「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
- “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.