagine that. Maybe people will just die and go to Heaven! Haha! And it’s not Heavens who are sending them there. Imagine a song becoming a murder tool just because you are too happy and died. Hmm… Murder, she wrote? But I suppose that is not too bad since you can die happy. Seriously. It’s better that than a painful and ugly one.

Therefore in terms of this season, I would say that everything is just okay as there is nothing really groundbreaking besides Cecil being added to the team and Haruka’s improvement in her song writing. You just see this season for the hot looking guys and probably if you’re a reverse harem fan. Speaking of which, the romance just like last season doesn’t feel really the romance type. The guys are so close to Haruka that it is unthinkable to see which one ends up with her. That would make fans of the other guys green with envy. That’s why I still feel that the rule of no romance allowed, whether they were in the academy or under the Master Course, it serves as some sort of ‘barrier’ so that our main guys don’t compete for Haruka’s affections. Heck, you would even forget there is such a rule. So I guess for now their first true love is making music for people and making them happy. Yes people. It is music that makes people happy. Not money, material wealth, fame, power or even Haruka x (insert Starish guy’s name here of your choice). If only the real world was this easy. If only such singing can bring such happiness and stop all the wars. Oh Haruka, we need you! If she only really existed in real life…

With last season’s seiyuus maintained for this season, as usual the best one still goes to Norio Wakamoto as Saotome. You got to love the way he speaks with passion. I couldn’t recognize Tomokazu Sugita as Raging because he was putting on a scruffy voice instead of his trademark Gintoki from Gintama or Inu x Boku SS’ Kagerou. Adding to this seasons casts include Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Ranmaru (Yuuji in Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu), Shoutaro Morikubo as Reiji (Shikamaru in Naruto), Shouta Aoi as Ai (Matsushita in Kimi To Boku), Tomoaki Maeno as Camus (Junichi in Amagami SS), Hikaru Midorikawa as Eiichi (Lancer in Fate/Zero), Daisuke Ono as Kira (Sebastian in Kuroshitsuji – speaking of which, don’t both characters look and sound similar?) and Tsubasa Yonaga as Nagi (Tsutomu in Chihayafuru). This season’s opening theme is also sung by Mamoru Miyano (voice of Tokiya). However I find Kanon somewhat almost similar to the first season’s Orpheus as they both are the dramatic rock piece. As we know, the ending theme is of course by Starish, Maji Love 2000%. Personally, I think Maji Love 1000% sounds much better as I find this one a little gay. Maybe they’re singing too much with their overflowing love so to me it sounds one kind. Full power full throttle we love everything about you 1000%. Ba-bang. Ja-jang. Love you. Yeesh… Almost got my hair standing on end. Despite still being the energetic idol group pop song, I don’t find it as catchy as the previous season’s one.

So what is next for Starish? Taking on the world? Maybe landing Utapuri Award already made them an overnight sensation. They’ll be in the top spot for a long time to come until the next new sensational idol comes in. But that is looking at things too far. For now, let’s just all basked in the glory and all the songs that Starish has to offer us. They are the voice of happiness so won’t you lend your ear and hear some? Oddly, it didn’t make me over crazy about them or go into K-pop. Maybe I didn’t hear enough of them singing because when everyone in the anime was sent to Heaven, I certainly wasn’t. I was here, sitting at my chair, laughing at how ridiculously good their song could send others into. Whoops. Last time I said if we are ready for a new music revolution. Now, are we ready for a new form of happiness revolution? I guess we’ll have to check it out then. Are you ready for it?

Well, sooner or later this would happen. A versus between two reverse harem animes that have music as its central theme. They are La Corda D’Oro (La Corda) and Uta No Prince-sama Maji Love 1000% (Utapuri). Both are based on a video game targeted at female audiences but there’s no harm for a guy like me to take a look, right?

The music academy
La Corda: Seisou Academy – The school is split into General Education and Music Department.
Utapuri: Saotome Academy – Graduates will have the opportunity to join the Shining Agency after graduation.

Current principal
La Corda: Akihiko Kira – Son of the family founder of the school.
Utapuri: Shining Saotome – Former super idol.

The main heroine
La Corda: Kahoko Hino.
Utapuri: Haruka Nanami.

Her best friend
La Corda: Nao Kobayashi and Mio Takato.
Utapuri: Tomochika Shibuya.

The handsome ‘harem’ guys
La Corda: Len Tsukimori, Kazuki Hihara, Azuma Yunoki, Keiichi Shimizu and Ryoutarou Tsuchiura.
Utapuri: Otoya Ittoki, Ren Jinguuji, Masato Hijirikawa, Natsuki Shinomiya, Sho Kurusu and Tokiya Ichinose.

The supernatural factor
La Corda: Fairy – Lili. She gave Hino a magic violin.
Utapuri: Spirit – Cecil Aijima. He gave Haruka the confidence in her abilities.

Heroine’s musical talent
At first they were noobs. Through magic or hard work, they get to be musically accomplished.
La Corda: Kaho plays the violin.
Utapuri: Haruka pens and writes songs.

Teacher in charge
La Corda: Hiroto Kanazawa and Shinobu Ousaki.
Utapuri: Ringo Tsukimiya and Ryuuga Hyuuga.

The competition
La Corda: Over course, there will be 4 selection processes of concour in which the selected participants will play a piece and get ranked.
Utapuri: Working towards their graduation, an idol and songwriter must pair up for their graduation performance and the winning pair will get a chance to debut with the agency.

Music type
La Corda: Classical pieces.
Utapuri: Idol songs.

Ladies’ men
La Corda: Yunoki.
Utapuri: Ren.

Lively guy
La Corda: Kazuki.
Utapuri: Otoya.

Cold, unfriendly guy
Acting aloof and distant to the heroine at first but eventually warms up and have feelings for her.
La Corda: Tsukimori.
Utapuri: Tokiya.

Split personality
These guys have a dark ominous side you don’t want to mess with or meet…
La Corda: Yunoki.
Utapuri: Natsuki.

Double life
La Corda: Yunoki – Got Hino to pose as his fiancee to put off his many marriage interviews, including the persistent Ayano Takashina.
Utapuri: Tokiya – His alter ego on stage is Hayato whom everyone is made to believe is his twin brother.

Strict upbringing
Their family doesn’t have favourable views of the music industry and their son is just in due to some agreement thingy.
La Corda: Yunoki.
Utapuri: Masato.
N/B: Oh God… Yunoki’s name 3 times in a row…

Petite guy
La Corda: Shimizu.
Utapuri: Sho.

Cooking guys
La Corda: Tsuchiura and Kanazawa are good at cooking.
Utapuri: Natsuki may love cooking but they turn out to be disastrous!

Not singing from the heart?
La Corda: Tsukimori – He doesn’t believe in it. At first…
Utapuri: Tokiya – Ryuuga points out the songs his sing have no heart in them. At first…

Non-musical instrument guy
Refers to the guy who doesn’t specializes in playing music instruments. His voice is his major music instrument.
La Corda: Kanazawa.
Utapuri: Tokiya.

Scorned
La Corda: Megumi Shouji stood up as Hino’s pianist accompaniment because of her jealousy that she was chosen for the competition.
Utapuri: Other students in Haruka’s class badmouth her for not having the necessary talent to read music notes or play the piano.

Phobia
La Corda: Tsuchiura once had a fear of playing in public.
Utapuri: Sho has fear of heights.

Camp
La Corda: Episode 6 – After the first selection, the concour participants attend a 4-days-3-nights training camp at Fuyuumi’s villa; Episode 26 – A special 3-days-2-nights summer camp for the concour participants to come up with a ‘unique tune’ theme.
Utapuri: Episode 8 – The students of the academy head to Saotome’s private island for their training camp. This is for students to pick their partners for the final assessment.

Quitting school?
La Corda: Yunoki may be quitting music to study in London as what his grandma wants since she only views his passion as just a hobby. Of course that didn’t happen because he went to London just to cancel his transfer.
Utapuri: Ren is on the verge of being expelled by Ryuuga if he doesn’t hand in his work in time. Ren would’ve gladly get ousted if not for the actions of a certain lady who ignited his passion for music and to stay on.

Crisis
La Corda: Hino’s violin strings broke and render her unable to play for the concour.
Utapuri: Saotome bars Haruka from taking part in his Starish project.

One big song for the lady
La Corda: After the final selection, all the concour members sing a song for Hino.
Utapuri: The guys of Starish sing together to bring Haruka back and also making their debut with the first song she wrote for them as a group.

Song of the series
La Corda: Ave Maria.
Utapuri: Maji 1000% Love.

Opening and ending themes
La Corda: Opening theme is Brand New Breeze by Kanon; Ending theme is Crescendo by Stella Quintet.
Utapuri: Opening theme is Orpheus by Mamoru Miyano; Ending theme is Maji 1000% Love by Starish.

End segment
Right after the ending credits.
La Corda: Lili’s One Point Classic segment which enlightens us on information on musical terms, composers and instruments.
Utapuri: Just an end card illustration of the characters asking us to tune in to next week.

Number of episodes
La Corda: The first season, Prima Passo had 26 episodes and the sequel, Secondo Passo had only 2 episodes.
Utapuri: The first season had 13 episodes. A second season is slated for production in 2013.

Studio production
La Corda: Yumeta Company.
Utapuri: A-1 Pictures.

Production year
La Corda: 2006.
Utapuri: 2011.

Conclusion
Since I have seen Utapuri more recently than La Corda, my memories of the former are still ‘fresher’ as compared to the latter. It’s hard to choose which one is better because each is almost similar but have their little differences either. Both have its fair share of drama, romance and comical bits. Plus, I’m not really into this kind of music genre especially if it revolves reverse harem. But I feel La Corda have more character development and focus as compared to Utapuri seeing it had more episodes to spread out. So if music is really part of your life, you can use these shows as motivation to help you get one step closer to your dream. Be it a famous idol or an instrument specialist. Of course, don’t forget to put in hard work and practice.

Are you ready? I said, ARE YOU READY?! The boy band phenomenon still lives! That’s what I thought when I was about to watch Uta No Prince-sama Maji Love 1000%. This is another one of those games being given the anime adaptation and I thought it was somewhat a little similar to La Corda D’oro. First they are both of a reverse harem genre. That’s right. One female surrounded by gorgeous handsome hunks, each with his own personality. Second, the genre also revolves around music. You’ll hear a new piece of music in each episode. But instead of fairies, we have well, uhm, spirits? I won’t say that the spirit part will be obvious but you’ll see them somewhere in the anime as you go along.

Saotome Academy is the most prestigious school for those who want to further their career in music. Be it pop star idols or budding composers, this is the place to take your first step. Haruka Nanami, the main female protagonist is one of the many aspiring musicians hoping to write songs and someday, let her favourite idol sing it. And in an academy with some students hoping to be idols, you can bet that their good looks and charm are going to play an important role. What happens when you have not only 2 or 3 guys taking interest in the girl but 6 handsome heartthrob bishie guys?! Yes, count them. Six hot looking guys. Life is always of choice and it’s not easy choosing. Furthermore, the academy prohibits students from falling in love with each other. Romance not allowed. In the event if they do, they’ll be expelled. So begins Haruka’s journey to achieve her dream and the guys’ mysterious attraction to this girl. Are you ready to find out if she can do that and avoid the pitfalls of falling in love? Check it out.

Episode 1
The series opens with the 6 guys singing in a concert like a boy band to the screaming crowd. That’s why I thought it was going to be something like Lemon Angel Project. Nope. Not close enough. Back to the story proper. It’s snowing and Haruka is running late for the entrance exam at Saotome Academy but the guards at the gate stop her. No matter how hard she pleads, they can’t make her an exception because if you give in to one, what about the others they had to shoo away? It’s tough because they’re just doing their job. They tell her to go home. Herald heartthrob number 1: the positive and lively Otoya Ittoki. He helps her out and pleads for her case. Guards: No way, Jose. So can heartthrob number 2, the rich son of a conglomerate, Ren Jinguuji do the job? He tells the guards she was helping a lost girl on her way, thus the reason why she was late. Had he know she was a student of this academy, he would’ve let her hitch a ride in his limo. Guards: Go home. Suddenly. Yes, suddenly, the guards receive a call to make this an exception and let her in. Miracle! Haruka sits for the exam and aces. Her friend, Tomochika “Tomo” Shibuya is glad to know Haruka is in the same class with her. She is also her dorm roommate. During the entrance ceremony, the principal known as Shining Saotome makes his grand and flashy debut. He flies his way in (via wire of course), he dances and sings to the hearts of the students. Yes, that’s the famous composer who has written 20 million songs by himself! WTF???!!! 20 MILLION SONGS???!!! Oh sh*t!!!! Getting a hundred is already an amazing feat let alone 20 million! I’m sure his aspiring speech has given the students the much needed motivation to achieve their dreams.

Haruka also finds Otoya in the same class with her. Bespectacled Natsuki Shinomiya instantly comes rushing to hug Haruka because she reminds him of Elizabeth. If not for Masato Hijirikawa pushing her away, she could’ve been the victim. Instead Otoya became the victim. So who is this Elizabeth anyway? His dog. Oh… And he has a penchant for cute and small things. Souta Takanashi of Working!! anyone? Their homeroom teacher Ringo Tsukimiya (who may be a drag queen) was a super popular idol (all homeroom teachers in this academy are super popular idols) explains about the state-of-the-art facilities and amenities needed to guide them through. Even the cafeteria is so high class. You need the cash to splash just to eat. There, Haruka meets petite Sho Kurusu and also Ren, who thinks their reunion is fate. Seems Ren and Masato know each other though Ren is in the top Class S as with Sho while Masato and the others in Class A. Haruka and Tomo start unpacking their stuffs in their room after a hectic first day. Tomo learns of Haruka’s favourite idol, Hayato. But unlike most idols, Tomo thought Hayato is somewhat a ridiculous idol because of his clown-like behaviour on stage. But to Haruka, he will always be her idol and his songs are amazing because when she was small, she had a weak body and lived in the countryside being taken care by her grandma. When she returned to the city, she couldn’t put up with all the noises and became ‘paralyzed’. Right in the middle of the street. Then, she heard Hayato’s voice from the screen. His voice was soothing enough to sweep her away to another world. It was very calming to her heart, filled with warmth. His music ‘saved’ her. Since then, she wanted to write songs for him. That same night, a stray black cat enters her room and steals her handkerchief. Haruka goes after it and she manages to get it back after following it to the lakes. Then she saw something incredible. It’s Hayato! Hayato is right in front of her eyes! No actually. He claims he is not like a shallow guy like his twin brother and that he is Tokiya Ichinose. But Haruka couldn’t understand what he meant. She is pretty sure he is Hayato.

Episode 2
Apparently Saotome popped out from nowhere to explain he is not Hayato. However Haruka didn’t like the fact that Tokiya was belittling Hayato despite being twins. It’s not right for twins to act so hostile like that. Tomo learns the unbelievable encounter and suggests that if Haruka gets close to Tokiya, maybe she’ll get a chance to meet her beloved Hayato. In class, Ringo explains the Composer Course and Idol Course. The first assignment is the pairing from both courses. They may not be in the same class but the winning pair will open a path to their major debut. They have until the end of the term to choose their partner but cautions about falling in love. As a start, they’ll be randomly and temporarily paired to do some recording and also to check their music level. Composers will write the music while idols write the lyrics. Haruka is paired with Otoya and she has been given the honours to go first since she was the highest scorer from last year. However at the piano, Haruka couldn’t start. What’s this? She can’t play a piano? How did she ace the exam then? Oh, that was all written and theory. But she did learn piano from grandma, right? The students start murmuring that she may be no good. Haruka sinks into depression and Otoya ‘saves’ her again by being by her side and give her words of encouragement. He says if he debuts, he wants his songs to make everyone happy. Haruka gets her confidence and starts studying hard. Otoya on the other hand can’t seem to find the right words and he is annoying his roommate: Tokiya. So after bugging Tokiya to help him out to write lyrics, probably he is regretting it because it sounds so technical. Sounds so fast forward, eh? Better go find someone else. He goes seek help from Natsuki and Sho. The former probably in the midst of harassing Sho over his cuteness. Try somewhere else. What about Ren? His words are those of trying to charm ladies. Masato? He’s such a strict traditionalist that his weird words are too hard to comprehend. Well like they say, if you want something done, do it yourself. Tomo is surprised that in the span on 1 day, Haruka is able to read music! She’s a genius! But she still can’t write the music she wants. She sleeps over it and dreams about the times spent with grandma. She got up in the dead of the night and went for a walk at the lakes. She starts humming and Otoya thinks that’s a very nice song. He incorporates it in his lyrics and finds it good. They both work hard and finally record the song.

Episode 3
The results are announced and it’s safe to say Haruka passes with flying colours. Meanwhile Tokiya confronts his homeroom teacher of Class S, Ryuuya Hyuuga. He is not happy that he was given too low a score. Though he notes he sang flawlessly, he lacks the important aspect: Heart. Keep this up and he’ll be dropped from Class S. So when a guy who is already in a bad mood meets a very apologetic Haruka, what do you get? He tells her off about her plan to befriend him so that she could get close to Hayato. But that’s not her reason. He doesn’t want to listen further. When she returns to class, she sees nasty comments on the blackboard claiming that Haruka is a fake musician, that she got in through connections, etc. She is made to play to perform again and the rest have their doubts. Otoya tells them to shut up and listen to her first. Unfortunately Haruka froze once more. Otoya complains to Ringo but she says she’ll have to deal with such if she’s to enter into the world of music. Welcome to the real world. Haruka is recollecting her feelings alone when the black cat pays her a visit. Thinking it’s trying to cheer her up, she calls it Kuppuru (Kuroi = Black + Purupuru = Fluffy). As she tries to get something for Kuppuru to eat, she meets Masato. He too has his own words for her. Meanwhile Ren is charming the ladies with his saxophone but we know there is only one girl whom he has his sights on. Otoya wants to make Haruka feel better and enlists Natsuki and Sho’s help to make her chocolates. But it may be a bad idea because Sho can see it coming. Natsuki is adding lots of unnecessary ingredients into it! Tabasco? Fish paste? Is he trying to kill somebody?! Now the chocolates are done, he needs somebody to test taste it. Oh sh*t! Run for your lives! Nobody can escape from his grasp! ARGH!!! I think the guys almost went to heaven a little while there. Masato visits Haruka who is still struggling to play the piano. He reveals his past whereby his father was so strict, so much so their relationship was just that of a head and successor. But the old steward was there to make him feel at ease and even thought him how to play the piano. Haruka also tells him about her own past and slowly with Masato’s touch, she is able to play the piano and remember the happy times with grandma. Haruka is grateful to him so now it’s his turn to play a song for her to hear. She is then able to play the piano and shut up her non-believers. Masato remembers the time when he saw Haruka sang to a bunch of kids at the snowy park. He didn’t know whether he wanted to go through with what his parents want but after hearing the warmth in her song (despite just being Twinkle Twinkle Little Star), he learnt how wonderful music can be. That’s why it’s he who should be thankful to her.

Episode 4
Otoya, Masato and Natsuki are practising their dance moves for next week’s test. They see a group of girls ‘hounding’ Ren. I guess with his playboy status that’s got to be expected. Ren sees Masato friendly with Haruka so he interrupts them by giving her his rose and some lines that would probably make an amateur girl like her fluster. But Sho is here to remind him about completing his lyrics and to stop fooling around. Remember what Ryuuya said? Oh, speaking of the devil, here he is. He reminds Ren that if he doesn’t turn in his work tomorrow, he’ll be expelled immediately. Ren doesn’t seem to take his words seriously. Later the rest discuss about the childhood friends Ren and Masato are during lunch. Both are heirs to their family’s company and thus know each other since young. Even so, their personalities are like day and night. Masato begged to his father to study music. He was against it so eventually it was agreed that he came here only for a year. As for Ren, the family’s eldest son took over the wheel after their father passed on and wants Ren to go into music to advertise for the family. In short, Masato wants to be here but couldn’t but Ren doesn’t want to but finds himself here anyway. Ren is having writer’s block so he starts playing his saxophone. His beautiful music attracts Haruka to where he is at the top of the roof. She compliments his song but sees a crumpled paper containing his lyrics. He says he is getting tired of this place when Masato scoffs him off for his insincerity and to leave then. Ren agrees since he was forced into this and has no real reason to be here. However Masato points out if he’s just playing around, how can he fake that beautiful saxophone play? But Ren tears up the lyrics and this riles up Masato who thinks he is making light of music and punches him. Guess what? Haruka goes all her way out to find all the torn paper! Every single piece! Man, that’s dedication! She even skipped classes for that scrap of paper! Extreme! Meanwhile Ren ponders more about his past. When his idol mom passed away, his father got rid of everything that has to do with her. Ren was listening secretly to a demo tape that she dedicated to her unborn baby then (Ren) and was touched. It was the only thing left she had of her. Ren unwittingly said some words that Haruka thought it would make good for his lyrics. Oh, she has found and pieced them back. At least most of it. She gives it back to him and hopes he could show his true feelings and not quit. Then she goes off to find the remaining pieces (hell, she’s even got the rest of her friends to look for them. Like finding a needle in a haystack). Ren notes she won’t be able to find it because he has not written it yet. Ringo is trying to convince Ryuuya to give that kid a chance but he’s not going to budge if Ren doesn’t do his work. Suddenly Ren uses the PA to let everyone hear his song and safe to say, he’s not going to quit the academy after all.

Episode 5
Haruka bumps into Tokiya but he ignores her. In his room, he asks Otoya about Haruka and he explains she is the kind of girl who does her best to help out. Haruka is in the woods alone practising her composing when Sho suddenly falls off a branch. What is he doing there? He warns her not to tell this to anybody. In class, Otoya shows the girls a magazine that features Ryuuya is going to be the star of the next action movie. And there’s this notice that an audition will be held for newcomers for the film. Natsuki explains Sho is a big fan of Ryuuya and that he has got to pass this news to him. Sho isn’t exactly happy that Natsuki spilled everything and before that guy makes thing more complicated, Sho takes Haruka’s hand and run. After explaining that Ryuuya was known as Prince of Fights due to a hit drama he starred in, Sho mentions he had a weak body and no confidence in doing anything. Seeing that drama lifted his spirits and cheered him up. Even better, he was happy Ryuuya became his homeroom teacher. That’s why he is his hero. Haruka realizes Sho’s case is just like hers. Suddenly a trap is sprung and Sho gets caught in a giant net. Thanks to Natsuki. He explains Sho’s fear of heights and probably that branch falling incident was his own way in trying to overcome it. So everyone agrees to help him to just do that. Oh no. I have a bad feeling about this. Bungee jumping? Each time, the places get higher and higher. The final one being parachuting from a helicopter. What has he done wrong to deserve this? Natsuki thought they’ve been too lenient and should strap him to a rocket blasting into space!!! But they need to know the source of why he is afraid of heights. Leave it to Saotome to handle it. Was he eavesdropping? Well, he claims hearing out students’ problem is part of his job. Hypnotizing Sho, they delve deeper into his memories to find the age he started to fear heights. When he was 5 years old, Natsuki chased him to the top of a tower. Cornered at the age, he slipped off though Natsuki caught his hand. At that high point, that’s when his phobia started. So… Natsuki was the culprit?! He’s going to get it… At the end of the day, Sho is disappointed not because of the hell he went through but the little disclaimer at the end of the audition note that the auditioning role is to be the main character’s younger sister. Since he wanted so much to audition, Natsuki has a plan. Make him dress like a girl! Oh wait, he’s already got a dress ready! I don’t know how but they manage to force the dress onto Sho. When Ryuuya passes by, he sees cross-dressed Sho and feels ‘she’ is the perfect person who will fit that role in his upcoming movie. Make sure you be there at the audition, Shoko. Oh God. Looks like he got traumatized again.

Episode 6
Haruka is excited because she is going to Hayato’s concert and he’ll be releasing a new song. The rest are worried she may get lost but she assures them she’s got it all together. Haruka bumps into Tokiya. She asks if he’s going to his brother’s concert but he didn’t say. Since she is going, he hopes she won’t get lost. Haha. True enough, she got lost but she thought she spotted Natsuki on the street bench. She goes up to him but he doesn’t respond. He is busy writing songs and tells her to scram. Eh? Is this the Natsuki we know? When a passer-by accidentally throws his burger wrapper into him (it missed the bin), suddenly Natsuki gets very upset and goes to teach them a lesson! Woah! See that crater on the wall he just punched! OH SH*T!!! Before any violence could happen, Sho arrives in time and puts on his glasses, returning him to normal. Eh? What just happened? At the cafe, Sho explains to Haruka that if Natsuki removes his glasses, he becomes a completely different persona: Satsuki. His alter ego has a reputation of putting 50,000 people who ticked him off in hospital! WTF?! However Satsuki has also this genius talent in composing. Another point is, Natsuki doesn’t remember who Natsuki is in this mode. Natsuki nearly took off his glasses when the tea fogs them. But when he sneezes… Sh*t is going to happen… Satsuki tells them off not to categorize him like Natsuki and whacks down a tree! Thank God Sho put his glasses back on before Haruka could add to his statistics of hospitalized victims. Haruka and the guys made it for Hayato’s concert. When it begins, Haruka felt something not right. He may still have a beautiful voice but he doesn’t feel the same as he used too. Hayato unexpectedly drops his microphone. The fans urge him to continue singing and the pushing has made Natsuki lose his glasses. Just great. Satsuki barges up to the stage (beating up all the security with his kung fu!) and chides Hayato for singing insincere songs that it pisses him off. He is going to show him how it’s done. Haruka’s friends back at the academy are shocked to see the live coverage that Natsuki is singing at Hayato’s concert. Haruka tries to sneak up and put back his glasses but was caught. Satsuki suggests doing something fun and is about to kiss her when Sho puts his spectacles back on. Phew. Then Haruka trips but Hayato catches her. Wow. Now she’s this close with her idol. But she sees his injured feet and realizes Tokiya also had the same injury when she bumped into him earlier today. Could it be that Tokiya is Hayato?

Episode 7
Though Haruka is making progress with her music, she goes to see Tokiya and knows that he is Hayato. She asks about his feet but he doesn’t want her to bring it up. Haruka is confused why a famous idol would go to an academy like this. Meanwhile Tokiya is doing his recording and though Ryuuya mentions his perfection in almost every field, he still lacks the heart in his songs. He can’t let him stay in his class any longer. Tokiya quickly makes his way out to meet his manager, Himura. He notifies him of his busy schedules but Tokiya is devastated to hear that the concert he wanted for his new song has been scrapped because the president feels he is more suited for variety shows and dramas. This means his next new song isn’t going to be released. Haruka and the rest learn Tokiya has been kicked out from Class S and Haruka believes it may be because of his injury rather than anything else. Tokiya sees Saotome and the principal reminds him about his promise. His work quality was decreasing so he invited him to this academy so as not to let his talent go to waste. He was also willing to help him switch agencies but right now he is not happy Tokiya is a big disappointment. He reveals it was him who gave the orders to Ryuuya to demote him. If he doesn’t buck up, everything will be cancelled. It’s raining that night and Haruka could feel something wrong. Yeah, she takes a walk out to the lakes to find Tokiya singing in the rain. She confirms he is Hayato and wonders why he pretended to be his twin brother to come to this school. He replies he wants to sing but can’t. She claims his songs are beautiful but isn’t that because it was Hayato who was singing them? But if he tries singing as Tokiya, it isn’t the same and no good. Haruka tells him about her similar case whereby she froze and couldn’t play the piano but he says they are different and leaves. Tokiya is now in Haruka’s class but gossips are rife throughout the academy that both ‘brothers’ are totally different. Ringo announces the summer camp. The students will take this time to choose carefully the perfect partner for their graduation. So, does Haruka really want Tokiya?

Episode 8
On Saotome’s perfect private island, Tomo gives advice to Haruka that she has to decide soon because if she hesitates, someone else will nab the one she’s hoping for. Besides, Tomo herself has chosen Yajima who worked with her on the last assignment. And what’s a grand welcome without Saotome putting up his flashy entrance. Yeah, he’s in his loincloth this time. I think even if you give Haruka all the time in the world, she couldn’t decide. So guys, make your first move. First, Otoya comes up to her to her and confess her loves her. Her music, that is. He is going to write her name as his partner. Meanwhile lots of girls are flocking over Ren and wonder whom among them he will choose. My guts tell me it isn’t going to be anyone of them but a little lost lamb :). Haruka continues to think hard that night when she sees Kuppuru. She talks to it (who else can she turn her problems to?) and though she can’t get Tokiya out of her mind, she doesn’t know what to do. Kuppuru leads her into the forest as she finds a large ruin. Suddenly right before her eyes is another handsome man, Cecile Aijima, the prince of Agnapolis. Where’s that? He is going to give her a beautiful dream. While singing, he takes Haruka through a different world and if you haven’t guessed it by now, Cecile is Kuppuru. Long ago when his clan set foot on this island, from the trunk of the tree, life is given. Muse, the guardian deity who guided them said that days of doubt will continue but they exist to challenge and spin out something rich and beautiful. In course of time, what she creates will bring about a miracle. Haruka finds herself back in her own room. She sees Tokiya passing by and goes talk to him. He realizes he has been hurting her since they’ve met. Just because he can’t sing doesn’t justify his actions of taking it out on her. He was angry with himself. He didn’t know if he was Hayato or Tokiya. Now it’s Haruka’s turn. She still believes his songs are like magic, the reason why she is here today. Not because they are Hayato or Tokiya. But because they are his songs, just as they are. She loves his songs. Tokiya explains soon after he debuted, he lost his aim and got into an accident. He heard a boy singing Amazing Grace and went to sing with him. Soon he started singing with the rest of the children. The kids feel he is a singer and promised to attend his concert. They wanted him to continue singing. Tokiya wants to sing so much and Haruka wants to hear it so much that it brings her to tears. He agrees to start again.

Episode 9
Tokiya improves in his singing and as Saotome notes if he keeps this up, he’ll be back in Class S. So Tokiya is no more that cold bastard he was to Haruka and thanks her. She’s thinking if she puts his name down as her partner then… Oh wait. Here comes Otoya. What’s this? He has put her name as his partner? And he’s really excited about it that their dynamic combo will make them the best pair for the graduation audition. So she’s giving some thought about it that she too has to be grateful to Otoya but what’s this? Ren not only gives her a bouquet of flowers but he too has written her name down as his partner! I guess no other girl looked for his lyrics as hard as she did, huh? Thanks to her, now he has a reason to be here. Once that’s done, Masato confronts Ren to tell her to stay away from Haruka. Why? Because he needs her as his partner and no others will do. Since both guys won’t back down, looks like childhood friends has turned intense rivalry. All over a girl… Haruka gets another surprise. Even Sho has written her name as his partner. Since she has a deep aspiration for an idol just like him, he thought they understood each other. But not so fast! Natsuki is here to claim Haruka to be his partner. God, this is getting messier. What’s more, Natsuki hugs her! Hey, he’s got his glasses on! Sho thought he is into cute and small things (doesn’t Haruka somewhat fit that bill too?) but Natsuki is dead serious about this. So while the duo wrestle it out, Haruka now finds a letter from Masato in her shoebox wanting her to be his partner. Well, that’s already 5 guys who have taken an interest in her. And the only person she wanted isn’t on the list. Yet. Soon, everyone gets to know about this situation. Haruka could have easily settled it and picked Tokiya since Hayato is her idol but something is stopping her. Something that is not so simple… Haruka goes to seek Ringo’s advice but she’s not going to help her choose. She’s got to do this herself. In fact, Ringo has news for her. A sixth candidate has just written his name down for her. Who? You’ve guessed it. Tokiya! Ringo couldn’t help contain her excitement to see which of the guys she will choose. It’s always exciting to see other people get out of sticky situations, eh?

Episode 10
This has never happened before in the academy so it’s natural that Haruka is under pressure. Ringo says she has to choose quickly since the deadline is tomorrow. If she doesn’t hand in her answer, not only her but all the 6 guys will be disqualified. Stay neutral, bring all down. Pick one, disappoint the rest. Now you know the dilemma guys face in harem animes, eh? Just be glad that Cecile isn’t in the equation :). Sho is happy thinking the letter he received from Haruka means he has chosen her! Yippee! But wait. Why are the other guys doing in the same room? Seems they’ve all got the same letter to meet. Bummer. In a dilemma to choose one, Haruka has written a group song for all of them to sing since all of them chose her. She can’t simply pick one over the other since each of them had helped her in their own ways. She feels if they sing together, it’ll warm their hearts and lift their spirits and a miraculous harmony would be born. Otoya and Sho agree to do it but Natsuki wants more time to think. Tokiya disagrees because everyone here wanted to be the lone guy chosen because each thinks they can sing her songs best. Ren and also agrees with Tokiya. Saotome comes into the room (because worried Ringo had reported to him) and is fascinated with a group audition. However he cannot allow it since that goes beyond the definition of being a pair. Besides, choosing all 6 will be too greedy. It may seem cruel to choose one but that’s how you do it if you want to survive in the industry. If she doesn’t, they’ll all fail. So as everybody thinks about it, in the end, all the guys get the same idea that they want to work together with her. Before Saotome could leave in his helicopter, the gang plead to him to hear their song. He is still sticking with his guns but Ren tells him to fail them after he has heard their song. Besides, if he doesn’t hear this now, he’ll regret it for the rest of his life. They’re playing psychology now, eh? So yeah, he’s not going to let this pass and allows them. The song instantly takes Saotome to another world! Yeah, he’s floating on Cloud 9. Or whatever stars he is on anyway. In the end, he loves the song so much that he wants to hear it again and again! What a total change! He calls the song, Serious Love 1000% Yeah, he loves it not just 100% but 1000% I guess this means a group performance is given the green light for the graduation audition, eh? Meanwhile Himura discovers a message from Saotome on Tokiya’s handphone.

Episode 11
Himura lets Tokiya know about his schedule today and the latter is not happy that his other plans for today’s evening are being bulldozed over. He’s supposed to practise singing with the rest. They are waiting as they can’t move on since they’re short a member. Eventually he manages to arrive albeit late. So they get the ball rolling and Haruka even wrote a new song just thinking about them. At the end of the day when the other guys have left, Tokiya almost collapses into Haruka’s arms due to fatigue. She touches his head and realizes he is having a fever. However he shrugs it off. But will he listen to her about not overworking himself? He thinks he can handle it since meeting people like this only happens once in a lifetime. Well, the body doesn’t lie because as Tokiya goes on to his next schedule, he collapses in front of Himura. Better start taking care of your health. He wakes up in bed and remembers his practice meeting with his pals. As he dresses up and is about the leave, the president stops him. He mentions about Himura being guilty that what happened was his fault. But the president is upset with the fact Tokiya is a student at Saotome Academy. Wait. He didn’t know this? Tokiya apologizes for not telling him but the president blows his top about his sense of obligation. His contract is expiring soon and that he should be thanking him instead. Tokiya says he wants to sing but the president mentions about the flop of his last live performance. He could have been able to do anything in due time but did he fall for Saotome’s fast talk? Well, all that anger probably has made the president burst a vein or two. Now he needs medical attention. The rest are anxiously waiting for Tokiya to show up and from Haruka’s body reaction, Natsuki thinks she may know something. The president is hospitalized but he’s okay. Yeah, it’s ironic for a guy who collapsed earlier on to take care of him now. I guess when you’re this close to death, you start getting nostalgic. Since he has no kids, Tokiya has always been like a son to him. He apologizes for stomping on his feelings and was just looking out for him because he has seen all sorts of characters in this industry. Leaving his agency is like throwing away Hayato. But Tokiya says he will be Tokiya from now on because he has found hope. Himura is also sad that he is leaving the agency but hopes he won’t push himself too hard. Tokiya hails a cab back to the academy. Finally after all the missed calls from Otoya, he manages to connect but… The battery died! How typical. Guess what too? There’s a long traffic crawl and congestion due to fallen debris up ahead. Looks like he’ll only get there when morning comes.

Episode 12
The news is rife with reports that Hayato has retired. Not exactly but becoming a student at Saotome Academy. That academy is not a music school but also a music agency. This means Hayato is also switching from his previous agency to Saotome Agency. Saotome explains to Ringo and Ryuuya that the decision to be a student here was made by him. He promised to give him a second debut provided he satisfied him with his songs. Rumours are spreading like wildfire throughout the academy that Hayato is in this school. The rest finally make sense why Tokiya is always late. Haruka apologizes for keeping a secret. Masato tells off Sho to understand how Haruka feels since she couldn’t tell anyone. Sho continues to ponder why Haruka couldn’t have just chosen Tokiya since she’s a fan of Hayato and knew his real identity. Natsuki explains Haruka has always done her best to make music for their sake. That is one truth you can’t deny. Then it’s like Haruka knew when Tokiya is coming back. She sees a pigeon flying and follows it. Yeah, it leads her to that guy. She is worried he was never coming back as he apologizes. But he’s got some explaining to do to the other guys. They want to hear it from his mouth. He admits he has been hiding and lying to them. His agency wasn’t pushing his singing career so he wanted to start all over again here, which has made trouble for Haruka and the rest. Mentioning her words saved him, he pleads he wants to sing together with them. What about his idea that each of the guys wanted to be the lone person chosen by her? Was that a lie too? Well, Haruka’s idea of them singing together has touched him because she always wished for them to sing. He finally understood he will never meet such people in his life again and found a place where he could sing. Then he confesses to Haruka that he loves her. Her music, that is. Duh. What were we expecting? I guess after all that emotional drama, you can’t hold a grudge forever, right? Saotome who has been watching the drama from his surveillance camera activates the lights all around the academy. He even broadcasts live to the world of this brand new idol from his agency called Starish! Brand new prince idols with 1000% love! The gang sees Saotome as he explains how their song touched him when he first heard him. Yeah, we saw his reaction too. The kind of song that can heat up a country. He is not going to let this chance slip away. This means they’re going to debut! The guys are happy that their dream have come true but when they include Haruka as the seventh member, Saotome says she cannot participate in this project. Eh? Why not? Saotome shows the supposed million-hit songster who has won a crazy number of awards. He is known as the God of Composers and has been directed to write their debut song. Since the key to this project’s success is intense impact that will leave a huge hit, he can’t have an amateur like Haruka do the job. He notes her amazing talent and positive results that have exceeded expectations. Because of this, he has been lenient to her and reveals he was the one who allowed her in to take the entrance exam. The guys really want Haruka as their songwriter but as Saotome puts it, can she write a song that surpasses the God of Composers? Man, that’s a Herculean task. (Wo)man versus God…

Episode 13
Even if Haruka did say she’d be happy to hear their song being sung by other people, Saotome reminds her she is not a fan but a composer. But does she have the heart of a pro? Since she’s unsure, Saotome cannot leave Starish’s in her hands. The guys protest but as pointed out, pros will sing no matter who writes the song. Finally he says the need to be absolutely essential is a must to survive in this industry and he feels she doesn’t fit that bill. Outside, the guys still can’t believe Haruka isn’t going to be part of the debut and think of opting out. But Haruka tells them not to boycott since this is a one-in-a-lifetime chance they should not miss. She promises to catch up with them. Next day, the guys didn’t turn up for rehearsal. How can they sing when they’re feeling like this. Otoya thinks they should go talk to the headmaster again but Masato knows it’s pointless. For all you know, he might be putting his next plan in motion. Suddenly they get news from Tomo. Haruka is gone. Actually, she went back to her grandma’s place. She is surprised she returned out of the blue. But Haruka is spacing out and being unresponsive while staying. She’s got a lot on her mind. Like in a dilemma. Then when she says she might stay here forever, grandma heads to the piano and plays a tune Haruka loved so much, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (or was it ABC song or Baa Baa Black Sheep?). Grandma says their family considered sending her to study music but with her fragile body, they had second thoughts. But when she suddenly claimed she wanted to study music (that Hayato incident), she was happy that she finally found a path she could follow as she even practised every day with her piano. That’s why she always looked forward to her letters because it’s as though she could hear her playing the piano. She knows she’s experiencing a rough time but also knows she is doing her best. Haruka is overcome with emotion as she apologizes. She admits she ran away and all the other things that describe her as being not good enough. Grandma says she met some wonderful people and she’ll never meet anyone like them again. Next day, Haruka prepares to return but she gets a pleasant surprise when she hears a familiar group of voice. Hey, it’s those guys! In addition to picking her up, they start singing her song like a pro boy band. That’s icing on the cake. Once that’s done, they throw in all the encouraging words to her. That she brought them together, they want to sing her songs, etc. Haruka once again gets teary and is through running away. She wants to continue writing songs and vows to compose music that only she can write for them. I know she’s so happy that it’s bringing her to tears but she doesn’t have to cry like that… Then out of the blue, they hear that trademark laughter that could belong to no other than Saotome. Oh. What’s he doing here? He notes her kind nature and rants about the law of the jungle and the likes. He wants her to be a greedy egoist when it comes to creation. In short, he was just putting up a test to see if Haruka realizes what she is lacking. And since he passes her, that means he gives the green light to write songs for Starish! Best news ever! Now the team a whole again, they work hard for their debut concert. And like the performance we see them put on when this series started, now we see the full length boy band performance on stage. Screaming fans included. Music to your ears?

Prince Idols!
Seems that won’t be the end yet as the second season has been given the green light. But we’ll leave that for the future since you can’t really predict what is going to happen. Just like in show business. Today you may be the hottest and fastest rising star. But tomorrow due to some petty issue or scandal, you’ll be finding yourself out of the scene. So like a fairytale ending (at least for this season), Haruka gets to continue composing songs for the guys. I think there is no better combination than the seven of them as a band. It would be unthinkable for her to choose one over the other not because it will leave resentment in fans for the unchosen guy, didn’t you realize the harmony and teamwork are at its max when they’re producing music together. I know that I have this habit that whenever an anime is of the harem genre, I would prefer that the main lead character chooses whom he wants to be but I am willing to make this an exception simply because… It’s a reverse harem. So it’s okay for the girl not to choose a guy since it’s a reverse harem but not alright for a guy in a harem series to stay indecisive and not select the girl he wants to be? Haha. Bad excuse :(. With the way the episodes are being played out, initially we have an episode focused on one of the guys and their little issue before being ‘solved’ in the end, it’s actually hard for us to see which one Haruka would end up with. Though many would have said Tokiya since he is her Hayato idol but towards the end, it didn’t become so clear cut.

Besides, if you want to talk about the romance part, I somehow don’t feel the impact and the intensity. We all know from the start that the 6 guys would be in certain ways attracted to Haruka and that girl will be the main and centre of attraction. I know it is part of the academy’s rules that no love relationship is allowed but seriously, when boys and girls are at that age, you’ve got raging hormones, you’ve got puberty to deal with, you’ve got the rebellious genes and certainly you’re curious about the opposite sex, right? So unless Haruka and the guys are really strictly adhering to that policy, don’t you think a girl like her would find such hot handsome guys irresistible and the guys find this girl cute? Don’t tell they’re putting music first. True, that’s their passion but if you’re talking about love and romance section, that doesn’t quite cut it. So, it feels that the rule of falling-in-love-is-forbidden was just a ‘notice’ to let us viewers know that you shouldn’t get your hopes up to see the gang falling in love. Otherwise, you might be thinking, why aren’t these handsome hunks making a move on this cute little lamb? Why isn’t this adorable lady showing any signs of love dilemma? Yeah. Convenient ‘rule’, if I should say. On the other hand, you might also think that with this rule in force, the series might turn into a slapstick comedy as the guys tussle each other over a girl. I can’t envision that either. Thus the relationship between the casts feels like they’re just best of friends. The guys like her not because of romantic feelings but rather because she helped them out when they’re lost and made them realize that music is an important part of their lives. She likes them because they too gave her the encouragement and strength to become someone who is a noob in music to a pro. Now that’s what you call a genius. They help her unravel her hidden potential so it’s common sense that a lady with proper manners like her would be grateful.

Otherwise, the characters are just pretty generic although we have a range of variety of personalities between them. Haruka is your typical innocent and goody-two-shoes girl. She may be naive about the outside world but always tries her best to help out those in need. I guarantee if she was helped or help out more guys, the number of men in the boy band would easily increase. Haruka is so polite that she also loves to apologize profusely. I thought it reminded me of Fruit Basket’s Tohru. Sweet and cute?  But she’s not that all perfect because she will get disheartened and sink into depression if the going get s a little tough. Like when others start badmouthing behind her back or the headmaster put his foot down that she can’t write songs for the hunks. That’s why she has to princes to lean on and she can definitely count on them. As for the guys, like I said they all typical have a special place in their heart for Haruka despite their varied personalities. We’ve got a friendly and buoyant guy, a playboy and ladies man, a strict traditionalist, a split personality (I thought I find this guy a little girly too), a petite with lots of angst and the obligatory cold and unfriendly jerk who eventually warms up. At least Tokiya now truly wants to sing as himself and he’s got Haruka to thank for that. Even his agency president allowed him to go and wished him all the best. Can that really happen in the real world? There will be lots of suing here and there already. It’s unbelievable that a nice guy like Natsuki has a dark personality. They say still waters run deep. More unbelievable and ironic is that this terrible personality is a talented songwriter. I thought he should have been a professional killer :). Just remember to bring extra glasses along. Lots of them. That Cecile guy could’ve been in the mix too but I guess he won’t count because he’s some spirit. It’s already crowded to have 6 guys and you’re going to add another to the complication? I don’t really understand what Cecile’s role is except to just guide Haruka the path back whenever she feels down or goes astray. Besides, even with him as a supernatural, I don’t really feel any magical phenomenon placed on her just like what La Corda D’oro did. I’m sure he didn’t put any magic or cast any spell on her to enhance her musical talents, right? I believe it’s Haruka’s own hard work and effort. If you ask me, the show could have been done without him and progress nicely too without his presence. Tomo as Haruka’s friend just, well, felt like she was there so that Haruka won’t be the only girl around. After all, every girl needs a best girl friend to talk things out. Some things that only girls would understand. Sure, she helps out too but her role felt like she was just a minor character, that’s all.

The most amusing character has got to be Shining Saotome. I know many musicians are crazy in their own sense and that very reason is why they get to be creative. But this guy, he is like a total mystery. I won’t question about his achievement of 20 million songs though I still find that freaking hard to believe. Imagine this. Let’s say he writes about 10 songs a day and for every day of the year. That equals to 3,650 songs per year, right? Assuming he has been writing songs for 50 years and that adds up to only 180,000 over songs! Even if he wrote 100 songs a day that will take up his tally to just 1.8 million. Thus the question is, how freaking old is he to have achieved 20 million songs by himself?!  Don’t tell me he writes a fresh new song every 5 seconds and if that is the case, yeah, I think reaching 20 million is possible. Another odd thing about him is the tendency to pop up anywhere and eavesdrop on his students under the guise of anything that concerns his students is his concern too. I know that’s what a good headmaster should be but the way he pops into the scene, not only it’s eccentric and sometimes flashy, it’s too a point that if you see him do this stuff too many times, it just freaks you out. Then he loves talking in style. Mixing a good amount of English words into his sentences, he probably would be a very good salesman because of his charisma. Maybe that’s why people love his songs too. Maybe it’s not what he says, it’s how he said it. At one point I even thought he was a secret agent or an alien! He might act like a showy and flamboyant person (that’s what entertainers should be, right?) but underneath that exterior, he pulls many strings and gets things done. If you’re not serious and don’t show any commitment or improvement, then it’s out you go. When I first see him made his appearance, I thought how similar he looked to Principal Kuno from Ranma 1/2. I can’t help think that the character is modelled after the latter even though that’s just my speculation. They both eternally have sunglasses on their face, slightly tanned and yeah, the undeniable eccentric behaviour.

As in line with the music theme, nearly each episode has got a new song with the guy in focus singing that piece. However, I want to say that if you ask me, I would prefer the guys to sing together as a group rather than individually. I don’t know. Maybe it is just me because when the guys are singing solo, they don’t sound suitable. But when they combine as a group, they sound pretty much better. Perhaps the multi-layer of their voices covers up the ‘horrible’ solo voice? I’m not into boy bands but if these guys were to sing, they should be in a group so I guess it was a good idea to debut them as one, eh? And what’s with the name like Starish? Sheesh. I thought Saotome would have chosen a better name. Oh, I don’t know? Maybe, The Bishonens? Hey, Saotome may be a good songwriter but nobody said he had the knack in naming groups, right? I just hope people won’t mistake and call them Starfish. Though the guys do play musical instruments such as guitar (Otoya), saxophone (Ren), violin (Natsuki and Sho) and piano (Masato), these aren’t given much prominence as the main focus is on their vocal abilities as a group. As the drawing and art of the series cater to pretty people, I have no qualms in all the good looking people except for one little issue: Haruka’s eyes! The colour of the eyes that she has makes it as though she looks blind. Either that, it also feels like as though she is having some sort of eye disease. I know anime characters have a wide variety of eye colours but I find the combination of yellowish iris and light greenish pupil to be a terrible mix.

I had this feeling that Miyuki Sawashiro was the voice behind Haruka and damn right I was. It took me some time to confirm whether it was her or not (okay I admit, I checked it out subsequently). She voicing this character seems a departure of her usual roles I often hear such as Ayane in Kimi Ni Todoke, Kanbaru in Bakemonogatari and Maria of Arakawa Under The Bridge. She does sound different when voicing a lovely girl. The best voice acting goes to Norio Wakamoto as Saotome. He still hasn’t lost his touch of voicing this kind of eccentric characters and his low sexy voice is his definite trademark like how he did as Onsokumaru in 2×2=Shinobuden and Charles in Code Geass. Some of the casts also voiced roles that differ than their usual and it was a surprise when I found out that they don’t sound like the other anime characters they used to play. For instance Yuuichi Nakamura as Ringo (Tomoya in Clannad). I suppose you’d sound different if you’re trying to voice a drag queen, eh? Then what about Koji Yusa as Ryuuya (Ichimaru Gin in Bleach)? I usually hear this guy voicing as Kansai-ben characters but here he lacks that accent and sounded like a tough guy. Being the strict guy, Kenichi Suzumura as Masato certainly didn’t sound like the carefree guys roles he usually play like Sougou in Gintama and Yoshitake from Daily Lives Of High School Boys. Other casts include Takuma Terashima as Otoya (Teppei in Princess Lover), Junichi Suwabe as Ren (Atobe in Prince Of Tennis), Kishou Taniyama as Natsuki (Saten in Needless), Hiro Shimono as Sho (Keima in The World God Only Knows), Mamoru Miyano as Tokiya/Hayato (Death The Kid in Soul Eater), Yuka Imai as Tomo (Arisa in Fruits Basket) and Kousuke Toriumi as Cecile (Kiba in Naruto). Both the opening and ending themes are sung by Starish and they are boy band worthy. Orpheus is the dramatic opening theme while the excitingly lively and clincher Maji Love 1000% serves as the ending theme. The typical boy band dance may not be that unique but it’s still cool to see them move around.

I’m sure what this series is trying to hit that it is not all glamour and glitz in the music industry. Just like any business out there, it’s a dog eat dog world and sometimes you have to be ruthless if you want to survive. As far as this anime is concern, seeing the number of composers and idol wannabes that the academy is churning out, the competition is going to get tougher and stiffer. Haruka is going to find it hard to keep a step ahead because I’m sure she is not the only genius songwriter her age and era has to offer. If you can’t keep up with the trend, then you might as well think about early retirement. Especially with the idol-crazy Japan, you are going to need to be at your very best to satiate the needs of fans and listeners alike. So don’t go thinking and rushing in that the music industry is set for the easy life. No. It takes a lot of hard work (more than 1000% I guess) and luck to get where famous singers and songwriters are today. You may have the talent but what is the use of all that when you don’t have any connections? More importantly, don’t give up and lose heart easily. So as Saotome put it, the law of the jungle, the survival of the fittest, it’s every man for himself. Tough, right? Whoever said doing show business was easy? We saw what Tokiya/Hayato went through, right? The schedules he had to meet and the things he had to do, working to the bone and over-exhausting himself, it doesn’t make him human anymore. That’s not life anymore. What is the point of it all? Is this what he wanted? Yeah, sometimes the simpler life is better. It’ll be easier just to buy a CD and listen, eh? Now if you’re talking about the rampant piracy these days, that’s a different story altogether.

Currently the Hallyu or Korean Wave is making its presence felt around the world, whether it is Korean drama or the boy bands or girl groups with excessive number of members and weird names, numbers or acronyms sprouting out like mushrooms after the rain. Well, I’m not into that and not even so much of J-pop. Anime themes has been my staple music diet ever since I got addicted and it’ll probably stay that way for a long time to come. Unless some mesmerizing group of heartthrobs or captivating ladies can dance their way into my heart and totally change my taste. What are the chances? Never say never. People love a good song and a catchy one will instantly be spread worldwide and stay evergreen for a long time. The music scene has evolved and come a long way since the early days. And to a certain extent music really does change the world. Are we ready for a new kind of music revolution? We’ll have to just check it out then.