Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen – 09

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It’s with a semi-heavy heart that I bid adieu to perhaps the strangest Fall show I’m watching. Its episodes are usually fairly fun, but has lacked substance and cohesion. The show’s M.O. is to introduce two or more new cute female characters per week, and the show has gotten very crowded and unfocused as a result.

This week it’s two of Kuon’s “sisters” from her homeland, who baby her like a couple of mother hens. Their treatment of her is over-the-top to the point of incredulity, and we’re talking a show were almost everyone has tails and fuzzy ears. I will say I liked the little mini-arc the Big bird and tiger had, but it’s all just so darned random.

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Random, but at the same time, very workaday. Much of this show has been Kuon and Haku eating and bathing while encountering the new characters of the week, many of whom have stuck around, leading to a huge entourage of people, many of them princesses.

It was  also nice to have Haku inadvertently demonstrate how well he’s come to know Kuon by visiting all of her usual haunts, and going somewhere he knew she’d never go (the BL bookstore) only to find her hiding there. But it’s not much we haven’t seen before, and nothing that reignited an interest in continuing the show for a whole second cour. As you can see, I can barely scrape together 250 words about it. That’s when you know it’s time to say sayonara.

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

2 thoughts on “Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen – 09”

  1. The thing with Utawarerumono is that it’s following the pacing of its source visual novel game, starting slow with emphasis on slice-of-life and then suddenly! the main Plot kicks in!

    The reason to do this is two-fold: doing a lot of slice-of-life (effectively character development first) makes the later drama more effective (cashing the development investment, so to speak), and the drama also has a stronger initial impression if it ‘surprises’ the reader (not in that the reader did not expect something was coming, but how it comes). And, I’ve heard source gameplayers say the later plot and drama will be hard-hitting and heartbreaking.

    Of course, the self-pacing formula where that the reader can blow through a lot of material at a time as they desire doesn’t work to the rigid weekly schedules of anime.

    Currently, the anime’s setting up all the characters and pieces on the chessboard, the real game should kick in soon. Kuon’s adoptive sisters are returning characters from the 1st game, which would appeal more to source game players.

    For your case, I’d suggest dropping for now, but be sure to speedwatch again once the plot has progressed significantly (probably around February, the 25-ep run means the anime should end in March.)

    And, Utawarerumono 3’s been confirmed for 21 Sept 2016. Fingers crossed for an anime then.

    1. Of course, the self-pacing formula where that the reader can blow through a lot of material at a time as they desire doesn’t work to the rigid weekly schedules of anime.

      And there, unfortunately, is the problem. For me, if a once-weekly anime adaptation of a visual novel retains the VN’s pacing, it’s not really a full adaptation. It’s just a VN they decided to air on TV.

      Front-loading anime with character development is a good idea and often effective, but it’s taken to an untenable extreme in Utawarerumono: at the cost of any kind of coherent plot. With no drama in the first nine episodes, I feel like I’m just watching a lightweight fantasy slice-of-life, that doesn’t really make me want to keep watching for the eventuality an interesting PLOT will come around.

      Basically, and I’m starting to be more like Oigakkosan on this point, if someone says “Just wait (such-and-such) episodes, it will pick up!” generally translates as “drop” to me. Don’t get me wrong, there have definitely been exceptions; shows that started slow but got far more engaging, but the other fact of the matter is that while I like Kuon, I’m not that enamored with Haku, and I can take or leave the rest of the multitudes of characters the show has introduced.

      There are many many shows out there from season to season. Utawarerumono instantly hooked me early on, but its insistence on delaying the plot until later simply lost me as a viewer, and I don’t have any investment in the franchise. I think it’s just time to move on. But if I have a window of time down the road, I may at least give the remaining four episodes of this cour a look. I thank you for your thorough explanation of the structure, though.

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