English: Dame x Prince Anime Caravan
Japanese: ダメプリ ANIME CARAVAN
Season: Winter 2018
Length: 12 ep. x 24 min.
Studio: Studio Flad
Just as the male-targeted bishoujoge genre saw a boom in anime adaptations a few years back, the female-targeted otomege genre is seeing its own recent surge in anime adaptations, with Idea Factory’s Otomate label leading the charge. In fact, it’s actually rare to see an otomege anime adaptation that isn’t an Otomate property, and Dame x Prince Anime Caravan (DamePri) is one of these rare ones.
While DamePri has some plot-y stuff, it’s done rather unconvincingly that I’d rather just skip that and instead talk about what stood out in this show: the comedy. Don’t let the English title fool you: this isn’t a show about a dame and a prince. Rather, it’s a show about a bunch of dame, or “no good”, princes – and a rather level-headed princess.
On the whole, DamePri is one long gag anime; I’d almost say manzai, but perhaps the definition doesn’t fit perfectly here. We have the princess, Inako Ani, as the competent one, AKA the tsukkomi, and the three princes, Mare, Ruze, and Narek, who are all a tad odd in their own ways, AKA the boke.
Ani is a surprisingly atypical otomege heroine: she’s strong mentally, quick-witted, and not one who’s pushed around by the males in her harem. Unfortunately, that also makes her the “adult” when interacting with the princes, repeatedly leading her to question/retort against the crazy things that happen around her.
In terms of the princes, Ruze is the least interesting one. His character can be summarily distilled into two gags: always trusting what his adviser tells him, and looking borderline shota as the prized angelic prince of Selenfaren. I didn’t find either point all that funny, but some people will beg to differ.
He does exhibit a tiny bit of deviance from the first trait by the end, but it’s a fleeting moment, a tiny blip in character development.
Ruze’s younger brother, Mare, is the fan-favorite prince. As the “dark”, reclusive, otaku prince of Selenfaren, Mare is the tsundere of the series.
Initially dismissive of interaction with Ani, Mare gradually warms up to her outgoing personality and shows his gorgeous face to the world… even if only in the dark.
Being reclusive brings its own comedy, the recurring gag being that Mare dislikes sunlight so much that he’d curl himself up inside a chest while travelling outside:
Out of the three princes, Mare shows the most character development, as he is almost “cured” of his reclusive nature by the end of the show, even going as far as showing romantic interest in Ani.
Somewhere in between Ruze and Mare’s character growth lies Narek, the red-headed prince of Mildonia. Even though he’s known for one thing and one thing only, I actually found him the funniest of them all.
This is a man whose appreciation for himself knows no bounds, and he isn’t afraid to flaunt it. I call him the oresama prince because that’s how he always refers to himself. His words are so cringe-worthy that he’s a walking butt of jokes.
His narcissism is so extreme that a psychiatrist could probably diagnose it as a personality disorder, as exemplified by his penchant for his own self-portraits.
Despite his severe narcissism, Narek does show a more caring side by the end, so he’s not complete a dame prince.
Even though this is Studio Flan’s first outing, the anime isn’t badly animated, though it’s not great either. The lower budget shows, especially when compared with the shots from After the Rain, though DamePri does reflect its lightheartedness through flashy designs.
Depending on your tolerance for quirky characters, DamePri can pass as an enjoyable comedy. Its drama/plot wasn’t well done, but at the end of day that’s not what this show is gunning for. If you wake up one day and want to watch a funny otomege show, you can do worse than to watch DamePri.