Uta~Kata is a 12 episode anime created by the manga group Gimik and was released in late 2004. The name Utakata in Japanese means “poem fragment” and also “bubble” which is fitting given the nature of the story. The story focuses on Ichika Tachibana who is a regular school girl thinking of all the fun things to do with her friends over the coming summer break.
(Visually this looks like All About That Bass but theme and storywise its The Diary Of Jane)
One day before vacation starts, Ichika notices a different girl when she looks in the mirror while she was cleaning an unused school building. The girl, Manatsu Kuroki, comes out the mirror and hands Ichika her phone. In exchange for Ichika getting her phone back, she has to do Manatsu’s homework.
(Water important to keep you being alive also another way to die)
Through a charm given to her by a tutor, Ichika can call upon 12 spirits or Djinn and experience their reality. Each time Ichika is a Djinn, the color of the phone and her costume changes. The episodes focus on Ichika’s day to day life as a Djinn helping others out and to find the 12 colors of the Djinn. In order to find the colors, she must record the experiences of people around her so she can see both the best, but especially the worst of humanity.
(Imagine living the life in a magical girl story. I'd make a perfect villain and Static X's Ostego Electric would have been my character song)
The connection to the magical girl genre can be used very “loosely”. The anime despite its appearance, is not a shojo anime as it contains some pretty dark themes like eating disorders, child abuse and misanthropy. It also mixes in coming-of-age elements in each episode as well. The atmosphere of the show is dark but not to the extent of Madoka. Neither the characters or story seems original as you can see them in any other magical girl anime. Ichika is your typical goody two shoes who enjoys hanging out with friends and is easily spooked by ghosts. As time goes by, Ichika becomes slowly corrupted into the very thing that she hates a dishonest, greedy and selfish person and the eventual consequences that comes with her expireinces. But the characters do have good chemistry and you see how as time goes by their relationships are put to the test and how closer they become as time goes by.
(The best looking image out of all in this review because the res does look bad compared to this)
The series is fairly short with just 12 episodes. Each episode has a special costume design drawn by a guest artist like Hajime Ueda of the FLCL fame. In addition, each episode is narrated by Ichika in a style of a diary which seems like a nice personal touch. The pacing starts slow but it picks up shortly after the first few episodes. The show follows a procedural format as its 12 episodes based around finding the 12 colors of the Djinn so it makes sense. The art, backgrounds and the character designs were pretty good.
(The show is more so focused on storytelling and character development than so with action keep in mind if you do watch this. In addition theres elements of romance in it.)
The animation looks decent but it hasn’t aged very well. There is a good portion of fanservice in the show that can be intrusive from time to time. The musical score like the opening and the ending was good but other than that, it was substandard. There were moments of comedy that provided some levity. The ending in the ova though does feel like there is going to be a sequel but its been years since anything relating to this ip has been worked on.
The anime was a pretty good watch overall. Magical girl fans are certainly going to enjoy this show.
It gets about 4 out 5 stars.