「幼き皇女」 (Osanaki Oujo)
“The Young Princess”

This series is lousy with princesses, and in-universe yaoi fans.

The Little Princess

The biggest character introduction this week was Anju (Akasaki Chinatsu), Imperial Princess and heir to the throne of Yamato. And may I digress and say that, whatever faults Itsuwari no Kamen has in spending seven solid episodes now introducing characters without much in the way of plot progression, at least each character is solidly differentiated enough that we can at least immediately recognize and remember who each one is. It’s not a matter of being overwhelmed by characters, which with a cast this large, is a legitimate concern. It’s simply a manner of being tired of character introductions to the exclusion of all else. That’s a different issue entirely, and a less frequent flaw—one of strategy rather than tactics.

Anju is an innocent brat. She toes a line between being so oblivious and lacking in self-awareness as to be exasperating, and being naively cute enough to mostly get away with it. Her inadvertent reign of terror is played for laughs, but to me it was full of unfortunate implications (trope). I feel like people, even children, who display this level of ignorance about other people’s rights aren’t liable to shape up later in life. (Or if they do, a good ‘ol revolution-and-exile situation will probably be required.) It displays a fundamental lack of empathy that’s probably common in ancient “divine right to rule” nobility, which is fine if that’s the way they’re going to spin this. I have a feeling Itsuwari no Kamen is going to try to pitch her as a basically good person, though, which will be a hard pill to swallow. Not unless she grows up (ages) a lot, which doesn’t seem likely outside of Comet Lucifer-style shenanigans.

We Know Where This Is Going, Don’t Be Coy

Another issue was the utterly predictable revelation that Anju is the Imperial Princess, which they waited until the last moment to reveal, even though every single viewer had figured it out long before. It’s another instance of them taking their damn time, or perhaps wasting our time (depending on how you want to look at it), because they stretched what feels like half an episode of content out into a full episode. It reminds me (in a contrasting way) of Mikakunin de Shinkoukei, which was amazing for the first five or six episodes because it was constantly giving us more when we expected it to slow down and give us less. The first half of Mikakunin de Shinkoukei—and the original Utawarerumono, from what I’ve seen so far—seemed to be in a hurry to delight us, while this one isn’t in a hurry. It could use a little more hurry, though as I noted in my first paragraph, at least they aren’t totally wasting the time, and are establishing a solid character foundation with these early episodes.

The Eight Pillar Generals of Yamato (Plus Two)

The other big character introduction was Munechika (Hayami Saori), one of the Eight Pillar Generals of Yamato. It’s no doubt that her pivot to yaoi fan was a funny angle (that’s three princesses and three yaoi fans, with a large overlap between the camps), but mostly we don’t know much about her so far. Instead, it’s Haku’s reaction to Vurai of the Strong Arm, one of the Eight Pillar Generals, that grabbed my interest. A hint that there might be something more to Haku than a lazy smart-guy is appreciated. I wonder what that’s about.

Looking Ahead – Mystery Interlude

Next time it looks like we’re getting some kind of detective mystery. I hope this will tie into something larger, rather than being a filler-esque diversion into minor mysteries. If this is a “Seven Mysteries of the School” caliber episode, I’ll be a bit miffed.

Original Utawarerumono Marathon Update (through episode thirteen): Show More ▼

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – We now have three princesses and three yaoi fans, with a high percentage of overlap. Anju is an innocent terror #utawarerumono s2e7

Random thoughts:

  • One thing I like about Itsuwari no Kamen is that, contrary to some of my comments on previous episodes, up to this point it doesn’t really feel like Haku has a harem. Atui is still on the lookout for other guys, and Rurutie is more interested in pairing Haku x Ukon than taking him herself. It feels like there’s only one real viable love interest for Haku—though unlike in the previous series, there’s no indication that either of them are thinking along those lines up to this point.
  • Haku is just teasing Kiuru at this point. I approve.
  • Ruru-yan just wanted comrades-in-yaoi-arms. She got more than she expected, hah!

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: 33.




  1. This was the first episode that legitimately bored me. Enough with the introductions, get to the point already! Even as an SoL fan I felt this episode was a waste of time, mainly because it was so paint-by-numbers I knew where it was going every step of the way. Can we get back to focusing on the semblance of mystery that is Haku now, please? Or finally introduce some larger plot to involve all the characters? Right now we have “Haku, Kuon and Co. have jobs doing odd-jobs.” That’s it. The capital is full of mysterious elements, and that’s been the entire focus since they arrived. It’s been fine since the characters introduced were good, the situations at least slightly wove together, and last episode was a look into Kuon, but this time was so shoe-horned it felt like two or three side-stories smashed together.

    Stories need a direction unless they are pure SoL, and now that we have a cast, it’s time to find one here. The first series at least earned its happy-fun times with a war beforehand. Not picking a lead to follow didn’t help here, either.

  2. It seemed to me that Kuon actually got through to Anju when she was doing more than breathing sheer fury, so maybe she’ll grow up into a decent human animal person being faster than you expect her to.
    Though on the other hand, her being so open for outside influence is a bit worrisome for future of Yamato. Good thing it was Kuon teaching her common sense.
    Also, her reaction shots are second only to Kuon(‘s tail). Rurutie comes decent third now.

    That one general reminds me of the emperor of the coutry that became Tuskuru and the man’s brother.
    Speaking of Tuskuru, Stilts’ reaction to Karura didn’t dissapoint. Karura best girl.

      1. That’s assuming that she needs to turn around. She may be a good hearted but cheeky girl. I mean, she did clean up the room without too much prodding from Kuon. Hell, she’s more than aware of her position judging by how confidently she stood up in front of all of her subjects. If she was bad, she could’ve just told Kuon to stick it.

        Honestly, I’m just going to chalk it up to impulse. I’ve been there before as a kid when I did senseless, illogical things, but as soon as someone slowed me down, I did regret it and felt bad. So in the end, I think she is by all means a good girl (maybe, game opening does make it look ambiguous like Lloyd from most of the Tales openings).

        But that spanking at the end… damn that would be embarrassing.

        Goodwill Wright
  3. First episode which was rather painful to watch. I feel like they could have taken out the doujinshi store segment (instead starting by showing the two princesses walking out of the store) and used it for something more useful, like story progression. Fujoshi jokes are overdone.

  4. If I had to make a guess, the “plot” won’t start moving until episode 10. Giving it 3 episodes to reach the halfway climax that older animes were so fond of. That halfway mark will probably be the wake up call, telling everyone that everything ain’t all sunshines and rainbows.

    Although… makes me wonder how the game did this? Being one of the few visual novels that actually have gameplay to it, did the player actually have to wait all this time with characters until something happens? Or did they have random fetch/hunt quests inbetween? But then again, visual novels usually don’t have to waste time with establishing shots and usually just go straight to the talking. So it may have gotten all this out of the way much faster?

    But it goes without say that this series was not storyboarded with weekly intervals in mind. But I can probably 100% guarantee that if they didn’t “stretch” this out over 2 cours, there’d be equal complaints about the series being too short and characters being too brief. So the problem is not pacing, it’s content. If they had established an over-arching plot in the first episode, and each subsequent episode contributed a bit to that, I think that would be a massive improvement.

    The first series, if anything, all tied back into Hakuoro and his development. He was the plot. While in this, Haku doesn’t have an obvious goal. It could be his amnesia but they’ve pretty much dropped that after the first 2 episodes?

    Maybe, maybe in all hindsight, when this series (including the possible sequel) is said and done, we may be able to look back on it and say it was a good – great watch. But it’s hard to judge that when you’ve only had filler episodes to judge it by. But I’m hopeful. I mean, the Yaoi fangirl has been played to death by now (Fate/Kaleid anyone?) but I still managed to get a grin across my face with some of the antics.

    Overall, I don’t have a problem with the pacing or execution of this show, but it could use more content. People asked originally if this is a good series to watch if you haven’t seen the first? Right now, I’d say no… People who have watched the first series have the benefit of discussing how everything ties in and can make theories of what may happen. We have things to think about. While new viewers… they just have to take everything at face value.

    Goodwill Wright
    1. I would enjoy it as a slice of life assuming I got no information about the story coming in. It so far has been quite good at characters and world that is interesting that make a slice of life good. But anyone expecting action and not seeing the first show might be disappointed. Now as a viewer and lover of the first season I am loving this especially after certain things. To me a sold slow movement in a symphony assuming the story goes first series action level for most of the rest.

    2. This was the only episode that felt disconnected to the point of bothering me. The rest has been fun, but there’s so much here to explore that it seems like there should be a better way between one introduction after another until the plot disintergrates and rushing to the action.

    3. Some visual novels are expected to be very long, so they have even more room for slice of life stuff. There were scenes like cookie baking and lots of BL in the VN too. There was even a battle involving some BL stuff.

      1. @Stilts

        Wow… even slower… I mean, what gameplay is in between? Hunting quests? They could’ve at least thrown a bit of those into the anime so we can get some action breaking up the sequences.

        Goodwill Wright
      2. When you read a book, you don’t really mind if act1 drags on for a while because that’s how you get to know the characters.

        In the first Utawarerumono the game goes around 2-4 hours of straight up dialogue before your first fight. I remember actually being surprised there was gameplay when it came up because I was so immersed in the VN.

        It’s kind of a staple of Aquaplus. Tears to Tiara 1 jumped into gameplay at around 45-60 minutes of reading, (the quickest) Tears to Tiara 2 took about 1-2 hours of reading before your first fight, and Utawarerumono False Mask’s first fight took about 45 minutes I guess. It jumped in quicker but intersparced the fights a lot more.

        Basically, the combat isn’t the central focus. It’s a VN + SRPG, not an SRPG + VN. The time spent in Act1 in the VNs are always so well done and NEEDED. I honestly cared about the characters before their struggles started happening, and when it was funny, it was funny.

      3. It’s only okay if Act 1 “drags on” if you care about the characters. Many people put down books if they don’t find something they like in them relatively quickly. I’ve had people blast my book after only reading 10%. I’m sitting there going, “But, you only got 10% in! If you had kept reading, you’d realize it’s not actually like that!” But they didn’t, and won’t ever.

        In the case of this anime, the problem/challenge is that they’ve been so focused on introducing characters that they’re not giving us the time to get to know (and grow fond of) any of them. Only Kuon, Haku, and Ukon have had much time put into their characterization. The rest are still the promise of characters, and only slowly getting fleshed out. It’s that which will keep us entertained even if the story is slow. That’s why last episode was so well received, but this one isn’t.

  5. don’t know whether I ship anju x kiuru or nekone x kiuru anyway the yaoi thing gone stale (wasn’t funny to begin with anyway) how do they even know what bl is? this is suppose to take place in the past right. needs more interaction between the characters introduced thus far that has something to do with why they all came there in the first place or the conspiracy karura mentioned last episode. wasn’t koun and haku escorting rurutie somewhere? what happened to that storyline? despite my complaints I still enjoying this series a lot just wish they tone down the bl thing or do away with it completely.

  6. All the 8 Generals considered as kings under the Emperors rule. So nothing strange there are so much princesses. If you paid attention, one of the generals is definitely Atuis father and Ruruties is probably among them too.

  7. It’s been interesting rewatching the first series – I’d recalled it as being equally slow to get rolling but in fact by this point we were well into the first stage of the main story.

    Also, from what I know of the game it ends Show Spoiler ▼

    Hope we don’t end up unsatisfied by this adaption.

  8. I’ve got a question here. How did they mass produce those books? Did they get the technology? The one Anju saw actually has full colour graphics inside. Rurutie even mentioned “copies” and “originals”. I can’t really imagine the author making more than one original.

    1. Either scribes and artists do each copy by hand, or they have hand-operated printing presses, but I’ll go with the former. That was how it was done back in the day, and books were more expensive to pay the scribes and cover artists.

  9. The pacing of this episode felt rather listless. Even then, what felt most off from this episode was the voice acting. The voice acting came off as being very underwhelming, as if there were flaws in its direction. They had the right VAs but the voice directing for some scenes involving some of the characters made the episode an exasperating watch. At least there’s some indication of a shocking buildup to the crux of the series’ plot by the end of this episode’s runtime though, I’m glad for that.

    Nishizawa Mihashi
  10. why is it ok for kiuru to crush on nekone but if she liked him back everyone would go appy over it. it would be nice to have a kid straight couple again in anime that gets development over the series. I feel that we as an audience have gotten so used to gratuitousness with kid couples now like illya miyu vivio einhart nanoha fate that when a same aged boy shows up we can’t possibly fathom that thought of him and the girl getting together because we haven’t seen it in decades. but maybe I’m wrong maybe for once the writers will do the sensible thing and have nekonne get over her thing for oni-chan and fall for kiuru fingers crossed for it to happen as well as haku x koun.

    1. Who says everyone would go apeshit if Nekone started out liking Kiuru? I think you’re assuming a lot, and missing the forest for the trees. The trees in another forest.

      Let’s suppose that Kiuru and Nekone do date by the end. (We don’t know enough about them to know if they’d work out as a couple, but let’s just assume that for the sake of this argument.) There’s a much simpler reason for why it was set up so that Kiuru starts out with the crush rather than Nekone.

      If Nekone liked Kiuru, we would be berating him for being dense and not snapping up the cute girl who likes him. Since guys are (in a traditional dating scheme) unused to being the ones pursued, when it actually happens we’re encouraged to date that girl immediately (assuming she’s cute and all those other fun little double standards). It feels like wasting a golden opportunity to date a girl where we don’t have to put in the terrifying upfront work, even if we don’t think she’s right for us. Whereas for girls, who are (traditionally) the ones being pursued, they can (and are assumed to) be more picky, since they’re assumed to have multiple options pursuing them. (Maybe not good options, but that’s another problem entirely.)

      Not that this can’t work. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun had a dense male lead, and worked well. But that was a different set up, since both Nozaki and Chiyo had flaws (denseness and constant wimping out, respectively) that kept the relationship from progressing. But I think Kiuru having the crush was seen as the better way to play with the unrequited crush early on without having either character be hated.

      Also, even simpler than that—their personalities match how it was laid out. I can’t imagine Nekone, as she is, having an unrequited crush and getting all flustered in the funny way Kiuru is, though he certainly can. They probably just thought this would be more fun. It likely has little to do with much past that.

  11. the reason why I said people would go apey I specifically meant otaku they wouldn’t be able to handle that relationship if it progresses because from what I’ve seen in shows like illya nanoha and black bullet grade school boys aren’t allowed to exist anymore. take yuuno scrya for example he had great character potential but got downgraded or in black bullet where only girls can get the virus I don’t recall seeing any male cursed children. having a boy girl kid couple again after a while of not seeing any I think is a nice change of pace. I’m not saying your wrong just an observation. besides I can see nekone doing a sakura kinomoto thing by not getting it until kiuru confesses.

    1. Click where it says REPLY underneath a comment to reply to that comment.

      I suggest you wait and see. Nothing could happen with Nekone and Kiuru, but that doesn’t mean the nebulous “them” of otaku would hate it if it happened. I find that most people are receptive to a good story well told. If that’s what we get, hopefully it’ll be well-received.

  12. ep 08:

    Show Spoiler ▼


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