Overall Rating: 3.5 /5 moons
Disclaimer: This review will be about all four seasons of UtaPri and we will look more into how the story has changed from one season to another (with brief reviews on the characters, visuals and audio)
Story – 7 /10
The story for the series is literally up and down throughout the course of these four seasons. From comical and sweet to the bitter darkness, the series can be both humorous and emotional, depending how you look at it. For one, there will always be surprises throughout the series and it is pleasant to watch.
Furthermore, with that many idols, the writers behind the series did a good job in dedicating the series evenly for all the idols, all 18 of them. Every idol gets a fair share of the spotlight of the series and from there the viewers can get a glimpse of how the characters are like, along with the insert song of the episode.
Despite having the games’ story line to follow, the writers did also a great job in unfolding them within the anime without revealing too much information about what took place in the game. Hence, the viewers will only get a glimpse of some of the background story within the game.
Character – 8 /10
Generally, the viewers can get to know about not just Nanami Haruka but also the three idols groups. As the series progresses, we get to know more about how they are really like and what has happened to them. Though short lived, the character developments were clearly seen throughout the series as well. The viewers can still see changes in the characters as the series progress.
Visuals + Audio – 7 /10
For visuals, there are ups and downs about the visual quality of the series, but even so, the visuals do not affect the series much. Interestingly enough, the animation studio of the series attempted a 3D kind of modeling for only Maji Love Revolutions before reverting back to the usual 2D modeling that was used throughout the series, or so I thought. In Season 4, the visuals for the dance scenes improved and the dance scenes were all in some sort of 3D form *w*
Audio wise is a mega yes! A big kudos to Elemental Gardens for the awesome music. The songs are all written really well and contained a lot of depth. With a wide range of vocals to work with, it is a tough job to have. For this series, the combination of different audio with different music styles were executed really well and interestingly enough fans have their own speculations of how the insert song names make up each season’s title! (click here)
UtaPri Perks Comparison
1. The boy meets girl intro
2. The unique episode titles
In all the songs, the titles are also part of the lyrics. However, the only exception to one of the recent episode is that the title showed part of the lyrics of the insert song of that episode which was Yume Oibito he no Symphony.
In the lyrics, the the title is part of the final chorus of the song.
(7人) We love your song… We believe you
(7人) We hold you… We want you
(トキヤ) 共にゆこうStar road
(Lyrics credit to silvermoon249. For the full lyrics, click here)
Other unique charms about the titles include:
- The use of unique fonts that fit the theme about music. The viewers can see little musical notes used in the titles too.
- The term used to describe each episode, i.e Op. Op or Opus is actually the musical term for the title of a musician’s work.
3. Lyrics perk
One of the unique points about UtaPri is that they have their insert songs within a group song. Here are some of the few examples from both STARISH’s and Quartet Night’s songs.
Maji Love 2000% by STARISH
Ｒ： marude RAPUSODI (From Orange Rhapsody)
Ｎ： jinsei wa
Ｏ：Smile (From Smiles Magic)
Ｏ・Ｎ・Ｒ： Let’s Smile. Smile, Yes!
Ｓ： yume no tsubasa de (From True Wing)
Ｃ： HĀMONĪ o
All： nisen PĀ LOVE (LOVE!)
Ｔ： kimi to egaku
Ｍ： koi no iro wa (From Koizakura)
Ｍ・Ｔ： Shake & Shake
Ｔ： kiseki no TIME (From Crystal Time)
Ｍ： tsumugou ka
Ｎ：chikaimasu (From Sirius no Chikai)
Ｓ： tsūka orera wa
All： eien ST☆RISH 3. 2. 1. Let’s Go!!
Ｃ： hibikiau FANTAJIA (From Hoshii no Fantasia)
Poison Kiss by Quartet Night
Ｒ： Give In To Temptation (From Dekiai no Temptation)
Ａ： My Promise To You (It is actually part of the lyrics from Winter Blossom)
Ｒ： I’ll Rock You Hard (The word is part of Bright Road and the other solos by Ramaru due to the fact he loves rock music)
Ｃ： With My Deep Emotion (From Reido no Emotion)
(For the full lyrics, click here.)
Another thing about the lyrics is that they include the names of the characters, or rather just the initials. Here are the three songs that played with this concept:
a. Maji Love 2000% by STARISH
Ｎ： I Need You… S… (For SHINOMIYA Natsuki)
Ｔ： I Feel You… T… (For Ichinose TOKIYA)
Ｃ： I Miss You… A… (For AJIMA Cecil)
Ｒ： I Kiss You… R… (For Jinguuji REN)
Ｏ： I Believe You… I… (For ITTOKI Otoya)
Ｓ： I Hold You… S… (For Kurusu SYO)
Ｍ： I Want You… H… (For HIJIRIKAWA Masato)
All： ST☆RISH Forever
Interestingly, this song also plays around the name of their group, i.e STARISH. Each member will then sing the line that represents their name.
b. Gamusha Romantic by Kotobuki Reiji, Ittoki Otoya and Ichinose Tokiya
R O T (R= Reiji; O= Otoya; T= Tokiya)
R O T
SANKYU! I LOVE YOU!!
(For the full lyrics: click here)
c. A.I by Mikaze Ai
jibun no kono namae chotto nigate de
hora ‘A’ to ‘I’ kasaneru to…nan ni naru?
demo kimi wa sa nazeka tobikkiri no egao de iu
AI tte imi ga arunda to
For the song A.I, the writers did well in bringing in a few of facts related to Ai and played around it with the lyrics. For one, the song title is named after this concept. Secondly, the word A.I could refer to several things.
- Ai’s name both its spelling and its origins. In the game, he was named after the indigo sky seen by the professor who created him When the professor named him, he wanted Ai to live freely as himself like the birds who flew across the sky the day he named him.
- A.I= artificial intelligence, i.e.Ai is an A.I < Spoiler alert!>
- Ai: can also be referred to love (愛) something Ai has learned.
(For the full lyrics, click here)
4. Naming Perks
There are a few perks in terms of the groups names for STARISH and HEAVENS.
- In UtaPri, the names of the groups consists of the initials that represent the members of the groups. For STARISH, it is already laid out in their song Maji Love 2000%. For Heavens, here is how the layout goes:
(For a glimpse of the song, click here.)
Similar to STARISH, the concept of incorporating their group name has been applied here.
(Yamato) H saa
(Eiji) E koyoi
(Shion) A saikou no
(Van) V rakuen
(Eichi) E tengoku e no
(Nagi) N tobira wo
(Kira) S hirakou
(For the full lyrics, click here)
2. For all three groups, the names surround the galaxy/ sky theme (STARish; Quartet NIGHT; HEAVENS)
- For HEAVENS, there is another concept that surrounds their names. As the heavens can signify “royalty” every members’ name consists of the kanji that represents that.
Side note: If you noticed how each member of STARISH was shown whenever a member from HEAVENS introduced himself, you could somehow guessed the pairings for the duets.
5. Concerts & Reality Shows
UtaPri is also known to have their own concerts and game shows within anime and in reality. As idols, all the idols in UtaPri have held lives and in reality there are also spectacular concerts! (Although, sadly, only in Japan.) Furthermore, the idols of UtaPri have attended reality shows in the anime whereas their seiyuu (voice actors) have game shows (more like quiz shows) to attend and they are fun to watch.
6. Promotional/ Product Placement perks
In the 2nd episode of the Legend Stars, Quartet Night mentioned about going on a national tour, and soon after, the episode was aired
To view the official announcement, click here
UtaPri 6th Live Announcement here
Another example would be the product placement in the series. Taking the Kotobuki Plushie as an example, it was featured in the anime. Later on, an actual plush was sold too! (For the reference, click here)
Other than that, fans of the UtaPri games will recognize some of the elements and backstory being introduced into the anime. Interestingly, in the anime, some of the story lines and objects can be found in both the games and the anime.
For example: Reiji’s green car is something he has in the game and it was brought into the anime in Season 3! The viewers of the anime are able to get a glimpse of the characters’ pasts that are part of the games. However, the officials have made changes to several elements in order to not completely reveal the contents of the games through the sneak peeks presented in the anime.
7. Opening and Ending Theme Songs Perk
Ever since the first season of UtaPri was released, the artist for the opening theme will be Miyano Mamoru-san, who is also the voice actor of Ichinose Tokiya. As for the ending theme, STARISH is the usual contributor to the Ending theme. From the first to the third ending theme, you can see their dances being featured but in Season 4, that was not the case.
Also, the title has been decided by Shining Saotome, the president of the Shining Company, making it Maji Love ___ for all seasons.