Uta Kata

Title:Uta Kata
Fragment of a Poem (literal translation)
うた∽かた (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: ASANO Masumi
CANNA Nobutoshi
Music - OOHASHI Megumi
Original Concept - GOTOU Keiji
Original Concept - KIMURA Hidefumi
R1 Distributor - Section23 Films (ADV)
R1 License - Sentai Filmworks (ADV)
A very quiet Ichika is attending Kamakura Girl High School with her three friends, Satsuki who had a sturdy mind, Keiko who was a gentle girl, and Michiru who has something mysterious about her. On the last day of the first term, on her way home with her friends, Ichika realizes that she has lost her cellphone with its special treasured charm, so she hurries back to school. She finds her cellphone but it appears to be on the other side of a large, ancient mirror. A cute, friendly young girl appears in the mirror, offering to return the item in exchange for a simple promise: Ichika has to do the summer homework for this girl who came into this world for "sightseeing". And so begins the summer friendship between Ichika and Manatsu and the story of their magical adventures, for the 12 stones in Ichika's charm have turned into magical stones to summon elemental djinns.
[TV series, 2004-2005, 12 TV episodes + 1 OVA special, 24 min; Animation by Bandai Visual.]

1:30min Series Opening - YouTube Video
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 8 7 7 7 8 8 Ggultra2764 [series:878#1552]
Like Puella Magi Madoka Magica (TV), first appearances can be deceiving when you watch Uta Kata. What starts off as a slice-of-life/ mahou shoujo title with hints of dark elements to come becomes increasingly dark and serious as it dabbles into coming-of-age and life-threatening dilemmas that our female lead Ichika comes to face and some focus on touchy issues like eating disorders and child abuse. The series takes its time with building up its plot dropping hints that those close to Ichika have some form of connection to the trials she is facing, some of whom aren't as they would seem on the surface, and more details on those trials eventually come to light as the series progresses. Being a coming-of-age title, Ichika's abilities to call upon the power of the djinn expose her to the joys and pains of adulthood as she becomes exposed more to their power and finds herself increasingly losing control of her power to control them and coming to doubt herself in the process. Outside of Ichika, other characters get a good amount of focus on this series as they have their roles to fulfill in further pushing Ichika's developments or revealing what connection they have to the trials she undergoes. There are elements of fan service in this series with panty shots, clothes changing scenes and Ichika and Manatsu's transformation scenes. Fortunately, these aren't really intrusive to Uta Kata's plot as they just breeze by throughout the series and only more conservative-thinking viewers may take offense to such moments.

That isn't to say the show's all perfect though. There are elements to the trials faced by Ichika that are left unclear such as why she was chosen to undergo them and who Saya was reporting to. Also, the show's slow buildup may turn off some fans as the lighter elements to its storytelling that Uta Kata starts off with may lead folks to think it's just another typical mahou shoujo title catered to the otaku crowd. Also, the OVA episode that accompanies the 12 TV episodes doesn't really add anything to the series except for reconnecting with your favorite characters for one final time, thus you could skip it without missing out on much.

In terms of visuals, Uta Kata employs a standard visual style with the design of its characters that doesn't do much to stick out, yet is decent in details and sports bright vivid colors. Scenery shots are pleasant on the eyes and while animation isn't a prominent element to the series, there were no choppy moments or noticeable shortcuts I noticed. The soundtrack consists mostly of beautiful yet haunting tracks that do rather well at accompanying both light and serious moments that occur throughout Uta Kata's run, especially when its more serious second half comes about.

While having some issues, Uta Kata's still a worthwhile mahou shoujo title to look into as it breaks the typical mold of the genre with its more serious later episodes leading to Ichika's coming-of-age dilemmas and realizing the reality of her situation with the djinn. I give the series a strong Rent recommendation.

Last updated Wednesday, May 29 2013. Created Wednesday, May 29 2013.
Rent 8 7 8 7 7 8 Dreamer [series:878#2279]
This wasn't that bad.... but it wasn't really good either. The story was average and nothing special. But it did keep me interested enough to want to see it through the end.

The animation was nice. Better then many but average nevertheless. However, there was one thing that kinda got me rolling my eyes, and that was the many "transformations" by Ichika, our lead actress. One thing I'm not a fan of by any means is the whole entire transformation sequence, all the clothes swapping, camera angles, flashy lighting and cheese, super cheesy sound effects. And this goes for any anime. It wasn't overly bad in this series however. The music wasn't anything special, although the opening song did catch my interest slightly.... which is above the norm for me. Aside from that, the rest of the music wasn't noticable.

As for the plot, hmmmm, nothing "amazing" or "good". It was just "okay". I think what made me curious to see it through the end was the fact that it hid some things about the characters from you. Such as what really was Manatsu-chan and where did she really come from? How were the two brothers involved with the plot, and what was Ichika's real role? The good news is near the last few episodes, everything gets revealed.... which made this series somewhat worth watching. Still, there was some questions unanswered, which made it that much more "okay" on the series story.

Overall, this series was an average watch, nothing special. If you're short for time, then skip this and come back to it later.

Last updated Wednesday, August 06 2008. Created Wednesday, August 06 2008.
Buy 8 8 8 10 8 9 Devil Doll [series:878#752]
[Score: 85% = maximum "Buy-". Other recommended Silent Drama anime: : Haibane Renmei, Asatte no Houkou, Aishiteru Ze Baby, Binbou Shimai Monogatari, Piano, Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto]

What started as mahou shoujo story with serious undertones soon turns into a dead serious story with guessing game elements like in the Kanon universe; it's been a while since I had this breathtaking feeling when watching an anime series.

The final line of the OVA explains the title of this anime: "One day we'll painfully experience this separation, just like uta-kata", which as combined term "泡沫" means "ephemeral; transient; bubble on surface of liquid" (and as such appears in the ED section) while a homonym of individual kanji "詩" = "uta" = "poem" resp. "片" = "kata" = "leaf" results in "Fragment of a Poem" (which is the title's official meaning). Friendship and separation, honesty and lying, that's what this coming-of-age Story is all about.
  • Drama: Med/High (with episode 3 resp. 7 things get a lot more serious, including several life-or-death decisions)
  • Comedy: None (you have been warned)
  • Action: Low/Med (no fighting, the suspense elements always come unexpected)
  • SciFi: Med (a lot of supernatural elements though their exact nature isn't fully explained)
  • Ecchi: Low (numerous pantsu shots, and some nudity during the mahou shoujo transformation)
Certain elements of the first two Episodes I found rather silly (such as the overly forced soccer interlude of episode 2 where too many people happen to be at a certain place at a critical time for no apparent reason), and certain fan-service elements (see above) don't exactly give this show bonus points from my point of view. But beginning with episode 3 the side characters are getting more transparent, the issues being handled become a lot less trivial (child abuse is clearly hinted at in one scene), and the tone of the story becomes more depressing. Halfway through the series (i. e. when Ichika's eyes turn red) this story makes another leap forward into drama, and while you learn about what's going on and who's who here, the finale is being prepared slowly but thoroughly, and then executed in a climactic showdown. The additional OVA episode is more like an add-on sequel, again similar to Kanon's Kazahana, and not really necessary for the understanding of the story.

All side Characters become relevant to a certain degree - some as active players, some as examples for certain elements of the process Ichika is going through. All of them are becoming more and more important instead of being mere also-rans, and over time their actions become plausible (including Ichika's parents). Art and Animation aren't outstanding but good quality without anything to complain about.
I hardly noticed the Music at first but while the drama element grows during this series (up to the level where it enters horror territory not that different from Cossette no Shouzou) the music remains its close companion, sometimes reminding me of Haibane Renmei with its string pieces, and providing such a large a number of beautiful yet slightly disturbing instrumental tracks (Furimuki no Kage, Kagami no Himitsu, Namida no Ato, Ooinari Chikara, Torii no Tamot, Tsuki no Shizuku, Wake) as well as a decent OP song (Omoi wo Kanadete) that this attribute needs the highest value available. This outstanding music (being one of my Top 5 anime OST) was crucial for my overall "Buy" rating for this show which probably not everyone will agree with.

Despite the thorough explanation about the sins and virtues I'm not completely happy with the ending that leaves certain questions unresolved (such as whom Saya-san reports to, or why Ichika was chosen in the first place). Then again, this is an ending, unlike in Alien Nine or Narutaru that would be my best bets for similar anime (with Uta-Kata having the least degree of violence amongst these three).
If you want something similar without the strong fantasy element, I'd suggest Piano, or perhaps even Mimi wo Sumaseba as the shorter form; if you liked the music and the horror elements, then give Cossette no Shouzou a try.

Last updated Wednesday, August 10 2011. Created Saturday, April 21 2007.
Unevaluated Jan-Chan [series:878#967]
I have only seen two episodes of this series so far. It is appearing to be a very charming teen-girls story of a summer of magic and adventure.
Manatsu has followed Ichika home, and has been introduced to her parents as being a visiting email friend, and has asked to stay with Ichika for the summer.
The web page listed below is very well designed and worth a visit.

Last updated Sunday, October 31 2004. Created Sunday, October 31 2004.

Other Sites
Japanese Uta Kata site http://www.uta-kata.com/
Wikipedia entry for "Uta Kata" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uta_Kata
Story summary (including spoilers), character descriptions, and interpretation of the story's underlying meaning

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