This is review number two hundred and fifteen. This is part of the Spring 2013 lineup. The anime I’ll be reviewing is Uta Prince 2. Yes, my all-time favorite genre: an otome anime. I also feel a bit mixed about watching a second season of Uta Prince. I mean, really? Does this show really need another season? Of all the anime in the rich lineup from A-1 Pictures, they decided that this takes precedence. It’s weird. Anyways, this is a thirteen episode anime about hot guys, hot guys, a girl and a really energetic and weird principal…plus more hot guys. Let’s read on.
The anime resumes the story of the first season. The six guys and Haruka Nanami have all graduated from school and they are now part of the Shining talent agency. To further improve their talents, since they are only rookies, they are sent to the Master Course class where they train under some seasoned idols. The training is a bit harsh but the six of them plan to push through. The goal now is to capture the rarest title that’ll send their career sky rocketing. It’s the prized “UtaPri” title that is given to outstanding newbies of the business. To further enhance their capabilities of capturing people’s heart, it would seem that there is a new addition to ST☆RISH. It’s a long road for the group but they can face any challenge as long as they’re together.
Taking the Pants Off
You know, some things seriously do not need another season. That’s my initial thought when I heard UtaPrince will get another season. It worries me because otome game adapted anime have a track record of being bad the first run but they always hit hard when they’re given another season. It’s not even a situational thing. When an otome anime gets another season, it’s bound to be great. For UtaPrince, I was not really ready to admit that. Sure enough, my theory is proven when I saw this anime. Let’s be fair here, the first season isn’t really good. For an otome anime, it’s tolerable. The story is weak but the characters make up for it. Plus, a whole ton of hot dudes singing really great songs made UtaPrince pretty awesome. The whole anime was built upon the idea of “sexy guys doing sexy things” and everything in the anime was designed to punctuate that statement. This was the case as well for the second season. The hot guys do what they do best: be hot guys. It’s really the biggest selling point of the anime because, really, everything else seemed to have turned crazy in the second season. I really mean that in a bad way.
The anime pretty much continued the story of the first season. The group has now graduated from school and has become full pledged male idols. They’re still pretty green though so they must take the “Master Course” of the agency they are in. Oddly enough, their teachers and that overly hyper principal are watching over them just like when they are in school. The Master Course requires intense training under a more experienced male idol. They’re pretty tough and arrogant so the training would be a little rough. I got to admit that I kind of missed the characters. The playful teasing they do to the only girl in the group and their shamelessly dreamy voices were something that I kind of got accustomed to so I am a bit happy deep down. It’s deep deep down where I repress things and seal things that might awaken in me. Watching too many reverse harem anime can do that to you.
I must point out now that the story of the anime is absolutely awful. There is a decent buildup and certain conflicts are addressed but they aren’t really that good. It’s just mere tools to make the characters look good. Remember, this is a “sexy guy doing sexy things” kind of anime and the point is to satisfy the highly specific target audience. You have to accept it for what it is because the story can get pretty ridiculous yet the overly serious demeanor of the characters really ruins whatever value the story have. There is a ramp up though. For now, let’s talk about the two plot points of the anime. The first one is the introduction of the new member. Cecil Aijima is the dude that turns into a cat that was in the first season. He is now a part of the regular cast as he claims to sing Haruka’s song because they’re awesome. This is a pretty loose plot point. It’s mostly about his journey into discovering his love for being a male idol and he gets a look at what an idol should be. In the first half of the anime, he has a jaded personality and a half-baked idea of what idols are. As the anime progresses, he sees the various characters pour their hearts out at everything they do and he slowly gets entranced by their dedication to their work. He only wants to be with Haruka though but he would discover the wonders of being in ST☆RISH.
The second plot point is about the UtaPri award. It’s a very rare title and only super awesome talented groups can get awarded with it. It’s the ultimate honor for a male idol group starting out so the guys are aiming for it. The goal is actually pretty simple. All they have to do is look good at everything they do. From singing on stage to other idol activities, if the group can maintain an awesome track record then they’ll get nominated. This honestly feels like the “game” aspect of the otome game it’s from. The guys must train to become great idols and they’re effort is rewarded by being nominated for that ultimate title. It’s a pretty straightforward plot and it eventually build up to a climactic confrontation at the later parts of the anime.
The first half of the anime is actually pretty great. It captured the beauty of the first season of the show but without the hurdles it went through. The first season is burdened with introducing the characters and such element is gone in the second season. This made the familiar episodes much easier to enjoy. It has a simple structure. The first half is mostly consisted of an episode focusing on one guy. There are six of them and each of them has their own little problems that were highlighted in their episodes. The problems usually affect the dynamic of the group so the rest are usually concerned at the guy going through his dilemma. In one way or another though, Haruka would always be involved with the guy and she usually helps him get over his problem. The episode usually ends with a song. The stories are highly predictable though and so horribly shallow. Keep in mind though, the point is to make a character look good and they do look pretty cool in their respective episodes. They also get to tease Haruka which is a plus for me since I don’t really like a sausagefest in my anime. The episodes are closely related to the events of the first season though so you won’t understand certain things addressed in this season if you skipped the first one. The story doesn’t matter though so you can skip it if you want. It just feels more personal if you’ve seen the first season. I would also like point out that these routes still look pretty cool and I bet they are awesome in the otome game. I recently tried visual novels and the experience is more personal than in an anime so I am definitely tempted to try the game out.
The second half of the anime is where things got progressively insane. The second half put more emphasis on the story and this was a major flaw of the anime. Like I said, the story suck and it’s really OK because the characters benefit from it. When you start focusing on it and downplaying the characters then the result is really something bad. The later parts of the anime focused on ST☆RISH being nominated for the UtaPri award and meeting their eventual rival for the title. The story is soon about the group doing their best to become an awesome male idol group while the rest of the world is telling them to give up because their rival is too immensely awesome. This is a fact that hovers over their head but their determination is untamed and they’ll do everything they can do win the award. I must remind you that the anime is highly predictable so all of their sincere training and pledging of friendship really felt forced. I don’t need to contain the spoilers because the anime doesn’t really do big effort to make the story interesting. Let’s see. It came to a point where a group of arrogant male idols versus the main characters are fighting for the ultimate prize while the rest of the cast is already telling the main characters they won’t win. Oh my. I sure hope they win.
To be fair, what the anime lacked in decent storytelling they really make up for with heart. Majority of the things in this anime is really stupid yet I still enjoyed them because there is emotion behind every scene and behind every cheesy line the characters say. Seriously, it’s embarrassingly cheesy to the point where I had hair standing at the back of my head in disgust. It’s alright though because you have really sexy guys doing those cheesy lines. It won’t really matter how stupid the anime gets because, at the end of the day, the sexy guys are still sexy so there is payoff of some sorts.
Things got stupidly insane in the second half though. Here’s where I draw the line at the stupidity of the story: the magic of music. This was an important element in the story at the later parts. While ST☆RISH maybe the underdog for the UtaPri title, apparently, they possess the ability to capture people’s heart and send them to a place full of bliss. Haruka actually has the ability to create songs that can give people happiness and this was the winning factor for the main characters. The heavy talk of how majestic their songs are really did it for me. It was so cringe worthy that I really couldn’t take it seriously. It’s not like they’re that talented. The story just needed to convince us that they are better than the other group so they talk about magic and power of music as if ST☆RISH has supernatural powers. It was so stupid that I felt embarrassed for the characters. It reminds me of those scenes from Yakitate Japan (It’s a shounen anime about bread baking. It is awesome so go watch it) where the judges give exaggerated responses at how good the bread taste like. This happened in this show as well. Some of the characters would give super exaggerated responses to the main characters while they sing. They go to a place full of bliss which oddly includes a lot of colorful hearts and stars. It’s pathetic and a bit painful to watch.
Here’s a GIF of that highly questionable experience of the characters.
This was not in the first season so I wasn’t really prepared for it when the anime decided to use it. What the f*ck is this supposed to do, anyways? And what in pikachu’s name did they consume that they had such a bad acid trip? If you think this is bad (or good, depends on your preference) then be prepared because the anime slowly escalates this ridiculous element as the show progresses and heads towards it climactic end.
The characters are pretty much the same as when they were in the first season. They’re still one dimensional and they lack a decent personality. If they aren’t hot guys then they really don’t add much to the anime. The individual episodes about them were pretty good though. It reminded me of the events of the first season so there was a bit of nostalgia riding in these episodes that I really enjoy. They all have their individual quirks that made them stand out but the anime didn’t really focus on it much because of the large cast. As long as they sing awesome songs then it’s all good. Haruka is also the same. There isn’t really anything to focus about her and all she does is move the story along. I have grown fond of her though and if I can scoop those ugly eyes out then I think she’ll be an awesome lead. Those personal moments she had with the rest of the cast were pretty good and I love how she was able to be a part of the story despite doing absolutely nothing of importance. It sounds bad but this is one of the basic flaws of an otome anime. They have weak lead characters.
The rest of the side characters from the first season are also in this anime. The cross dressing teacher and the overly serious teacher is in this anime. They don’t do much and I was honestly confused as to why they are in the anime. The character that surprised me though is the principal. He is the suspiciously asexual character that has extravagant entrances. He is super annoying but he seems to be the one handling the male idols. He does nothing but odd comic relief but he appeared a lot of times that he even stole decent screen time for the actual cast. I cannot get used to him. He’s weird.
There are also new characters introduced in the second season. There are the seasoned male idols called the Quartet Night. They teach the main characters as they take on the Master Course. They’re a bunch of arrogant hot guys that dismisses the main characters because they’re newbies. They also seem to be a bit selfish with a harsh look at the industry. They believe that friendship and love is something that would actually destroy your chances of making it big in the industry. They’re the typical nay-sayers that the anime really needed. As the anime progresses though, they are slowly convinced at how talented the main characters are. They have very little importance in the anime though and I think they only appeared because they’re part of the otome game. The anime could’ve lived without them but I think they’re important elements of the game that needed to appear in the show. They also have a small transformation as the anime progresses. It’s just enough development to make them appealing to be audience.
The anime also introduces their rivals. In the game, there really are rivals and I think the goal is to outdo them while trying to bang one of the guys. I bet the game looked awesome as you desperately try to beat the rivals. Otome games have high difficulty with the learning curves and even higher mastery of the game so I cannot imagine how difficult it must’ve been to beat these rivals. In the anime, they appear fairly late and they mainly serve as the obligatory antagonists. They do have decent personalities worthy of a bad guy but the anime didn’t really build up a decent introduction of them. Like the rest of the things in the second half of the show, their appearance felt forced but their awesome songs and hot looks still made them slightly relevant. I don’t mind them being nothing more than plot devices though because the show took on a lot of things and it is expected to get bumpy at some point.
I think the anime did too much in the second half and it really ruined the appeal of the show. I do appreciate the fact that they push for a decent ending but it was really forced. I really enjoyed the first half of the show because it captured the beauty of the first season quite nicely. The second half was really decent but I think it could’ve been better…and less colorful. The point of the show though is to feature sexy guys so the anime did its job well. The second season did give us a decent ending to the show but it was heavily flawed though. My relationship with Otome anime is still pretty grey but I can truly say that UtaPri is among those that I really enjoyed. The second season did some damage but it was still a pretty great experience for me.
Sight and Sound
I am a huge fan of Chinatsu Kurahana. After all, this amazing person did the designed for my favorite anime character, Mix. She seems to have a smart approach at making beautiful anime characters. The idea of bishies and bishoujo is something that she can nicely capture and she adds her own little spin to make them even more appealing. The male characters of the anime all have amazing looks. They have the typical bishie traits like a tall body coupled by those sexy hips. They have broad shoulders and some pretty handsome faces. It’s the standard bishie design but Chinatsu takes it up a notch by making colorful designs for the characters. The bright single colors for each character make them standout nicely and their flashy outfits compliments their bishie looks as well. The characters all have pretty weak personalities but their awesome looks make up for it. Their different outfits also make them nicely standout from the rest of the cast. It’s not enough to truly make them unique but it’s enough to make these particular sexy guys even sexier. There are also a lot of male characters in the anime. The male idols all have the standard body type but their designs are all different and it gives them their own personalities. I think there are thirteen of them and I can individually pick them out easily because of the design work for each of them. It’s really the smallest details and the different style of their faces that make them stand out.
The female characters are all pretty decent. I am a fan of Haruka to some degree. I must admit that the short wavy hair and the beautiful skin palette work for me. She has a clean look that makes her seem simple but also attractive which is pretty awesome. I am, however, not a fan of those goddamn eyes. I hated them in the first season. I still hate them now in the second season. A green freakin iris coupled by gold eyes with an oblong shape that resembles a golden egg is not really an appealing look. Of all the things you could’ve done to make her look great, someone thought giving her weird eyes like that is the answer. It’s not. It looks weird and I really want to scoop it out. She has a decent body type though and I love how she always wears clothes that hide her skin. She is the reserved type of girl and I bet it would’ve been awesome to see her chase those hot guys in the game.
The animation is pretty great. In normal scenes, the show does take the easy way out by limiting movement. When the characters talk, only their mouth moves and it’s pretty clear that the anime wanted to make sure their handsome faces remain intact while they move in the show. It’s OK though because they make up for it during every other scene. From the way the characters run to the way they sing, the animation is decent. The transition is smooth and you really can’t expect anything less from A-1 Pictures. The dance scenes are also pretty awesome. The hypnotic hips are back and they look awesome. The movements capture male idol mannerisms even though it still looks robotic at some parts. It’s enough to capture their sexiness though and that’s the important part. The anime also do some chibi scenes at some part of the anime. It’s nicely done and the transition is pretty great. It flows along nicely with the show and actually makes the characters pretty cute.
The soundtrack of the anime is pretty awesome. The voices along are enough to mesmerize you and I love how the anime made sure every character had a chance to belt it out. Even the side characters had their moments. The individual songs are all pretty awesome. I didn’t really pay attention to the lyrics much but it had a nice verse and a build up to the chorus. I also love the nice touch of matching the song’s energy to the character’s personality.
The anime’s OP is “Canon” by Mamoru Miyano. This is an amazing song. It had a really energy to it that made it amazing. The singer’s voice also nicely stands out. The song is complex with the different instrumentals giving it a really awesome personality. This is topped off the highly masculine voice of Mamoru as the verse and the chorus had a nice flow to it that I really admire. The OP sequence is a stylish look at all the characters and some nice CG work as they are slowly featured. It’s pretty awesome and it ends with the characters gathered while Haruka is ready to play the piano.
The anime’s ED is “Maji LOVE 2000%” by ST☆RISH (Takuma Terashima, Kenichi Suzumura, Kishou Taniyama, Mamoru Miyano, Junichi Suwabe, Hiro Shimono, Kousuke Toriumi). This is pretty much like the ED song of the first season. It featured the main characters on stage being all sexy and what not as they sing the song. It’s a really cute song because it has the novelty of being sung by the group. It’s an energetic song and it does grow on you after a few listening. The ED sequence is about the characters performing on stage along with some sexy movements and some highly hypnotic hips. Seriously, this had the same dangerous attractive appeal as the first season but, being used to the first one, I can actually enjoy this one even more which feels wrong.
6/10 “It had the same appeal as the first season with all those sexy guys. The second half’s forced story ruins it a bit though but the conclusion was pretty sweet.”
This is a decent show. I did miss the characters and I do enjoy some parts of the anime. It could’ve been better though, that’s for sure. It’s OK though just to see so many hot guys in one show. Yeah, I’m a dude that is slowly enjoying watching these kinds of shows. Anyways, if you enjoy watching bishies in your anime then you’ll love this one. If you love reverse harems then you’ll enjoy this show. If you prefer a decent story in your anime then this show doesn’t have one. It’s actually embarrassingly bad that even some like me, with a pretty open minded attitude for anime, can’t stand it.