Last time in Uta-Pri, Cheery Nice Guy Otoya and Weirdo Glasses Guy Natsuki/Satsuki (oh, did I forget to mention that he has a split personality with another name? yeah, that’s a thing) performed in a boring play and sang a boring song. While better than the first two episodes, “Emotional Life” failed to push the boundaries like other Uta-Pri episodes. Disappointments aside, I went into “Innocent Wind” with high hopes. Can’t go four episodes without something big happening, right?
“Innocent Wind” threw me for a loop by not actually focusing on STARISH. Instead, we zero in on QUARTET NIGHT’S Ai Mikaze. Joined by Syo, Natsuki and Haruka, he is filming what looks to be a historical European drama. Cold, calculating Ai is having trouble understanding the emotion behind the line “Thank you for being by my side.” The guy’s notorious for being a cold, calculating weirdo – like a robot, pretty much – so it’s to be expecd. Being the perfectionist of QUARTET NIGHT, he spends hours practicing in the rain. . . because anime, to the point of sickness and collapse. Haruka and the gang find him and. . .
. . . yes. . . YES. SWEET MOTHER OF SHINJI, FINALLY! The spirit of Uta-Pri has returned! Ai is an idol-robot, created by Saotome to be the embodiment of star power. Using the calculations, formulas and deductions programmed in his A.I. (get it? his name is Ai. A.I. HAHAHA), he’s supposed to be perfect, but it looks like Saotome didn’t account for his little creation wanting to understand the deeper intricacies of Homo sapien feelings (you’d think mad scientists would consider it by now, eh?).
I’d give “Innocent Wind” a 10 out of 10 just for that revelation, but alas, honest journalism. Though considering the quality of the entire episode like a good anime reviewer, I’m actually quite pleased. Of all of the QUARTET NIGHT members, Ai always seemed the most frustratingly wasted. While Reiji, Ranmaru and Camus are just as paper thin, Ai always seemed an unnecessary, unattached background character.
Maji Love 2000%’s finale saw a teeny bit of change: some contrived breaking from his shell as he struggled to understand his admiration towards STARISH. Now, we realize it’s because he’s a goddamn robot and cannot understand human emotions. I’ve seen this plot before. You, reader, have probably seen this plot before. It’s been done countless times over in various genres, of course, yet I don’t find myself hating it here. Perhaps because, Ai’s transformation is faint. Haruka, Syo and Natsuki offer him help throughout the episode, and Ai does the “ahh, I see, so this is human love” monologue, yet he’s largely still an emotionless prick at the episode’s end. Haruka’s involvement isn’t revolutionary. If anything, the importance of the three is stressed equally. Unlike past Uta-Pri episodes, it doesn’t feel like Haruka must change the guys world in twenty minutes, and it’s quite refreshing. It actually seems just like a small anecdote out of a larger otome game.
Despite a few plot holes here and there, I can confidently give “Innocent Wind” an 8 out of 10. Ai being a robot fits perfectly in a show where ancient princes transform into cats and a young woman’s music gives people orgasms a la Shokugeki no Soma. Finally, the episodic, titular song is the best this season, showcasing this underused character’s admittedly sweet voice. Keep up the good work, Uta Pri!
Uta no Prince-Sama Maji Love Revolutions streams on Saturdays at 12:30 CDT for Crunchyroll Premium members.