Uta Koi tells the "super-liberal interpretation" of the Hyakuninisshu anthology compiled during Japan's Heian period of 100 romantic poems from 100 different poets such as The Tale of Genji's Murasaki Shikibu.
Chouyaku Hyakuninisshu: Uta Koi is an animation of the Japanese card game Uta-garuta which itself comes from Hyakuninisshu one of the most important works of Japanese literature which is a 12th century anthology of love poems compiled by the aristocrat Fujiwara no Teika includes poems by the most important poets of the Heian Period.
History lesson out of the way. Each episode is introduced by Fujiwara no Teika himself in a modern setting and tells the background of each poem and a little about the poet's life, lacing it with humour and an intelligent script.
It is worth remembering that the characters were real people and
most were renowned in their lifetime including Sei Shonagon who wrote the Pillow Book and Murasaki Shikibu who wrote the Tale of Genji. They spent most of their time stuck in the royal palace especially Empresses, Princesses and ladies in waiting who were almost imprisoned. You can only imagine the boredom and frustration many of these intelligent women had not being able to use their intellect.
If you expect each episode to happily ever after then you will be disappointed. The people were royalty or aristocrats from the Heian Period and had to live by a strict code where they were told who to marry or how to live so each episode is about doomed love and the poems often reflect this.
Also the opening and ending songs a very good and the animation is nice though not spectacular, however, this is probably because most scenes are in the royal palace or in aristocrats homes.
I will admit is not to everyone's taste but if you are looking for an anime which is a bit more intelligent than most it might be for you. This is classic literature made cool.
This was an enjoyable title while it lasted. Uta Koi, for the most part, portrays animated adaptations of stories concerning the lives of famous traditional poets in feudal Japan having their own differing experiences with love that influence their writing. Each of the stories provides enough fleshing out of the characters to let you know of their upbringing and unique romantic dilemma, many of whom involve differences in age and/ or social standing, the latter of which being a huge deal in feudal times. It made for quite the interesting watch since it let me know a little more about Japan's literary history.
also mixes in some comedy with its romantic stories, mostly through Teika's easygoing narrations as he introduces the stories being portrayed in each episode of Uta Koi. The comedy mostly relies on anachronisms with Teika and the other poets making appearances at points throughout the series when relevant to the story being portrayed in said episode. I found this style of comedy to be hit or miss and an absolute waste for one episode when it was used as complete comical filler. Fortunately, it doesn't get too intrusive in the other 12 episodes that are telling their romantic stories.
In terms of visuals, scenery and character designs are fairly standard in quality and being rather limited in its animation. Like Gankutsuou, Uta Koi implements stylized methods with its scenery and characters by implementing a design pattern onto the kimonos of characters, clouds and even rain drops. While still sticking out quite prominently in moments where characters are moving about, it isn't as annoyingly glaring as when Gankutsuou resorted to this approach.
Uta Koi will certainly not be for everyone considering the title's strong focus on poetery, Japanese history and episodic storytelling. But if you have interest in these elements of storytelling and genres, then Uta Koi makes for an entertaining watch as you experience the love woes faced by famous Japanese feudal poets who lived centuries ago.
I think that Chouyaku Hyakuninisshu is a good series, with its use of historical references to Japan and Medieval Age Japanese poetry, as well as the way the characters were portrayed in it (which I believe was one of the highlights of this series). At the same time, it did make me want to read the original set of 100 poems, which are available here:
I will say that the art is good, but not the best - it could have been a shade better. Also, the story had its moments when I wondered what the tone of the anime will be. Although it carried its
concepts well, it lacked discipline in some places. Which was sad, because the characters were not constructs in any form - in fact, in a subtle way, it portrayed what medieval Japan was like, especially to live in that time and its hierarchical society. Its enlightening, actually.
While I won't say that its the best anime I've seen, I feel it has its merits as a good anime which gives food for thought. And I would definitely recommend it to be seen at least once - especially for those who want to experience "love" in a mix of poetic, and metaphoric aspects. Its nice, its fun for its 13 episodes, and the morals that they share in this anime are such that we can relate with them, from metaphoric or conceptual grounds anyway.
Let's start :
The 13 episodes are episodic, so each one has a diffrent stroy to tell (understand a different poem to illustrate), but some characters are reccurent and you get to know them and their stories.
Theres nothing special to say, its not mystery or anything, because its no the purpose of the show.
Its very beautiful, the kimono, the hair, the colors, its beautiful, but nothing particulary outstanding. Expet some scenes that are really well animated, and absolutely beautiful and memorable.
The opening is really good and fits perfectly well to the show, you easily get the spirit. The ending is surprising
but nice. And the ost is present but discreet I guess, at least I have nothing to say, it doest its job, makes a good atmosphere. The voices are perfect, with many famous voice actors as good as always. The poetic lines are nice to hear and fits persfectly with the rest of the show.
The characters are great, worked, and have a great psychology that you might not suspect they have at first, but beware they do. You get the josei vibe if I may say, the realtion between them (love or not) are great, and tho it may seems because of the episodic episodes that you wouldn't have time to have character developement, you actually do! And it's not forced at all, it's very fluide.
Watched in one day, I just couldn't stop, I kept wanting to see more of the romantic, sad, poetic atmosphere. The atmosphere is great. I wish there were more shows as good as this one.
It has all I wanted : historic, interesting and good characters, beautiful art, a poetic vibe sometimes melancolic, some romance, some comedy too (I haven't talked much about it but the context story is pretty comedic and the good thing is that it doesn't even bother, it fits well to the rest). If you like those things I believe I you might love as much as I have.
A must for romantic fan. But the show is more than that as I said. Imo it is incredibly good in its category. I haven't given it a 10, not because it has some big flaws, just its episodic there isn't one big story so...its not a good reason actually. I guess its just that I don't see myself singing the opening or kya-ing about the show, but I think that's because its not really made to have this kind of fan actually. Its a show you appreciate alone, for its poetry, beauty, melancolic side.
I say give it a try, I don't think you'll be disappointed, its so worth it!!
Chihayafuru is an anime series that features the sport of competitive karuta and the lives of the players as they chase after their own dreams. Together, let's take a peek at the history and background of this anime series.