The Royal Tutor – Anime Review
Synopsis: The four princes of the Kingdom of Glanzreich have a lot to learn before becoming proper rulers and it’s up to Heine Wittgenstein to lay down some serious learning! What he lacks in height he makes up for in knowledge. But does he have what it takes to handle the distinctive personalities of these handsome yet tricky royal heirs? This royal tutor is about to school this troublesome bunch! (Official Funimation Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: The first few episodes of The Royal Tutor make the show feel mainly like a comedy. Even when the plot explores the more personal maladies and issues of the individual princes, there’s a lot of jokes and gags interspersed throughout the episode, making it feel like the major aim of the show is to make you laugh. However, around the mid point of the season, the feel good/goofy vibes are replaced with an ominous and darker plot line which changes the tone of the show considerably. From that point on, we get more ‘serious’ episodes where the princes face some grave peril or the other. And even though there are still quite a few jokes to be found, the change in tone is going to feel rather drastic for anyone who was watching The Royal Tutor mainly for its humor.
Tom: The Royal Tutor is best when it’s a comedy. It’s never laugh out loud funny, but it’s charming, enough to bring a smile to your face week to week. Each prince offers a different vein of humor, keeping the show fresh enough to last out its twelve episode run. We’d talked during the mid season about how the first episode was slow, and the series weakest point, but the darker shift, particularly the first episode that begins to pull the veil away on the series’ teased mysteries, feels exceedingly off. It’s a strong tonal shift, one the show fails to carry, instead making the whole event awkward and off-putting. The Royal Tutor does ultimately right itself, but it still abandons its comedy in favor of a more dramatic, emotionally charged ending, never again reaching the heights it had prior to this shift away from comedy. It doesn’t help that the mysteries teased, revolving around Heine’s past, feel unimpressive, not worthy of the sheer intrigue and tease devoted to them.
Linny: There’s a mild mystery regarding the eldest prince, who is mentioned early on but never shown. However, (very minor spoiler ahead) when he DOES finally appear, he is on screen for probably less than 5 minutes and seems to have been put there solely to tease a potential new direction and story. This isn’t unusual by any means but the way in which The Royal Tutor presents it makes the whole thing come off underwhelming and last minute.
Tom: The Royal Tutor is best when it’s mixing its character work with comedy. The series shines when exploring Heine and the Princes, with each heir to the throne receiving an episode or two focusing on them learning some lesson that not only better themselves as a person but prepares them for the throne. It’s here the ending successfully builds on the best parts of the show, redeeming itself for all its other faults. It takes these lessons and properly distills them into what amounts to Royal Tutor’s climatic moment, where all the development and progress our princes made comes together before Heine’s eyes. But even then a big issue for the show is that none of this is surprising. If anything Royal Tutor is astonishingly predictable, rarely subverting your expectations.
Linny: The art style lets the viewers know early on that the story has strong bishonen vibes. Not only are all the princes drawn to appear appealing, even their father is drawn such that he looks barely older than any of them. In fact, for whatever reason, the oldest prince who appears later in the show looks like he is much older than his own father, which makes for an odd scene to see the two of them together. Like Tom already mentioned, The Royal Tutor is a bit low on deep character exploration but experienced bishonen fans will probably have deduced that from the visuals alone.
Tom: Another bonus point to Royal Tutor is how well the ending manages to wrap everything up. Sure you could jump into the manga (well, volume 1 anyway, the rest has yet to be released in English at the time of this review) but the anime provides such a satisfying wrap up to the story that while there may be room to continue, you don’t particularly feel the need to.
Linny: The Royal Tutor isn’t the most amazing show by any means but it does enough that fans of comedy and bishonen tropes should find themselves entertained. It’s not something one should consider a must watch of the season or go out of the way to check out as the comedy and story it offers isn’t particularly mind blowing. However, if the idea of four young princes bonding with their new tutor and learning to be better people with lots of physical and visual gags thrown in sounds appealing, by all means, do give it a try.
Tom: Outside of an annoyingly catchy theme that’s actually caused me to lose sleep, The Royal Tutor is a fun little show that provides endearing characters, charming comedy and character development, even if predictable. It’s not a true stand out of the season, and perhaps lends credence to the argument that outside of My Hero Academia S2 and Attack on Titan S2, there wasn’t much else truly astounding to watch, but if you’re someone who enjoys a light comedy with fun characters, it’d be a shame to pass this little show up.