| Sister Princess seems at first impression to be a poorly done knockoff of the "one guy-many girls" genre. First impressions are not always deceiving. The first episode begins with the main character (what is his name? all I can remember is Oni-chan, Oni-chama, Ni-chan,... oh, right Wataru) failing admission to the university he had applied for. He returns home to find that he has been "accepted by recommendation" to "StarGazer Hill West University." He is then thrown in the back of a truck with hardly a belonging with him and driven out to a boat that takes him to an island in the middle of nowhere. Then, by random acts of mayhem, he starts meeting girls on the island. He is in the end assigned to a house that is already being rented by another party. This group turns out to be all of the girls he'd met thus far. For some reason, they claim to be his sisters, don't ask me how. The first episode is a riot. Unfortunately, it's the best of the eleven I've seen.
The show then swaps to a one episode per story mode which centers on either the interactions between Wataru and one of the girls (such as a missing teddy bear), Wataru himself (the conflicts between being a loner and being thrown into a house with this many people), or some single situation (all the girls decide to play being brides). While all of this can be quite cute, it's not a groundbreaking, stunning, or even at times especially well put together show.
Where to start? The show suffers from having no less than thirteen girls (and two guys) all competing for attention. Most of the girls are cast in stereotypes instead of being developed. There's really only Wataru and three of girls with any dynamic character. There are simply too many characters.
They don't seem to have invested much in the quality of the artwork. The backgrounds are nice, there's something about me that likes bright colors. They're not complex, but seem right for the atmosphere of the show. I wouldn't mind living on this island. The land is terraced with trees, a small village, walkways, and great views. The problem is with the characters. Most of the girls look anorexic and often change proportions between shots.
Oddly enough, despite all that I have complained about, I enjoyed the show. Maybe it was the bright colors, the same reason that kept me through all the storylines in Square's Legend of Mana. Maybe it's the sheer absurdity of the whole situation. Maybe it's that the opening song got stuck in my head for nearly two weeks. I don't know. I couldn't recommend releasing this one on video in the US, but if it was on network television, I might watch it.
Update: Well, now I've watched the whole series. Why did I finish it? I don't know. Episode 1 was good. Right as I was giving up on the series, episode 11 was good and a cliffhanger. Episodes 23-25 were good which made me think that the series would finish well, but no. I'm still convinced that the original screenplay was done in crayon.