From day one of this drama series and movie project being announced; my EXILE TRIBE friends and I knew it was going to be bad. Not bad as in rip your hair out holy hell who green lit this burning trash fire but the kinda of bad you roll your eyes at. The international fans (at least mine) side-eyed the whole premise, cast, plot and motivation for this series but of course we were still admiring the behind the scenes, and all the characters in their uniforms and suits.
How could we not? It’s LDH Entertainment, so you know at least the music was going to slap and from all the previews it is. M-Flo still has it all these years later, and even if it’s so a sub-par drama the songs slap.
The premise, is absolutely bullshit. We are introduced to mostly Suzuku Kanade (Katayose Ryota), and his rich and stupid father. Kanade is by all means, the well-brought up prince with money dripping from his pores. Per his father’s request, he is sent to check in on the poor daughter of his father’s first love. By a mere quote by a girl who is clearly acting, he falls in love.
We are then introduced to, lo and behold you would never guess this in a reverse harem drama, Kyogoku Takuto (Suzuki Nobuyuki) his half brother. Mr. Suzuku makes a wager for the two boys that surely one of them can grant Naruse Kanon (Shiraishi Sei) eternal happiness. Bring in Ayanokoji Aoi (Sano Reo) plus his squad, Tendo Kouki (Yoshino Hokuto) and dance squad, Sagasawa Haru (Kiyohara Sho) and his alumna squad, and finally the only character not weirdly obsessed with Kanon, Yuki Riichi (Machida Keita) and all the princes, with no build up to this plot whatever, have arrived.
The academy has a weird tradition that no one knows about, called the “Prince of Legend” competition which current students, teachers and alumna can compete in. But guess what? No one give a shit about this competition other then the self absorbed Yuki Riichi and the creepy principal. So what do they do? With a bribe Kanon can’t refuse (because she’s of course, paying back her father debt that he left her and her mother) she tells all her suitors and then some that the winner of this glorified bullshit competition, will have the honor of dating her. And that’s all the lead up to the movie slated to come out March 21st .
I can’t even begin to explain the train-wreck that was this drama. I did my best to summarize, but holy fuck is it a cluster-fuck. I had no idea what this drama was trying to accomplish. Serious or parody? Self-aware or not? Comedy or drama? The message was so butchered in presentation any sense of anything was absolutely garbled with the mish-mash of lines, actors, plot and pacing.
Some scenes looked like they were really trying to sell certain characters as genuine, only to have them walk it back not even a scene or two later.
The saving grace of this plot, and oddly enough the most overlooked was Naruse Kanon. As a character, she was holding the series together since she was grounded in reality. Her outright rejection of every single suitor was perfect. Who would realistically be okay with 4 students
(one of which is a grown ass adult but was held back, excuse me eww) or more, one of their dad’s as well as various teacher pretty much outright stalking this girl to the point of infatuation and in the name of “love”? It ain’t cute, no matter how attractive the boys are.
Kanon, is a level headed girl, politely declining everyone. She doesn’t want their money, or their companionship. She’s perfectly fine on her own, in her own life. In fact the amount of times she says “Can you please not involve me in your male fantasies?” is amazing! Like holy fuck, that level of awareness in a character, especially a female character is amazing.
The problem is that this girl has no one on her side. Originally Haru is, but then due to the dumb-assery of literally everyone else he’s dragged into the mix as yet another suitor. Kanon is isolated due to her poverty, and now popularity. We never see her talk with another female character in the series. She’s got absolutely no one by the end of it, just only these crazy dumb ass boys that think they’re in love with her.
It’s honestly, a waste of a character since she’s actually strong and independent. She knows what she wants, and just… doesn’t need to deal with this bullshit.
More problematic then good but they actually have their moments, are Kouki and Kyohoku Ryu (Kawamura Kazuma). Unlike the majority of the cast who just magically are in love with Kanon, both fall rather naturally. Mitsuru has always secretly pined for her since he saw her the one time she wasn’t acting in public, and wanted to become a better man to protect her. His squad is supportive, if not a bit dorky in this endeavor but it’s sweet. Alas, he says his feelings too late and gets rejected. He’s my personal top pick for Kanon.
Secondly is Ryu. Under the guise of helping his big bro, Ryu has a lot of earnest missteps that lead to genuine self reflect, and him actually realizing he has feelings for her. Of course, he pushes these feelings aside for big bro to have a better chance (brother complex anyone??). However, he’s stupidly earnest but not a bad guy. My second choice for Kanon.
Everyone else… It’s not that they’re bad actors or anything but their motivations are just… gross. Money, possessiveness, self absorbed, ignorance… really isn’t quite the look that I wanted to be associated with LDH entertainment. Not to mention some of the age gaps are just… their hidden but it’s there. It’s not uncomfortable until you take a step back and think about it afterwards. Part of me wants to brush it off since it’s only fiction, but… nah. Gotta acknowledge that creepy elements.
Which, I’m now going to purposefully transition away from that to focus on something that is both good and bad for this drama; the music. Any fan of M-flo or LDH artists in general will absolutely adore the soundtrack for series. M-flo has a hand in the composition and execution of the majority of the songs, with Katayose Ryota, Kawamura Kazuma, and Hoshino Hokuto providing vocals for their team’s songs. Separate from the series these songs absolutely slap.
I have been listening to the unofficial soundtrack for the series nonstop on Spotify while writing and even outside of writing. I love Hokuto’s performance/cover of “Too Shy”. If you’re curious to the soundtrack you can search “Prince of Legend” on Spotify or “PRINCE PROJECT” and you’ll find it. This is the playlist I’ve been listening too.
However, the soundtrack does not work well with the drama itself. The rather abrupt timing, along with the jarring burst of English doesn’t work out. It consistently feels out of place, and at times even over powers the dialogue to the point where if there hadn’t been subtitles I might have missed what a character said. It’s unfair to compare to LDH’s previous project ‘High&LOW’ but ‘High&LOW’ handled the music way better. Originally, I was going to take a couple quick shots at the seemingly random titles chosen, but… they’ve grown on me honestly.
Some things that worked in the series favor, was locations. Over the top dramatic, but honestly perfect for a ridiculous series such as this. I was really surprised by the variety of shots, and directions given the premise. It’s one of the few moments of redemption for the series aside from the eye candy and our protagonist being level headed if not dimensionally flat.
When it comes down to it; this was a series I anticipated to be a train wreck start to finish and I was not disappointed in that. It goes 12 different directions at once, but somehow is very watchable as long as you do it in one or two sittings. Given the episodes are 20-ish minutes at most, it’s very easy to do especially if you need something to numb you a bit.
It’s goofy, absurd and downright not a high quality production but when it comes down to it; it’s fun to watch. I haven’t laughed so hard, or squealed aggressively for a protagonist in a long time. It’s overdue for me.
So I can admit; Prince of Legend is a trash drama series and that’s what makes it great. If you piece together it’s motives and directions it’s incredibly fun to watch.
It sounds hilarious in that trash drama way haha.
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100% trash and that’s what makes it great lmao
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Fully agree with this review- it’s just so trash but my friends and I couldn’t help but laugh so much when watching it. It’s so stupid. This show also made me wanna see more Ryota, despite his questionable (but improving!) acting skills (i didn’t want this…………..)
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