Hump Day Husbandos: Ranmaru Kurosaki (Uta no Prince-Sama)

Hump Day Husbandos

I was fashionably late to the Uta no Prince-Sama (UtaPri for short) party about five years ago, and this was mostly due to how the West had yet to see a localisation of any one of its many titles. Even now the possibility of this ever happening officially is seemingly very improbable — though at least in the meantime we can appreciate the amount of fan translations that have come out and continue to be worked on for English fans of the series.

But all is not lost: its anime adaptations are more readily available, as well as passionate blog authors who cover the game’s content in detail. The final nudge I needed to make my first step into the series was a favourite character to latch on to — and the character in question, Ranmaru Kurosaki, is who we are celebrating today.

He may not be everyone’s favourite, but he was and still is my best boy from the otome series UtaPri. Let’s get into it.

Who is Ranmaru Kurosaki?

Ranmaru Kurosaki first appeared in Maji LOVE 1000% and Uta no Prince-sama Debut, subsequently becoming a love interest in its sequel, All Star.

He’s a senior character to both characters of the series’ first entry, Masato and Ren, and a member of the idol group QUARTET NIGHT, but he does not make a great first impression. He refuses to even consider teaming up with the main character to write music together because she’s female, and has quite the ego and attitude with everyone who fails to leave him alone when he needs solitude.

But if there’s one thing that turns me into a fan of a tsundere, it’s when their defences are so well explained and explored that they create a relatable and sympathetic character despite a distasteful first impression. The end result in Kurosaki’s case is an incredibly appealing turnaround of a character; uncovering his true self is worth every second spent growing closer to him to uncover his backstory and layers. Top this off with some of the most endearing barrier-breaking moments for his overall development and you’ve got a winner.

Why we love Ranmaru Kurosaki

Ranmaru Kurosaki

In all honesty, his edgy aesthetic is what caught my attention first and foremost. His rock style feels like it clashes with his idol status, and it gives me major Bakumatsu Rock vibes — particularly when we take into account his choice of wearing one purple-coloured contact lens, skin-tight clothing and noticeably heavy and dark eyeshadow. It’s an unusual standout choice in design against the pre-existing characters of the series, and makes for some lovely juxtaposition for both his personality and image as an idol.

When going deeper into his appeal, he happens to be quite relatable in certain ways — his hobby being “sleeping” is an especially notable example (I can get behind that – Ed.) — and he eventually comes across as a true husbando in other aspects of his character, whatever what you may initially think of him.

Holding onto a childhood teddy bear for sentimental reasons is a cute enough reveal on its own, but the way he teases his fellow QUARTET NIGHT member Reiji really highlights how non-threatening he actually is. This makes for a delightful amount of hints regarding what is yet to come; his exterior could not be any less “fake” when we consider his true nature.

His hidden soft side is one of his major appeal elements. He actually is an absolute teddy bear (how fitting) once you win him over, and there are plenty of glorious opportunities to see his kind, genuine and compassionate self come to light. Some examples of such moments include numerous head pats, cooking up tasty dishes brought on by his big appetite, helping the elderly, and feeding strays — these are just a few examples, but that’s already a pretty irresistible list of traits we all love to see, isn’t it?

He’s quite honestly one of the most appealing tsunderes within the genre, in my humble opinion. You can’t help but love him once his defences are down. Because for how much of a hot-headed, egotistical jerk he likes to put himself across as, he’s really a secretly considerate and noticeably bashful guy, especially when anyone compliments him. All the elements of a love interest that’ll blindside you with his likeability, depth and sense of growth.

Why you’ll love Ranmaru Kurosaki

Ranmaru Kurosaki

Ranmaru proves to be a love interest worth paying attention to. His drive to achieve his ambitions alone is admirable, particularly considering his unfortunate background. His father was betrayed by a colleague that left his well-established family business bankrupt, and his father eventually died from overwork while attempting to cover the debt he was left with. Upon his passing, Ranmaru took on the remaining amount, and went as far as to detach himself from the rest of his family in order to take on the burden alone. His self-imposed isolation in an attempt to combat the pain at the situation only ever exacerbates things.

He’s understandably mistrustful of others considering what happened to his father, and this is heightened by his experience in past groups; they’d always disband before he had an opportunity to debut as an idol, because its existing members got so much female attention that the group would be torn apart. His seeming misogyny makes a bit more sense, given that context, and we can move on from it — it’s a solid reason to doubt others’ genuineness and compassion, particularly considering how kind and caring he really is. He doesn’t deserve even more pain as a young adult.

As we briefly mentioned how much we love to see a character subvert our expectations, his initial appearance is at complete odds with the way in which he ends up treating the main in his route — especially by the end of it. The trope of addressing the main character as anything but her actual name until the very end is a personal highlight, of course.

He chooses to protect her by encouraging her to resign as his partner to avoid a scandal he’s got himself involved in, and continues to burden himself by isolating himself away from support, putting up a front to protect himself from any further hurt, even when he’s plagued by nightmares about his past.

He prizes himself as a loner, but the true strength of his character comes from him overcoming his past struggles and learning to find enjoyment in the music he loves, despite the baggage that comes with its association — all while warming up to his fellow musicians, of course.

On top of this, he is voiced by Tatsuhisa Suzuki, who always sounds best musically when in his element with rock numbers, and who represents plenty of other best boys in other anime series (Makoto Tachibana from Free!, Ban from The Seven Deadly Sins, and Takao Kazunari from Kuroko’s Basketball), otome games (best boy Akuroou from Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani and Mukami Yuuma from Diabolik Lovers) — and even from the aforementioned Bakumatsu Rock as Takasugi Shinsaku.

If it wasn’t obvious enough, if I could be reincarnated as one of his basses as the only possible way to be addressed as a girlfriend of his, I’ll take it without question.

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