Uta no Prince-sama - Maji Love Revolutions Episode 5
by Rebecca Silverman,
I feel as if it's been raining a lot in the world of UtaPri. Last episode Ai filmed in the rain with Natsuki and Syo, and this week we open with a clap of thunder and rain pouring from the skies as the second cross-unit group to make their debut – Syo, Cecil, and Ren – have a violent disagreement about the theme for their upcoming smart phone commercial. Mood weather is rather a cheesy device, but this is a corny show, so I can't say it doesn't work... but it doesn't help my problem of wanting to burst into The Weather Girls' “It's Raining Men” every time the opening theme runs either.
The plot this week is that Syo, Cecil, and Ren have been offered the chance to record a commercial for a fancy new smart phone that's about to hit the market. Because they're also in charge of providing a song (by way of Nanami, naturally), they get to choose the theme for the ad. At their first brainstorming session it becomes clear that all three of them have very different ideas of what's important about the device and how to portray it, leading to some pretty fabulous eye-candy shots. Ren thinks that they should use a Latin theme to show passion, Syo wants them all to be superheroes to display strength, Cecil believes they should all be princes to invoke elegance, and Haruka is too much not like me to suggest that they be elegant Latin-dancing superheroes. Since none of them can agree, they all quickly grow frustrated and storm off, which panics pretty much everyone else.
While this isn't nearly as firm a plot as last week's story about robot Ai, it still tops the earliest ones we saw, making an attempt to show how difficult these cross-unit groups can be when the boys who worked as buffers between disparate personalities aren't there to keep tempers cool. About all that these three have in common besides being in Starish is their mutual crush on Haruka. It's therefore kind of interesting that she basically ends up using that to help resolve things, relying on the theme of relationships to get the ball rolling. While I wouldn't call her a mastermind, she does evidence a smidge more personality and gumption than we usually see from reverse harem heroines in general and her in specific. She may not do the singing and dancing, but in some ways this is more her episode than the boys', because without her, they might have ruined everyone's chances at Starish competing for the chance to sing at the Triple S.
As a nice bonus, we do get to see everyone this week, and all of them have a line or two as well. Norio Wakamoto's Shining Saotome (who says “revolution” once) impresses as always with his ability to draw short words out for a ridiculous amount of time, but Masato giving out directions to a waterfall is pretty terrific as well, and I'm growing very fond of Rei and his enthusiasm. The actual commercial when we see it is much more impressive than the rock musical or any of the scenes in the Ai episode; it feels a little like a throwback to the first two seasons' ending themes even as it incorporates a lot of stills.
UtaPri is feeling very hit-or-miss this season, with this episode falling squarely in the middle. It's fun and it gives everyone a moment on the screen, but the plot is also kind of weak. But at least it has a plot and has it's good scenes, so if you're just looking to enjoy your weekly dose of lovely young men parachuting into your home while singing, it does deliver.
Uta no Prince-sama - Maji Love Revolutions is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Rebecca Silverman is ANN's senior manga critic.
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