Utawarerumono. The title translates out to “Those Who Are Sung About”. Sing? I can’t even pronounce the title and try to rhyme that word with something. (“Utawarerumono/You look good in a kimono”) Terrible jokes aside, this is mostly a good series, but with a wretched sell-out at the end.
It is another AUHD, taking place in the past, in a land that is familiar and strange, at a time that is noted but not remembered with people who are famous but nameless. Man, could I get any vaguer? In the rural countryside, walking down the road we see Erurū and Arurū, sisters…who are also wolves or foxes, I can tell (they have ears and a tail, but I flopped that part of biology class). They come upon a man who was beaten by bandits and left for dead. He wears a mask that cannot come off and has no memory of his past.
Taken back to the village, he is restored to health and given the name Hakuoro. He learns that this village is under the thumb of a tyrant and eventually engineers a revolt to depose the tyrant and bring peace to the land. But this opens up a huge can of worms, as now that he is a man of power, everyone tries to bring him down. First beset by internal assassins, he eventually wins them over. The rather impulsive Oboro (this one’s a guy, not to be confused with Oboro from “Basilisk”) wields two swords with great aplomb. He brings with him the Archer Sisters (no, it’s a designation, not a real name, but they go by Dori and Gura, and they’re twins, too!) Then comes Benawi, a really strong dude and not to be messed with. And Hakuoro is very adept with that metal fan of his. He dispenses some harsh justice. He’s gonna need all the help he can, as first to attack him is Orikakan, then Niwe, then Suwonkas, then Kanhordari, then….Number Six? Serving Number Six? (I am not a number, but a free man!)
The character of Hakuoro is done very well. He is a reluctant hero, pressed into service. He does what he can for his people, with little or no ego getting in the way. Men want to be like him, women want to be with him. Despite his charisma, he is still a rather humble person. Even his relationship with Eruru is more of a father and daughter, as they both know it cannot go any further. When women try to seduce him, it really is a comedy of errors and a good lot of fun.
The show starts to get wearisome, as it seems to be endless fighting. The writers play into this, but there comes a point where enough is too much. Is there ever going to be peace? Is it Live in Peace or Rest in Peace? Why do leaders from other nations dislike Hakuoro so? Who ordered the olive loaf? Then, as if this approach wasn’t enough, when they are beset on all sides from a combined attack, they have a Mid-Course Correction of such magnitude that it completely ruins the show. I have never felt so cheated and I watched “Magikano” and THAT was a Big League Cheap-Out. Since this occurred with four episodes to go, I decided to finish it out. I was not a happy camper on this. Well, less a Mid-Course Correction and more of a Blind Side Attack. If this was football, there would have been a flag for Unsportsmanlike Conduct and I would be awarded fifteen yards and an Automatic First Down.
My suggestion is to watch as far as I did, leave and write your own ending; you’ll be glad that you did.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 9 (Another good-looking show, but still with odd-looking villains)
Plot 8 (There is a compelling plot, despite the cheap ending)
Pacing 7 (Bogged down by the endless fighting)
Effectiveness 8 (It runs hit and miss, however)
Conclusion 5 (It ends, but the second-worst ending I have ever seen)
Fan Service 4 (A similar show would “Gurren Lagann”)
Overall 7 (Hampered by the bad ending)
And remember, it’s first run until you see it. Except for the last four episodes.