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File:Uta kata 02 04.jpg

Manatsu & Ichika

Ichika Tachibana is an ordinary 14-year old girl who one day finds that her mobile phone wound up on the other side of a huge mirror at school. When she tries to retrieve it, she sees another girl inside the mirror, who promptly exits it. This girl, Manatsu, promises to take care of her for the summer holiday, as long as Ichika does her "homework" for her.

Being Ichika's reflection and representation of a part of her, Manatsu has some outward semblance to Ichika and shares some of her fears and likes, but is more outspoken and a lot less serious. Ichika takes her home and finds that her parents are strangely willing to accept this girl in their house.

In the following weeks strange things happen related to the yin-yang shaped charm that Ichika received from Sei, one of her homework tutors. Through this charm she can summon spirits that represent various earth elements (called Djinn), so she can see the world through their eyes – which, incidentally, is the "homework" that Manatsu is supposed to do.

This thrills her immensely at first, but the more she uses this power the more she finds that it comes with a high cost, since she starts seeing herself and the world in an increasingly negative light. Ichika also appears to have had dreams about Manatsu for most of her life, but she can't quite remember what she tried to say to her.

Uta Kata starts out as a seemingly ordinary Magical Girl show, but fairly quickly shifts toward a much more serious tone, when Ichika faces some big issues regarding the use of her powers and how they affect her and her surroundings. The 12-episode anime, broadcasted in 2004, had quite an ambigious ending that left some questions unanswered. The DVD-release contained an extra OVA episode in an attempt to bring some more closure to the story. The character designs and animation style are hallmarks of gímik, a creative threesome consisting of director Keiji Gotoh, character designer Megumi Kadonosono and screenwriter Hidefumi Kimura, who are perhaps better known for their work on Kiddy Grade and Kiddy Girl-and.

Of special note is the fact that all of the costumes that Ichika transforms into (twelve of them - one for each episode) have been designed by different artists, known for their work on other manga, anime or figurines. Also notable is the attention to the beautiful scenery of real-life Kamakura, especially used to great effect in the beach scenes.

In August 2010, six years after its original Japanese broadcast, Section 23 Films announced a North American release of the series. And the Fandom Rejoiced.


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