Any series that begins by quoting Oscar Wilde is setting itself up to be either a highbrow tour de force or extremely perverted - perhaps both. Given that The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat starts with just such a quote, and given its very title including the word "hentai", there's probably no prizes for guessing which side of that particular fence this streaming series comes down on.
The show's protagonist, Yoto Yokodera, certainly has no qualms about his perverse nature - at least inwardly he doesn't. However, while his mind is a swirl of bathing suits and bosoms, outwardly Yoto keeps up a facade of placid normality. It's a facade that Yoto is convinced is stopping him from fully enjoying the world's pleasures, and he's determined to rid himself on it - enter a mythical cat statue, which is rumoured to take unwanted traits for a person who wishes upon it.
Yokodera isn't the only one who wants to change their persona however, and a visit to the statue brings about a meeting with the wonderfully named Tsukiko Tsutsukakushi (try saying that after a few drinks), a girl who wants to do away with her childish demeanour and become more mature. So it goes that the pair make their wish, and of course the granting of these wishes have decidedly unintended consequences for them both, leaving Yokodera as an out-going pervert who can't stop himself from making inappropriate comments, while Tsutsukakushi becomes an expressionless doll.
As opening gambits go, this makes for an entertaining and fun start to the series - watching Yokodera getting himself into all sorts of trouble as he can't stop himself from spouting off exactly what he's thinking is amusing and a refreshing break from your typical lead male character in this kind of series, while Tsukiko's deadpan delivery of her lines is a delight in itself.
Unfortunately, this initial story arc ends rather quickly - Yokodera soon regains his facade, and thus the most fun aspect of the show is lost. From here, we're left in more typical romantic comedy territory, as Yokodera finds himself at the centre of a harem of girls vying for his attention, even if it's Tsutsukakushi who is really the personality that deservedly takes centre stage towards the latter part of the series.
For a show that promises perversion in its title, much of The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat is really rather tame - fan service comes in occasional dollops rather than a constant stream, and Yokodera's character is nowhere near as debased as the series makes him out to be once his facade is restored. It's also difficult to really pin down anything noteworthy about the rest of the cast for the most part - yes, the character designs are great, but the characters themselves slot into existing tropes but never really break out and do anything interesting with them.
This leaves us with an inoffensive little series that has some bright moments and enjoyable snippets, but in a wider sense it does nothing to define itself in a sea of similar harem romantic comedies which are ten-a-penny in the world of anime. This mediocrity is all the more disappointing given the show's early promise - this could have been anime's Liar Liar, but such an opportunity is quickly shunned for what proves to be less fertile soil. It certainly looks the part and hits a lot of the standard beats for this kind of series, but if you're looking for anything fresh from or memorable from The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat then you'll be left disappointed.
"There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about", Oscar Wilde once said. I'm not sure we'll be talking about HENNEKO much now that the series has ended.
You can currently watch HENNEKO in streaming form via Crunchyroll.