Aug 1, 2012
Paulwillson26 (All reviews)
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.