You know a film isn’t doing well when on the second day of release, there were exactly 9 people in the biggest theater. Right before my showing, they announced that all later showings were going to be screened in new theater, which also happened to be the smallest one. Things were not boding well for “Prince of Legend: Aristocratic Birth – The Movie”.
So “Aristocratic Birth Prince of Legend : The Movie”, starts off where the drama left off. If you’re like me, you’ll be shocked to find out that our dear Senior (Daigo) isn’t actually dead but retiring more or less. He makes a grand appearance for approximately four minutes of new footage before bowing out. Because surprise! Shintaro, I mean, Dory (Shirahama Alan) doesn’t want Club Texas or to take over the night ring. Instead, he builds a whole new club,
because why the fuck not, called Club Noble. He also decides based on the two-faced teacher/host to try and take over St. Brilliant Gakuen, because also, why the fuck not at this point. That’s all I really care to explain at this point because holy fuck was this bad. Like, if people want I’ll do a bullet point summary of the story, in a different post, but I am struggling to write more as a summary.
I can’t bring myself to review this story the same way I did before, because it’s so frustrating to try. So I’m going to do a positive points, and then the extensive negatives points, and wrap it all up as best I can.
So one of the first things we get, aside knowing that Senior isn’t dead, is a timeline. There’s apparently been a whole month from the competition, where Koki (Yoshino Hokuto) was recruited by the host club, to the events of this film. So that’s nice to finally have that clarified. The film also makes a point to specific state, semi-naturally when other people change sides and stuff, because they must’ve realized or gotten enough complaints to start actually indicating that sort of thing.
The sets were nice. Very princely, very noble, very on brand. Additionally, we get some very important but ultimately useless development and backstory to Kaede (Katayose Ryota) and Seiichiro (Shiono Kuon). The fact that without spoiling too much, that regardless of Seiichiro’s feelings, Kaede still likes and accepts him as a friend is a really good message. Seriously, I was very touched when they discussed and developed this sub-plot/character arch it should have taken a higher priority in the film to make it better, but… nah.
In terms of acting Yoshino Hokuto, Fujiwara Itsuki, and Hasegawa Makoto get a big boost when it comes to fight choreography. Genuinely, the fight scene in this film was better directed and shot then in H&L The Worst, which is pretty high praise from me. Alas, Makoto and Itsuki don’t really get the chance to show much improvement in their delivery given the shoddy writing, but surprisingly Hokuto gets a lot of time to shine and genuinely show his improvement.
In comparison from where his character started, Koki due to this character arch does get time to shine. The contrast from Team NEXT Koki, and Host-Club Koki (he gets a host name, but I forgot what it was), is actually very striking. Not only because literally, Kaiji, Riku, Ryu, and Takoto say “He’s like a different person.” at least once in the film, but because he actually delivers on the difference between a high schooler and a high school masquerading as a host. I was surprised by the improvement. It seems that Hokuto is taking acting very seriously, and investing in leveling up. Kudos to you Hokuto.
Now we get to the Cons, and boy; there are a lot. I’m going to group them together in accordance to plot, characters, acting, etc. Please forgive me if it gets messy here, because to be honest this film is a hot mess and nothing other then scrapping it completely could have saved it.
So in terms of story; the writing was shit. This was the most convoluted, least conhearant film I’ve ever had the displeasure of watching. The amount of gaps, time-skips and jumps that were made to get everything in the film was ridiculous. You really expect me that Kaiji was late to an important event, saw a fight happen, ran to tell Ryu and the others, they had an entire montage about Koki’s tragic life as to why he took up hosting, Ryu and them run back to the fight to help Takuto and during that time the fencing match between Dory and Kaede, neither of them scored a point? Get out of here with that crap.
Additionally, this film did absolutely nothing. There was no point to this story, character arcs, or premise. The film built up to nothing. All minor conflicts introduced before the major conflict are introduced, and in about 15 minutes solved. I had no investment in the ‘major’ conflict between Dory and Kaede, because I knew it would be resolved. The motivation for Dory going after Kaede was so trite and meaningless that I had to laugh. In fact, I laughed a lot during this film, not because there was any actual comedy, but at how stupid it all was. Which at least I laughed more then I got distracted, which was often.
When it comes down to it, there was nothing on the line. Prince of Legend has never had real stakes in it. There’s never been any actual competition, from episode one, we knew who would win and who would always win. So you already know how the film ends, and I didn’t even go into details!
Final complaints, they made Takoto Kyoguku (Suzuki Nobuyuki) a complete block-head. They literally had an entire scene where Riichi Yuki (Machida Keita), explains the premise of nobility or maybe etiquette, I don’t remember and it doesn’t matter, to Takoto. Takoto plays this dumb oaf-like character who apparently doesn’t know anything anymore? Like Takoto was suppose to be a yankee boy, not a moron. Another faulty writing point.
The fan service was awful. There was not one moment of fan service, where it actually did it’s job. It was cringe, and aggressive for some reason, that I’ve seen in a long time. Where it wasn’t cringe it was creepy which just made it all the more uncomfortable.
While not a fault, it certainly didn’t help the amount of re-used footage in this film was off the charts. The usual ten minutes explaining the entire drama beforehand, with the money shots sure. But reusing Dory’s host chant twice in the film, just to show how buff Shirahama Alan is? Honestly, it was weird and unnatural both times it happened.
So, LDH has learned nothing. They should have put this franchise out of it’s misery and ending it here. They tied up all the characters we gave a shit about plot points and they’re happy! But nope. Of course, a character that never played an important role has to have a non-important plot point rehashed. The two-faced teacher that no one cared about, and whose motivations were really didn’t need closure on, is being the main motivation for a third film.