Is The Royal Tutor a regular ‘pretty boys’ anime, or is it breaking the stereotype?
While the reputation of “cute girls” anime has reached relative stability and mainstream success in recent years, the same cannot be said for that of the opposite sex. Pretty boys anime have a very definitive reputation for being shallow, trashy, and hyper-fetishistic.
To be perfectly blunt, Ouran High School Host Club is the only one I’ve seen that’s managed to truly stand out from its peers. However, The Royal Tutor may show some promising signs for this sub-genre.
Heine Wittgenstein has just been appointed as the new Royal Tutor. His job entails raising four young princes of the Kingdom of Grannzreich to become proper heirs to the throne.
However, it appears Heine will have his work cut out for him raising these unruly princes who have chased off every tutor they’ve had so far. Between stubbornness, arrogance, frivolity, and just plain scariness, Heine will have to give it his all to turn these privileged princes into those worthy of leading a country.
Unlike almost every other show in this genre, the plot is not moved along by romantic interest.
Typically, pretty boys anime, especially those based on otome games like Norn9 and Amnesia, are centred around a plain Jane girl having her pick of which devilishly attractive boy she wants to end up with; essentially a reverse harem. The Royal Tutor has no such plot, and is instead totally committed to its premise of a teacher tutoring unruly princes.
That’s not to say the series is entirely sexless, as the youngest prince’s promiscuous nature has that covered. The fact that a romance is not the be-all end-all of the story puts it a mile ahead of the competition.
Even more surprisingly, the show executes its premise without trying to shoehorn fan service in wherever it can to please a fujoshi audience. You can clearly see each of the princes grow more mature as they overcome their weaknesses. Be it Kai’s inability to communicate with others or Leonhard’s disgust towards tutoring, each of the princes has their own character arc that they finish by the end of the series, all thanks to Heine’s tutelage.
Heine himself works well as a master jack of all trades (almost) that’s able to hone in on each of the princes’ strengths and weaknesses. Watching him make an honest effort towards improving the princes’ personalities is a joy to watch.
Even the antagonists that stand in the way of the princes’ struggles aren’t overly evil or nasty and feel believable in the context their written in.
All of this is done while also managing some really solid comedic timing. I honestly laughed out loud during a lot of this series, and it’s almost worth watching on that alone.
Unfortunately, The Royal Tutor is not a smooth ride all the way through.
It becomes pretty obvious early on what the big climax of the series is going be, which I’m fine with in concept. It’s just that the circumstances for executing that climax felt a bit weak. It does manage to save itself at the end, although in a fairly cheesy and somewhat clumsy way, so it’s not a huge knock against an otherwise solid story.
The animation work by Studio Bridge is mostly competent, but doesn’t really make itself stand out. The boys are definitely pretty, and I do like the overall aesthetic of Grannzreich. It’s just that a lot of the other design elements are a bit too typical.
Movement feels very typical and par for the course, though it still has great comedic timing, and shot composition is fairly basic on the whole. A competent production overall, but nothing standout.
The same can be said for the music as well. The more regal, high society tracks give the series a classier feel, but none of it really stands out.
Despite being fairly standard in terms of production, the content of The Royal Tutor definitely makes it worth watching. While I’m not too well-versed in pretty boys anime, I feel comfortable in saying this is one of the best since Ouran, and you should definitely check it out even if you feel a bit reserved about this genre.
My Rating: 7/10