Yuri Anime: Uta-Kata, Disk 2 (English)

April 22nd, 2011

Utakata: The Complete SeriesAs I re-watch Uta-Kata, I am reminded that, no matter how mature we think we are, we really are no more than very large infants, driven by very basic needs. I realize this primarily because I have an ear infection and it is making me exceeding cranky. Which means that I approach the anime already predisposed to being unpleasant about it.

And there is plenty to be unpleasant about in Uta-Kata. So much so, that I will confine myself to only a very few negative comments about it.

Let’s start with the end. Saya says that “Mirrors reflect the true reality” or some such nonsense. This is not true on the face of it – we all know that mirrors reflect the opposite of reality. And if Ichika had been paying attention in science class, she’d have known that too. (C.p. What You Need to Know to become a Magical Girl)

Among all the truly problematic things in this anime the other standout problematic thing is that it’s a complete waste of time. By which I mean that we know that at least two “tests” have failed to gain an answer from within the confines of the two stupid choices the tested offer. And a post-failed test discussion implies that other failures have occurred too. So, hey, if you keep conducting the same test with the same parameters and don’t get either of the results you expect, sense would lead you to maybe question the validity of the test. Unless the real reason for the test is simply to make a child’s life miserable to force them to grow the fuck up…how’s that for a profound analogy for adolescence?

There is Yuri in the second half of Uta-Kata. This is undeniable. In episode 9, Keiko and Sayaka become a couple sort of not-really unexpectedly.  Manatsu kisses Ichika in a not-friend kind of way at the end, and for the one or two BL fans out there, there’s some BL, which had been implied between Sei and Kai pretty much from the beginning.

Ratings:

Art – Sigh. I just can’t like it, because of the fanservice – 4
Characters – By the end, the only character I really liked was Michiru
Story – 4
Yuri – 5
Service – 9

Overall – 5

In conclusion my ear hurts, and Uta-Kata was not what it might have been had anyone cared.

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4 Responses

  1. Filo says:

    That’s too bad. I for one was pleasantly surprised by this series. Sure the fanservice were a put-off at the start, especially Ichika’s outfit in Episode 3, but the overall story offered something really different in the magical girl genre (compared to what I’ve watched, that is).

  2. Anonymous says:

    As I understood it, the test was meant to teach you to accept your own mortality, and realize the necessity of doing so in order to love yourself. (And also in order to enjoy your life and the world around you for as long as they last–hence the choice between letting the world be destroyed and willingly giving up your life.)

    It was a little (not exactly, but enough) like a more vicious version of the test all the girls in Heartcatch underwent, in order to level up with the Heartcatch Mirage. The one where all the Precure girls had to first accept their past selves in order to move beyond them. And “love yourself” is a pretty common theme for a magical girl show. Only Uta Kata, being a “dark take” on magical girl shows, took that one step further by saying that “love yourself” can actually be a pretty hard commandment to follow, particularly when it comes, again, to accepting that this self that you love just as it is, is mortal. (Of course, this being the theme of the show, it pretty much kills both Manatsu/Ichika and Sei/Kai, because Manatsu IS Ichika and Sei IS Kai. The kisses (only one of which was shown on screen, because this was a show for the fanboys, after all) were just a fanservicey-er version of the hugs with which all the Heartcatch Cures defeated/reincorporated their other selves.)

    And as far as the trial being repetitive, absurd, and pointless goes…among other things, the mysterious woman administering the test seemed to be working together with that priest or monk. That test that she went around administering to chance young people was more of a religious trial than a scientific experiment. (In the first case unlike the second, it’s no failure to present generation after generation with the same apparently absurd and unfair test.)

    (All this isn’t to say that I’m a huge fan of Uta Kata or anything, I pretty much agree with everything you wrote in the first half of your review. For all that I do think thought went into the structure and the idea of the show as a whole, the final result just didn’t quite come together. The fanservice was very offputting, the characters and the relationships between them were lifeless, and up until very shortly before the end the show was so boring I almost dropped it.)

  3. @Anonymous – Interesting understanding of the test. That is never stated anywhere in the series itself and, while you may be right (your interpretation sounds plausible) it’s only because you are an adult looking at the set-up that you can come up with that. In the context of the show, no reason is given, no rules are ever explicated and the test exists only for itself to judge an individual and humanity through the eyes of that individual…no matter how weak or petty they may be.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Huh what fanservice? I viewed this show once a long time ago but looking it up on you tube didn’t exactly show amy fanservice.

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