Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji LOVE Revolutions
Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Revolutions
Shoujo – Romance, comedy, reverse harem, musical
13 Episodes (complete)
While working as ST☆RISH’s composer, Shining Saotome gives Haruka a new job: write a song for QUARTET NIGHT to compete to be the opening act in an international sports event. ST☆RISH, however, can’t help but be envious of their senpai…
ST☆RISH fans will be slightly disappointed, QUARTET NIGHT fans will be happier, but everyone can agree the visuals took a hit this season.
In case you’re new (what), this the third season of an anime based on an otome game. The show centers around Haruka, a composer, and the first two seasons covers her journey to become one. For newbies, the show does provide an introductory episode where each main cast member is featured. However, the series clearly caters toward its established female fanbase. If you weren’t interested before, then Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji LOVE Revolutions is probably not going to change your mind. And if you’ve been wanting to get into the series, there’s really no reason not to watch the previous 26 episodes.
But let’s move on.
While many people were dissatisfied with last season’s focus on Cecil, I was more upset at how QUARTET NIGHT was pushed aside. I thought the series would spend more time on how ST☆RISH would handle living and working with their senpai in the Master Course, but the Utapri competition against HE☆VENS became the central conflict. Maji Love Revolutions makes up for the lack of QUARTET NIGHT by giving all four senpai focus episodes and also makes the group a legitimate threat to ST☆RISH. These episodes are among the strongest of the whole season: good visuals, excellent songs, and nice character development. Haruka is also heavily featured in each of these episodes instead of being pushed aside. It’s this type of interaction that makes Haruka rather likable heroine despite otome game protagonists often being annoying in an anime.
On the downside, the romance in these episodes doesn’t have as clear a “click”, how the pile of feelings changed from “girl I’ve met” to “girl I like”. The original season’s individual episodes did this much better; there just isn’t enough time here with the show going back and forth between the two groups. The attraction is clearer for some more than others, but I wish the individual episodes were not being hijacked so much by the kouhai.
In addition, to make room for QUARTET NIGHT, ST☆RISH is vastly downplayed. The guys are broken up into smaller groups, and most of their episodes are more about their friendships rather than their unrequited feelings for Haruka. The senpai episodes are less romance-focused than the previous seasons’ individual kouhai episodes, but the ST☆RISH-centered ones are pretty much absent of any dokidoki moments. With 2-3 guys per episode along with the other members popping in, there’s just not much time for Haruka.
While it may seem more interesting to have the guys interact with someone other than their roommate, I found myself longing for the “usual” pairs. Tokiya and Masato’s episode is probably the best of the ST☆RISH episodes (and the best song, but that’s no surprising considering their seiyuu), but everyone is just more interesting when teamed up with their opposite. The aforementioned Tokiya and Masato work great together when the whole group is around to balance out Otoya’s and Syo’s energy and Cecil’s and Natsuki’s overly affectionate and clueless selves, but the show drags when it’s just the two of them. The same applies to the others. On the other hand, Otoya trying to be more like Tokiya or Syo teaching Natsuki the ways of manliness is funnier, more light-hearted, and just plain more entertaining.
I do think this season relies a little more on the supplemental materials than the other seasons. If you go by just the anime alone, it seems strange to see ST☆RISH to be so invested in Ranmaru’s career. But it makes a little more sense when you consider the Shuffle CDs where he worked with Ren or the Gekidan Shining CDs where he teamed up with Tokiya (and Ren and Camus). Again, I feel like the senpai vs. kouhai struggle has been pretty much ignored in the anime save Cecil and Camus. We are given a small glimpse at how the seven have come to respect their senpai, but I wish we would have been given a little more struggle a la the game Debut.
One the bright side, I’m glad they brought up Ai’s background, but I’m still waiting if one particular twist will be incorporated in the anime. (There’s even another surprise connected to it, but the characters in the game don’t know about it.) Ranmaru is decidedly less jerky here than in the games pre-All Star After Secret, but everyone else is faithful to the previous two anime and the games. What was surprising is the fact Ryuya and Ringo were around! And not just for one or two cameo appearances; they were here the whole time! I was so pleased, especially since they were written out of the latest game, All Star After Secret.
Finally, in a twist, this season is not the end: the company has confirmed a fourth season. If you make it through all 13 episodes, expect to invest another 13 episodes in a year or so. I actually like the twist, and the ending actually makes some of the previous season make more sense and more significant story-wise. For the first time, the Uta no Prince-sama games have a clear direction for a spin-off or, more accurately, a new version. I’m looking forward to where both the anime and the games go from here. In addition, while the Maji LOVE 1000% and Maji LOVE 2000% CDs included two tracks (A track for the anime, B track from the game), the Maji LOVE Revolutions CDs include solo songs not used in the anime. From the lyrics, these songs are almost certainly from a yet-to-be-announced game, but I wonder how the CDs from the fourth season will play out. Surely they can’t be planning on two games back-to-back? If not, what will the B tracks or solo songs be for?
The visuals are definitely of lower quality this time around. The series uses a lot of medium distance shots to avoid having to draw the guys with detailed expressions. Body proportions are more off. The animation wouldn’t be as big of an issue if this wasn’t a third season; Maji LOVE 1000% and Maji LOVE 2000% show how beautiful this show can look, but it seems A-1 Pictures decided fans would already be too invested in the show to give up now. Unfortunately, they need to be the “bi” back in “bishounen”. Nowhere is this more needed than the ending. Unlike the high quality endings of the first two seasons, Maji LOVE Revolutions heavily implements CG. It’s not good CG; it’s like an animator quickly fired up MMD (MikuMiku Dance), stuck the guys in there, and called it done. It is painfully obvious when the dance sequence switches from 2D to 3D. I’m not a fan of CG characters, and I am definitely not a fan when it clashes with the rest of the show. It’s not very good as an ending visual, and it’s not good when the dance is actually used in the show. Very disappointing.
The subtitle script reads much like the previous seasons. Eastern name order is kept. Shining’s random and/or broken English is pretty much ignored. (ME wished it showed off morrrrre of his crazy style desu YO.) Reiji’s speech quirks (“mengo” instead of “gomen”) are also skipped, which I probably would have adapted as “rysor rysor” (or wrote it as “ry-sor ry-sor”), but his “kouhai-chan” is adapted as “kiddo”. It’s a respectable choice, but one that would be awkward in the games All Star and All Star After Secret. There is at least one significant error: in episode 7, Ranmaru says something like, “Oyaji brought me to the agency.” “Oyaji” is a slangy term for father or old man. The translator assumed Ranmaru meant his father, but this is what he calls Shining. It’s something one wouldn’t know without playing the games, but viewers might be confused if a future episode dives into Ranmaru’s family background. As usual, openings and endings are not subtitled; this is most notable in episode 12 when the ending is replaced with a performance but the lyrics just cut off.
Despite the lackluster visuals in this season, Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji LOVE Revolutions continues to feature good-looking guys, humor, and wonderful music. The ST☆RISH episodes do not feature much romance, but the QUARTET NIGHT ones do a good job of believably expanding her harem.
Sentai Filmworks, who released the first two seasons on DVD and Blu-ray, has already licensed this series for home video. I’ll be picking up the set.
I do hope they can include the “missing” episode 14 from last season. A special Christmas episode was included in the Japanese release of Maji LOVE 2000%, but the US set did not include it. It would make a wonderful bonus feature, so make sure to request it!