「帝都への道」 (Teito e no Michi)
“The Road to the Capital”
Battle Bird, attack!
Harem Party is Large & Varied
If you told me, at the beginning of the episode, that the star would end up being the non-talking pack-bird Kokopo, I would have said that you had my attention. I wouldn’t have believed you, but an episode with a surprisingly large part for a pack animal is something we don’t often see. Lo and behold, that’s what we got! When Kokopo started out talking, but its mouth wasn’t moving, I assumed it was something like what ended up happening. But then why did the bird blush? It crushing on Haku, feuding with Mororo (who is also crushing on Haku, apparently), and saving the day was not what I expected! It was funny though, so I enjoyed it. Well played, Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen. Well played.
Aside from just the bird, Haku’s harem—er, party (they might be synonymous) is growing quickly. About the only criticism I have of this show is that people (and birds) seem to glom onto Haku too fast. Kuon, Ukon, and even Mororo all made sense, but Kokopo and princess Rurutie (Kakuma Ai) seemed to take a shine to him oddly quick. (And strangely enough, it’s only the princess that bothers me, because c’mon … Kokopo is a bird.) Either way, Haku’s adventuring party is growing fast.
“I see it now.”
I always appreciate when tropes are dodged, since anime as a genre seems so in love with many of them, especially when it comes to anything of an even slightly sexual nature. That’s why I enjoyed everything surrounding the bath scene. Kuon tells Haku not to peek—and he shows absolutely no inclination to do so. Which is uncommon in anime, but that’s how it should be! Peeking is rude and invasive. It’s a violation of the involved women’s right to show their body only to the degree (and to the people) they choose. That should be respected! And Haku does. *slow clap* *throws confetti* *wishes this wasn’t so rare*
Fortunately, and for once, a good deed goes rewarded, because after Kuon chases after the peeper, we get the hilarious, “I see it now” scene! And Kuon didn’t get unjustifiably mad at him! Tropes dodged, and we still got the funny, lightly ecchi shenanigans. A round of applause for Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen. Drinks are on me!
Related, but on the darker side of human sexuality: Rape. It’s to the story’s credit that it didn’t ignore the implications of its setting, and had the bandits treat women as things to be taken, used, and let’s not put too fine a point on it, raped. I’m glad that there was also someone nearby to stop them, both times, but it wouldn’t make much sense if that wasn’t an issue. Hopefully it continues to not be a reality for our heroes.
Ukon’s Master Stroke
Turns out, Ukon isn’t such a bad strategist himself. I actually thought this would be an episode focused on recruiting Nosuri (Yamamoto Nozomi) and her brother Ougi (Sakurai Takahiro), so I’m surprised that didn’t come about. But the ‘ol Trojan Carts is a solid strategy for rooting out some bandits.
Also, hearkening back to my Heavy Object 03 post just yesterday, when the rapey bandit and his fellows came out of the secret passage right next to Haku & co, that’s the kind of convenient storytelling that is good, in that it’s bad for the protagonists. I do think that Ukon should have left a swordsman or two around—they were protecting a princess, after all, and Haku isn’t a hardened warrior. But the whole thing was saved by the absurdity of Kokopo saving the day, and the expected (but still hilarious) gag of Mororo getting knocked the hell out mid-spellcasting. That’s why finger wigglers stand in the back, Mororo.
Looking Ahead – To the Capital!
I really need to start my marathon of the original series (I’ll take “Things Stilts will probably be saying all season and never get to,” for $400 Alex), because this guy looks suspicious. Or perhaps auspicious. He’s set opposite Haku in the OP, and for a time I even thought they were the same guy (minus Haku’s ahoge). So I’ll reiterate: If there’s something I’m missing because I haven’t seen the original yet, mark your dang spoilers! I don’t want to know yet. I’ll get there soon *tsuuuun*
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – It’s princesses, bandits, & expanding harems this week. The star: Kokopo, the pack animal/battle bird. Wait, what? #utawarerumono s2e3
- Another fantastic tail has appeared!
- “I think friendship between men is a wonderful thing.” And a yaoi shipper? The preview seems to think so. Oh my. In Utawarerumono, all shipping fandoms will be covered.
- Haku’s harem is large and varied already. A princess, a noble spellcaster, a bird, a Kuon. Definitely go with the Kuon. Not even a contest.
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: The best content is in email, My morning routine, True Ends, and Rejection, the secret place, & fundamentals