「海賊娘」 (Kaizoku Musume)
“The Pirate”

Two more characters have joined the party.

Character Introduction Episode, Again

This was another character introduction episode. The first introduction: Atui (Hara Yumi), the Kansai-ben speaking princess who’s in love with love (and the falling thereof). The second: Kiuru (Murase Ayumu), the overly-formal (and a little baka) archer in Oshutoru’s employ. Both of them are promising characters. I liked how Atui didn’t seem to fall completely in love with Haku, though her moving in next door would seem to indicate she has. But at least she wasn’t as head-over-heels with it as Rurutie was. It’s more that Atui is signaling interest, and during the date she was getting swept up in the moment, which fits what we’ve learned about her. As for Kiuru, he’s mostly just a change from the endless parade of possible haremettes, plus I laughed at his fumble with the mask.

My complaint is that we keep getting these episodes that are clearly designed to introduce specific characters, and nothing more. They’re not being written to entertain or to further the plot. The to-do list is “1: Introduce Atui. 2: Introduce Kiuru. 3: Wank and a nap.” Which is not the preferred method of storytelling! There’s a saying that goes, “life happens when you least expect it,” and that’s how storytelling is as well. Introductions and character development should happen while the rest of the story is happening, not in a vacuum. If it’s something that has to be done before the story can proceed, then at least get it all done in a rush. Five episodes in, I do expect more movement than we’re getting, even if the series has two-cour to work with. It’s not about having the time. It’s about needing to earn our attention each and every week, and while building up for a punch is a legitimate strategy, you’ve got to give us something in the meantime. Without even a concept of what that punch might be, we’re hoping for greatness based on a name, and hope will only take us so far.

Haku the Righteous [Odd-Job] Man

If anything hints at the plot, it’s Ukon’s hiring of Haku and Kuon to be his secret agents. I’m just kidding, they’ve become members of their school’s the capital’s Sket Dan. They’re doing odd-jobs! Which, while admirable, and wise on Ukon’s part—if a bit small potatoes for a general, it must be said—isn’t particularly enthralling. Not all stories need to be about conflict and war, but there’s a reason a lot of stories are (even if the conflict is internal, or sports-based, or centered on love). It’s compelling, and odd-jobs aren’t particularly compelling (though 32 volumes/77 episodes of Sket Dance would seem to suggest they can be made so). So, uh … what are we doing here, fellows? And by fellows, I mean the staff and writers of Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen.

Looking Ahead – Let’s Get A Move On

If it sounds like I’m reaching for things to say, you’re right. Itsuwari no Kamen isn’t giving me a lot to work with right now. I like the slow build, I really do, but right now it doesn’t feel like we’re building. It feels like we’re not only laying down the foundation, but we’re getting every tool and raw material that’ll be needed for our story-house ready before we start. Which is all well and good, but you can get some of those tools when you need them, or hit up a home improvement store when you need some 2x4s and a box of nails! These are options, Itsuwari no Kamen. What I’m saying is, get on with it. It’s not that I’m not enjoying the show, but a successful franchise isn’t a signal that you can break the rules. You have to earn our attention, or that name will lose its luster.

Original Utawarerumono Marathon Update (through episode eight):

Show More ▼

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Say hello to Atui and Kiuru. That’s pretty much all that happened. That and shoujo sparkles! #utawarerumono s2e5

Random thoughts:

  • Isn’t it interesting how thick princesses are on the ground in our fiction? Not even princes can match it. That probably says something interesting about modern human society.
  • Kuon might not be interested in particular Haku right now, but she’s at least a little interested in all kinds of crazy things, ufufu~
  • It’s hard to find as good of a bromance as Haku & Ukon are developing. In anime or in real life. Highly suggested. See, anime? It doesn’t have to be all about harems.

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

Full-length images: 12, 29.




  1. Ugh, glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. I love good world/character building as the next person. However, after a certain point, I feel like the show is just wasting my time.

    It’s part of my frustration whenever I come across an anime that “gets good after 7 episodes.” It’s the same argument that folks told me to validate Final Fantasy 13: “it gets good after the first 30 hours!” LOL! Considering how often one-cours leave one feeling unsatisfied, it seems sort of a tragic waste to drag your feet with the storyline so much, even when you have a longer series.

    Still, the original series and games hooked me, and the universe is fun to revisit, even if this current iteration is running slow for my taste. I’m certain it’ll pick up. My main concern is that they have time to hit all the invariable plot points, considering how much time they are wasting early on.

  2. This is the first episode that genuinely felt slow to me. Everything else to this point felt like it worked, perhaps because it seemed that something else besides character introductions was happening as part of the process. However, this one was just “Hey, here’s two more characters. They aren’t as interesting as one of the very first characters you met, and they never will be, but we’ll devote pretty much this entire episode to them anyway.”

    Isn’t it interesting how thick princesses are on the ground in our fiction?
    I find it interesting just how thick princesses are on the ground in Haku’s party. It currently contains two Show Spoiler ▼

    , and good possibilities for the future.

    Next episode we neet the innkeeper. Glimpses so far lead me to give a high probability on the return of a character Stilts hasn’t met yet.

  3. I’m guessing the anime’s being faithful to the game’s progression, regardless whether this translates to good story flow like Stilts said in his review.

    Gameplayers can confirm the anime’s faithfulness to the game, but it is long. The tactical battles are fun, but you have to go through a LOT of dialogue to reach them.

    1. The game’s much slower.

      By the way Stilts

      They have 24 eps right? Maybe you’re not used to that many episodes for a show anymore?
      If you want an anime with an amazing friendship between male friends I’d recommend the Legend of the Legendary Heroes. Ryner and Sion are amazing and I think that show qualifies as a harem anime, though I can see where your harem fatigue comes from. They’re not adapting any of the actually good sources. You know… sources with both male and female characters but the main male is just such an awesome guy he garners respect and attention by going through his life.

      Stuff like:
      -Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi (wait it’s getting an anime XD) Cant fucking wait.
      -Clockwork Planet
      -Kure-Nai: A faithful adaptation

      Crap made a list. I’ve been giving recommendations all day today. I need to stop.

      Either way, thanks for staying objective in your review man. It’s always fun to read these after watching the show.

    2. In addition, I think the source game for Utawarerumono 2 will have no sex content, especially since it was made for PS3/PS4/PSVita.

      One thing I’ve noticed with Japanese ero-VNs made for the PC is that sexual content is removed/downplayed everytime the games are ported to a console in Japan. I’ve heard it’s because consoles are considered more mainstream and all ages, whilst PCs are for more private content and fetishes.
      The 1st game experienced the same fate, where the sex was taken out and replaced with “cuddling” during its port.

    3. @zztop

      Which is a pet peeve of mine. An adaptation shouldn’t be slavish to the original. If it’s too slow, figure out how to speed it up. Sure, they might fuck it up, but I’d like them to at least try (if they’ve hired a good enough writer to maybe pull it off).


      It has nothing to do with me not being used to slower stories. It has to do with what’s practically the only inviolable of storytelling. To quote Kurt Vonnegut:

      Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

      Which is subjective to a degree. I try to write exciting stories that people have hated, so I’m sure they thought I wasted their time. But when fans start feeling their time is being wasted, you’ve got a problem.

      A slow build in a longer story is great. But interesting things can happen while it’s building. 24 episodes means they should be able to pack A LOT of story into that time.

    4. My thoughts exactly. Near the end of the episode, my first thought was: Haku just got an Archer as a party member. Never really thought about something like that in the previous episodes. This episode really felt like a get new party members scene from an SLG.

  4. I like my does it well when he has to but would rather not Haku. Also love the change with him being nope I’m not falling for all you interesting women who keep falling on me.

    Yep it is awkward when they hit you with a slice of life when your expecting a action plot. As slice of life this episode was really great, wonderful background and culture, interesting quirky characters.

    To bad for Haku that somehow this culture has copied modern Japan not traditional Japan where all bath houses were co-ed. It is a wonder how a culture like the Japanese can be warped by a moral code they don’t even believe in with the western prudish attitude. And the conservatives wanting to enforce the culture of their generation even though they know that the vast majority of generations in the past disagree with them.

  5. Show Spoiler ▼

  6. I haven’t watched the original series(I should, but I have a test coming up :(), but I’m enjoying myself watching this so far. Nothing much is really happening and I’m hoping something interesting starts soon, but I like Kuon and Haku’s relationship enough that I can watch the show even if nothing is happening. Kiuru also seems pretty adorable (and he’s not another girl, yay).
    Part of the reason why I haven’t started the first series yet is because I’m enjoying this one so far, but many people seem to be disappointed. I think I would be too, if I had something to compare this season to. Should I start watching the original series soon? Or can I put it off for another few episodes?

    1. I do suggest watching the original series, but you can put it off another few episodes or even until this one is over. Doesn’t seem like you’ll need to watch the original to watch this one.

    2. @ZJZJ

      To be honest, it feels like a lot of people are disappointed in this one because they loved the original so much, and they don’t feel this meets their (likely sky-high) expectations.

      As someone who’s watching the original now, I can say that the original is (up to this point) probably better, but not so great that it’s ruining my enjoyment of this show. Any qualms I have with Itsuwari no Kamen are because of its own mistakes, not because it’s not the original redux.

  7. Yeah, I’m definitely starting to lose my patience as well. I very much preferred the storytelling method of the first season, really; at least there you had conflicts and story-tidbits inbetween the character(-introduction) episodes. In here, they just keep hamfistedly enlarging the cast without giving us a reason to care. A slow build is fine, but you’ve got to develop somethingin terms of plot to keep the viewer’s interest. This feels like freaking Prisma Illya 2wei Herz! all over again.

    C’mon, Utawarerumono, don’t let me down.

  8. Same issue as I had two episodes back, but perhaps worse since we are five episodes into this now. If nothing else, this show is consistent on that front. Slower pacing is fine. Same goes for world-building, etc. (I do like that), but if I had to describe this series in one word it would be “inefficient”. There’s not much “meat” in these episodes (Ep. 01 and perhaps Ep. 02 excluded). Here we had a couple characters introduced, more bath scenes, and a “hard work is great!” message. Honestly, this might have been the weakest episode so far IMO which is not a good trend.

    Again, I’m glad this isn’t hyper-fast paced like a lot of shows lately, but one can go too far the other way. Hate to say it, but the word “padding” is starting to come to mind. Perhaps this is 20 episodes worth of material required to be stretched out into 24. If this was some wacky comedy like D-Frag, then yeah, you can have a bunch of fun hijinks and faff around, but this isn’t that type of show. Agree with Stilts – “They’re not being written to entertain or to further the plot.”

    As for the new characters, IMO they fall squarely under “OK”. Actually, if I’m going to be completely honest, I find Atui’s voicing kind of annoying. She’s no Kuon, that’s for sure. Not much else to say really since not much is going on. I’m in this for the entire run, but I do hope things pick up soon. :/


    @Stilts: Re. Season 1 and your spoiler:
    Show Spoiler ▼

  9. This episode with its predecessors leaves me thinking we aren’t going to get the slow and steady plot reveal. Considering the focus on characters and setting I’m suspecting that the main conflict is going to come hard, fast, and out of nowhere. Such an approach isn’t bad, but it’s straining things here because of the long buildup before the reveal. IMO it’s the complete lack of hints whatsoever that makes these episodes seem superficial.

    Depending on how things progress, U:InK in hindsight might just be one of those show better binge watched than watched weekly.

    1. True. Alas, I don’t have the luxury of binge-watching, lol

      A few more hints would not be amiss. Unlike a game, where we would have bought the whole thing already, they’ve gotta keep selling us on this show each week.

    2. I agree. Stilts may be getting cold with these 1 week waits. But in hindsight, if you were to marathon this whole series, there would be little problem with slow episodes. Because you can watch the next one and further see if and where the plot goes.

      And considering this may have been produced alongside the game, they may have had everything figured out and are just telling the story as if people could’ve watched it as a whole instead of weekly. Of course, even then I don’t feel the episodes are “too” slow. Sure, much slower than the original, but I guess when all things considered, the pacing of this may be very appropriate. Not a lot of conflict?
      Show Spoiler ▼

      Goodwill Wright
  10. Was I the only one that was gob smacked after finding out that Atui was voiced by Hara Yumi? That’s a huge transition from her usual mature voice acting like for Yuuko, Albedo and Takane. Jesus man

    1. Same.
      Was shocked when looking up her previous roles on MAL. I’m more used to her Marielle (Log Horizon) or Yuuko (Tasogare Otome x Amnesia) voice. Though in Marielle’s case at least she has the same kansai accent. Same goes for the character that she voices in Criminal Girls (Tomoe).
      Guess is the current kansai ben seiyuu.

    2. At first I thought Toyosaki Aki was voicing her! I realized that wasn’t right pretty quick, but I couldn’t nail down who was. When they finally said her name so I could look it up, I was surprised.

      And Magnus Tancred, you make it sound like voicing wrathful loli tsunderes is a bad thing. She’s getting PAID to keep doing that, lol

  11. This is begin to stand still. Still not done in introduction us some characters? Do they stay now forever in this Capitol? What happen with the Emperor visiting him? One word of him, and they will Obey bring him Haku to him, even by force

    Yes, this show is begin to become standstill. No really Progressing also

    This Ramen begin to reach the point where it is overcooked

      1. In hindsight, if you were to marathon this anime, it would probably be a totally different feeling. I assume when they drew up the storyboard, they drew it up “as is” and didn’t really consider weekly “delays” and that the episodes may feel slow for the viewer. Can take that as a good or bad thing depending on a) how patient you are, b) if Utawarerumono finishes strong (all things considered).

        Goodwill Wright
      2. Rocket Girls made the mistake that they introduced us nearly every week new faces and bands and they took the Main screen time, and our original MCs girls was only good for Sidechars status

        Well, Haku is not running in danger to be Sidechar. But really, is there something on going that give us a reason for the first Screens of Episode 1? Is there no any hidden drive to find out about this? Until now the Show create their heat of interaction between Haku and his Guardian.

        Yeah, please add more Flesh!!!

  12. It was interesting to see that although Haku prefers to laze around he still got things done, and unsurprisingly he’s a fast learner.
    Other than that a bit slow episode and I hope that they’ll stop dedicating entire episodes to new (side)characters without event a hint of any plot. I would be more okay with it if this was 52 eps, but at half of the episodes, it should start moving soon. Though we know that a 3rd game/direct sequel is coming in abt 2 years, so who knows how much plot/conflicts we can actually expect for this one.

  13. Ep 06:

    In Episode 05 (as you can read above), i requested for more “Flesh” in the Story, and they delivered. No not the Fan service, i really mean the Story Flesh. The Ramen is back to be Balanced i think.

    Domo Arigato

    No Spoiler tag, because it is hold very Neutral

    1. side note:

      Show Spoiler ▼

  14. At 10:19 in episode 5, our MC Haku feel despair to see his grilled skewers spoiled and says “I lost the will to live” (more literally, I lost my hope to live on), and at 10:39 says again “I feel like to die right now”, still feeling despair at his grilled skewers being spoiled.

    Seriously? Is this what we are supposed to hear from at least early 20 year old mature guy, and enjoy it? Sigh… Sigh…
    I really wonder this is the kind of Otaku joke Japanese Otaku anime viewers usually enjoy to watch?

    Fan service, Ohuro(bath) scenes, nudity of girls (including loli character), too long-winded meaningless exchange about how X, Y, Z are so delicious (Oishii!!!), – Slice of Life in anime’s sense of the word – those are all fine. I can stand them.

    But this sort of mentally retarded, stupid, pathetic script is way too much. Even if viewer of the anime is roughly about 10 year old boys and girls, it is an insulting to audience’s mental maturity and intelligence.

    Sucks, it really sucks.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *