Uta no Prince-sama – Season 2

Uta no Prince-sama – Season 2

IMG_1966.PNGHaruka and the boys from STARISH have all graduated from the music agency and are now part of the Shining Talent Agency. To further increase their skills, they enrol on a Master Course class to train under some veteran idols, Quartet Night. Though the training is rigorous, it is all to obtain the coveted title of “UtaPri”, an award which is given to the best newcomers in the business. With a seventh member added to the mix, Haruka and the boys work together to ensure that they are in prime singing condition to break into the idol industry.

The second season of Uta no Prince-sama picks up exactly where the first series left off, but now we are introduced to more idol bands (coincidentally, full of bishounen) who are going to put STARISH through their paces both professionally and personally. I have to admit, this anime has become a bit of a guilty pleasure for me as I have become accustomed to all the good-looking men and the otome camera angles that make me think that they’re speaking directly to me. Apparently this is what watching too much reverse harem can do to a girl.

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Apart form giving generous screen time to a veritable smorgasbord of pretty boys, this season has two main plot points. The first is Cecil Aijima, who becomes the newest member of the hottest upcoming boy band. Haruka brings him into the group because she believes that what is missing from STARISH’s songs is his voice. We see a lot of Cecil, like we saw the other band members in the first series, and see him developing his love for singing and the idea of him performing as part as a large group. He always seems to be conveniently around when the other characters are pouring their hearts out and thus slowly comes to understand their dedication to their work. As with the other guys, he seems totally enamoured with our shy-but-talented, weird-eyed Haruka.

The next focus is, of course, the UtaPri award – a rare title that is only bestowed on the most talented up-coming idol groups. To achieve the award, you have to demonstrate your ability as the perfect idol. Not only does this mean their singing talent, it also looks at other skills such as acting and modelling. If they succeed, then they get nominated for the award. It’s a very straightforward plot which slowly builds up to climactic confrontations later on in the series.

IMG_1977.PNGThe anime launches straight into the story, maintaining the beauty of the first season without the added burden of having to introduce and explain the backgrounds of every character. This time around the anime had a more relaxed and leisurely pace, giving you more time to enjoy the familiar episode layout. Each one focuses on a different member of STARISH and their own personal struggles as they try to break their way into show business. We still have a certain amount of group engagement throughout, which keeps up the interaction between the characters and it shows that one member’s problems noticeably affect the dynamics of the group. The attention to detail on the relationships between the seven male leads is quite impressive. Each episode usually ends with a song, of course, which I always look forward to.

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Like the previous season, what this anime lacks in storytelling is made up with heart. And eye-candy. The majority of the situations that the characters are faced with are rather trivial, yet I still enjoyed them because of the emotion behind every scene. And because of all the bishounen. I never thought I would be this affected by good-looking anime boys. They can all get away with being shallow and cheesy and a little one-dimensional because they’re all nice, pretty boys who each have their own endearing quirks whilst all having more fashion sense than me.

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I have to applaud Chinatsu Kurahana’s character design. She has taken the basic recipe for bishounen (slender bodies, accentuated hips, broad shoulders and handsome faces) and taken it up a notch by giving seven male characters their own personal style. They seem to each have their own colour palette and different wardrobes that complement their personalities. This season, in total, there are thirteen bishounen to design for, and I am able to easily identify them all by little accents and details in their character design. It mades them all stand out, which is a difficult thing to achieve in a reverse harem.

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Haruka still remains the same. Again, she is overshadowed by the big personalities of the large male cast, but she still manages to do her part and keep the plot moving along at its leisurely pace. She is the weakest character and seems to only act as a catalyst to amplify the boys’ characters. But I guess that’s why she’s a composer and not an idol. And I still don’t like her eyes. She still looks like a lizard.

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The overall animation is of a suitably high standard, too. Though I do notice some limited movement within the characters sometimes (we don’t want to compromise those handsome faces now, do we?), the dancing and singing scenes more than make up for it. The routines are well-choreographed and the producers definitely know their market – dressing the performers suggestively and getting those hips swinging – and successfully capturing those male idol mannerisms.

Whether you like it or not, there’s something special about Uta no Prince-sama. I enjoy the characters and watching as they continue their journey to super stardom. Reverse harems don’t usually have this effect on me, so there’s something in this anime that makes it more than just the sum of its parts – and I love that I still can’t quite put my finger on what it could be.