While it doesn’t stray far from the ‘mahou shoujo’ formula, Uta-Kata is quite possibly one of the more unique magical girl series. Originally created as a short manga by Keito Koume, this seinen story of friendship was adapted into a twelve episode anime series with one OVA.
At the start of the series, Ichika is a fourteen year old girl whose summer vacation is just starting. She has to return to the old school building after cleaning it because she left her cell phone with the keychain Sei, one of her tutors, gave her. When she goes back and finds it, a girl named Manatsu comes out of a mirror and has the other half of the charm from Sei. Manatsu explains that she has to do a report on the Djinn of twelve elements, and she has Ichika do her homework on the Djinn for her since Ichika is the one who calls upon them. From that point on, Ichika calls upon the Djinn of each of the elements: Sun, Moon, Earth, Water, Fire, Sky, Wind, Flowers, Thunder, Darkness, Sea, and Mirror. Rather than fighting evil, Ichika utilizes the power of the Djinn to help her friends and solve problems. But towards the end, Ichika starts to lose control of herself as she is filled with the Djinn's sight, and cannot sort out whether she trusts Manatsu or not. In the end, Ichika is faced with a test and has to choose between her life and the world.
One thing that makes this series different from the typical magical girl title is that it is seinen rather than shoujo. Some claim that it is shoujo-ai, which is most likely due to the fact that one of Ichika’s friends is portrayed as being attracted to other females in the manga. In the anime, people read more into Manatsu and Ichika’s relationship than there really is; yes, they do kiss once, but they're technically reflections of the same person. The animation is good, but not amazing, and there is a hint of lolicon. As is typical of magical girl titles, Ichika wears several different costumes throughout the course of the series. What makes it special in Uta-Kata is that each of the twelve costumes was designed by a different famous artist, and there is a special art piece for each one during the closing sequence of each episode. Overall, this series has a fairly sad ending, nice music, and very positive themes. If you’re a fan of the seinen demographic and magical girl titles are one of your guilty pleasures, I suggest giving this one a go.
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