「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
- 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!
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