An injured man is found in the woods by a girl named Eruruu, and everything about him is mysterious. Without knowledge of his past nor even his own name, he is welcomed to Eruruu's home and is given the name Hakuoro by her grandmother, and younger sister, Aruruu. While the inhabitants of the village have large ears and tails, Hakuoro's defining physical trait is quite different as he has neither ears nor tail, but only a mask that he cannot remove.
Soon after he becomes a part of the villagers' lives, a revolution against the tyrannical emperor of the land begins, and the conflict finds its way to his new home. Hakuoro must do whatever he can to save the people and the village that he has come to love, all while uncovering the mysteries that shroud his past.
Both Rikiya Koyama (voice of Hakuoro) and Miyuki Sawashiro (voice of Aruruu) of were nominated as Best Leading Actor and Best Supporting Actress in the first ever Seiyu Awards for their roles in Utawarerumono.
Utawarerumono manages to be one of those harem animes that anyone can possibly find enjoyable, even if they don't particularly like the concept of harems. Based on the ero-game with the same title, Utawarerumono focuses on an amnesiac man who is found critically injured in a rural village. With the kindness of the villagers, he recovers and spends his days peacefully with them. However, the peaceful times quickly end with a heart shattering event that throws the man and his fellow villagers into a life of war.
The story in Utawarerumono is somewhat simplistic at first, with a majority of the anime following a simple formula
of battles, battles and even more battles while introducing new characters. One may find that the way the story unfolds in this show is quite repetitive. However, if you're a fan of war stories with occasionally comedic situations and intelligent strategies to undermine the enemy you will most likely overlook the lack of variation. Despite what has been said, Utawarerumono also has a number of twists and turns (especially in the second half of the show) that should keep the viewer glued to their chairs long enough to see the story through.
Animation is both a positive and negative point in Utawarerumono. While the animation actually animates the characters in combat (compared to other anime that may just use still images and lines to indicate action) with a good amount of detail, recycled animation occurs. The reused animation is unfortunately quite noticeable (although not too frequent) and may detract one's enjoyment of the battles. The CG animation present in this show is a mixed bag. Some may like it, some may not. Either way, the CG is only used occasionally so it shouldn't be a huge issue. Character designs are more or less consistent, detailed and interesting, albeit one (or more) episode(s) may have the characters looking slightly more odd then usual due to different animators.
Sound is also quite a mixed bag; you may like it or hate it. The opening song is quite catchy, although there is nothing particularly memorable about it. The ending song also proves to have a unique flair to it, with the overall tone of the music befitting the ambiance of this anime. As Utawarerumono contains a number of battle scenes, the background music does well in giving out the proper mood that is needed to set atmosphere of the show. The voice acting is decent, with no one really standing out but with everyone befitting their character.
Utawarerumono being a harem anime contains the usual female stock characters that you would find from other harems. The serious one, the flirtatious one, the cute one, the shy one and etc. However, due to the majority of the show focusing on war, thankfully most of the female characters are not just part of the harem and play a role in the story. Not every character is developed, most likely due to time constraints (although I'm not sure whether the original game developed the ones missed out in this show). Thankfully the main character and a number of other major characters are given some development and time to flesh out their backgrounds.
As for why I enjoyed Utawarerumono - I have natural bias against anything that would be considered a harem anime, but the nicely animated action scenes and character designs won this series over for me. Storywise I thought most of the show didn't really offer much, but I was quite suprised towards the second half of the show where a number of twists were thrown in, making the overall story of this anime much more interesting. I also found almost all the characters to be likeable, except for the certain few which are obviously meant to be hated by the viewers. I only wish some other characters besides the ones given time were developed more properly.
Overall, Utawarerumono manages to deliver an enjoyable package to the casual anime viewer. One may desire to watch this show more then once due to the presence of foreshadowing and a good amount of the background story told in different episodes. Either way, Utawarerumono has a little bit of everything for everyone. It has fan service-like scenes and characters, a large amount of intense action scenes and an intriguing and somewhat deep plot for those seeking something less mindless and profound. It may not prove to be strong in any given area, but it delivers a show that should leave most anime fans somewhat satisfied with what they've just seen.
For about 4/5 of the series, I really enjoyed myself. I’m not usually into science fiction/supernatural anime series, so I wasn’t looking forward to anything when I started watching Utawarerumono. However, I was proven wrong. Utawarerumono was just so exciting and fun to watch and I really liked it – 4/5 of the 26 episodes. For the last 1/5, I didn’t like it too much. I don’t wanna give out any spoilers, so I’ll just say that the last arc was too weird and it didn’t register.
All the characters were really likable and I felt sorry for them whenever another war or battle emerges. It’s
a good thing they laugh and make me laugh now and then. My favorite was Oboro – I loved watching him fight alongside Dori and Gura, the adorable twins. I love Touka too. I’m still wishing that he’s secretly a guy so my crush on Touka would be justified, but that will never happen. Aruruu was just so adorable and I like her WAY more than her older sister Eruruu. I just find Eruruu a bit weak and bland. I really didn’t like the idea of Hakuoro and Eruru as a couple. It’s just too weird since Aruruu thinks of him as her dad. The villains were also as irritating as the main characters are likable. They really convinced me to hate them.
Animation was above average. Everything was well drawn and surprisingly, I’m OK with the earthy color palette. The CG is something I have to think about. It’s not bad, but it’s not good either. It reminds me of early PlayStation1 video game graphics, similar to Suikoden 2’s graphics. The fight scenes were impressive (and exciting) – I love how the characters move swiftly and smoothly when fighting.
I’m not familiar with most of the voice actors, but they were all very impressive. I have to admit that I was iffy with Hakuoro’s voice at first, since I thought it was too manly and old for him, but in the end it turned out well. Everyone was able to bring out their respective character’s personalities and that is what’s important.
As a stand alone, I probably won’t like the music that much. It’s because the music was really tailored for the series. If I’m gonna enjoy the music, I have to watch Utawarerumono along with it. On that note, I really love the opening theme. Whenever I watch Utawarerumono I just have to sing along with it. The BGM was good too. Most of it sounded tribal, for lack of a better word, which also went well with the theme and feel of the series. I also noticed that the music, although it sounds tribal and almost authentic, it would have sounded better if it was less synthesized.
It almost made my favorites list if it weren’t for the last 4-5 episodes that were too weird for me. Overall I did like it, in fact I like it a lot and it’s one of those series that left a strong impression on me.
What comes to mind when a visual novel gets an anime adaptation? Usually I think average guy, a bunch of overly cute unattainable girls and some kind of story arc surrounding each girl. However Utawarerumono disregards this overused high school romantic formula, with girls that require conquering like a RPG boss and goes for a more fascinating approach.
Utawarerumono is an Action Adventure set in a world of Fantasy. Just think Lord of the Ring, but minus the Ring and Hobbits. Following the disturbing opening scene, we our introduced to our protagonist, a mysterious masked man with no recollection of who he is and why
he has an immovable mask on his face. Now this amnesia plot device is one of the most over used but taking into account that this is based of a visual novel, it’s certainly a good way for the player to start off with a clean slate. Now as for the story, a good amount of time is spent bringing this fantasy world to life, in what looks to be a very mild mannered series. But soon after being lulled into a false sense of security, the story develops into that of a war between nations. So instead of harem filled romance you can expect bloody battle after battle, in an ever developing storyline. Sure it would have been better if more thought was put into how to kick start this warfare plot but as a whole, the series did prove to be very exciting to watch. If only it remained that way throughout however in the last batch of episodes you’ll witness one of the most thoughtless plot developments ever, which did a good enough job in ruining whatever impression I had of the series.
The male protagonist did suffer from this drastic change but before that he was a really interesting and mysterious character. It’s a great thing seeing him develop from a nameless nobody to a charismatic figure and the other characters that gravitate towards him certainly have their own appeal or role in the story. Not to forget the female characters, who are what make it this an obvious adaptation from a visual novel but that isn’t really a bad thing. The only negative aspect is the few really stupid and annoying characters (the Emperors) that stifle the quality of this anime.
The quality of the animation is really good as there’s a fair amount of detail put into the characters and environments with some good water, fire & smoke effects. Yet a lot of corners were cut, like when it came to animating the fight scenes. At times it just looked cheap, with a lot of recycled scenes and who could forget the poorly implemented CGI character models in the armies. At least the music is truly special as it manages to go well with the anime, especially during the battles or when it is building up to something epic and I am particularly fond of the ending theme (R.I.P Eri Kawai).
Overall Utawarerumono turned out to be a great Fantasy, Action, Adventure that pulled off a tale about one man and his journey onto greatness. There is quite a lot going for this show to get anyone into it, like the way the characters interact with one another and how the battles & politics were handled. Personally I was disappointed by the number of flaws that plagued the show, from the corners cut in animation, to the terribly erratic pacing and the few stupid decisions the characters made. But none of that really compares to how appalling the last couple episodes were handled. If you can overlook these then you’ll enjoy it.
one of my all time favorites, this show is a crowd pleaser. disguised fanservice and comedy are inlcuded but do not mess with the plot. if your going to watch this watch in japanese with english subs(see sound for explanation)
the story is very unique. war is a prevailant theme but other themes are displayed throughout. themes like love, compassion, vengeance, courage, friendship. they all leave their mark on this show. masterfully delivery of the amnesia portion of the plot. flashbacks shedding light on the story and hakouro's past in small amounts at perfect moments. based off a
eroge game the plot reflects the harem it was created after and adds romance to the story. however as war and combat are just as prevailant it is my decision not to characterise this as a shounen or a shoujo anime. it is both. the fact that it managed to pull off such a feat so masterfuilly has earned it a 10 in my book.
the art is one of the best qualities of this anime. all the characters are drawn consistantly well with no mistakes throughout the series. character emotions are very vivid as are the landscapes. the true beauty of this anime is the battle sequences though. in most anime the animators will show still images depicting large scale combat. this anime however went all out and animated entire battle scenes with hundreds of soldiers(with extremely few art flaws) without lagging. this in itself was a feat of epic proportions. now you may be wondering...why did it only get a 9? in all honesty i would have given it a 9.5 however that is not possible on this site. it deserves a 9 because while the animation is awesome a few animated sequences are repeated. not enough to ruin the show but enough to slightly obvious. nevertheless i wish i could shake the hands of the animators for such quality work(i know how hard it is to animate combat so full battles deserves serious credit).
the quality of sound is great in this anime. it has a great soundtrack which seriously sets the mood for the series. timing is perfect throughout(steel clashes when it should and lip snch is right on). the opening theme and ending theme are specially tailored for the show and as such are not cheesey j-pop singles. they fit the show and are catchy. often i find myself humming them at random times. i feel the need to get the OST(if i can find it). the voice acting is simply amazing. all of the voice actors fit their respective characters perfectly and bring out the personality and emotion very well. all in all the selection of the cast was great.
the english dubbed version was a different story enirely. the dub sucked...badly. it was on par with the naruto dub(maybe worse) believe it! i couldnt even make it through the first episode. watch it in japanese(with subs) or not at all. the dub is that bad.
the character set for this show is explained quite deeply throughout the show. each character has their own distinct personality(except dori and gura, they share) and background. as such when certain characters die(not telling who) the viewer is feeling every bit of the emotion and grief rolling off the screen by the characters. since the show is based of a eroge(harem themed) there is the stereotypical female cast(shy, tomboyish, innocent, sisterlike, etc.) as well as the shounen cast(warriors all, nuff said) while some characters are obviously designed to be the object of hatred from the viewers and others are your run of the mill expendable characters(*cough* soldiers), many are unforgettable characters whose personalities are things to be desired in other anime.
i personaly enjoyed this anime a lot. so much so im going to buy the DVD when i get the chance. i like shoujo anime(yes im a romance junkie) and i enjoy shounen(battle and blood woohoo) and i must say this anime is my cup of tea. everything i like sitting before me like a buffet. i loved it.
it is as i said before, a crowd pleaser. if you like comedy, romance, drama, harem, war. give this one a shot.
The anime archer is a rare breed. These are the unsung heroes of the anime world who rely on a rather simple, but effective skill - archery! Most will use a bow and arrow, and a few will utilize a crossbow. Even if they don't always save the day, they'll look cool as hell while trying to.