As the old school is being cleaned out in preparation for it being torn down, Tachibana Ichika and her friends finds an old mirror. Later that night, as Ichika returns to the old building to retreive something she had dropped, she encounters a girl in the mirror, who promises to return her item if she's willing to do her a favor.
Next Ichika knows, the gems on her lost charm come alive, and she gains the ability to summon djinni.
Well, here I am, two years later and giving this show a second once-over. The reason I'm doing the rewrite is simply because I misinterpreted some things about this show, and I'm basically here to rectify that oversight.
So, what is Uta~Kata? At the root, I guess you could always call it a magical girl show of sorts, except the whole process of magical powers and magic summoning is rather sedately paced throughout almost the entire show, barring a few incidents near the end. When I first reviewed this, I made the wrong assumption that she was given a task of importance, which wasn't entirely true.
According to the show, Ichika is given the chance to "look at the world through the eyes of the djinni", to which there is twelve in all, all of which can be summoned only once. According to the deal made with Manatsu, the girl she met in the old mirror, that was the only caveat. Still, it is a rather underwhelming thing when some of those summons are made purely for making it happen and justifying the transformation sequences. In most of those cases, the djinni is summoned, some comments are made, and then the djinni is dispelled. Given the vagueness of the show itself, it comes off as more than a bit questionable, though things doesn't really get serious until later in the show.
At the core, Uta~Kata could be considered a slice-of-life show. The main cast are a bunch of 14 year old schoolchildren, which is part of the problem I had with this show, considering a certain... element in it. But then, that's also the "best" part about Uta~Kata. The part where our group finds their footing among the blossoming feelings and emotions that comes with growing up.
That part, sadly, is definitely playing second fiddle when you put it against the main plot; Ichika, her djinni and the mystery surrounding the entire deal she has with Manatsu. And that's where the show turns stupid, to be frank.
If they hadn't played it out so damned secretive, maybe it would have come across as better than that. It's not like Uta~Kata is a very long show, but we're basically being served bit-sized morsels of teen drama that in the long run doesn't matter a whit to the moral of this story. Yes, Uta~Kata has something to say, and it took the show twelve episodes to say what could just as well have been said in one. (Which it technically is, all the worse for it.) It made me wonder whether maybe Uta~Kata would have been better off without the whole business with the djinni, instead choosing to put the full focus on Ichika and her friends. And when all's been said and done, the resolution is disappointing, to put it mildly.
But that's not the worst part about Uta~Kata. No, that would be the rather insidious use of fanservice; the transformation scenes, the panty shots, the lingerie shots and the numeral upskirt camera angles. The show's not even being blatant about it, but there are numerous quick-cuts of the girls sitting down, giving the viewer a quick, but very visible frame of panty-clad crotch. That, and the close-ups of the girl's posteriors, whether they're lying on the bed or resting at the beach, or even just bending forward, the show would have a hard time convincing me that this isn't unintentional. It gives the show a voyeuristic element that makes me feel uneasy about watching it. As if the lack of in-your-face boobage is a reminder that the show knows it's wrong, but goes ahead with it anyway.
All the same, I'm willing to reassess my original opinion of the show, if just a little. It's not a complete and utter disaster, but the many things the show does wrong just compounds the badness of this show. I returned, I rewatched and I STILL don't find this show worth the time and effort.
And that is all.
Even at a second glance, this show is still not very good. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: A significant amount of underage lingerie shots and some nudity. Nothing else of noteworthiness, though.
Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease Fansub
Review Status: Partial (5/12)
Uta~Kata © 2004 TV Kanagawa/Victor Entertainment/Bandai Visual
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