「鎖の巫」 (Kusari no Miko)
“Kamunagi of Chains”

The last of the party has gathered. The first half is over. The real story (should) start now.

Kamunagi of Chains

At a character design level, I like Uruuru (Sakura Ayane) and Saraana (Sakura Ayane). I’m assuming they’re supposed to be identical twins even though they’re color-coded for our convenience (thanks for hitting the tanning bed for us, Saraana, it’s a big help), their outfits are exotic and sexy without being unreasonable (though those plunging panties might be pushing it), and—okay, come on. They’re cute. Ain’t nothing wrong with admiring a couple of cute girls, especially when they can do mirror symmetrical docking, get the hell out of the way, Haku!

I also appreciate how they’re voiced by the same seiyuu, but not in the same voice. Sakura Ayane uses a slightly different voice for each twin, so it’s obvious that they’re related, but it’s not like when Watanabe Akeno voiced Dorii and Guraa with the exact same character design and voice, except for maybe their eyes? I can’t remember, and I’ve probably watched the series more recently than most (though I’m still not finished, thanks holiday season). Dorii and Guraa become (up to the episode I’ve watched) basically one character, totally inseparable, whereas Uruuru and Saraana have enough superficial differences that they could be split apart and treated like two characters. I don’t expect them to be, because treating twins like (gasp!) individuals sounds like hard work, but at least it’s an option.

Characters, Or Fetish Objects

My main concern with Uruuru and Saraana so far is that they’re not … well, characters. Or rather, they don’t have personalities to speak of. All they are so far are extremely obedient, extremely subservient twins, and those aren’t the attributes of a well-rounded character. That’s the description of the female leads in a porn doujinshi.

I couldn’t get that out of my mind when they were climbing all over Haku, which to be fair, was both sexy and funny. The girls’ reactions, in particular, were hilarious, though I also appreciated how Ougi was narrating on what was happening, and Kiuru was adorable. Ougi’s a sharp guy. We need him to play peanut gallery more often.

Got distracted. Right now, the twins are acting more like sexual objects than real characters, which will not be cool is it continues. But it would surprise me if it did. It would be out of character for an Utawarerumono series to have character who are nothing more than objects of fetishization—and no matter its comparative weakness (up to this point) compared to the original series, Itsuwari no Kamen is still an Utawarerumono series. Which means the real question remains: Why did the emperor, who is confirmed as the old man Haku met way back when, give the two Kamunagi of Chains to Haku? To cheese off certain members of his court, perhaps, but that seems too small. Perhaps it’s because Haku, like the Emperor, Honoka, and her two daughters, is a true human, i.e. a plain ‘ol human like us with regular human ears. I just hope that, whenever their purpose is revealed, they show real personalities as well.

Also, and I feel this should go without saying, but slavary is bad, m’kay. I just hope they’re in on the Emperor’s schemes, and aren’t really slaves so much as acting like they are for ulterior motives. Hopefully.

Sacchan and Ucchan

No way in hell did I expect the old candy vendor to be Mikazuchi. I noticed that they had the same ears, so I was thinking the candy seller was his father, but not this. Well played! I loved loved looooooved it when he pulled off his disguise and started messing with Nekone, and not only because hissing Nekone is now my new favorite type of Nekone (followed by meek Nekone). It was hilarious! And Rurutie feeling conflicted over how her Ukon x Haku ship was gaining some competition wasn’t a surprise, but it was still funny. I could never quite decide if that’s why she was so ticked off with Uruuru and Saraana, though in the end it looks like it was mostly about her pride as a cook. Haku still doesn’t quite have a harem, unless you count the twins as a harem, which I do. The lucky bastard *grumble grumble*

As much as I enjoy a good harem show, I appreciate good old friendships too. The one between Ucchan and Sacchan is a good one, but also between the rest of the cast. Itsuwari no Kamen is starting to remind me of the first season of Little Busters!—it was only all right at first, but now that the cast has gathered, it’s getting better. Now they can bounce between characters to give us the most fun at any given moment. Though unlike Little Busters!, where that kind of dynamic was baked into the series’ essential theme (friendship), I feel like Itsuwari no Kamen could have been stronger earlier in its run. See: Utawarerumono, the original one.

Climactic Mood, Sorta

I feel like the drinking scene at the end was meant to have a similar feel to the Karura/Touka episode back in episode six, but it didn’t quite work. It did have that endnote feeling, but instead of celebrating Kuon having become an adult (which we could clearly see, hur hur hur, yes she has boobies, shuddup ya perverts), they kept talking up Haku’s talents. Uh, what talents? Not that I think Haku is without talent, but it feels like they’re telling us about Haku’s talents rather than showing them. It feels more like Haku tripped across a useful friend and landed a lucrative job from being in the right place at the right time (and helping out with some not easy situations early on), and since then he’s just been swept up in things. Not exactly worthy of a couple of high priestess-in-training/sex slaves. They’re informing us of Haku’s talents again, instead of showing us. In the words of Philip J. Fry, fix it fix it fix it!

Looking Ahead – Playtime Is Over. Now It Begins

The cast is assembled, and with an enemy nation invading Yamato, it looks like Itsuwari no Kamen is going to finally get off its ass and get to Utawarerumono-ing. Is that a word? It is now.

One word of caution, general of Yamato. I wouldn’t be so dismissive about barbarians. Barbarians have a pretty good track record of beating up, destroying, and even conquering the settled soceities around them. See: Khan, Ghengis.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – The Emperor gives Haku twin kamunagi, who will do anything for him. Yes, anything. CUE THE H-SCENE! (Not really) #utaware s2e12

Random thoughts:

  • “Their bodies, their souls, their everything.” CUE THE H-SCENE!
  • At least Haku doesn’t really get what Ucchan and Sacchan are talking about either. It makes him more relatable, what with how they’re just talking out of their asses.
  • Stilts, last Friday and Saturday. Fukkit!

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: $%&@* cuss words, Stephen, what is best in life?, It depends, and Momentum & mental space.

Full-length images: 05, 14.




  1. Why do I get the feeling that the twins, ARE objects? Kumanagi of Chains is quite the peculiar title to give them. I could be thinking into it too much, but maybe they’ve always belonged to Haku? In one weird way or another. Yeah, I’m probably thinking too much into this.

    As for Mikazuchi, I also first thought that he may have been related to the candy seller. Or that they were both originally slaves and the cut ear was the branding or something. Still, I love the pleasant surprise. His antics were enjoyable and surprising. Now it makes sense why you see him alongside Oshutoru in the game opening.

    And Stilts, one character is still missing. He’s been introduced, but we haven’t seen him in ages. What about that weird priest guy Maroro? You know, back all the way in episode 2.

    Goodwill Wright
    1. I think it’ll be less they’ve always been Haku’s, more that their lineage is Haku’s. Whoever he is, when he woke up they were always going to serve him. If it’d been like 20 years ago (aka before the twins were born) he’d have gotten Honoka, but then she hit a certain age so she had the twins to pass the job to them. Something along those lines.

    2. @Goodwill Wright

      My point was more that the character introduction part of the story is passed, and now we’re onto the plotty stuff. They could still introduce characters, or bring them back after they’ve disappeared for a while, but hopefully things should happen more now.

  2. With how the Emperor was talking when he first heard about Haku, I’m guessing these twins were always meant for him. He just needed an excuse, and Ukon provided one. That would mean that they’re probably meant to create a sense of obligation, as well as keep him under closer observation. I don’t think we’ll see them having hidden personalities or trying to manipulate Haki, but I think they also won’t have any problem telling the Emperor everything Haku does, even if it gets him in trouble. Yet I also don’t doubt that they’re serious about being devoted to Haku because that’s probably just how they were raised… So, double agents that hope they never have to take a side?

    As much as I enjoyed the rest of the girls freaking out, it did come across as just a bit out of place since they’ve been ignoring Haku lately. Rurutie was the only real complaint since she acted like a wife, yet we haven’t really seen them even talk for what, 6 episodes? Kuon also seemed a bit weird, but I couldn’t tell if that was because the twins set off a different kind of warning bell for her or what. It didn’t really seem like jealousy. Nekone was just great, though XD It seems like a lot of these Generals have side-jobs to let them be closer to the people, since I still say the ero-artists is one, too.

    So, this was better. Let’s do it again next week!

    1. To be fair, aside from Rurutie—which wasn’t necessarily romantic—none of the girls were jealous because none of them are particularly romantically interested in Haku. He seems to be an acceptable choice, but he’s not exciting any of them, which is appropriate enough for someone like Haku.

      They were just put off by the bizarre turn of events where their friend suddenly got two sex slaves. Ougi said as much. They just didn’t know how to process what had happened because they were weirded out by it, so they continued to be weirded out until they talked to Uruuru and Saraana more. And even then, we’ll see how everyone gets along as things proceed.

      1. Right, that was why the only complaint was Rurutie. The rest was just odd since they’ve been ignoring him completely, but they did a good job of showing that they weren’t so much jealous as freaked out, like you said. I feel like that flash of black from Kuon is something to watch, though, even if they did kinda defuse it with her disbelief that there were even more girls now. Did it take other girls actively going after Haku to finally get her attention? XD

  3. Based on the first anime vs the first game I think they are frustratingly taking the same course here when a “Royal Harem” trope is in play in anime.(see TV Tropes). That is Haku will be getting a lot of sex we are never shown with many different girls. In the first series the hero has sex with all the girls, yes all the girls in the story shown in the game but the anime never shows any of it. But a viewer in the know of how the Japanese hide things by simply not mentioning can pick it up, after all why are all these women hanging around the lead with no boyfriends.

    Come on Japanese you can stand public stories where the hero has more than one lover and not confine it to the non public face of your culture (anime vs Henti). Heck some anime have actually done it although yes were are in a conservative backlash period.

    Haku is really lucky the twins are horny, well yes they wear horns.

    People who have consented to being submissive are difficult for us who worry about equality to deal with. But I recognize people like that really exist and that serving really is what they find meaning in. Yes I would indulge in the twins after questioning them are they really sure but it would be a worry for quite awhile.

    “Hissing Nekone was the best part!” I agree I want girls with tails that can hiss, and active fluffy ears that can express emotion.

    In a earlier show I recreated the wheel on the Harem genre when TV tropes actually covered all my points already in a very similar manner. Sorry.

    Only thing I disagree with is the girls fighting it out being more realistic than the girls sharing, maybe in high school it is. In reality the girls sharing often occurs in particular muslim women even in western countries. In reality the most common end of harem is the man finding the emotional work of, like with children, not having a favorite to high and deciding that that they the man will be monogamous. On one Morman offshoot reality show the two oldest boys have decided to only have one wife, the oldest daughter is already planing to form a polygamous marriage for herself. I found when having two girlfriends who knew each other that at least some women have a strong instincts to know about, even bond with the other women, stupid me I was too busy in business so I dropped one.

    I’m fairly sure the twins personality will be filled out, but as their purpose this episode is to be reacted to they need to be one demential for the comedy to work best.

    Finally figured out when TV Tropes and I agree that most harem is Wish Fulfillment where the hero is not collecting women where the view on the collecting women being sexist comes from. My problem was that I was only thinking about what was happening in the story where collecting women is not occurring except though the hand of fate. The collecting of women was external to the story in the intent of the writer or publisher where the hand of fate comes from.

    The disguise are fairly magical, a hair piece is fairly easy to detect over time, no way you wear something like that all day and not have people detect the line separating head from hair piece. But with the twins easily summoning light and water we are in a magical story.

    1. If Haku ends up bedding all the ladies and never showing it, that’s not necessarily a grand statement about society or anything. Some authors or franchises would just rather not make the subtext into text, and that’s fine. It’s their choice.

      For instance, while I (as an author) would prefer to show kisses and sexual stuff up to a point, I think I would usually fade the screen to black (end the scene) before actually writing out sex proper. Partially that’s because I think the reader’s imagination will do a better job than I would, but it’s also just not what I want to spend time on, save for if it’s truly plot important. That’s just my choice. If Utawarerumono wants to leave it all as subtext, that’s their choice as well.

      It’s true that the heavily dismissive thing can be troubling to people concerned with equality. I’d definitely be skeptical for a while before I could really believe/understand that someone who’se that submissive actually wants to be like that. With the twins, I guess we’ll see how they develop going forward.

      1. Hum you might be right.

        I was just noticing a trend in Japanese anime that if actual sex is going on the story gets way more conservative on showing affection. But it might just be author choice here. It is just seams that keeping sexual relationships hidden in the story is a common Japanese thing. I watched a large number of anime before I ever saw the main couple kiss in a anime. I believe public displays of affection are still not thought good in Japan at least in lots of places.

        When the hero is not having sex it is common in anime to have the girls,romance, tease and throw themselves at the hero. I was noting that if the hero is actually having sex with the girls the romance, tease and throwing themselves parts are removed as well in the anime I have noticed but it is a small sample size. So that in actual harem situations many in the audience miss the fact that any romance between the characters is going on at all. The fact that it is a small sample size of actual sexual involved harem stories, all I know about having to do with adult games, does indicate something about anime. One anime I like Koihime Musō in the adult computer game the hero had sex with all the girls, In the anime this male character was totally removed from the story and a female made the lead, in this case I think it worked well. Interesting in this story the female character, one of my favorites, Sōsō Mōtoku actually has a harem of girls women is having sex with and it is discussed and acted that way with the women in it. I have heard of another anime where a major female character has a harem of girls she is having sex with and all members make that clear and the plot is she as queen has came to earth to add the main character a earth girl to her harem.

        So it is strange that in the limited sample size women get to have sexually active romances shown with the women in the harem but when the lead is a male it is only hard to detect subtext.

        There is something in anime I call sexist but it is also not. Koihime Musō is a great example of this, cute female characters in sexy outfits you could call sexist, but the female characters are all replacing male characters from the historical based novel(probably everyone should read it in school) Romances of the Three Kingdoms. So the story has women in all the positions of power and the only great fighters with men reduced to the subordinate sex and to have no chance to beat a women. So in that way the story is very feminist.

      2. Honestly, I don’t get how romance is supposed to work if even the “implied” part is taken out. Are you just supposed to assume they’re together because of circumstances? That’s weird. And doesn’t really work if you want people to think the relationship is serious, especially between to characters that get a lot of screen time. All you need is a kiss, a little clothes shuffling, hard fade to black, no awkwardness or regret the next morning, and BAM, everyone knows we aren’t being told every time these two hook up.

        It’s absurd to just say “they live together; they’re having sex” when there’s been no implication that they even have feelings for each other. If that’s true then Nekone and Kiuru are going at it like rabbits.

    2. None of the girls aside from the twins are interested in Haku that way though. Even Kuon is reserved about it and she’s looking to be his romantic interest. You have characters in his “harem” like Atui who go off chasing other men and openly says she doesn’t find Haku that attractive. He looks like he’s practicing a lot of self-control on the twins.

      The game isn’t an eroge either, so there’s no need to make excuses for the girls around him to have sex with him, unlike the first game.

    3. I still say it’s beyond unreasonable to just assume these things based on what little we understand of a fictional society. There needs to be subtext for us to read the subtext, and right now there isn’t. There isn’t even the slightest hint or Haku and the girls hooking up behind closed doors. You can’t just say “this was made by Japan, and this is how it works in Japan, so this is how it works in the show.” That doesn’t work. You need to put in something to show that’s how it works in the show, not just assume the audience will understand without even the smallest hint.

      It’s like saying that since two people of the opposite sex are living together, they’re sleeping together even though they aren’t in a public relationship. Is is true some of the time? Sure. All of the time? No.

  4. Haku’s skills and talents are more obvious in the game’s playable agent missions.
    The anime removed them, so you don’t get to see what his skill set’s like in action.

    Small fact on Dekoponpo and the generals:
    Show Spoiler ▼

  5. 1) These Girls are trained in Arabic Dancing (the old), Geisha and more (we know 108 Techniques. They surly mean Kamasutra ones)

    2) Perhaps the Emperor gave these 2 to Haku to save the “Bloodline”. Perhaps the King illness is far advanced that he die soon?. Or to give these 2 a Save harbor, because War is about to break out. Keep them away out of the Castle to not get killed in a raid?

    3) And yes, i do not hope they threat these ones as “Slaves” or just “Tools” of Desire. I bet the “Head Female” will get here under her Wing and they learn to become thinking for themselves. I would imagine the Show Spoiler ▼

    would handle them with respect. They still have an Title

    4) This was the last Episode “the calm before the Storm”. I just hope they explain us first in how this War is ongoing. until now we saw “peace”, the only War was the fight against the bandits. a quick explanation before we spill blood would be great. could be just an narrative explanation with a fitting voice (a male one would be better) with some ancient Map, and perhaps showing us only the Persons in power, to recognize them when they have their appearance at screen

    In all the mood of the 12 Episodes so far, was good. lighting and music was in perfect harmonize, even the characters design was right in place. even the “oppais” was not to much. it is just do not overdo it with this “Yaoi” fetish of this girl. in private, the joke is okay. But in public make everyone blushing out of shame


  6. Reaction faces continue to be great, and it looks like we’re finally getting the plot rolling again.

    I’m willing to bet that, despite how subservient they appear, the kamunagi are in on whatever the Emperor is thinking about on some level. The Emperor seems to know something about Haku, and likely gave them some info beforehand. They seem pretty genuine about being loyal to him, which I’m not sure would be the case if he were some completely random dude.

    I know the tanning thing was a joke, but it seems like a yin-yang kinda thing, besides the hair color which they seem to inherit from their mother.

    I’m guessing nyamo general is an incompetent who ends up like the ones he resembles from the first season, extremely overconfident and ultimately outwitted by these “barbarians”.

    1. The tanning thing was a joke. That at least I’m sure is a combination of helping us tell them apart + some fetishization, though the yin/yang thing might play into it too. It just clashes when twins geeeeenerally have the same skin tone.

  7. I am guessing clones. The reason they have an eternal emperor is that as the emperor reaches the end of his reign he has a clone released into the wild to work his way up in the world to show he is a worthy heir. The twins are supposed to be his judges and if he passes his advisers as he becomes emperor.

    So I think they are mostly just screwing with him now to see what he will do.

  8. What seems odd to me is that the first game was a mix of visual novel, turn-based strategy, and tacitcal RPG. Aside from the early fight with the bugs, there haven’t really been any situations that would have allowed this to make use of the latter two genres. I wonder if some content is being tweaked for the anime presentation.

  9. I don’t necessarily mind some fan service, but some of the stuff with the twins made me kind of uncomfortable. Haku being given a pair of cute girls as a reward -okay, its arguably a bit sleezy but I can live with it. Heck, it even had the potential to be pretty funny. But “we have become our master’s flesh dolls”? Could you manage to keep it a little classier than that, Utawarerumono?

    I also think the thing with Rurutie’s cooking would have worked a lot better if the show had actually touched on that aspect of her character since its initial introduction way back in episode three. Actually this show has neglected quite a few things that it introduced in its early episodes -in the last half dozen episodes we’ve seen very little of Rurutie’s awesome giant bird and virtually nothing of the campy court scholar guy.

    BTW, one poster on Animesuki indicated that “Kamunagi” is an archaic word for priestess. So I guess that makes the twins the Priestesses of Chains.

      1. Didn’t realize you knew that already. I don’t really blame you for wanting to stick with the official title. But I have to wonder why it wasn’t translated in the subs.

        Actually there’s another lost in translation thing that I’ve become aware of in this series thanks to another viewer. The Pillar Generals aren’t merely military leaders, they’re also rulers of Yamato’s vassal states. Of course while the rulers of the vassal states are referred to as generals in the translations, Atui, who is descended from one of them, is referred to as a princess, which is a little confusing! (I think a similar situation applies with Rurutie as well -the only princess who is actually a princess of Yamato as a whole is Anju.)

  10. On a personal level, this was a “better” (better being relative) episode than the last couple or so (few really) since the comedy resonated better with me. I did get a few chuckles out of this one. The, albeit odd at times, twins all over Haku created some funny moments, and like Stilts, I also liked “hissing Nekone” (the fake bald wig gag, not so much). But yeah, Nekone was great with the whole “shaa” (hiss) and fuzzy tail. As for the eye-candy twins, I’m guessing they play a bigger role than ecchi comedy relief (hope so), and the fact they are “normal” humans is also intriguing. Still, kind of creepy for mom to be like “take care of my daughters~”. Um… Okay. O.o

    So yeah, a “better” episode for me because, as I’ve mentioned before, I think for this show how much one gets out of it is primarily dependent upon how well the comedy works for them. That’s hit or miss. A bit more hit in this episode for me, but there were still issues. Stilts beat me to the punch on many. Rurutie was upset about “losing” her job as Haku’s personal chef was simply forced, and a bad way to imply “Oh, don’t forget there’s a ‘romance’ here”. Yeah, I know, Ep. 03 and all when she seemed to swoon over Haku at every moment, but ever since they hit the capital, she’s been total yaoi girl. “Oh, it’s Haku, let me fantasize about him in a yaoi paring.” I feel NO connection between them other than a decent, platonic friendship. So why the hell is she now upset? Sorry, but that went beyond “I like being the group chef” because it was about her being Haku’s chef (implied “romance”).

    So far, IMO this show does a bad job with “romance” except possibly Kuon & Haku which has been the slowest of the slow burn. IMO there’s a conspicuous lack of continuity and consistency when it comes to “romances” (again, with probably exception for Kuon, and definitely except for Rurutie & yaoi – does she even have an interest in guys, other than yaoi?)

    Another thing that bothered me (and Stilts mentioned) was when Ukon was going on about the emperor acknowledging Haku’s accomplishments, my IMMEDIATE thought was “what accomplishments!?” Last notable thing he did was in Ep. 02. The bandits – credit the giant bird (forgot name). The “spy” mission – he did nothing other than “Ukon, chill out”. PLEASE don’t tell me it was all those odd jobs because THAT is primary what he’s done. Haku’s done a few things, but nothing that notable to deserve all this praise. It just rings false. Perhaps (I hope) there’s some other reason for the emperor’s “gifts”. That one nobleman or general (frankly, I can’t remember his exact position) getting all ticked off might have been part of the emperor’s plan.

    Speaking “who is this again?”, I had to look up Mikazuchi on Wiki (be careful – spoilers abound there) because I had no clue who he was. OH! He’s one of the 8 generals we got 3 seconds of “introduction” via a quick shot of their face and a name tag at the end of Ep. 07. How could I forget? *sigh* Lastly, this show LOVES to abuse the epilogue as a way to advance the plot. Before we got “tea with the emperor”, now it’s “hey guys, wars on”. You should not be using the epilogue to a a primary way to advance the plot.

    TL:DR = a funnier (and thus “better”) episode for me, but a lot of the same ‘ol same ‘ol as well. I’ve stuck with you for 12 episodes, show, so please reward my faith and patience.


    @Stilts: As noted beat me to the punch on some the major issues. Kudos for mentioning them.

    As for “Looking Ahead – Playtime Is Over. Now It Begins”, one can only hope.

  11. On slavery, they are not slaves in usual sense. Because they are kamunagi, they belongs to whom they serve, from body to soul as the Emperor said. If you remember the contract of Witsarunemitea from the first series, this is closer to that kind of context. Does Haku deserve this gift? Well, several episodes later no one is going to ask this again.

    I didn’t find the drinking scene near the end talk about Haku’s talent, perhaps it’s a translation problem. There is this “en” they are talking about, which don’t have a proper word in English but very common concept in Japan and some other eastern places. The closest thing might be “ties of fate” between people. So they are actually talking about: “Haku got all these weird people and things happened around him, there must be some sort of fate ahead of it.” Although this is an anime original scene, it is relevent for Utawarerumono to talk about fate. It’s just that it don’t really sound when they have been cutting away most of Haku’s missions.

    1. Unless I’m mistaken, the contract of Witsarunemitea from the first series is made at free will of both sides. On the contrary, those 2 girls were given to haku as they were possesion of the Emperor in the first place. In this respect, they are more like slaves in usual sense.

      “I didn’t find the drinking scene near the end talk about Haku’s talent, perhaps it’s a translation problem. T”

      At the drinking scene, Ukon said “Seijou-ga Omae-wo Omitomeni narareta” (The emperor regarded you highly)

      This is very close to a talk about Haku’s talent.

  12. Nekone doing the “hissy cat” was highlight of the episode…
    which says much about the show , really. It was slice of life comedy in fantasy setting, no more noi less. Hints of heroic action were dropped throughout series but never materialised. I wonder if they are gonna pull off something heroic at the end, with war imminent…


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