So I checked the revived TokyoTosho, and sure enough, there were several subtitled versions of the Princess Lover’ OVA out. For those of you who missed the notice, it’s part one (of two) of a hentai adaptation of the hentai dating sim of the same name. There was a 2009 TV series, which wasn’t exactly spectacular in its brilliant plotting, but was pretty good for fanservice, especially the DVD version.
So I downloaded it and gave it a whirl… It’s not going to win any Academy Awards, but I actually found it decent. What surprised me was that they actually managed to work in enough characterization to make them, well, interesting. Now obviously, there’s not a lot of time for character development, and the plot is pretty minimal. (In a nutshell: They have sex. Then they have sex. Then they have sex again.) And yet… despite that, I found myself responding to the characters. Oh, not like that, get your mind out of the gutter.
Well ok, not just like that.
The episode starts with Sylvie waking up “the morning after” in Teppei’s bed. She puts on his shirt, then tries to pretend to be asleep when he comes back in, but Teppei isn’t fooled. They talk a bit, and Sylvie’s all, “Well, yes, I did enjoy it, but I don’t think we should take anything for granted,” etc. and she goes to take a shower. Teppei opportunistically goes for the morning glory, over the most perfunctory objections. Then we jump to later, at school, for a bit of exposition and character development. Some talk, some interaction between Yuu and Sylvie, and another sex scene, this time with Sylvie and Teppei in the Arima limo. Only this time she’s changed into a maid outfit and engages in some forceful tsundere seduction, interspersed with flashbacks to sex between Teppei & Yuu, and finally coming full circle to Sylvie and Maria’s (the imouto) arrival at Teppei’s to spend a couple of nights.
Sylvie theorizes that Dad’s not exactly being an innocent fool, but seems unhappy with the matter. Maria goes “Don’t say it like you don’t want it … My sister is such a tsundere!” *Bonk!* This leads up to the night before the morning after, and much boinking as opposed to bonking, but thankfully, the loli is long gone by this point. Upon this note, part 1 finally ends. Neither Charlotte nor Seika are ever mentioned; it’s strictly a triangle between the maid, the princess, and the heir. And when she overheard Yuu trying to wake Teppei by bending over him with a soft, “I know you’re very tired, but please,” did that ever get a glare. Just why is he tired and why do you know?
In between all this is what makes it work as a story. Teppei’s origin isn’t addressed directly, but it’s obviously the same as the series and (I assume) the game: Teppei is from a rather ordinary upbringing. He’s not entirely comfortable among the rarefied society that Sylvie’s used to, and he isn’t sure he belongs there. Yuu, on the other hand, intends to make a man out this insecure boy by the rather simple expedient of, well, making a man out of him — which we see in flashbacks. She’s staked her happiness on it, and Sylvie knows this — and Yuu knows she knows about them, which makes her feel a bit guilty, as Yuu is afraid she’s getting in Sylvie’s way. Sylvie doesn’t fully believe Yuu’s not after Teppei for herself (and maybe she’s right) which fuels her jealous and passive-aggressive maid costume seduction in the limo. I found it slightly funny, in a silly way, as they were on the street right in front of the school, and Teppei had even waved to some of the girls from the back seat as Sylvie started making moves on him. But when Teppei objected, Sylvie obliquely made the point that people wouldn’t see her; they’d just see him being serviced by one of his maids. Which makes me wonder just how much and where he’s been getting it on with Yuu.
The thing is, Sylvie’s not just a bit jealous; she’s got her own problems. Sylvie’s very conscious of her status — not as in arrogance, but in that she doesn’t believe that she deserves happiness, only her duty as a knight and princess. So at the same time that Yuu is trying to boost Teppei’s self-esteem, Teppei is trying to convince Sylvie that she has a right to be happy, and he’s willing to make the sacrifices necessary to be her happiness. Of course, he’s haunted by the suspicion that he may not be “good enough” for her, which leads back to Yuu’s method of supporting him, which leads back to Sylvie’s jealousy. It made the show surprisingly accessible as a story, not just an excuse for cartoons to have sex.
Speaking of which, the art was pretty decent for a hentai production. I’ve seen FAR worse. Unfortunately, it was pixellated. One interesting bit they took from the game ancestry, is that you rarely see Teppei, full on, and even when you do, his eyes are shadowed by his hair. This, of course, is an old trick of hentai games to allow the player to mentally substitute himself for the protagonist. Heh, maybe that’s what I really like about the show? After all, Sylvie was my favorite.
Some pictures may be a bit NSFW, though I actually avoided the sex scenes (mostly), but to be safe, they’re under the fold and behind tags.
Somehow, if I said “I came for the sex and got a story” someone would twist that. Dirty minded people…Yes, you! After all, you just read a review of a porno cartoon, right?