「神眠りし國の使者」 (Kami Nemurishi Kuni no Shisha)
“Messengers from the Land Where Gods Sleep”

One part nostalgia trip, one part zany family sitcom, and a dash of romcom. Shake gently and serve.

Nostalgia Trip + Family Sitcom

In the Karura and Touka episode, I asked the question: Does this still work if you haven’t seen the original? I concluded that it did, albeit obviously not as well as if you knew who Karura and Touka were going in. The same question applies here. If you don’t already know who Aruruu (Sawashiro Miyuki) and Kamyu (Kugimiya Rie)—and Mukuru (Shimoyama Yoshimitsu)—are, does it work?

Not as well as the Karura/Touka episode, to be honest. The majority of the episode was all silly antics and nostalgia bait, but from the lense of the Itsuwari-no-Kamen-only viewer, what are we learning here? That Kuon has two overprotective sisters. Compared to what the Karura/Touka episode told us about Kuon, the payoff was a lot fluffier, so it leans more on nostalgia to deliver its full effect.

I’m not complaining here. As someone who has seen (enough of) the original series to know who Aruruu and Kamyu are, and to supremely enjoy seeing them torment Kuon with love, I loved this episode. The comedy was great, I loved seeing Aruruu grown up, etc. I even liked the Mukuru x Kokopo friendship, and the symbolic passing-of-the-torch it implied—sure, a white tiger is still cooler than a big-ass bird, but I don’t hate Kokopo by any means—but this all advanced the story (such that it still doesn’t really exist) very little. “Tsukuru isn’t a threat” and “Kuon gets permission to stay a while longer” are about the extent of it, and both of those could have easily been left out without loss to the story.

I enjoyed the episode a ton, like I said. But I think viewers who haven’t seen the original are missing out more on this one than they did with Karura and Touka’s episode.

Romantic Comedy Inching Forward

I am perfectly happy for Itsuwari no Kamen to play romcom while it’s inching toward having a plot. Once again we saw hints of how close Haku and Kuon were, especially when she was yelling a him for not saving her, and for misunderstanding her silent gluttonous requests. It shows how close they are that they can argue like that, and without malice to boot—though that’s an offshoot of Haku’s laid back personality as much as anything. I could it especially poignant that Atui sees them, and instead of intruding, she continues on her way. She knows what’s up.

Combined with how Haku knew all of Kuon’s favorite places (including the one she didn’t know she would be in), the one thing that Itsuwari no Kamen is undoubtedly doing well is slowly developing Kuon and Haku’s relationship, to whatever end. They’re close, as is befitting of how their relationship has progressed so far, and now Kuon is clearly … well, the only way I can think to say it is that Kuon is training Haku. I don’t like implying that Haku is “whipped,” like women are overbearing by nature or some such nonsense, but it does feel like Kuon is trying to get Haku to understand her, so they’ll fit together (even if it’s just as friends!) better. She’s trying to get him to understand her, to have her back, and with a person as laid back as Haku, that’s going to seem a bit like she’s training a lazy dog. Which is amusing, because he’s the only one without animal ears.

Looking Ahead – More RomCom Antics

Like I said, if Itsuwari no Kamen wants to keep playing romcom while it gets to the plot, I’m fine with it. The princess loving Oshutoru is—well, she’s still young, so it’s not like I believe her, but I do see the comedic potential of the proceedings! Can’t wait to see how the others try to train her to win Oshutoru’s heart, ufufu~

Original Utawarerumono Marathon Update (through episode thirteen): No change. I suck

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – One part nostalgia trip, one part zany family sitcom, and a dash of romcom. Shake gently and serve #utawarerumono s2e9

Random thoughts:

  • Mukuru & Kokopo’s friendship was great, but since when do tigers and birds eat the same things? (Also, take off Kokopo’s saddle when she’s not using it, jeez)
  • Kiuru might be the cutest in the cast, at least reaction-wise. Nekone a close second in the reaction game.
  • Looks like Aruruu is more interested in yaoi than Kamyu. Danger, danger!

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    1. WorldwideDepp
  1. What is this fanservice gallore bullshit and where is my good old Utawarerumono?

    What have they done to it!? I’m starting to get really pissed with all these onsen scenes, moe girls doing moe things and this whole CONSTANT (the original Uta also had its moments of it, but those were very few) heartwarming and slice-of-life-ish atmosphere even in the most serious points.

    I just wanted to say this. Now I’m gonna buy and play the VN, hoping for a better content.

    1. i dont see anything wrong with it having fanservice as the original game had H-scenes.

      And i hope you like turn based strategy games. While the original one wasnt difficult, i found those parts of the game pretty bland.

    2. rejoice, i saw a News that they plan to bring us the 3rd VN

      I just Hope someone bring it up on Steam with English translations, so that Fans outside Nippon can share the joyousness with this Show

      (please let Germany users allow using English Translations, too)

  2. Agreed. Great ep. if you know the original, as mediocre as the last if you don’t. I loved it, but the whole time I’m wondering wtf happened with Haku’s meeting with the old guy through the magical portal?

    I also feel like Ukon is also training Haku to some degree.

  3. So everyone… just remember:
    Show Spoiler ▼

    My how Aruruu has grown up. She’s definitely, ahem (in Stilt’s own words) “won the genetic lottery BIG TIME”. Probably to Eruruu’s chagrin.

    And that tiger now is a freakin’ beast. Would’ve been funny if the capital mobilized the guard when they saw that tiger walk through the gates. Especially if they knew it’s origins. Then again.

    Goodwill Wright
      1. That grammatical correction… It makes it even more sad that I was actually pondering the usage of it while typing my message but forgot to proofread.

        And why do I remember it? Well, let’s just say, “I couldn’t have put it better myself”, kind of deal.

        Goodwill Wright
      1. Spoilers on Oboro & other original series characters

        Show Spoiler ▼

        Stilts edit: Mark your spoilers. Some people like to be surprised.

  4. Eh, I don’t know here. As I mentioned in my tardy comment last episode, playing the nostalgia card nets diminishing returns if it’s just cameos for the sake of nostalgia (and “Kuon has overprotective sisters” isn’t enough to make this materially more than that). So, yeah it was nice to see Aruruu and Mukuru (Kamyu’s “OK” IMO), but given all that has not gone on so far this season, a entire episode of more YMMV comedy isn’t what the series needed IMO.

    TBH, after the last episode’s epilogue – where Haku meets the ONLY other person without animal traits, I feel a little trolled. I (foolishly it seems) expected this episode to do something with that. It’s not like I wasn’t aware that more original series character cameos were on the way, but NOTHING on the that seemingly important epilogue? Really? I’m sure it will be revisited later, but why bring it up now only to shelve it for later? ‘Tis not good storytelling IMO.

    To be fair, as Stilts notes, there was at least a bit of progress on the Haku x Kuon front, and I do like the fact the romance is a slow build though I think something like Spice and Wolf does that sort of thing better. Still, after that it’s the same ‘ol have a few crumbs formula in terms of plot advancement – whatever the plot may be because frankly, I have no freaking idea at this point. 20 minutes later, the two ambassador’s make the “startling” declaration to Anju that “we’d like to be friends”. Peaceful relations among nations is fine and all, but not exactly dramatic or even unexpected. It’s a non-event.

    I’ll repeat what I wrote last time – this is NOT a “lack of action” issue. It’s an overall presentation issue for me. If my expectations were “wrong” it’s because I expected better than this – action or no action. Again, I admit that comedy is subjective, but for a show which depends upon that so much, it’s not at the requisite level for me. I think we can agree regarding the inefficiency issue – that’s SOP at this point, but I’m going to add “episodic”, “meandering” and even “random” (take your pick) to the descriptions at this point. Apart from the first 2-3 episodes, it’s been kind of random since we got to the capital. Certainly episodic and meandering IMO.

    Last episode we had the “mysterious” siblings from Ep. 03 show up for 30 seconds to remind us they still existed before exiting the stage. We had a “mysterious” old human guy serving tea who I guess is now on the back burner for later as well. This episode’s epilogue has Anju rushing in to proclaims her love for Oshutoru (aka Ukon). Huh? Perhaps memory fails me, but I recall her mentioning him ONCE in terms of how he spoke highly of Haku and… that’s it. Anju’s “love” for him could have been set up better – even with just a couple more lines of dialog back when Anju was introduced. Not like that episode didn’t have the time to spare. IMO this season lacks focus and continuity.

    Not dropping/in for the full run/blah, blah, but can we please, please do something beyond random “comedy” SOL (nostalgia infused or not)? Even the PG bath time fan service is starting to get old. OK, maybe that’s going overboard :P, but you get the idea.


    @Stilts: I agree with you that nostalgia card redux didn’t measure up to the first one. However, the “overprotecive sisters plot” was simply a pure nostalgia play IMO and didn’t really add anything. Same goes for the “permission for more time”. Didn’t we already go through that with Karura and Touka – her “mothers” back in Ep. 06? Besides, why does Kuon need her “sisters’ permission for more time? Keep in mind that both her “mothers” are still in the capital as it is. It’s retreading over the same thing with barely a noticable difference. Ineffiicency at its “finest”. So, unlike Ep. 06, for this episode I think the answer to “Does it work if you’re new” is “not so much”. I have friend who hasn’t watched the first season (I keep reminding him to do that), and he’s losing interest in this season. Not good.

    I have to disagree with you regarding “I am perfectly happy for Itsuwari no Kamen to play romcom while it’s inching toward having a plot.” We’re roughly 1/3 of the way into this, and the pace NEEDS to pick up plain and simple or the presentation/story telling will suffer (more). Personally, I think the “com” could be better though YMMV deal on that. As for the “rom”, even while I do appreciate the slow build between Haku and Kuon, IMO even that’s arguably on the too slow side in at least one aspect. I’m fine with where they are in terms of “relationship”, but the two have lacked sufficient screen time together lately IMO if said relationship is indeed a focal point of this series. Spice and Wolf had a slow relationship build as well, but the relationship wasn’t brushed asside so often for for random “comedy” SOL hijinks. I’m not saying the two need to be front and center always, but they do need to be together more than they have lately.

    1. I don’t want to insinuate that I don’t want them to get to the plot. More like, if they’re not going to anyway, romcom antics are probably my favorite failure state. I’d still prefer they cut to the damn chase, though.

  5. While entertaining, this episode seemed rather pointless to me. Other than giving us a possible reason why Kuon might have fled home, Aruru and Kamyu’s presence didn’t really seem to do much. Why bother having Kuon’s surrogate sisters threaten to drag her home when her surrogate mothers have already acknowledged her as an adult?

    I’m also kind of disappointed with the grown up versions of Aruru and Kamyu. They still seem very childish (their voices were probably a factor in that).

    1. I did notice how Aruruu’s voice hadn’t changed. I expected that from Kamyu since she was already fairly developed (physically) in the original, but since Aruruu was noticeably shorter and all that, I expected her voice to get more womanly. But Sawashiro Miyuki used the same voice. Was an odd choice.

  6. Hm, well, from what little plot there is, it seems that an unknown nation is establishing relations with a well-to-do capital, in which they have already established a bustling inn where they are running their business.

    And if it’s like that, perhaps Kuon is actually a spy of some sorts, too.

  7. So at first I was surprised how Aruruu was almost snarky in a teasing/caring way at times…
    Then I remembered how “Mukkuru felt sorry” for Eruruu and started to wonder… =3

    Mukkuru vs Kokopo “who’s the true animal mascot” staring contest evolving into cross-species friendship was all kinds of adorable. (Also no real contest here, Mukkuru wins hands down but Kokopo’s no worse for that)

  8. While I did enjoy the episode, I do think they should hurry up a wee bit. Though that might just be the disappointment of my overly high expectations from last week talking. Knowing how the first season ended and seeing that room probably backfired on me. Seeing another normal human didn’t help too.

    One thing I did notice was how they haven’t really played with Haku’s strengths. He’s great with numbers and technical problems, but we haven’t seen them bieng put to good use. So far he’s more of an enigma than an interesting character. Nine episodes in and we still don’t know who are those people in Haku’s team during the opening. Heck, even though she first showed up in episode three, we still don’t know who Nosuri is.

    After reading a bit about the game plans I’m actually hoping this is a 52 episode anime split in two. They’re giving little hints of a bigger plot, very little hints. One third in and I’m still not sure what it is. They’re being thorough that’s for sure. Hopefully it won’t end up being a rush in the second half. And they better not give a Code Geass type ending. Cause I really think it might get big.

  9. the characters kuon and atui to me are examples of how to do girl main characters right. instead of demanding the audience’s attention by mimicking a fancy quirk, or being annoying good at everything and nothing more, they earn the attention of the viewer by them having personalities and developed relationships with the supporting cast. the girls individual relationships don’t backtrack to haku only.

  10. Aruruu grew up wonderful I love my girl and her tiger, now big girl and tiger. Only problem is she will not be getting in on the action. I would have like to see her and Kamyu interact with their fellow haram members. I wonder how they broke things out who would be sisters and who would be mothers with Kuon. Aruruu defiantly was a bunch younger than the rest but Kamyu was fully grown like the rest of the girls.

    Aruruu defiantly is older and more mature not shy and withdrawn at times as when she was little, I like the she’s the same but more mature effect. Yep you can have Kuon but I get Aruruu. Although I’d love to have them both of course.

    I wish they were staying I defiantly want Aruruu and Mukuru combat action again along with their “mothers”. Those four are a significant military force.

  11. Well, luckily Aruru and Camyu grew well enough. :/
    The scene with the two animal friendship was just painfully dumb.
    I think I just give up on this and watch for the ‘plot’, because there’s nothing more than that here.

  12. [sigh] Still an amusing ride for the character studies, but I’ve already started lamenting the lack of actual compelling direction, in regards to plot. As I’ve said before, it’s a testament to the crafting of the characters that I’m still interested. However, I wouldn’t call this a fantasy adventure, but fantasy slice-of-life. Still if I was to actually accept a slice-of-life into my viewing history, I suppose I could do worse.

    I guess love/hate is as par for the course with watching anime as they are for the character relationships.

  13. As someone who hasn’t seen the original I don’t mind how slow things are moving. After all this has two cours and even if they’re going slow they’re still advancing the plot slowly but surely.

    That said I didn’t really care for Kuon’s sisters here. They were honestly pretty annoying. They didn’t really have as good a showing as Touka and her other mother from a few episodes back. Hopefully they’ll become more likable later on if they show up again.


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