Waking up cold and alone in the woods, a nameless man is surrounded by unfamiliar scenes. Without any memories, he is utterly lost until he stumbles upon Kuon—a young girl with animal ears and a tail. She saves him, leading him back to her town while protecting them both from "boro-gigiri"—giant centipede-like creatures—and a mysterious red slime. After they arrive, she names him Haku after a prominent historical figure from the area. He quickly realizes he is one of a kind—the only one without animal ears and a tail. The two journey to the capital of Yamato, the country in which Kuon lives, meeting more people and making new friends, all the while unknowingly delving deeper into the politics and inner conflicts of Yamato...
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen follows Haku as he slowly uncovers the secrets of this alien world. He works to solve the mysteries surrounding the red slimes, as well as to stop war from erupting among the nearby countries.
I guess if you're here is because you watched more of the first 12 chapters, right? Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen, something that seemed to be a spin-off, was actually a sequel to Utawarerumono, hence many had expected something very similar to its predecessor and, in that sense, were disappointed, but... What so special is the first Utawarerumono?
Both series are of the same: a "medieval fantasy world" where peace is apparent, although there are frictions between various kingdoms, and where one day, appeared someone without memories whose fate will influence many people and the fate of
one or more nations, while looking to find out who is actually. The first part showed this from a more "serious" side, basically without any break between wars in its 26 chapters, however, we must not forget that this is also a "fantasy" and as such, it also has elements comedy, slice of life, romance, even harem in the case of the visual novel. In this sense, many apparently did not notice the flaws of the first season: everything was going at a frenetic speed, while time to present all its cast in an acceptable manner were not given. 26 chapters of war and more war is not entirely productive, there was almost no development of character, to the point that only a few were important and the rest were forgettable. As if that were not enough, even dedicating all its chapters to advance the plot, this was not developed at all well; everything was so rushed that did not explain certain issues, there were had many plot holes and an ending that leaves more questions than answers (and is not exactly a cliffhanger). The first season was not bad set, in fact his story is very interesting an with a good potential, but its development left much to be desired.
Now, talking about Itsuwari no Kamen, which started much slower than its predecessor. In this case they decided to do something more "faithful" to its original concept, which apparently angered many who expected wars since the early chapters. Itsuwari no Kamen decided to dedicate its first chapters to the presentation of the characters and even had time to decide if you take their affection or not.
Yes, perhaps dedicates 12 chapters was too much, but it knew how to entertain us with a good dose of comedy and slice of life as we knew a little more to the characters. From the second half would start the real story: a more serious faction of today's world is shown located several years after the first season, with a story that has nothing to envy. The wars raging again, but in this case we see from the perspective of people who do not fight directly in them, we see Haku, our protagonist, who is not used to the horror of seeing people die before his eyes, and he has to deal with this situation, while trying to help his nation and his friends. Yamato, a nation with great military power faces several threats, including a possible war with the nation of Tusukuru. We must not forget one of the facts that makes this story very interesting: the mystery behind our protagonist, which has much to do about the origin of today's society, which this season is played less, but always in an understandable way and when you have seen the first season (where they left some plot holes in this issue). In only 13 chapters, Itsuwari no Kamen built a story that moves at a good pace, with serious, intense, intriguing and dramatic moments (the latter especially in the final chapter, with a great atmosphere that makes you reflect on the events that led to that conclusion) and how the characters were taken to that situation. Something that Utawarerumono did not quite very well in 26 chapters.
The characters are not the most interesting in the world, but enough to bring history and have time to at least take their affection. Haku is someone quite apathetic attitude a bit annoying but it brings, for both comedy situations, as for those moments where the character is in unexpected situations, where he has to show a change in their way of being if he wants overcome as a person and achieve his goal. Kuon is a fun character, but knows how to be serious when the situation requires. She's cute, beautiful, something perverted, rude and quite mature, basically is Best Waifu. Oshutoru is basically who makes the story forward, who saw the potential of Haku and made it what it is, just as Haku tries to support him, although his peculiar way. The rest of the cast is not much to say, they are all quite different in personality, but they fulfill their roles.
In short: Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen is an anime that has nothing to envy to its predecessor. Has a different way to develop the plot, very slow at first but satisfying in the end, an audiovisual quality above average and acceptable and charismatic cast. Although it might be better in some ways, it is a very enjoyable and entertaining series that achieved its goal. The final cliffhanger shows that the series has potential if it proposes.
This is a review written after I saw it entirely. So, it'll diverge a lot in relation to those which had been written around the beginning. Is my first review, mainly cause of the controversial feeling about this anime.
Story: People may say that it hasn't a story, I say the otherwise. The first half can be a low-development kind. For those who compared directly with the first Utawarerumono, it really is slow and without a outter story development. Though, the second half goes on a exponential curve of "Give me the next episode!". So, we have character and environment presentation and later the rampage of
the story. For those who searched about the anime, now that it is based on a 2-part visual novel, so, be warned that we have a "half" series, even so, I consider this season as a preparation to "I hope there will be a" next one.
Art: Well, the art is nice. The ambience is well made, and although there's a difference from the first one, in a few episodes you accustom to it. Well, the furry part is well made, as are the battles and "special effects". Some parts, considering the year of release, are lot better than the first one, which is expected.
Sound: I really liked the previous Utawarerumono opening (I love that one). They keep Suara's songs for the two openings (prefer the first one - really nice - but the second is really nice too). The endings are those slow-motion zen-kind songs, nice if you want to hear it (worst from all aspects). The general soundtrack is really good, mainly the last episode's ones; They match very well to the situations and ambience.
Character: Well, we have a half season for that, if it was bad the overall would be to. We have a whole set of cliches to not cliches characters. I, particularly, really liked the MC - because he is really different from the normal-MC-way, and has a great development -. Aside from that, the whole set (older Utawarerumono characters, "allies" characters and enemies alike) are well made, be the visual, the actions, reasons, thinking, whatever. Even the lesser things cab be see as a potential character development fuel.
Enjoyment: The fantasy slice-of-life that is the first part is, if nothing else, fun. I found it to be relaxing too. They have a equilibrium between fun and serious, a bit of overall development, new characters, being to know more of the world, etc. The second part is fun, cool, tense and all around some feels and emotions in some aspects (I'll refrain from spoilers, but mainly one part about the MC, and the finale). Basically, I watched one episode every week and waited for the next one from the first to the last episode.
So, the overall note is kind a mean between all of it. I'm bad with rating, never know exactly what I think, Thus, pay more attention to what I wrote than tho the rating.
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen is one tough anime to review. I started watching it without having seen the first season (I probably should have done that, but in the end I felt like I was able to understand the story without it) and had some mixed feelings while watching it. Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen is an anime that starts out as a slice of life and fantasy type of anime and ends as an action and drama type. I'm having a hard time deciding if that was a good thing since it made it good in some areas, but bad in others. As stated before
I have mixed feelings about this anime, and I will now try to share those with you.
Utawarerumono starts out with an extremely slow pace, extremely slow. Almost nothing happens for more than 10 episodes. The slow pacing is good in the sense that it introduces us to the characters and the world of Utawarerumono. The first few episodes are extremely relaxing to watch and easy to understand. As time goes on we gets introduced to character after character, that all gather around the main character. I can see why they all gather around him, I think he's a likeable guy with his casual lazy-type of personality. The characters around him get a fair bit of development considering how many there are. Too many for me to be able to count, and maybe not even remember. They each have some unique traits which make them avoid getting absolutely forgotten. But the side characters are too many to be able to genuinely contribute to the story, which is a shame since they also were likeable. All in all, the anime does a good job at introducing us to all these different characters, and sets us up for a promising ride.
After the characters have all been introduced you would think that the story would start progressing, but that is not the case. After the characters have been introduced and developed, either nothing happens, or even more characters get introduced to even more characters. The middle of the anime, after the characters have been introduced and before the all the action, the anime turns stale and a bit boring. Maybe it was to fill more episodes, but it doesn't work out very well. These episodes are just a composition of random events that does not progress the story at all. The episodes contain some sort of action, but it's badly executed with the characters fighting armies by taking on usually 1, rarely 2 or 3, opponents at a time. The different action segments are boring and meaningless since it does not progress the story nor offer very much to the viewer. It's a shame that the good build up was ruined by this sudden stop of progress.
Since the story of the anime stopped progressing, I had little hope that it would turn out good, or even decent. But at the end of the anime something finally happens, and it's actually something good and exciting. Since we get to spend so much time with the characters doing nothing, we are very likely to sympathise with them. When the story starts to unfold, we get to follow developed characters trough their adventures. This is great because we actually have feelings for these characters. Maybe not only good feelings, but we actually know these characters. The political twist (maybe not a twist if you've seen the first season) was nicely presented and executed. The power struggle was both fun and exciting to watch. The ending to this anime is great. It's bittersweet and definitely leaves an impact.
The animation of this anime is pretty good. It has a nice natural style which fits in nicely with the medieval type of universe. The background is detailed but at the same time it doesn't stand out too much. A fault with the animation is that it sometimes comes of as being lazily done. Mainly action scenes have too little going on. For example when armies are fighting, only a few people are fighting at a time. This makes the fights come of as unrealistic and genuinely bad.
The sound is not something that really stood out to me, all the openings and ending where decent, but not great. The soundtrack was also nothing that really stood out to me. Most voice actors where pretty good and the majority of the characters did a good job at impersonating their character.
I enjoyed some parts of Utawarerumono, especially the start and end to it. But the middle of the anime just felt stale and boring. All in all Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen is an okay anime. Would I recommend it? I would if you like slow build up, a medieval type of universe and animation and/ or political disputes.
Everything about this anime is fantastic.In my most honest opinion,it is a good succesor to the 2006 season.The art is outstanding,story is very comprehensive and deep and expands its roots from the first season.The characters all have their own background behind them and very interesting and well-tought ones at that.While watching the first season will triple your excitement about this anime,you don't need to do that in order to see the fantastic story.It is honestly very rare for me to feel this way about an anime and encourage others to watch it as well,and not to give it a bad rating after watching only 25%
of it :)