The Fall 2016 Anime Preview Guide
Utano☆Princesama Legend Star
How would you rate episode 1 of
Utano☆Princesama Legend Star ?
What is this?
At long last the mystery of who won the competition to be the opening act is revealed – it's QUARTET NIGHT. But the more established boy band denies the win, stating that the fans' reactions proved it a three-way tie between them, STARISH, and HEAVENS, who were disqualified on a technicality. To that end, the judges decided to grant QUARTET NIGHT's wish and to allow for a second competition between the three groups, to be held on Christmas Eve. The catch? In order to level the playing field, all three songs must be brand-new compositions by Nanami! With three hot groups vying for the same prize, can Nanami bring herself to do an equally good job for all of them? Or will her allegiance to STARISH persuade her to write them a better song? Utano☆Princesama Legend Star is based on an otome game and can be found streaming on Crunchyroll, Saturdays at 7:30 PM EST.
How was the first episode?
Ladies and gents, we have clearly been doing it wrong – what gorgeous young men clearly want in a romantic interest is an easily overwhelmed, talented songwriter with blazing yellow eyes and inexplicably green pupils. But while you're waiting for those special order contact lenses, you can enjoy the fourth series to be spawned by the Uta no Princesama franchise, UtaPri Legend Star! And by “enjoy,” I mean “occasionally cover your face in embarrassment while wondering why you're still invested in this.”
This season doesn't waste any time getting things started – after about three minutes of each of the guys from each of the three bands (QUARTET NIGHT, HEAVENS, and of course STARISH) calling Nanami by their special name for her, we learn that there's going to be a second competition to finalize the winner of last season's contest. This is because QUARTET NIGHT, like the good sempai they are, didn't think that it was fair that they won when all three groups were so clearly loved by the audience. (Plus that small matter of HEAVENS having never officially entered in the first place.) So now Nanami will get to write three more gooey J-pop numbers for three separate groups of guys who all have intentions towards her, as this episode goes out of its way to show us. Basically the entire point of this episode is to have as many men as possible profess their love to Nanami while passing her around their various modes of transportation – HEAVENS shows up in a van and essentially kidnaps her, before QUARTET NIGHT and their amazing stage truck whisk her away, only for her to be saved by STARISH in their plane.
I have to admit, by the time the ladder descended, I was feeling relieved. There was something seriously uncomfortable about having Nanami transferred from lap to lap while guys said “romantic” (creepy) things to her, and while the original boys aren't exempt from that, at least she knows them. (Or does that make it worse?) For the parts of this episode where I wasn't fighting massive second hand embarrassment, I was wishing Nanami had learned some self-defense moves between seasons, because all of the HEAVENS guys at least deserved to be kicked in the shins. It also sets our heroine up to be even more passive and personality-less than she was in seasons two and three – whatever happened to that panic disorder from season one? We even flash back to it in this episode, which, when you come right down to it, is a mix between a recap episode and a means of reintroducing the bevy of beaux Nanami has.
And yet for all of its faults, there's still something ridiculously fun about UtaPri. It isn't good, it isn't well thought out, and the songs occasionally make my cats run out of the room in terror, but it's enjoyable nonetheless because of those things. I may be experience the anime viewer's version of Stockholm Syndrome, but I know that I'll be following this all the way to its ludicrous end.
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