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Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen – 09 »« Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen – 07

Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen – 08

「帝都捕物帳」 (Teito Torimono-chou)
“Imperial Capital Detective Stories”

Still searching. Still aimless. Still a bit of a mess.

Abruptly

A lot of elements felt abrupt in this episode. The mission that Haku, Atui, and Ukon were on, for one, but that’s a good kind of abrupt—instead of wasting time with lead-up, they just tossed us straight into the action. But what the hell is with Atui’s floating pet thing? We also weren’t ever made aware that she was apparently a badass in combat even though she’s an ojou-sama, though I suppose the OP revealed that well enough. The entire introduction of Dekoponpo (Ookawa Tooru) as an antagonist was abrupt as well, though viewers of the original series shouldn’t be surprised, since he shares a seiyuu with Inkara. Nosuri and Ougi also suddenly returned, though no one should be surprised that happened. More upsetting was how the episode ended without finding out whether Ukon got Dekoponpo on corruption charges. Er, what the hell?

“What would you say … you DO here?”

This was a strange episode, inhibiting some nether realm between filler and plot. I can’t quite call it filler because it seemed design to delve into Ukon’s past and motivations, and because it’s tying more of the principle character in Yamato into the plot. Yet the whole plot—get Dekoponpo on corruption charges—felt token and unimportant. It’s probably a good rule of thumb that, outside of legal thrillers and cop shows, if the plot of your episode has to do with corruption charges, there better at least be hookers and blow for miles to make up for such a boring-ass plot. We got giant bugs and half-naked men. Suddenly, I’m watching Mushibugyou. That’s not bad if I’m planning to watch Mushibugyou—Enzocchi told me the anime ended up being quite good—but it’s confusing to get it when I was looking for Utawarerumono.

Cryptic Episode Epilogue

The real interesting tidbits came in the post-ED episode epilogue, where this season’s twins led Haku to a mysterious old man. My initial guess was that he’s the emperor, though his ‘stache doesn’t quite match the ‘stache a few episodes back, so maybe not. He’s got a ritzy place and some talented helpers, that’s for sure. I just wish Itsuwari no Kamen wouldn’t keep dribbling out these tantalizing hints like a stingy man dolling out nickels for soda pop. No one gets excited about a single soda. We want to hit up the fountain, daddy-o, don’t be so square.

That paragraph got weird at the end.

Original Utawarerumono Marathon Update (through episode thirteen): No change. I switched up my morning routine, and it killed my morning anime. I’m falling behind on everything again ;_;

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Almost filler, but not quite. Only the last few minutes contained a tantalizing glimpse at … something #utawrerumono s2e8

Random thoughts:

  • I appreciated some of the small details in this episode, like how Atui and Haku weren’t bothered by the fighting insects. It’s a modern sensibility to look down upon cockfighting and dog baiting and the like—people from a society like theirs probably shouldn’t have a moral objection to pitting animals against one another for their gambling pleasure.
  • Sounds like Ukon considers the Ukon persona to be the real him. Cool. I can continue calling him Ukon, then. My preexisting decision has been ratified.
  • Of course she got covered in a sticky white liquid. Of course. (Gross.)
  • The bromance is all right, but not enough Kuon. You can have your half-naked men, as long as I get my Kuon. *bangs table* Kuon!

My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel novella. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Stephen, what is best in life?, It depends, Momentum & mental space, and The best content is in email

 

Preview

November 21, 2015 at 9:08 pm
48 comments »
  • November 21, 2015 at 9:25 pmsky_nite

    Hmmm anyone else noticed the old man at the end had human ears? =D

    • November 22, 2015 at 12:09 amStilts

      Oh, shit. Good catch. I totally missed that. Hmm…

    • November 22, 2015 at 3:55 amWorldwideDepp

      Did i saw an Tail on Haku, when he was only wearing his underwear?

      • November 22, 2015 at 5:32 amboingman

        My first reaction was the same until I noticed that those were his clothes. :D

    • November 22, 2015 at 6:59 amAex

      He also seems to live in the crazy teal structure, which makes me wonder if it acts as some sort of shield or filter. Maybe even the key to the emperor living so long?

    • November 22, 2015 at 10:39 pmhaseo0408

      I hope this development helps get the story on track, the show is good but it feels it´s taking its sweet time to get to the main plot just because it has 24 episodes.

      P.S.: that old man sure is mistery, a human of the old humanity alive? the first Utawarerumono made it very clear that the old humanity is long gone, Iceman made danm sure of that.

  • November 21, 2015 at 10:28 pmWanderer

    http://randomc.net/image/Utawarerumono/Utawarerumono%20Itsuwari%20no%20Kamen%20-%2008%20-%20Large%20Preview%2002.jpg
    …AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!

    Is that… but then… surely it can’t… it would be too much of a coincidence… but it looks just like… AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!

    • November 21, 2015 at 10:54 pmCroos

      AHHHHHHHHHH!

    • November 22, 2015 at 12:10 amStilts

      UNMARKED SPOILERS WILL BE MET WITH DESTRUCTION!!

      Show Spoiler ▼

      • November 22, 2015 at 12:45 amWanderer

        If I changed my “Aaahhh” to “squeeee!” would that make my reaction clearer? The emotions involved are pretty much the same.

        I’ll put this bit in spoiler tags because you used them first, but all I’m actually saying is stuff from this series, which you’ve already seen… Show Spoiler ▼

      • November 22, 2015 at 3:39 amHanabira.Kage

        The hairstyle of the person in front should also be pretty familiar if you’ve watched/played the original.

    • November 22, 2015 at 5:34 amboingman

      Time for some Miyuki Sawashiro? :)

  • November 21, 2015 at 11:07 pmGoodwill Wright

    Contrary to the previous episodes, am I the only one who felt this one was rushed by comparison?

  • November 21, 2015 at 11:10 pmSeracen

    Remember when it was remarked that this was inefficient story telling? Yeah…

    It wouldn’t be so bad if I was expecting slice of life, but Utawarerumono’s original season (and games) forged their way into my toplist, in regards to anime stories and expectation (although whether top 10 or 20 changes on mood).

    So I’ve been somewhat underwhelmed and disappointed in this series. It serves as a testament to the lore and the rich characters that I’m still bothering with this, because I’d have dropped any other show by now (and have done so before, on even the much-lauded Gurren Lagann). Generally, if it takes this many episodes to “get good,” you’ve both wasted your potential and my time.

    Still going to tough this out, because it’s still created moments of pure interest; but it’s disheartening to see what I considered one of my cornerstone anime come to this. Heaven help if the show ends in some other manner than utterly immaculate, or I will forever begrudge the wasted time at the start, and remember the show all the more harshly for it!

    • November 22, 2015 at 12:12 amStilts

      Wait … you dropped Gurren Lagann?

      Get out.

      • November 22, 2015 at 12:13 amStilts

        (I’m mostly joking, I can see how it could not jive with someone’s taste, it’s not for everybody, and the fourth episode is notably shifty, but maaaaaaaan such a good series maaaaaaaaaaaaaan!)

      • November 22, 2015 at 1:06 amIzaak

        I gave Gurren Lagann the 3-episode rule, and I also gave its season’s rival Heroic Age the 3-episode rule. In those 3 episodes Heroic Age impressed me more than Gurren Lagann did. You should try watching it honestly.

      • November 25, 2015 at 3:57 amSeracen

        Haha, I was off in the land of Fallout 4, so apologies.

        Yeah, I enjoyed the hell out of Heroic Age right off the bat. Gurren Lagann, not so much. People keep telling me it gets really good after whatever point I invariably drop it at. Thus far, I have tried starting the series 3 times, and always lost patience right before the supposed twist (which I know, but can’t even recall why it was important, as the characters failed to leave an impression upon me).

        In all honesty, I feel this was mostly a result of everyone under the sun telling me how great the show was. Thus, when I finally got around to watching it, and it ended up NOT being the 2nd Coming, I was less than enthused. I still intend to watch it one of these days, haha!

        But that just goes to show how much I value a central plot. I always argue that I prefer Outlaw Star to Cowboy Bebop (even though I love both), simply because of the larger presence of a central story. It’s also why I never could get into a slice-of-life anime. Anything other than an epic and sweeping central story seems like a waste of a season to me.

        Not saying I can’t enjoy stuff outside of that box, just that it has to work harder to engage me. Utawarerumono’s original season did that immediately, less so this particular iteration (sadly).

  • November 21, 2015 at 11:47 pmIzaak

    Don’t forget the mysterious old man is the only other “True Human” we’ve seen so far in this series aside from Haku.

  • November 22, 2015 at 12:04 amNB

    Anybody else notice that Mikazuchi and this guy have very similar features?

  • November 22, 2015 at 12:52 amzztop

    Haku’s ahoge is so prominent, it needs its own personality. Maybe it should constantly react to Haku’s mood?

  • November 22, 2015 at 1:46 amRedRocket

    Yep a bit a jaring transition but I liked it.

    Many insects have white goo interiors this real fact was used and abused ;)

    Yep this is not a stand alone as the long build up is best served after the first series as a soft movement. I think this story would also work without any promo’s and a less action OP if you had not seen the first series, you would just think it a slice of life with a little bit of action, although I’m absently sure this will ramp up to major action. But with action previews and OP it does not set the right mood for watching.

    Reminds me of Cartoon Networks Toonomi mistake of showing the comedy spin off of Tenchi Muyo! All these people thinking they were in for a serious action show went into major rants on all the errors of a action show clearly showing they did not get the comedy because they were thinking it was something else. Me having read up on it first loved it as I knew it was a comedy going in so the rule of funny was going full blast. Still probably best to never show a comedy spin off with out showing the more serious main story first. Maybe sort of the error here also a repeat of the first series might be better to draw folks to this.

  • November 22, 2015 at 2:51 amSaburau

    Maybe this Deko guy is related with Inkara after all. At least the way he talks, “nyamo” stuff is EXACTLY the same as Inkara.

  • November 22, 2015 at 2:55 ambluesjohnClo

    A question for those of you who have already played the first game and/or watch the 1st series anime.

    - When does exactly the setting of the 2nd series takes place? (official answer)
    Some people say 16-20yrs after the first game while others say its only 9 or so years.

    Does anyone know the answer and if yes, you could pt out your source(whether the Japanese official site tell you so or in the 2nd game story dialogue itself say so).

    • November 22, 2015 at 3:51 amHanabira.Kage

      It can’t be around 9 years, since that would mean Kuon’s around 9 years old, which is clearly not the case.

  • November 22, 2015 at 3:54 amWorldwideDepp

    @Stilts

    it’s a bit Offtopic, but perhaps it can help others here, to understand that not every Episode can be just full of Action:

    https://youtu.be/X42rXmEQcBE?t=741 (62-65)

    • November 22, 2015 at 11:15 amStilts

      Aye, I’m well aware that all action is nothing but noise. I’ve made that mistake in my own writing, tbh.

  • November 22, 2015 at 6:18 amCroos

    Anyway Stilts, any idea on how she declared that they had enough evidence to prove that Dekoponpo was a corrupt general?
    http://randomc.net/image/Utawarerumono/Utawarerumono%20Itsuwari%20no%20Kamen%20-%2008%20-%20Large%2019.jpg

    • November 22, 2015 at 6:46 amAex

      Most random part of the episode, just before the floating tentacool’s non-introduction.

    • November 22, 2015 at 7:09 amboingman

      Good question, I didn’t get that part either. What does that piece of paper that she’s showing mean?

      • November 22, 2015 at 6:47 pmIncest Emblem

        She’s holding a stack of paper. Presumably, what we saw was only the cover page. It would not be at all surprising for him to have incriminating documents lying around–orders to get the bugs and invitations, for example.

    • November 22, 2015 at 11:03 amStilts

      I just assumed those were incriminating documents they swiped from his desk. Didn’t think too much explanation was required on that one.

    • November 22, 2015 at 7:49 pmSnooSnoo

      They jumped into the river after that……

  • November 22, 2015 at 6:43 amAex

    The epilogue is totally inside the crazy teal structure made out of holy things. This has promise.

    My personal guess is that the old man at least is related to Show Spoiler ▼

    And considering the next episode’s title, I don’t see how that shadow couldn’t be who everyone expects.

    • November 22, 2015 at 8:20 amWorldwideDepp

      my guess about the Old Men..
      Show Spoiler ▼

      • November 23, 2015 at 8:38 amKoji

        This seems a likely guess since he said he can’t go outside (though he used his age as the reason).

        It still bothers me a little how no one seems to notice Haku’s ears and lack of tail… I mean with Hakurou you at least had something more prominent to take notice of (the mask).

  • November 22, 2015 at 10:23 amRiktol

    For me, the biggest suprise of the episode was the way the bad guy didn’t casually execute his subordinates for failing. And the old guy with the human ears.

  • November 22, 2015 at 10:42 amYuu

    I’m guessing they are working with Ukon and did it just to save Haku

  • November 22, 2015 at 3:10 pmwandering-dreamer

    “More upsetting was how the episode ended without finding out whether Ukon got Dekoponpo on corruption charges.” I had a weird thought on this one, the bird siblings helped out Ukon with the thieves before so maybe they were Ukon’s backup-backup plan and they’ll deliver the documents to him? Otherwise I can’t guess why plain old thieves want to show that a random noble is corrupt.

    And so glad I am not confused by the floating pet thing, was this a creature from the first show or???

    • November 22, 2015 at 4:06 pmStilts

      I was assuming Ukon hired them, until he referred to the General of the Left as his back-up plan, and didn’t mention the thieves. So maybe they were being paid by someone else. All very odd.

      • November 23, 2015 at 6:10 pmwandering-dreamer

        Well, since he said that the General of the Left was Oshutoru’s back-up plan, maybe the thieves were “Ukon’s” back-up plan? (I was also really amused for some reason that even Haku had a back-up plan this episode, “okay can you guys be like, nearby on the beach just in case? Because I really expect this to go badly”)

  • November 22, 2015 at 7:00 pmIncest Emblem

    We also weren’t ever made aware that she was apparently a badass in combat even though she’s an ojou-sama

    I think this was a case of “we missed the hints that suggested she was a good fighter”. In her introductory episode (ep 5), she nonchalantly pushed Haku out of the way of the arrows twice, and in the second instance, she had no warning and wasn’t really paying attention to that direction.

    At first, I thought it was because she was the assailant’s friend and knew his habits, but that turned out not to be the case: Kiuru was Oshutoru’s subordinate, and she didn’t know him. Then I dismissed her nonchalance as part of her weirdness, but that didn’t make sense, because it didn’t explain why she was able to notice the attacks and react in time in the first place.

    I think these were sufficient to suggest that she had good martial training.

    • November 22, 2015 at 7:07 pmStilts

      Actually, those are good points. Probably it’s partially that, though I think those were perhaps a bit too subtle. Perhaps a third hint would have tied it all together better before she suddenly started wrecking bug face.

      • November 22, 2015 at 9:33 pmIncest Emblem

        True, a followup hint would’ve made it better. Actually, I only managed to piece the hints together–and in hindsight after watching this episode–because I mis-remembered the start of episode 7: I thought Atui was acting as Rurutie’s guardian when they went shopping together (which would be consistent with Rurutie asking Atui’s permission to go into the book store), but it turned out that Rurutie asked her because she was afraid to go into the city by herself.

  • November 24, 2015 at 12:42 amewok40k

    ok it seems were about to approach the elephant in the room: true identity of “Haku”

  • November 24, 2015 at 3:45 amkageKun

    After 6 episodes of slice-of-life, I’m really hoping that there’ll be action for the protagonists. Because really, the slice-of-life genre just brings out the worst in Haku; he’s shown that he’s lazy, whiny, greedy and selfish throughout his time in the capital, although he does come through for plot’s sake in the end.

    Not saying he’s that kind of person at his core, just that his general attitude and conduct during the time in the capital came off as generally unpleasant. It’s only in crisises that he shows his good side, outsmarting his opponents and all.

  • November 24, 2015 at 12:41 pmTarage

    Am I the only one who thinks Haku is an amazing protagonist? He gives so few fucks about so many things, and subverts almost every main protagonist trope possible. It’s incredibly refreshing.

    Lackluster plot or not, I watch Uta for Haku and Kuon.

  • November 24, 2015 at 10:08 pmdaikama

    I think this show is still struggling a bit. It’s like it’s not sure what it wants to be, or perhaps is trying to be too many things at once. It tries to be both serious and funny, but IMO neither worked well this episode – and that’s not the first time this season either. It’s an execution issue. Usual comedy is subjective statement. With that out of the way, in large part, the comedy still is not working for me, and the integration with “serious” is still off. Am I supposed to take the battle with the escaped insects seriously at all, because Atui’s “Teehee~ I broke the ship” doesn’t help. Wasn’t funny either. She did have one good line about the men present being “consolation prizes”, but for me that was her sole contribution to this episode. Agree with Stilts, her pet flying… jellyfish… squid…. thing was kind of random/out of place. Minor issue, but still…

    There were a couple WTF moments for me during the supposed secret mission. Hey sure, let’s have a drink and talk about said secret mission in a restricted area we entered by knocking out the guards (who Ukon kindly removed his mask before so they could ID him later if they survived) and leaving them by their post. Surely there’s no possibility that anyone would walk by there – say other guards to replace the watch or something. >_> In general, for a secret mission, the cast didn’t seem to take it very seriously except Ukon who takes it too seriously, then does a 180 in attitude at the end. “Eh, it will work out”? O.o Remember the siblings from Ep. 03? Well, they showed up for another 30 seconds to announce the got the incriminating papers then promptly left. Uh… thanks for letting us know?

    The same ‘ol issue of plodding pacing/plot advancement remains. I thought it was “inefficient” before and still do. OK, there’s some character background for Ukon, but it boils down to “I wanted to be like dad” and I guess “I hate giant insects”. The latter for sure is no revelation. Perhaps a tiny bit of context/world-building. Same old thing. Viewers gets tidbits each episode, some of which are just kind of there.

    This is NOT an “lack of action” issue for me. It’s an overall presentation issue which is starting to become frustrating. I’m fine with SoL. Wouldn’t like Spice and Wolf so much if I was all about action. Like comedy as well. To be fair, I’d think more highly of the show if I LOL’s constantly at the comedy, but I’m not. Frankly, I think I had more LOL worthy comedy moments at this point in the original series – “action oriented” as it was. At least we got something of note in the epilogue.

    Seems like next episode will play the nostalgia card, again. That’s fine, but there are diminishing returns with that ploy unless you plan to go beyond cameos with the old cast.