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Uta∽Kata (うた∽かた?, lit. "Poem Fragment") is a 2004 TV anime series. Written differently (泡沫), the title can also refer to bubbles, which is used as such in the ending theme.

The series can be loosely considered a magical girl story. However, this series deviates from more conventional magical girl themes in that it addresses topics that are for a more mature audience, such as child abuse,[1] eating disorders,[2] and possibly misanthropy.[3] Nevertheless, it illustrates the main character's coming of age with each progressive episode, becoming more and more emotionally intense as the story goes on.

The story follows Ichika Tachibana's life over a summer holiday when she meets Manatsu Kuroki. The series then details their summer activities and the use of spiritual creatures called Djinn (ジン jin), non-cardinal elemental creatures that lend their powers to Ichika to help her and her friends when they invariably find themselves in danger, and eventually for their own motives.

Plot

On the day before the summer holiday, Ichika Tachibana discovers that the charm attached to her cell phone has somehow wound up inside a mirror in the old school building. A girl named Manatsu Kuroki, inside the mirror, offers to return the charm and phone in exchange for a favor. When Ichika accepts, Manatsu emerges from the mirror, but Ichika finds to her chagrin that the charm's stones' have all taken on different colors. Her indignation soon turns to delight as she is transformed by the charm and given an incredibly moving experience in the skies above Kamakura.

After returning to the old classroom, Manatsu asks that Ichika use all the colored stones in the charm and record her experiences and thoughts. Starting with the facade of Manatsu as her text-message pal, Ichika begins to entangle herself in a web of small lies and deceptions.

When Ichika faces various dangers during the summer holiday, she at first uses the Djinn's power within the stones to resolve them supernaturally. But as the summer draws on, she begins to use the power even though there is no imminent danger. Through each experience with the Djinn she learns about the willfulness of herself and others. Slowly, the power of the Djinn erodes her emotional, physical, and mental strength, and she abuses the power to the point of attempting murder.

Meanwhile, Ichika's tutors, Sei and Kai, are tormented by Ichika's ordeal—Sei had gone through the very same thing six years ago. They very much want to prevent Ichika from experiencing the same trials, but are bound to the rules of the ritual; when Sei tried to interfere, he was turned into stone as a penalty. Although Ichika tries to abandon using the Djinn's power altogether, she finds herself losing control over her actions. Faced with fear, sadness, or anger, she finds that the Djinn grant her power against her will. Not only this, she finds that she cannot discard the charm, as it will fly back to her.

Ichika, in fact, had been subjected to a ritual judgment determined from the time she was conceived. Saya, the final Djinn, would take a young person of fourteen years—the age between the innocence of childhood and the hardness of adulthood—and show him or her the world through the eyes of the Djinn. The individual would experience seven trials that contrasted seven virtues and sins: affection and resentment, temperance and hubris, devotion and rebellion, honesty and treachery, reason and envy, passion and lust, wisdom and machination. When Ichika is thus led to despair in humanity and disgust of herself, Saya binds her to the mirror asks her to decide whether to destroy humanity or herself.

In response, however, Ichika refuses to choose either. Saya declares that as a violation of the rules, and drives her scythe towards Ichika's body. Sei shatters his stone skin and tries to stop the scythe, but Ichika decides that it is better that she die rather than see him hurt. Manatsu, in defiance, drives herself into the scythe, saving Ichika's life. Kai returns the life energy that kept him in human form to Sei, and both he and Manatsu revert to their original forms: shards of the old mirror.

When school resumed in the fall, Ichika decided to remain at Kamakura rather than join her parents in Italy. Elsewhere, Saya determined to move on and judge the next teenager.

OVA

In the OVA Shotō no Futanatsu (初冬の双夏?, Twin Summers of the First Winter), Ichika hears that Manatsu has been seen again, one week before her birthday. Not long after the fall term had begun, Sei had transferred to a German university in an exchange program. On Christmas Eve, both discover that Manatsu and Kai's shards had vanished, and they both reunite with Ichika and Sei, respectively. They had returned for one last night and to say goodbye. After an evening with Ichika and Sei, the shards return to Saya's old mirror during the night. The next spring, Ichika enters a new school year with her friends, while Saya's experiments continue with a new test subject.

Characters

Character names are presented in the Western order (given name, family name). Because all of the names here are Japanese, the Rōmaji for each name is simply the name in reverse order: for example, "Ichika Tachibana" would be read as "Tachibana Ichika" by the Japanese.

Ichika Tachibana (橘 一夏 Tachibana Ichika?)
Ichika is a 14-year-old Japanese middle school student living in Kamakura, who discovers on the day before summer holiday that a gift from her tutor is much more than a good-luck charm.
She is honest and polite to everyone, including her own parents, and always tries to do the right thing. She detests lying, especially if she finds herself doing it. As a result, her friends often playfully tease her for being straightlaced. Ichika is easily scared, and the thought of ghosts terrifies her, especially when she first sees Manatsu in a mirror they find in the school's oldest building.
  • Date of birth: December 25, 1989
  • Height: 142 cm
  • Blood type: A
  • Clubs: Handicrafts Club
Voiced by: Yōko Honda
Manatsu Kuroki (黒城 舞夏 Kuroki Manatsu?)
Manatsu is a young girl that Ichika met in dreams and a mirror.
Manatsu seems to be the polar opposite of Ichika in terms of personality. When Ichika is hesitant, Manatsu is carefree and assertive; where the former is reserved, the latter is cheerfully outgoing. She also has striking similarities to Ichika, namely, she knows and loves many of the same things Ichika does, and she shares the same fear of ghosts.
  • Date of birth: December 25, 1989
  • Height: 142 cm
  • Blood type: A
  • Clubs: None
Voiced by: Masumi Asano
Satsuki Takigawa (多岐川 皐月 Takigawa Satsuki?)
Ichika introduces her friend Satsuki as "a very responsible and strong person. You can always count on her." She is a brash young girl who often takes the lead of Ichika and the other friends. A painful memory causes her to avoid most boys, despite her seemingly strong personality. Satsuki has an older brother, with whom she apparently gets along well, despite the fact that they bicker a fair bit.
  • Date of birth: May 20, 1990
  • Height: 151 cm
  • Blood type: B
  • Clubs: Basketball Club
Voiced by: Tomoko Kawakami
Keiko Takamura (篁 蛍子 Takamura Keiko?)
Ichika describes her friend Keiko as "a proper young lady from a good family, gentle and kind." She is the type who is easily amused by simple things, such as shaking a duster in a sunbeam. Her parents appear to be rather controlling, however, which causes Keiko some distress with regards to a boy she liked.
  • Date of birth: December 9, 1990
  • Height: 148 cm
  • Blood type: O
  • Clubs: Baton Club
Voiced by: Yurika Ochiai
Michiru Munakata (宗方 未知留 Munakata Michiru?)
Ichika says of her friend Michiru, "She's really into literature, and her instincts are amazingly sharp." She can allegedly see ghosts and spirits, and is a quiet, if not shy, person. Michiru has a younger sister named Rui, of whose feelings she appears to be rather protective. Michiru is prone to making slightly odd comments and is not prepared to go into the sea, possibly due to some physical intolerance, although this is unconfirmed.
  • Date of birth: October 3, 1990
  • Height: 145 cm
  • Blood type: AB
  • Clubs: Reading Club
Voiced by: Yukari Tamura
Sei Tōdō (藤堂 誓唯 Tōdō Sei?)
Sei is one of Ichika's tutors, and a high school student. He instructs her in grammar, literature, and social sciences. He is introduced as the twin brother of Kai. Of the two, Sei usually seems to be the calmer, gentler one. Ichika has developed romantic feelings for him.
  • Date of birth: June 15, 1984
  • Height: 183 cm
  • Blood type: A
Voiced by: Nobuo Tobita
Kai Tōdō (藤堂 繪委 Tōdō Kai?)
Kai is Ichika's other tutor. He teaches her math and science. He is introduced as the twin brother of Sei. Of the two, Kai seems the more extroverted one and more physical in nature. He is also in love with his twin brother Sei.
  • Date of birth: June 15, 1984
  • Height: 185 cm
  • Blood type: A
Voiced by: Nobutoshi Kanna
Saya Kogure (小暮 沙耶 Kogure Saya?)
Saya is an enigmatic woman who is, at times, hidden from view of most people. She is the Tachibanas' next door neighbor, and is in the fashion industry.
But this is only an illusion—she covertly pushes circumstances in Ichika's life to bring her to use the power of the Djinns. She can move anywhere at will, turn her scarf into a deadly scythe and other objects and keeps an eye on Ichika throughout the series. She strictly enforces rules concerning the activation of the stones: the current bearer must remain completely in the dark as to their true nature and purpose and no one may interfere with the bearer's decision whether to use the power.
Voiced by: Maria Kawamura

Episode list

Similar to gímik's earlier work, Kiddy Grade (where a different guest artist drew the eyecatches for each episode), each episode's main costume was designed by a guest artist who also created artwork for the ending sequence of that episode.

Each episode preview in the anime was narrated by Ichika in the style of a diary entry, and on the website, a corresponding entry narrated by Manatsu is available.

In a possible variation of the four-character yojijukugo, every title is composed of a pair of two-kanji words separated by a no particle. A literal, if rough, translation of most titles can be derived by assembling the phrase "[second word] of (the) [first word]".

The TV series and OVA been licensed in North America by Sentai Filmworks, anime distributor Section23 Films will release the complete collection set on November 2, 2010.[4]

# Title[5] Costume artist Djinn Original airdate
01 Early Summer's Encounter
"Kaikō no Shoka" (邂逅の初夏)
October 3, 2004 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
On the day before summer holiday, Ichika meets a girl in a mirror, Manatsu.
02 The Neighboring Night Sky
"Kinsetsu no Yozora" (近接の夜空)
October 10, 2004 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
An old friend's former boyfriend causes some trouble for Ichika and Manatsu.
03 The Heat of the Sandy Beach
"Shōnetsu no Sunahama" (焦熱の砂浜)
October 17, 2004 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
While rescuing a former classmate at the beach, Ichika loses her father's very valuable watch.
04 Sudden Shower by the Lake Shore
"Shūu no Kohan" (驟雨の湖畔)
October 23, 2004 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
During a camping trip, a girl in Ichika's cabin becomes stranded in a hole while attempting to meet a boy.
05 The Flowering of Tears
"Rakurui no Raika" (落涙の蕾花)
October 30, 2004 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
Satsuki develops a crush on a boy she meets on the day of the fireworks festival.
06 The Flush of Damp Skin
"Nurehada no Binetsu" (濡肌の微熱)
November 11, 2004 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
Ichika sees Sei-san with her neighbor Saya-san and as she runs away she breaks her pearl necklace.
07 The Jealousy of a Twig
"Konure no Shitto" (木末の嫉妬)
November 13, 2004 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
Ichika discovers that she is changing unusually. After a gust of wind scatters Kai's homework report, Ichika resolves to recover it.
08 The Impulse of a Falling Flower
"Sange no Shōdō" (散華の衝動)
November 20, 2004 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
As part of a volunteer activity, Ichika gives a wreath of dried flowers to a mentally unstable hospital patient.
09 The Pain of Love
"Ren'ai no Tsūyō" (恋愛の痛痒)
November 27, 2004 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
A trip with friends to a shrine dedicated to lovers causes Keiko and Satsuki to reflect on unpleasant memories.
10 Reunion Beyond the Grave
"Shishō no Saikai" (死生の再会)
November 27, 2004 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
Ichika finds that she cannot cast away the magic charm. The Tachibana family visits the graves of their ancestors, and Ichika has a reunion of her own.
11 The Surge of Separation
"Betsuri no Hadō" (別離の波動)
December 11, 2004 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
Ichika dreams a new dream about Manatsu and herself. When Michiru attempts to find out the truth, the power of the Djinn sends disaster her way.
12 The Poetry of Fragments
"Kakera no Uta" (欠片の詩歌)
December 18, 2004 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
Ichika ventures into the house next door to determine the truth once and for all.
13 (OVA) Twin Summers of the First Winter
"Shotō no Futanatsu" (初冬の双夏)
April 22, 2005[6] {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
Kai and Manatsu revisit their "reflections" one last time.

Staff Credits

Theme songs

  • Opening Theme: Omoi wo Kanadete (想いを奏でて)
  • Ending Theme: Itsuka Tokeru Namida (いつか溶ける涙)
  • Artist: savage genius

Reaction

The Anime Encyclopedia: A Guide to Japanese Animation Since 1917 compares the series' underlying themes to those of Mahoromatic, noting that the story is "an allegory of the end of childhood and one last vacation before the responsibilities of the grown-up world start to impinge". It criticises the OVA episode, calling it "a rather pointless rehash that to some minds betrays the elegiac quality of the original series—if everything can be reset and reprised à la Tenchi Muyo!, where's the drama?"[7]

External links

References

  1. Uta∽Kata episode 09
  2. Uta∽Kata episode 08
  3. "Humans truly are foolish creatures. They shed their crimson blood for no purpose." Saya, Uta∽Kata episode 12
  4. "Section23 Films Announces November Slate". Anime News Network. 2010-08-17. 
  5. All episode titles, air dates, and translations taken from "Anime News Network Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2006-09-06. 
  6. Originally released as part of the limited edition Summer Memory Box 2 DVD collection.
  7. Clements, Jonathan; McCarthy, Helen (2006). The Anime Encyclopedia: A Guide to Japanese Animation Since 1917 (2nd ed.). Stone Bridge Press. p. 695. ISBN 1-933330-10-4. 
it:Uta∽Katazh:詩∽片

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