I was initially concerned about this show, as it looked like another version of the “Ouran High School Host Club”. It took a couple of episodes to warm up, but “The Royal Tutor” (“Ōshitsu Kyōshi Haine”) was a real eye opener.
We are in Glanzreich, which has a Germanic feel to it. There is a problem at the royal palace. The four princes (second left to right): Kai (17), Bruno (16), Leonhard (15) and Licht (14) are a handful and have chased away numerous tutors. Into this mix of courtly intrigue and petulant brats is selected Heine Wittgenstein (far left), a man often mistaken for a small child. The King himself has selected this person to take the four brats…I mean…royal personages and make them into capable candidates to the throne. However, Heine finds his task difficult, because of the complicated personalities of his charges and the overall incomplete education they have received.
The series looks at how Heine can achieve this daunting quest with such a divergent range of emotionality and personalities that the princes possess. What we come to learn is that they are misunderstood, as they never have to explain their actions, so their actions are never explained as to why they do (or did) what they did (or do) to get such a fearsome reputation. Heine is a master of uncovering the secrets and getting them to do what they need to do, but not so much as giving orders but setting up a situation that they follow it through themselves. (Wittgenstein was a German philosopher and I’m not going to try and understand if there was a meaning in using this name. Maybe people would have been confused by using Goethe). Back to the review.
There are also double machinations afoot. One is manifest in the eldest brother Eins (who makes an appearance late in the show) who will be the next king and the very strange and mysterious Ernst Rosenberg, a count and the high steward of Eins. One gets the feeling that those two are planning a coup, but not everything is in place to pull it off successfully and that Heine has thrown a monkey wrench into things, as the previously squabbling siblings now have a direction, a focus, and a purpose.
Things are not done with the series and even a caliber of red-herring crisis will do little to deter our monarchs from become all that they can be, with a little help from the tiny tutor. It is, at least, trying to make people of royalty less ‘let-them-eat-cake’ types and more people who are not to the manor born. And when we learn Heine’s secret, much is again revealed. It is a cute series, but the transformations are a bit too smooth. Then again, we have much more on the horizon to stir things up than a prince who glares at everyone and scares them away.
Because you can really see the development of personalities and attitudes, this show can easily hold up to a binge watching, as it would play out better. Things are kind of don as a day-to-day basis, so those parts of the story would flow easier. When we make those longer jumps, things get a bit puzzling as to how we got there, but, if you have the time, they have the room.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (People are very anime, but great backgrounds)
Plot 7 (Rather typical)
Pacing 8 (An interesting use of timing)
Effectiveness 7 (Things eventually come around)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Bingeability 8 (Things play out to a better degree)
Overall 8 (Good story done nicely)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I will meet you at two.