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Anime: Marginal Prince
A small island in the Pacific Ocean is home to a boarding school for high-class boys. The 16-year-old Yuuta gets the chance to study among the rich and famous of the world, and via his cell phone's video function, he is able to communicate with his older sister back in Japan on a daily basis, same as his friends he makes at the school. While Yuuta is trying to adapt to the new school and make friends, and his sister gets in contact with the other boys via phone more and more, something bad is going on behind the scenes...Marginal Prince
is based on a Japanese cell phone game for the NTT DoCoMo network, which was created mainly for girls and women
. The game's goal is to have one of the boys fall in love with the player (although 'neutral' endings are possible as well) in a classic Dating Sim
style, flavoured with speech recognition software. As the result of a finished scenario, a character will sing one song, of which most are also incorporated in the anime, and for which the series of 13 episodes might be most famous (possibly also thanks to the mostly well-known cast). A manga, drama CD and novel were released as well.
This series shows examples of:
- Adjusting Your Glasses: Sokurov and Haruya do this regularly.
- All There in the Manual: Non-Japanese watchers will probably only understand little what is going on between and with the characters, as most of the backstories are only given on the game's website and only hinted upon in the anime.
- The Anime of the Game
- Apologizes a Lot: Mikhail, to the point of apologizing for apologizing.
- Attractive Bent-Gender: As per tradition, Henri had to dress up as the princess for the St. Alphonso festival in his first year at the school. Apparantly he was popular enough that he was forced to continue this role for the following years. He ultimately steps down from it the time the anime takes place and Mikhail has to reeplace him during the theatre play.
- Beach Episode
- Big Eater: Haurya regularly participates in food contests (and wins them) and can apparantly wolf down food at lightning speed.
- Bishie Sparkle
- Bishōnen: Quite naturally, since the game is aimed at young women and takes place in an all-boys school.
- Blue Blood: Several characters are royals (or of royal descent), with varying grades of importance in their home countries.
- Boarding School: St. Alphonso, obviously.
- Break the Cutie: Joshua at the peak of episode 13.
- Chekhov's Gun: Yuuta gives a little bunny charm to Henri, who passes it on to Joshua later. He puts it to Yuuta's cellphone, which saves him from being stabbed in the heart.
- Conveniently an Orphan: several characters have either lost one parent, or both.
- Crash-Into Hello: This seems to be Mikhail's hobby, and also happened between Yuuta and Alfred in the first episode.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Sylvain, Ivy, Sokurov to some degree.
- Dark and Troubled Past: All of them have it to some degree, with a few (Alfred's and Haruya's) being more "normal" than others. Yuuta, due to being the Audience Surrogate's younger brother, doesn't have any concrete past at all. A few others have really troubled pasts, though.
- Joshua lost his father at age six. This caused his mother to work so much to cope with her grief that she pretty much neglected her son and then a few years died as well. Joshua was then taken in by his uncle, the king of Loreto, after the royal family did nothing to support him and his mother after his father's death. As king Cardis has no children himself, Joshua is the rightful heir to the throne, but doesn't like this status at all. See also Orphan's Ordeal below.
- Henri is being made responsible for his mother's death (as she died from giving birth to him) by his father, who emotionally neglects him to the point where Henri is said to "crave for love" because he's never experienced it. On top of that, his father is also not very fond of Henri's interest in the occult and it's implied that he's the reason why the boy occaisonally refers to himself as "the Devil's child". No wonder he's The Stoic.
- Sylvain seems to be you usual quirky fanboy most of the time, but then you learn that his parents are being held hostage and he won't be told their location before he hasn't performed a military task. Which is rescuing Joshua from being assassinated. His military training from relatively young age on apparantly also made him isolated from other kids his age.
- And then there's Yenje, who was caught in a civil war in his Arabic home country and served as a soldier. During this war, his sister was severly wounded and apparantly almost died.
- Deadpan Snarker: Henri loves to snark at others, especially Alfred. Or sometimes at Yuuta. But mostly Alfred.
- His snarking is actually such a present part of his character that his absence in episode 6 is lampshaded by Alfred noticing that there's no one to comment on his performance.
- Considering his Dark and Troubled Past and a few other of the spoilered tropes here, he's probably a Stepford Snarker.
- Death by Childbirth: According to the games's website, Henri's mother died from giving birth to him.
- Demoted to Extra: The pianist Shun Someya is a regular character of the game, but only appears in one episode of the anime.
- Disappeared Mum: For some reason, less (if nothing) is known about most of the characters' mothers, but much more about their fathers.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Henri and Mikhail alot, Sylvain to some degree.
- Elaborate University High: probably due to St. Alphonso being a high-class school for the rich and famous, the school looks more like a palace than an actual school. The outsides of the entrance seem like a church and the actual main entrance hall is decorated with paintings and other expensive interior that would make some museums jealous.
- Fanboy: Sylvain takes this to the extreme with anything Japanese, while Yuuta fanboys after Alfred and the movies he starred in, as well as after Joshua at times.
- Fauxshadowing: most of Episode 12 and a few scenes in episodes before (as well as the painting in the school's entrance hall) set up Yenje as a hired assassin to kill Joshua, to the point where even Sylvain believes this. Turns out he is isn't.
- Fictional Country: The dukedom of Loreto, complete with SuccessionCrisis. There is an Italian city by the same name, though...
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Due to something that happened between the two some years ago, Henri has begun to talk of Sokurov as sadistic, as heared on the drama CD.
- Gratuitous Foreign Language: The episode titles are built on the system of "[Japanese Word] [Japanese Genetive Particle] [Foreign Word]". They use English, Spanish, German, French and Latin. Also, Henri throws in some GratuitousFrench from time to time.
- Gray Rain of Depression: Twice of the four times Joshua sings.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Joshua and Henri, who've known each other for the longest time out of all characters and stick together most of the time. Justified, as their families have business with each other. Complicated, as their families hate each other. And of course, you can also look at the two in a slightly different way.
- I Have Your Wife: the main reason for Sylvain to perform the army tasks he does is because his parents are being kept away from him, and he only gets to know their location after fulfilling his mission.
- I Just Want to Be Loved: the game website states that the incident around Henri's birth made his father grow rather cold to the boy. As a result, Henri is said to crave for love.
- Image Song: Every episode had at least one of the boys singing, in episode nine, there were even three songs. Most of them were produced for the game, but a few exclusively for the anime.
- Imagine Spot
- Improbable Weapon User: Sylvain can fight off bad guys with a yoyo... He also tends to fanboy over it sometimes.
- Large Ham: Sokurov and also Alfred. The latter is voiced by Masakazu Morita, btw.
- Missing Episode: At least for western audiences - a fourteenth episode was added to the last DVD as an extra.
- Modest Royalty: Joshua, heir to the throne of Loreto, does not really seem to care for his status and generally keeps it unmentioned and does not want to become king anyway. He dresses casually like the others (when not wearing the school uniform) and generally behaves like a quite normal teenager.
- Motorcycle on the Coast Road
- Named After Somebody Famous: Henri-Hugues de Saint Germain and Alfred Visconti
- New Transfer Student: The central plot of the anime evolves around Yuuta trying to get adjusted to his new environment and get around with the people in his dorm.
- No Export for You: The only thing international fans have, and will probably ever have, are fansubs of the anime.
- Off Model: Can pop up from time to time, mostly in the Beach Episode, where the only well-drawn scenes occured when somebody sparkled. In some instances, it seemed like the animators had no idea how a male body looks like.
- Opening Narration: Delivered by Joshua at the start of each episode.
- Older Than They Look: honestly, would you think Mikhail is 16...?
- One-Gender School
- Orphan's Ordeal: Joshua spends quite a bit of time throughout the series reminiscing his mother, even though he claims after her death "nothing really changed" for him because she hadn't been much there for him prior. Joshua's father died a few years before her, but as Joshua had been pretty young back then it apparantly didn't hurt him as much and the loss of his mother has hit him much harder. But what seems to trouble him most is what happened after he lost both of his parents. His uncle took him in, which meant being raised at the Court of Loreto as the next heir to the throne. He feels estranged to the royal half of his family as they had broken ties with Joshua's father Edward when he decided to marry Christina, and didn't make a single move towards her after Edward's death. There's also hints that Joshua's uncle isn't really a good surrogate father and thus, Joshua does not feel associated with that half of the family and the duties that come with it. He spends quite a while brooding over this and his inner conflict between what he wants to do and what he feels he has to do due to his bloodline. See also You Can't Fight Fate.
- Parental Abandonment: Most characters' parents (or one part of them) are either dead or seemingly otherwise not interested in their children, at least not enough to have the boys talk about them. In most cases, this also plays into their Dark and Troubled Past.
- Pinky Swear: Happens between Joshua and Mikhail on the latter's mini drama that comes with his character CD. Apparantly, there was also one between Mikhail and Yuuta beforehand, as Mikhails says Yuuta taught him how to do it.
- Poor Communication Kills: For quite a while, including the cliffhanger at the end of episode 12, it seems like Yenje is a bad guy who was assigned to kill Joshua, to the point where even Sylvain believes this. It turns out he isn't, he should actually prevent Joshua's assassination (thus being on the same side as Sylvain all along) and all the drama around it could have been avoided if Yenje and Sylvain had taken a moment to talk to each other instead of trying to get rid of the other one during their encounters.
- Raised by Grandparents: Haruya, as it seems. Joshua was raised by his uncle after first his father, and then also his mother had died.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Alfred and Henri
- Retired Badass: Ivy used to be in the army, but then quit and became a taxi driver. Once he starts to get into action, though, it shows, as he and Sokurov wipe out a whole beachside full of ambushing people.
- School Uniforms are the New Black
- Scary Shiny Glasses: Sokurov, (almost) all the time.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Yuuta comes from a very normal Japanese family, with no great talent, name, fame or money that would be needed to enter the school. He is only there because a rich man noticed his interest for art.
- Also, Joshua, the Student Council President, saves him from being expelled from the school due to confusion with his documents.
- Shrinking Violet: Mikhail's initial reaction to pretty much anything is is telling others how sorry he is and then (depending on the situation) running away crying.
- Skilled, but Na´ve: Sylvain, but it might be just a facade.
- Spell My Name with an "S": This is the reason why Yuuta was suddenly expelled from the school at the end of episode 1 / begining of episode 2. The way his name was written on the application sheets for the school differed with the spelling in his passport and thus his papers were declared invalid. Luckily, Joshua clears the matter.
- before Yenje had any official material with his name written on, many referred to him as "Enju", based on how his name sounds and is written in katakana.
- Stepford Smiler: Joshua is a pretty straight Type A. It only really comes out after his focus episode, but with knowledge of that, some of his actions and words from earlier episodes can be seen in this light too. In the last few episodes (barring the 14th extra episode), he internally hurts alot, but still manages to keep up his gentle face, constantly telling others he's okay. His friends aren't fooled, though.
- The Stoic: Henri most of the times, Yenje almost even more.
- Not So Stoic: In the preview for episode six, Yuuta asks Henri to teach him some French, resulting in Henri Suddenly Shouting about his great French skills.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Joshua, on the one hand, looks very much like a direct mixture between his mother and father, and on the other hand very much like his ancestor, Saint Alphonso, the school founder. Also Henri, who looks almost exaclty like his mother.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Haruya suffers from this in episode 5. His adventure companions Alfred and Yuuta are really "bothersome" to him.
- Sweet Tooth: Yenje
- Theme Tune Cameo: The anime's opening Hanashitaku wa nai is Yuuta's ringtone... sometimes, at least.
- íThree Amigos!: Alfred, Sylvain and Haruya, forming the rock band "Dead Prince".
- Those Two Guys: Sokurov and Ivy
- Too Dumb to Live: Mikhail in epoisode nine.
- Trademark Favorite Food: (almost) all of the characters have one, although for some it's actually a drink. Most don't pop up in the anime, but to list:
- Truth in Television: Alfred is mentioned to be the grandson of Luchino Visconti, a famous movie director (despite the fact that Visconti was openly homosexual and never had any kids). Henri belongs to the family de Saint Germain; the game website them being into winery and hotel business. Google makes it quickly clear that both is true, as well as the existence of certain rumors about the Count de Saint Germain that are mentioned in episode 6.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Joshua highly believes in this, and it gives him a lot of insecurities when his uncle falls ill and he is supposed to take over the throne of Loreto, despite him not feeling associated with the country. This would go on for the rest of the series as he is the enlisted next heir anyway until in the end he finally realizes that regardless of bloodlines, he can and has to make decisions concerning his life on his own.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Henri's hair is blue, Joshua's is green, Haruya has purple hair (or rather, lavender), Sylvain's is pink... the list goes on.