New Anime Season Autumn 2004 – Uta-Kata

October 25th, 2004

Utakata: Collection 1This week’s reviews can all be subtitled “Looking for Yuri in all the wrong places.”

Uta-kata is one of the several magical girl series that premiered this season that don’t *really* quite seem to be for girls at all. But, then, I’m not sure who this series is for. (A common refrain this season, I’m sorry to say.)

The plot is thin – Normal girl Ichika finds that her phone charm, given to her by two mysterious pretty boys, is not what it seems. Each charm has several gems – when each gem turns a color, Ichika is granted the blessing of a god and a really, really ugly outfit to transform into.

The blessing is accompanied, one assumes, by the powers granted by the god…but so far I’ve seen very little by way of powers. Instead the uneccesarilly full frontal henshin seems to give Ichika little more than a reason to play dress up and glow a bit. I will freely admit that I am watching this series raw, and so am, perhaps, missing major plot complications…but I doubt it.

The two mysterious bishounen seem to know what’s going on, as does the creepy-cool older neighbor lady who is clearly involved up to her arched eyebrows…but we, the audience have been, so far, kept out of the loop. Ichika’s mysterious magical friend is NOT a stuffed animal/cute creature, at least. Instead we have an aquamarine-hared girl, Manatsu, who *also* knows what’s up, but won’t tell Ichika because…I have no idea. I don’t ever understand the ole “withholding information for your own good” plot complication.

Again, assumably, when all the gems have activated on the two charms (which, placed together would make a yin/yang symbol – very significant, I’m sure) we’ll be graced with a plot…or, at least, we hope.

The supporting cast in this anime is legion. Ichika defies all the usual magical girl stereotypes by having two parents and a gaggle of perfectly normal friends – complete with their own in-jokes, the one thing I actually find enjoyable about this series. I expect her friends will be either be entangled in her magical girl career, or provide the ballast to keep her normal…either one would work in this situation.

I’ve seen folks implying some kind of relationship between Manatsu and Ichika, but I think they must have their yuri goggles turned WAY up to see anything there. In fact, so naive, bland and clueless is Ichika that I’m kind of inclined to think that Manatsu would have to have her pinned to the bed and naked, with her tongue half down her throat to gain her attention – or mine.

As you can see, I am not overwhelmed by this series. The best thing about it is the phone charm, which I would quite like as a toy. ^_^


Story – 5
Characters – 7
Art – 6
Music – 6
Yuri – 1, but only if your REALLY work at it.

Thus far, it has the feel of an exceptionally uninspired bishoujo game. I hope I’m wrong and it blossoms into “Ooh, cool!” but I’m not holding my breath.

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