Pacing problems galore.
The first half of the episode was largely what I expected after the decision to invade Tusukuru became obvious last week, with some bonuses that I didn’t necessarily expect, but which largely worked. I expected the sheeple of Yamato (open your eyes!) to be all for the invasion of Tusukuru, with the added bonus of the studio firmly reminding us just how damn big Yamato is. I also expected the drama surrounding Kuon, as everyone steps on eggshells around her since her homeland is being invaded. I did not expect the war effort to take place off-screen, though it ended up working, and I honestly cheered when Oshutoru told Haku that the invasion effort had already ground to a halt. Welcome to Tusukuru, bitches! You better believe they’re good at this. They’re been preparing for your dumb asses since Hakuoro exited the stage.
Then there’s the mission for Haku to deliver supplies to the invasion force, and him agreeing to do it. To anyone who thought Itsuwari no Kamen was going to be like Utawarerumono, and Haku would turn into a general/strategist (like it looked like he would after episode two), this is an intriguing development. It was also strange because he agreed to A) go to war (which he hates), and B) help attack Kuon’s homeland, which is a big dickish. But his speech to her, at least, was heartfelt, though I wasn’t surprised that she wasn’t there. Though it turns out I wasn’t correct about why.
—To Spinning Our Wheels
The second half of the episode, on the other hand, was an effort in spinning our wheels. It was bizarre. I thought for sure that Kuon had left for Tusukuru, that the adoptive daughter of many of Tusukuru’s heroes would, ya know, go help her damn country. For her to be hiding upstairs with Karura is weird, and for her to ultimately go on the resupply mission with Haku and the others is even weirder. I know this is based on a game, as some commenters noted, and presumably they didn’t want to split the party, but I’ve played JRPGs where the party got split before! It’s fine, it works! This just feels so wrong, that she would do anything to help her country’s enemy, even if some of her friends are from there. I can see her being conflicted and staying on the sidelines. I can see her fighting but holding back. But helping her enemy kill her own countrymen is just weird. And I can’t imagine why Karura hasn’t left to go beat the hell out of some Yamato generals either.
As for getting there, it felt like a massive waste of time. I like that Kuon is the one person in the world who can spur Haku to action, but much of the second half was concerned with wasting our time when I just wanted to either find Kuon or learn that she’d gone to Tusukuru. And then Haku spent the last part of the episode drunkenly complaining, which, er, isn’t very attractive. Especially since he’s been extraordinarily lucky, both to survive the apocalypse and to fall into such an important position with such great comrades after he awoke. It’s not endearing. As for him not wanting to work, while I’m sure we can all relate (to a point—I’d much rather blog anime and write novels than do “real” work, but those are work too), it just comes across as whining. To quote a wise man:
“If you don’t want to work, you have to work to earn enough money so that you won’t have to work.” -Ogden Nash
Ya hear that, Haku? Now stop whining about how bad your life is when it’s actually damn good and get to work. Though maybe don’t help invade your friend’s country, you idiot.
Despite spending half of this post berating Haku for being such a damn idiot, I’m still cautiously optimistic about where this is going. Getting the story back out on the battlefield is where the drama lives, and we need some of that to prevent this from turning into a slog. Make it happen, Itsuwari no Kamen. This is your chance to prove the haters wrong.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Half heartfelt potential drama, half wasting our time #utaware s2e18
- To those who were saying that, because this is based on a game, they won’t split the party, some counter-evidence: Maroro is going off with Dekoponpo again, and Kiuru is already on the battlefield. Maybe they’re not party members in the game, but I have a feeling they are.
- “I’m sure there’s a reason beyond our understanding for it.” I hate that reason. Nekone might be right—is right—but saying such a thing is to cut off the chance for understanding, and to let those in power dominate your life. Though that certainly fits the setting.
- Apparently Haku’s party is getting their trap ideas from looney tunes. Let’s catch that wascally Kuon!
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.
I’ve had problems with this series for a while now, but this is the first episode that I actually fast forwarded through parts of.
There were just parts of this episode that flat out ticked me off. The main female character is having her home country invaded by the country of many of her friends. This SHOULD be a very important point of moral quandary for our characters. Instead? We see our boring MC wandering around most of the episode, while the female characters split their time between a complete inability to see anything about this war in a negative light, and a seeming comedy routine about getting the female lead out of her room. I swear I wanted to punch everyone of these characters in the face. They actually seem less concerned than when Yamato was fighting a group of obviously bad people, than invading a country that’s done nothing wrong, and who their good friend is from.
You know, the original show had its comedic moments to be sure, but it knew when to make things serious. That’s one of the major flaws in this series. The other being that most, if not all, of these new characters have no character besides a single quirk. In a war where most of the main characters are from the country that is clearly in the wrong here, I would hope for a deeper approach to the topics at hand.
It’s weird, but the best moments of this show for me, have been the scenes involving the original cast, who seem to, despite much less time on screen, have far greater depth to them. In the end, this series has only caused me to want to go back and marathon the first series, which I have. I’ve found that, despite not having watched it in years, it still holds up, and it’s a FAR better series than this one.
I’m still going to watch this series, and I’m sure, this late in the game, that I’ll end up finishing it as well, but it will really only be for two reasons:
My love for the first series
My slim hope that something can be accomplished by the end of all this
As it stands right now, however, I’m having Fam the Silver Wing flashbacks.
…..yeah….I’m done with this series. It has been dead since the giant centipede episode. There is no way this show even compares to the first Utawarerumono – which is still awesome to watch today.
Haku….what an insult to Hakuro! Lazy, undriven, anti-social loser. He’s basically a caricature of all the loser anime otakus/neets/hikki! Way to pander to the lowest common denominator! While the first show wasn’t ground breaking, at least it was edgy and was willing to push the envelope. Hakuro wasn’t just some ‘nice guy’ who fell backwards into being Emperor – he started a goddamn civil war and killed people. Haku was literally just handed power because….JBBs want to see their power fantasy fulfilled!
This series will sank into obscurity and years from now, people won’t even remember that this pathetic attempt a sequel to such an good anime was ever made.
This was all… odd. When you have a direct line to the man behind the curtain, and that man is your brother, why wouldn’t you at least drop in to ask why he’s suddenly invading your closest friend’s country?
The rest… I dunno. Kuon still being there I can by because she’d have a hard time leaving Haku without a word. He’s important to her. But she basically made them play hide-and-seek, a gigantic waste of time and kinda childish. Then she hears drunken Haku complain to Karura and suddenly she’s fine? With no compromise for her country? What?
Last thing: if Karura is still there (seriously, why?) Touka better not be. Both of them choosing to stay on the sidelines is dumb and would never happen. That’s still Hakuoro’s country, they’d never just watch it be invaded.
That’s a very good point, and something that I had forgotten to bring up. Heck, they even have the twins show up, and all he does is drink tea.
What exactly was the purpose of all of this junk about his past, if it’s going to be forgotten next episode?
I don’t know. Karura and Touka were part of Hakouro’s team, they learned how tactics and strategy work up close. If they were smart enough to move to Yamato to spy on them (to find out whether the country would be a potential ally for Tuskuru or not) I doubt they wouldn’t have some sort of plan B at hand in case Yamato would turn out to be an enemy. Or maybe they had that suspicion all along, which would be why they moved there in the first place.
I mean, that’s very possible and I considered there was a plan in motion, but the way Karura was presented as still ultra-relaxed bothered me. Sure that’d make her a good spy, but a hint at something going on would’ve been good.
Just based on what we’ve seen so far, you’re probably giving the writers too much credit. I’d be surprised if her staying in Yamato every develops into anything. jmo
Agree with most of what you said, though Haku hasn’t shown that he’s especially capable of going straight to the emperor of his own volition; the emperor has always summoned him. Then again, he could have at least asked.
I hope you’re right that Karura has a plan, but remember: She’s not the main character, nor even a secondary character, of this story. I wish they were treating the Tusukuru characters more like full secondary characters, it would be more interesting, but they’re not. In all likelihood, she’ll be underutilized.
@Stilts: I’d wager that she either has a plan, or just has a lot of confidence in the folks back home. I mean in S1 we saw that Karura has this air of being control of things/relaxed when she truly is — remember how she faced those three generals from Niwe’s country? Didn’t break a sweat at the start, and once blood fountains appeared you saw why.
OTOH, if both Karura and Touka are still there, then Tuskuru has the equivalent of a tactical nuke sitting in Yamato’s capital city.
Yep as seen so far they not needed back home yet. The writers could just be messing up but I rather think as they are not needed back home they are in the capital for important reasons. Not to mention if Yamato knows they are not at home they tie up at least two pillar Generals just staying in the Capital to defend from them.
Just a repetitive question Stilts, have you finished season one?
Aye. See last week’s post. I finished the first season (though not the OVAs), and gave my impressions on it there.
Show Spoiler ▼
Also if you’re really stressed up, you really should watch the OVA.
Aye, I know what happened differently in the anime and the VN. Other readers told me last week. Danke for the link though, didn’t know that was available.
I was also weird out by Kuon in this episode decision to go with supply ships.
The whole second half of the episode is anime original. The VN definitely focused on the war aspect at this point in the story, not goose chase shenanigans like what happened here.
I’m assuming that all of these terrible changes are due to the fact that the VN and the anime were released at around the same time. The studio probably only had a script to work off of.
If SHIROBAKO is any indication, anime episodes aren’t produced THAT far ahead of time. You’re probably right after the first few episodes, but by the time this was scripted, the game was probably out. And the studio should have been given advance copies of the game anyway. I think they just made a choice, and it wasn’t the best one.
I stopped watching half way through episode 14 because it felt like effing NOTHING has happened up to that point. Should I pick this back up?
Don’t bother. If you’re curious, you’ll probably be fine just reading the summation in the last post, or just watching the final episode…or maybe just reading wikipedia. Point is, nothing much has happened, and with how little you care about these characters, there isn’t much reason for has happened to matter to the viewer anyway.
One thing I wish they hammer home is that Yamato isn’t simply going to war with Kuon’s home country. Nor are they simply going to war with Kuon’s country where her family lives.
Show Spoiler ▼
Either way, I guess main problem with this series in comparison to the first (pacing aside) is that it finds a hard time to build up to any sort of climax. It will most likely have a climax, but the broken build up leaves much to be desired. There were considerably less mood swings mid plot in the original series.
I have nothing to add to what you said Stilts. This episode was mostly weird, in a bad way.
While I understand from a comment above that the trivial comedy in this episode was anime original, I certainly hope it doesn’t happen again. The series will suffer for it for sure.
As for all the drama, I’m just hoping they don’t go through with what they decided and think nothing of it. I’m hoping they think it over again all the way through as maybe they receive some new enlightenment as to what this means to each one of them. Though no matter what they do, it’s pretty much set in stone that Yamato isn’t gonna stop and no one is gonna convince it otherwise.
Did they seriously plan on sight seeing after the war is over? So you can watch all the graves and devastation after Vurai unleashes on your people? But before that lets spend half an episode to cheer Kuon up before we go kill her people….
Well, the girls could have cheered up Kuon the same way the boys did for Haku’s sake. I think half the world would have liked it a lil better than this…
The 2nd part was so random.
That scene with Haku in front of the doujinshi store and the girls running away from him. So weird and pointless. Was it supposed to be funny?
Is there not enough game story left that the creators felt to add this stuff to the episode?
It is not the first not last invasion that ended up encircled and with supply routes cut off…
It is always hard enterprise to conquer far away country, not the least because enemy defenders have the motivation of defending their homes, and your armies are operating on a long supply lines that are prone to be cut off. Bonaparte at Moscow, Paulus at Stalingrad and French at Dien Bien Phu certainly may relate…
I definitely need to marathon the first part of the Utawarerumono, if only just to get a closer look on the Tususkuru and their story.
I’m highly suspicious of Haku agreeing to this mission so easily. I think (hope) he has some sort of plan (bring Kuon back to her homeland? see the situation with his own eyes? hear the other side of the story? sabotage the supply line?) and going on this mission is an easy way to do so. And beeing in charge of the supply does grant him some power if he wants to use it. But since we don’t know how much he knows about the reason for the invasion or his motivation, its hard to say if he will just deliver the supply and then do something or if he will even deliver the supply to Tusukuru?
On the other hand, messing around with the supply could be Kuons plan. What better way to help your family then to sabotage the enemys supply line, forcing them to retreat without further bloodshed? Which I guess is also the reason the other Tusukuru characters are staying in yamato: to keep spying and gather information about troop and supply movements. Especially since Tusukuru seems to do just fine right now, even without them on the battlefield. And if Tusukuru wants to retaliate it is convenient for them as well.
I agree that the second part of the episode was rather week. On the other hand I have to admit that having one part of the main cast strong ties with one side of the conflict and other parts equal strong ties to the other is very original. I can’t remember another show with such a deep conflict. It defies the rules of writing, so you have to expect that things feel a bit odd from here on. Even the clumsy attempts to cheer up Kuon are excusable: Who could they have learned to deal with this situation?
*how could they…
I wouldn’t really say “defies”. There’s no rule that you have to keep your whole cast together. Kuon could’ve gone back home and it would’ve made sense, but her staying for Haku also makes sense to a point. The show just went beyond that point. The people of Yamato are basically brainwashed to never question the Emperor that has ruled them for almost a thousand years and she’s seen that, so while I don’t think she would’ve gone as far as to outright question the invasion in front of her friends, just accepting it and going with Haku is weird. She should’ve talked about it with Haku before deciding what she was going to do, not hiding for days on end and then being okay with whatever he does because of a drunken rant. Ideally she’s going to try for peace from the Yamato side while Haku does his job, but who knows what will happen when they get there.
I think it’s for me to also jump the bandwagon and say that i’m finally done with this series. I would have dropped it episodes ago if i had less time to watch anime but i believe it’s time now. Not having watched the first season and hearing everyone talk about how good it was and how this was going to revive the series i’m pretty disappointed. The characters are awful, the first 12 episodes were filled with wasted pointless slice of life and nonsensical plot elements. I don’t care if people say that season one is great, this is bad. Really bad.
i admit, they try to give this Episode the Calm before the Storm. But in the end, it trow me a bit off balance
I would add some more inner thoughts of Haku, BEFORE he just agree easy to the request of the general… More showing his inner conflict
Perhaps an flashback right to this point can fix that, somehow
I was wondering what other viewers thought because my impression was this was an odd episode. Seems I’m not alone on that. Agree with Stilts that while unexpected, skipping the opening rounds of battle worked OK. Honestly, it’s a bit hard to believe that Yamato would be halted so easily with the mask users, but eh, Vurai is off somewhere else, and… sure, fine. I’ll roll with it. It was after that which the problems started.
I’ve mentioned before that IMO the show struggles with both comedy (subjective of course) and comedy/serious integration. This episode IMO was no different. I mean, we are what I would think is kind of a serious point where you have at least one major character (Kuon) in potential conflict with the rest of the cast. Yet, cue more “Looney Tunes” hijinks, sea sickness visual gags, BL/yaoi jokes, etc. ‘Tis neither a good use of time nor appropriate IMO at this point in the story.
Frankly, the episode raised more questions than it answered – some of which have been mentioned. I figured Kuon left for Tusukuru, but instead she’s hiding out. OK, WHY? No, seriously, what are her feelings on all of this because for someone who obviously has strong ties to the invaded country where her family resides, what we get is “Haku complaining about his work = convincing argument for Kuon to join the critical Yamato resupply mission”. Huh? No inner turmoil deciding what to do – especially when to the viewer it makes at least as much sense, if not more, for her to side with Tusukuru? Far too abrupt IMO, and the episode would been much better off spending precious time on Kuon and her deliberation than failed comedy hijinks. Sometimes I swear this show is afraid of becoming “too serious”.
Also agree with Stilts that Karura not joining the Tusukuru forces is dumbfounding. What possible valuable intel could she get at this point by remaining in Yamato? Karura just hanging out seemed very out of character to me. I’ll leave it at that to avoid spoilers. Also “entrusting her daughter” (Kuon) to Haku played off as “power of protagonist”/script called for it. The anime IMO has not done a very good job building a solid relationship between the two.
This episode fared better when it came to Haku. At least there was some sort of discomfort, hesitation on his part before accepting the mission with a reason stated. That being said, perhaps not quite enough hesitation. Kiuru and Haku spent enough screen time together (and easy enough to assume they did a lot of off-screen gutter/sewer cleaning) so that has some validity as a compelling reason IMO. Munechika? That takes a lot more work on the viewers’ part IMO. Seemed to me like they had a cordial acquaintance relationship, but that was about it.
I’m not dropping the show, but… I do have some increased reservations going forward. As I mentioned last week, this show has an opportunity to finish strong and it needs to do that after a very slow and lackluster first cour. Ep. 18 did not help. :/
@Stilts: Regarding Maroro & Kiuru: I can see your point, but frankly to me those never felt part of the “inner circle” compared to the rest of the cast, especially Maroro who disappeared for a few episodes only to return in brief scenes (and a good chunk of those not with Haku). Kiuru felt more a part of the cast, but for me he still more ancillary than a true member of the main group. He hasn’t been around much lately. So to me, this feels like the entire main group is together.
— Re. Haku’s whining: Well, I think part of the problem is that he does that all the time. It’s part of his “shtick” if you will. Yeah, it could be worse, but the guy shovels crap for a living (not just gutters, but sewers IIRC in one episode). Perhaps not a quintessential example of a wage slave and could be worse for sure, but it’s still a crap job (no pun intended). The guy’s been shown to be smart enough to do something more substantial. Hell, he picked up the language easy enough and is good with numbers so why not some accounting job? How about windmill/machinery repair? Besides, what do Atui and Rurutie really do (or is “princess” an occupation)? What does Nosuri and her brother do now that they’ve abandoned a life of crime (such as it was)?
I get your point, but honestly, that just struck me as more Haku whining because its Haku and that’s what he does.
I mean, yeah, complaining is what Haku does, and there ought to be room for all sorts of characters in fiction, even ones that do things that are traditionally unattractive (personal writing note: One of my characters has a tendency to complain, but his friends usually tell him to shut the fuck up because it doesn’t help and gets on their nerves; realistic/annoying flaws need not dominate the script), but godsdamned, it was such bad timing to be complaining so much about his shitty personal problems when his brother’s country is invading his close friend’s(/maybe more) country.
Other’n that, I agree with most of what ya had to say.
Yeah, I was going to comment on this:
The complaint itself was very Haku and the content itself is actually kind of justified. But the timing of it was very wrong (thematically, not necessarily in terms of Haku’s character), and the implication that it was what made Kuon come back was just weird as heck.
Though at least Haku was thrown off the top of the building into Kokopo’s pen for it.
@Stilts: That’s a fair point (bad timing). It’s also just a weird thing to throw in for this episode given what’s gone on. Like we both have said, this was a strange episode. O.o.
For once, I’m with Daikama. You can have your main character wining all you want, but it calls for a wake sooner or later, which never came to Haku even this far into the story.
Just compare to other similar chars out there. Itami from Gate or Kyouma from Dim W, just to name a couple from this season. They have their good reasons to dislike their own job and be disliked too, but when the needs come, you’re sure they’ll do their part in a stellar fashion. What has Haku done till now beyond complaining. Hell, go back to hibernation, for God’s sake.
On Karura and Touka not leaving for Tuskuru:
I would imagine anyone not directly related to the invasion force leaving for Tuskuru after the announcement to the public would be looked on suspiciously and would likely be stopped by force if necessary. And as crazy strong the two are, I doubt escaping the masked monsters would be easy. Plus with apparently just the two of them, or three when including Kuon, the trip by sea wouldn’t be exactly easy (though if the other workers at the inn are also from Tuskuru, that’s a different story).
Besides, they came to Yamato as spies, wouldn’t it be stupid to blow their cover now? Those two would make pretty effective strike team if there’s need for some sabotage in the capital.
To be honest though, I don’t know if any of the above makes actual sense. That’s just how I justified it in my head to not be bothered by that bit. There was enough to be bothered by in this episode even without it.
The “search for Kuon” segment was largely waste of time, and the main party being fairly happy-go-lucky about war with Kuon’s home country felt very off.
Everyone’s apparent lack of care would have been fine since people of Yamato were shown to be pretty detached from realities of war… Except that the previous war explicitly showed that members of Haku’s party aren’t like that.
Haku, you’re the best. You recently have been told about the truth on your own origins, and, without even giving a fuck, your only concern is how to avoid more work. Fuck you.
I found it a strong forbidding episode that was not possible without all the slice of life. Again a slow look at the bad side of war.
Still greatly enjoying although I know my action side is going come on bring on the action and my slice of life side is going this is good no need to rush.
Yep not good for those not into slice of life stories. Trying to be game faithful with too many episodes has stretched things too long for those not able to make the action to SOL transitions. With half the episodes it would be way to rushed, here it too long unless you like long down periods like I do.
I don’t think it’s that surprising that Kuon stuck around for a bit. Going by ship is a hell of a lot faster than travelling on foot or carriage. Of course, then there’s the issue of why she stuck around till she learnt about the supply delivery mission…maybe she caught wind of there being supply ships being readied for delivery? Like from Karura or someone else…
Hmm, the people of Honshu are invading Hokkaido. Does this reference history in some way?
Glad to know I’m not the only one confused with the last part of this episode.
OMG you’re the first one to notice this. KUDOS!!
Are the decoys somewhat following the ill steps of old humanity? It’s a pity the anime itself doesn’t address this matter very much.