「宴」 (Utage)

Ladies, this one’s for you.


When it comes to nudity, there’s an old double standard: women’s nudity is sexy whereas men’s nudity is funny. Which, er—that’s a thing, I’m just going to point it out and then leave it alone. Trying to change social mores is beyond the scope of this post. Here’s an interesting mental exercise, though: Would the naked dance scene have been as funny if it were portrayed in the exact same light, but with all the female characters naked, partying, and as drunk as skunks? (They’d probably have to retain some clothing, so they still had a hand to drink. More to cover up don’t ya know, but that’s just logistics.) Personally, I think it would be, or it could be, provided the girls reacted the same when the guys came in (not caring, showing off) and the guys reacted the same to the girls (put off by these drunk idiots). Of course, I’d personally find it sexier that way, but that’s just personal preference. If muscles and man ass are more to your taste, this episode should be a treat.

Also, no means no, Maroro. You too, Ougi. This episode got a little rapey (because when it’s male on male, it doesn’t count! …trope), and sexual harrassy, and those are other problems I’m also going to point out and then set aside. You’ll decide whether it bothers you enough to not find the rest funny, and a lecture from me won’t do any good. Check out that trope page for more.

NOW, as for the rest of the comedy—hilarious! I will tell you that, sorry ladies, this isn’t standard behavior when a bunch of guys are drinking together, though I will say that I’ve been known to lose my shirt on occasion once the whiskey comes out. So it’s not entirely fictional. But the naked dance, and then Rurutie’s reaction, and the return of the amazing tails! Nekone’s reaction in particular was devastatingcritical strike! To Kiuru too. Poor guy. You’re the youngest, it’s okay to be cute.

I am disappointed that Kuon delivered the knockout strike to Haku, because him forgetting to cover himself up aside, it was Kuon who didn’t knock and ask if they could come in, and while you can reasonably assume that the guys wouldn’t be all naked (usually), c’mon, leave the dude’s dangly alone! Also, Shinonon talking about danglies was great, and did you catch where Atui said the girls do the same thing? I know they do it in the bath, but as noted above, I want to see this all play out with the ladies drinking. (The ones that are old enough. Though it’s a fantasy world, there’s probably no drinking age.) Plus, apparently Mikazuchi is competing with Kiuru for Nekone’s affection, which, er. How old is he? I’m getting squicked out again. Best not to think about it. Muscles. Muscles everywhere!

Everyone Gets Scared. That’s Why We Drink.

Now that we’re done with all the naked stuff, let’s talk about the ploty/thematic stuff. The philosophical thrust of this episode had to do with Haku accepting the world for what it is, and his friends as the kind of people who can both be goofy with him and fight in wars. His fear is understandable, as is his disdain for war. Of more interest to me is the discussion of why they drink.

Understand first that I don’t condone excessive drinking, much less drinking and driving (where are you, my Google self-driving car future?) or anything like that. And having a drink or two a night, depending on your bodyweight, has nothing to do with being a drunk. But most of us who enjoy the occasional tipple has quite likely gotten steaming drunk before. I’m talking Maroro levels, though without the gay stuff, unless that’s how you swing, in which case with the gay stuff too. And while sometimes it’s evidence of a low tolerance or not knowing how to control your drink, sometimes it’s something more. Something deeper.

Sometimes, it’s nice to get away. To lose yourself, to reset, to say that this night I’m going to let loose, and stop worrying, and just live. To some people, whose minds can get in their own ways—a group that includes both Haku and myself—sometimes it’s nice to say, and this is the scientific term: “Fuck it.” To stop worrying for one damn night and just have fun. And a libation or six can help with that. What resonated with me the most was not that Haku ought to trust his friends or anything like that. It’s that Haku realized that everyone gets scared. Everyone worries. That’s why we drink. That’s why we party like fools. That’s why we live, and set the world with its incessant needs and crises, aside until tomorrow. Sometimes, as Ukon said, drinking makes you feel better.

Just don’t go hard too often, or the nights will blur into one another and lose meaning. Taking the medicine once in a while works just as well. Also, hangovers suck. Trust me, I’d know.

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

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – A guy’s night for cheering up Haku turns into a drunk naked dance-off. You know, as it does #utaware s2e16

Random thoughts:

  • Ukon and Haku confirmed for straight, sorry Rurutie. Not that she’s going to believe that anymore.
  • Ohh, so that’s where the twins went. I was wondering.

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: Star Wars: The Force Awakens – The Introduction, What Star Wars: The Force Awakens did right, What Star Wars: The Force Awakens did wrong, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens – The Conclusion.




      1. That’s bioengineering or I’m a three-headed dog. Stilts, for the sake of being spoiler-free, I suggest you finish S1 before next Saturday. Cause we gots things headed our way. Bad things.

    1. Show Spoiler ▼

  1. I imagine they tied up the twins because they suggested a less savory way of perking Haku up, now that his defenses were done 😉 Still, could’ve used an explanation considering they just saved his life.

    1. ..they are also trained into Kamasutra

      I think it was for both side. to give these men an getting Drunk Men night, and to prevent these Girls to end as… well you know… toys

  2. The nude view from behind somehow managed to be even more disturbing then the view from the front, nobody should have muscles like that down there back… Still it was a hilarious episode regardless.

    1. The muscles were overdone. There’s probably some straight up inaccuracies there, but mostly they just misunderstand how much work has to go into having bodies that ripped. Certainly people can trip across a GOOD body with a decent amount of exercise / good eating, but that kind of shiz takes concentrated work. Ukon spends too much time at a desk for that to happen.

      That said, it’s fanservice. It’s no different from a lady viewer thinking the women with giant gazongas in other shows is disturbing. Welcome to their world, haha

      1. Well, it depends on the lady. I’ve met some women who love muscle-bound meatheads, though to most that’s too much. Same way some guys like the overdone anime gazongas, but others think they’re just ridiculous. Just because it’s intended to be fanservice doesn’t mean it’s SUCCESSFUL. As with so many things, less would have been more.

  3. A bit disapppinted that Haku didn’t bring up Vurai’s way of fighting. He should have directly gone to the emperor.
    I hope he won’t regret it considering how Vurai seems to hate both him and Ukon.

    1. @boingman: Agree though it’s still quite possible that Haku brings up Vurai’s actions at a later point in the story/next time he visits the emperor. Be kind odd if their “confrontation” (which is how I view it) leads to nothing at all.

    2. I was a bit disappointed to see Dekonpopo being allowed to rise back into town and bask in “glory” despite what an incompetent and arrogant ass he was shown to be before. He’s another person whose actions should be conveyed to the Emperor as he even admitted how Dekonpopo only inherited the position from his father, the one who was actually hand-picked for it, and is now trying to act all high and mighty despite not knowing anything.

      1. It’s called PR. Since Dekoponpo has his position, it wouldn’t be good for him to appear defeated/shamed in front of the citizens. Would hurt the whole “Empire Undefeatable” image Yamato’s going for. If he will be punished for his actions, that’ll be after the victory parade, and possibly in secret from public view.

  4. Eh, mixed bag episode for me. What I liked about this episode was that the anime didn’t just gloss over or sweep under the rug the mental anguish Haku had from the last battle. That was a big deal for him and kudos to the anime for addressing it head on even if much (all?) of it was resolved with ye old “Power of Friendship”. Still, I think Haku’s lament about lack of power to do something (i.e. save that one kid) wasn’t adequately addressed. He mentioned it, and then it was pushed aside in favor of “war is scary”. The latter is a worthy topic, no doubt, but I think that the former is also worth attention – more than it got in terms of resolution. Relying upon said friends didn’t help the prior situation. Friends are not always available to help out as was shown. It was his lack of ability. Not a huge deal, and again, MUCH better than if they just went on as if nothing had happened.

    On the downside, this episodes’ “comedy” SOL was like much of the first cour, not working for me. I really don’t think the comedy would have been materially more amusing if you just replace the guys with the girls (though I would have appreciated the fanservice in that case). Granted JMO, but can we please dispense with the tired bald comedy hair piece gags? After arguably an entire season of this stuff (which admittedly most of which didn’t work for me = comedy is subjective), it’s just getting old in general. I do think a “break” or “pause” from the action is a good idea, but it’s still a lot of going to the same (joke) well. :/ That being said, I would say there was more “meat” in this episode to go along with the comedy SOL than some similar episodes in the first season = progress on that front.

    Lastly, looks like we are getting some really significant stuff next episode. Looking forward to that.

    1. Meh, hit submit by mistake. I did want to mention props to Stilts for bringing up the the “double-standard” trope regarding what happened with Kiuru and Maroro. Wasn’t funny at all, but rather disturbing, moreso when you factor in Kiuru seems to be pretty young/underage. :< While I wouldn't say eliminating that scene would make the rest of the comedy instantly funny for me, I definitely would have preferred the anime left that out.

      1. I never said the comedy would be better if it were the girls. I just wondered aloud if it would work at all, due to the “female nudity = sexy, male nudity = funny” double-standard. Though that’s a much more innocuous double standard than the other one =/

        That was definitely more disturbing than anything. The Ougi one less so—I could let that slide due to Rule of Funny/cultural differences. But not the Maroro one.

        I do think this series often tries to be deep and insightful, but it doesn’t quite get it. It feels like many anime—in need of further editing. The huge numbers of people involved make it harder to tighten up a story, as opposed to my own work, where I can just keep iterating over and over again, and annoy no one but myself and my editors. It just has that annoying element of so close, yet not quite there.

      2. @Stilts: Just to be clear, I wasn’t trying to suggest you said “the comedy would be better if it were the girls”, but rather giving my own answer to the question you “asked out loud”. As for “‘female nudity = sexy, male nudity = funny’ double-standard”, to be honest I never thought of it that way, but rather each is just fanservice for a certain audience.

        As for how well the series broaches more serious topics, you have a point though I wouldn’t call “war sucks” particularly insightful. It does seem that the show wants to be “serious” as well as “light-hearted fun”, but the execution is not there to pull off both. My impression is that for this series, “light hearted fun hijinks” is the “default setting”, and it tends to gravitate towards that, especially if things get “too serious” for too long. To be fair, as you say it’s not bad on the more serious stuff, but yeah, it doesn’t quite go far enough into that if indeed it does want to address such topics in full.

  5. I think this shows the slowness in last episode in the destruction was at least part deliberate in showing the horror of war as this episode was a follow up on that concept. And this would not work as well without a lot of the slice of life before it. To get the jarring transition you have to mentally settle into a slice of life mood and that takes time.

    Last episode reminds me of Gulf War One. The M1 tank was so superior in speed and accuracy in firing range that along with fantastic night scopes that the Iraq tanks had no ability to even fight back just being destroyed most often not even seeing who was firing. Add to that the air supremacy (means total control of the air) with the ability to B52 saturation bomb, older terms for that arc light or carpet bombing, and gilded missiles both from planes and cruse missiles the allies had the equivalent of the mask powers last episode. Combine that with the same masterful command and control showed both in that war and in last episode you have what TV tropes calls a military curb stomp which is what all Generals seek to have.
    Somewhat higher casualties on the winning side but last episode was Rome vs the Jewish revolt by religious fanatics in 70 AD which I consider one of the dumbest revolts ever considering how powerful Rome was then. Thus Jerusalem was leveled and the jews mainly as slaves were scattered all over Europe. (side note critics of M1 in development thought it could not operate in sandy environments then it ruled in one of the great deserts of the world so don’t always trust military development problem stories)

    Don’t know the Japanese view on the sexual aggression scene. Maybe they take it as never serious in the way that homosexual conduct does not really exist in the public face of the culture where in private gay sex has been fine for more than a thousand years. And of course we almost never get a follow up on what the possible victims actual feelings on what happened are, if they feel violated they are violated but if they don’t feel violated afterward they were not violated maybe only embarrassed. In this story the boy could have been embarrassed but not offended or he could have been traumatized. Reminds me of when Game of Thrones messed up filming a scene that in the book was clearly wanted but also hate sex and hate where it being done that most thought was rape on the TV show even though the women is shown passionately kissing the man back at times. We the audience needed a reaction the next day scene to clarify especially as you don’t have smells and can’t tell if the woman is physically aroused from watching a scene on TV.

    It was good to give the girls some fan service, although I only really enjoy the female for male fan service I accept that it is best that both sexes get their fan service than removing the male only fan service.

    I’m fairly sure Haku was really tired from cleaning the sewers two episodes ago because he was also being used by the Chains at night. I can’t see any logical reason for Haku to turn them down, let alone offend the Emperor by not using his gift. It a Utawarerumono tradition not to show the intimacy that can be found in the source. The chains were tied up this time otherwise they would have stopped the girls from going in.

    I want a girl with a fluffy ears and a tail that can hiss 🙂

    It bugged that the incompetent, corrupt leader got to ride in honor in the parade.

  6. This Episode is more an calm one, to let the Horror of War sink into Haku and his worries about it

    I loved it, and with this it flesh out also the others too. Our Nobility Mage are into the same gender when drunk :). But also he explained why he fight his fear, because his honor is stronger or for the family’s name and shame. (It’s Asia. Where losing face is stronger then losing their own life)

    But, they showed us only the calmed peace of dove Generals, are the others the Falcons?

    i loved this episode

    1. Showing a male nipple is considered breaking the censorship rules. So if you show males nipples, it’ll up the age rating as if you showed female nipples. (Basically, it’s ranked the same, in Japan laws) This is why you NEVER see male nipples in mangas as well even if they are shirtless.

      Because if you start allowing nipples for males but not for females, then we’re going into futas and shota baits having full nipple showing and getting away with censorship rules.

  7. > Would the naked dance scene have been as funny if it were portrayed in the exact same light, but with all the female characters naked, partying, and as drunk as skunks?

    Fairy Tail ?

    1. Point! I mean, it’s usually Gray, but I’m pretty sure Erza has gotten into that at least once. Lucy too, though mainly as a victim. Though if memory serves, the time I’m thinking of was more of a case of both the men and women being all drunk and silly, lol

      I need to start reading that manga again.

  8. I liked this episode and how it took a pause and looked at the war and the stuff that comes along with it. It’s the thing that many forms of entertainment gloss over so I’m glad that the series took the time and showed the “suffering” that comes with the war, even if you technically won it.

    Haku in the episode reminds me a bit of Shuu from GC, you have an ordinary guy who is thrown into the maelestorm and basically does what 90% of us would probably have done. Sure we like to imagine ourselves to be brave and whatnot but if we are really honest we would probably also huddle up into the fetal position somewhere. Though I’m glad that they pulled him out of it before he became as annoying as Shuu or Shinji was.

      1. I like how anime has trained people to think like this, or trained us that we can be sarcastic about it, and everyone will groan together and understand.

        Either way is horrible! The main character should be the most, or at least one of the most (if it’s a strong cast) interesting things about a story! Sure, some can exist with a comparatively stiff main character—Batman is always far less interesting that his rogues, for example—but they shouldn’t be straight up boring. That’s bad! Bad anime industry, bad. No!

        *thwacks anime industry with a rolled up newspaper* *explains to the young’uns what a newspaper is*

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