Licensor: Sentai Filmworks
Studio: A-1 Pictures
During the past season, ST☆RISH has obtained quite a lot of popularity, so the next step of their career is to reach N. 1 and manage to participate in the opening concert of an international sports event called TripleS(SSS). Besides having to compete with Quartet Night for it, Shining started a cross-unit project between the members of ST☆RISH and each group will have to excel in the jobs they get in order to become N.1. The heroine will be the main composer, this time of both Quartet Night and ST☆RISH . This is where the reverse harem element becomes obvious; technically there’s no reason for Haruka to become the main composer of Shining’s main groups. Even if she did prove herself, I’m sure there are many other talented people in the crew that just got left without a job because of her. lol Anyway, the story is still pretty much still obvious and light-hearted. Problems arise only to get solved during the same episode, which, of course, is not something that usually happens in this context. I did not feel any true sense of struggle from anybody; it’s the light-hearted approach at fault and the fast pace. The heroine seems to like to act as some sort of problem solver too and everybody is lost without the heroine (which I understand because “otome game”). While the ST☆RISH episodes were just enough to entertain though, the Quartet Night episodes managed to get back the “character” that I missed from the UtaPri first season. Besides that, the awkward cheesiness still didn’t disappear and I’m really starting to question what’s the trend of”flying in the sky” with these guys…XD
The season’s ending made me raise some eyebrows. Besides the obvious “To be continued”, which announces a 4th season, I might just have the impression they will add other 7 guys to the harem…
There’s not much development going on in this season, but it deals with the relationships between the ST☆RISH guys, specifically the cross units made by Shining. That is something that I really enjoyed following and I wished to see more of it. What about Syo and Otoya? Natsuki and Tokiya? Masato and Syo? There wasn’t enough! There are still barriers that I manage to see between the 7 of the guys, despite their obvious care for eachother, but it feels as if their care is about the group rather than the members as individuals. I wish they will eventually prove me wrong in the future.
Overall, ST☆RISH, as far as I’m regarded, were completely overshadowed by the Quartet Night guys on several levels: the character develoment that I missed, their relationships of rivalry and friendship with ST☆RISH, their profesionality, interactions with the fans (which I barely saw in the ST☆RISH case) and their growth as artists. My biggest problem with them though, is this guy:
SIGHS If you read my Men of Yoshiwara:Kikuya review and particularly Iroha’s route, then you might understand why Ai’s “condition” (*coughs*
He’s a robot*coughs* ) particularly annoys me. No, I take it back, it’s not the truth behind him that annoys me, seeing how one of my favorite couples is Clear x Aoba (some of you might have heard of Dramatical Murder), it’s the reactions of those around him that’s unsettling. Besides the initial bit of confusion, they didn’t really ask for explanations or how is it even possible for something like Ai to even exist. He normally wouldn’t have any place in a story like UtaPri (and neither would Cecil’s power of changing to a cat and speak to Muses actually…but nobody knows about that so it’s not the same). Ai on himself brings a plothole to the whole story and setting. Japan doesn’t even remotely seem as technologically advanced to be ready for Ai (I know they have managed to make human-looking androids, yet they still look plastic and still aren’t able to eat or learn like a human being) and Shining isn’t supposed to even remotely be the only multi-millionaire man in Japan who would come out with the idea of “android idols”. Also, Ai wasn’t ever shown to be able to do anything more than what the others do. He’s programmed to learn from his experience like a human being and he has a database. Of course that means that it’s rather hard for him to make the same mistake twice or even have any trouble with dancing and singing anything wrongly, yet he can’t operate under rain properly and as any piece of technology he needs charging, so he’s able to change between high, normal and low battery usage. Ai freezes when set in low consume mode, because he tends to overheat. Now, I don’t need to be a technology nerd to realize how inconvenient that actually is. The anime tries to make it pass for a “fever” that any other human can get, yet it changes the perspective when it’s Ai having this “fever”. “Machines” are untrusting. A wrong hit and they break instantly. I personally would be very worried for somebody like Ai, even more than for an actual human. Differently from Iroha though, it’s obvious how I developed a motherly love for Ai during his “arc”…
Anyway, my favorite episodes were definitely Ranmaru’s and Reiji’s. I’m a rocker at heart; I always thought that rock music is an unconventional genre that always storms revolutions and I truly enjoyed Ranmaru’s struggle about his love for rock and his love for Quartet Night. Also, Ranmaru has one of my favorites character designs. I thought he was rather cold and impulsive, yet he revealed other sides to his personality that I didn’t expect: passion, pure dedication and a soft heart. Reiji on the other hand is voiced by Morikubo Showtaro…What else is there needed to like him? lol Jokes to a side though, Reiji is a leader and the moodmaker of Quartet Night. He doesn’t always like joking, but realizes that his blunt cheerfulness is what manages to drive other people forward.As for Camus, his episode was incredibly funny, however I think I would definitely want to slap him in a normal situation. lol
PS: I missed Dark Natsuki/Satsuki so much through all this !!
I really don’t remember if it was the case in the past two seasons, since I watched them too long ago, but the animation isn’t all that great in this season. Sure, they’re all bright, sparkly, looking beautiful, however I couldn’t manage to not notice the pervading monotony that characterized most part of the animation and how devoid of dynamics and static it was. There were big chucks of time where nobody was moving besides their mouths, lots of face close-ups, lots of time wasted for every guy to dramatically call Haruka’s name while the image just slides to the right to show them all as they speak, lots of staring into eachother’s eyes as much as they can handle, just to avoid any other type of movement and oh, the friggin 3D dancing models; overall, quite average and too easy. Seeing how UtaPri has been through the Japanese top of the DVD/Blueray sales for a long time, I expected a bit more, yet, we all might know that the budgeting for the anime industry is running a bit low in general lately, so on the other hand, I’m not that surprised that the animation lacks. The redeemable part is the opening video.
The music is, of course, up to personal taste. I personally liked what I heard, especially Ranmaru, Reiji and Tokiya&Masato’s songs, though nothing can still top Natsuki’s song in UtaPri first season in my heart. I’m not sure about their Maji Love Revolutions (マジLOVEレボリューションズ), but I know I really did like the opening song which is Shine (シャイン)” by none other than Mamoru Miyano, like in the past seasons!
Pretty high. Despite my complains, I still find UtaPri extremely easy to get into. You just need to sit back while watching it and relax, especially when you’re having a hard time. It can bring a smile to your face and you don’t even need to concentrate too much and/or wait for those “epic plot twists” that you need to overthink and stress your brain for. It was a real stress reliever for me indeed, mostly after my painful exams, and I’ll definitely look back to it fondly for managing to cheer me up.