Holographs, Magic Arabs, and Norio Wakamoto.
Well, someone on the staff sure is a smart one, because UtaPri 2000% seems to have figured out that UtaPri is at its best when it is at its most camped out and over-the-top. This episode was pretty much brilliant, as it featured Norio Wakamoto hamming the hell out of things, as well as just general cheesy foolishness. I just hope it can keep up with that.
In this episode, Haruka’s Magic Arab, a.k.a. Cecil, makes an appearance as something other than a dream. He reads everyone’s personality and fortunes just by looking at their eyes, states that he just wants to be by Haruka’s side, is terrified of water (and fish!), and comes from a family that has served the Goddess of Music and/or the Muses for yearsssss. So, yeah, Magic Arab, folks. Of course, the first item pisses off all the other guys, while his apparent arrogance pisses off Camus, who makes his entrance in a cloud of holographic snow flakes, and this all culminates in a weird game of karuta involving round cards the size of… something much larger than regular karuta cards. Its newcomer Cecil versus the STARISH boys, complete with some “hee hee, look at the foreigner thinking he can Japanese good!” gags.
Shining Saotome got a delightful amount of screentime this time around, as he prances and rolls r’s like no one’s business, dragging poor Ringo-sensei into his karuta card making process. And it is, of course, always great to spend some time with Ringo-sensei; I really liked his outfit here. Speaking of outfits, I also really liked Haruka’s as well – it was pretty cute! I want that skirt!
Having seen Camus in action, I can understand why folks love him; he’s a pompous jerk, but he’s so puffed-up that its funny as opposed to grating, particularly as Cecil is utterly nonplussed with his act. (SHIP?)
The fact that idols aren’t allowed to date is re-visited here. I’m fascinated with the fact that the male idols of UtaPri are constrained by this, as it is typically something we’re aware of as being a matter that female idols must deal with. Here it just works as a plot complication – oh noes, dating isn’t allowed! But all the boys loooove Haruka! Eeeeek, drama!!! – but I still find it intriguing nonetheless. But as a study in female gaze, UtaPri is generally intriguing, even as it isn’t wholly indicative of what dem ladies want. Perhaps most interesting is the ED – notice when the crowd cheers loudest: when the boys shake their hips, when they behave homoerotically, and when they shake their butts at the camera. Hmmmmm…!