Heine Wittgenstein, a man often mistaken for a small child, has been summoned to the royal palace of Glanzreich by the king to act as the royal tutor to the four younger princes—Kai, Bruno, Leonhard, and Licht– so that he may mold them into suitable candidates to the throne. An extraordinary man, he finds himself quite equal to the task despite the princes’ peculiarities but will his dark and mysterious past prove to be an insurmountable obstacle?
If you read the above summary you pretty much know everything that happens. You really do. The plot here is paper-thin and the actual meat of the story, the mysterious past stuff, starts at episode 11 of 12. Don’t worry though, it gets fully resolved…like in the same episode…From a narrative standpoint, the series is utterly incomplete. The episodes are too disjointed to qualify as any sort of coherent arc but also not stand alone enough to be called slice of life. As a result you are left with what feels like a season’s worth of filler episodes for a storyline that hasn’t yet started.
But let’s be honest friends, you’re not here for the story. You’re here because well
The art is purdy, real purdy…Every single character that spends any amount of time on screen is unapologetically beautiful and clearly purposefully designed to cater to the most popular fangirl fetishes. Although they may remain fully clothed at all times, this is very clearly fanservice in the purest of forms and I appreciate it. A lot. Everyone is blonde! I finished the series in two days… Now maybe the design won’t be for everyone. For the most part the boys are very – let’s say delicate, but it certainly does reflect the current pretty boy aesthetic ramped up to 11. The in appearance, the tutor design immediately reminded me of Amnesia (I haven’t seen the anime but I played the game and I assume they are similar. OK, I just looked up the anime, game was no masterpiece but it was better than that). The cast full of bishies, comic hijinks and almost nonexistent story could also remind you of Binan Kōkō Chikyū Bōei-bu LOVE! (I liked to first season, the second…not so much…), However, unlike Binan, this show clearly doesn’t think it’s ever so clever, and that is to its credit.
That animation tho… I suspect the budget was limited for this little project and therefore the creators had to prioritize. The cost cutting measures are pretty glaring and a little hard to ignore once you notice them. Clips from previous episodes are reused routinely, sometimes with different dialogue to create a “new” scene – even as the final posts-credit scene, Unacceptable! The backgrounds are not exactly lacking in detail (although no one would call them rich either) but they look weirdly still and flat. If this was live action it would be like everything was green screen. Chibis and gradient backgrounds which require much less frames and simplistic art are so frequent that some websites list “Chibi” as one of the genres. Finally, most of the action happens offscreen, we see someone getting approached by bad guys, next scene they are captured or we focus on someone witnessing the fight, getting an idea of what’s happening from their facial expressions. Other times, past events that would require a lot of movement are simply described over a still shot. Even the one or two genuine action scenes we do get use “shaky camera work” to obscure what would probably otherwise be jagged animation. In live action, this trick is used when an actor sucks at choreographies…
This said, I enjoyed the show more than I thought I would. Much more in fact. The characters are a roundup of the usual archetypes but they aren’t depressing or annoying at least. Well, Kai’s voice actor and speech pattern was kinda grating. This was weird, I usually like stoic monotones, I literally tried to adopt Flan’s way of speaking for a couple of months. I was very popular then, believe you me! But other than that, the boys are generally good company and are they ever easy on the eyes! As for the animation, I think they actually did great job with what they had. There was a certain joyousness in how they got around limited resources and the end product stands up pretty well. Sure the story is trivial at best and has some very weird tonal changes but it’s also lighthearted and easy to digest. The series does end of something of a weird cliffhanger that seems to hint at a completely different show should there be a season 2. I kinda hope there is. One last thing – make sure you do not skip the mid-season outro (lin is a huge SPOILER!!! be warned). You’re welcome!
What this anime taught me about myself: I like redheads too!
“Alcohol doesn’t make you fat, it makes you lean… against tables, chairs and walls.”
Suggested drink: Royal-Tea
- Every time there is a chibi – take a small sip
OR (I’m not kidding – don’t do both you will die)
- Every time someone calls Heine small or a child – take a small sip
- Every time someone physically carries Heine – pick someone up
- Every time Bruno calls Heine shisho – give a friend a nickname
- Every time someone *sparkles* – take a sip
- Every time Leo runs – take a sip
- Every time Leo sulks – play the world’s smallest violin
- Every time we see Shadow – take a sip
- Every time Licht talks about or picks up a girl – take a sip
- Every time people are impressed by Kai’s kindness – take a sip