Anime: Utawarerumono (Ova Collection)
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: March 29, 2016
Retail Price: $29.98
Utawarerumono was originally a Japanese tactical role playing visual novel (isn’t that a mouthful) that eventually became an anime series in the early 2000’s. To follow up, a short series of OVA’s were recently released to add stories to the world of Utawarerumono and tell tales from the original mediums that were skipped in the anime series. Clearly Utawarerumono is a world of its own by creating multiple platforms to provide an adventure in a realm of sorcery, injustice, and epic battles that fans follow however possible. It is definitely a series that goes down a fantasy based route, with a plethora of mystical or whimsical influence. Utawarerumono has a distinct background that can make you feel disconnected from the plot if you aren’t interested in understanding the entire scope of the anime/novel/OVA.
Utawarerumono is known for being an ongoing saga of a shrouded warrior by the name of Hakuoro. In the world of this anime, we return to stories that focus on the priestess Urutori dealing with a child who was mysteriously abandoned. This specific arc ponders on what she can do to find a solution, or if it means she will have to take responsibility on her very own. A lighter and strange tale included also includes Touka and Aruruu on a random fishing trip gone awry, with heavy magical activity involving the fish (interesting, right?) Lastly, the remaining original video animation has a healer named Eluluu tackling multiple issues of love, an all-important youth potion and untraditional kidnappers. Each of the stories are very different, yet share the bizarre connection of a fantasy video game vibe (oh, did I forget to mention that it’s actually a video game too?)
The OVA series aspect makes it a shorter burst of anime, but it gives an impression of what you can expect if you were willing to dive down the rabbit hole of Utawarerumono. In reality, the “fantasy” portion of the series is more than mystical influence - giving more than a few gratuitous shots of scantily clad characters for the typical male skewing audience. When you can acknowledge that influence, it becomes obvious why Utawarerumono has been plastered across different forms of media over the last 14 years. It’s no worse than series like Dragonar Academy for example, but it’s enough to veer those away who despise the notion in general. The OVA’s take more comedy based influences as opposed to the anime series, trying to find a lighthearted balance to make it it’s own entity.
The animation in Utawarerumono has many fun attributes to it, such as a few unique character designs (one recurring trait is the hairstyles used.) The art for the backdrop was usually enjoyable, as long as there wasn’t a cliche scene with mild nudity creating an annoyance on-screen. Fortunately for fans, Sentai Filmworks made the decision to dub the OVA which was something that fans had probably have hoped for because of its western audience as well. There is no faulting Sentai’s efforts, with a packaging of the OVA’s that would be more than acceptable to fans of the fantasy series. This collection is a must-have for Utawarerumono fans, it’s just worth telling any new potential fans that this is a few chapters to a much bigger picture.
Overall Score: 5.5/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
It is nice to see when anime creators try to bring back something for their particular fans, even if it’s not the largest amount of viewers.
The fanservice adaptations continue! At least this time there were some occasional fun moments to distract us.
The English dub is something that came as a surprise, but is also proof that there is still an interest in Utawarerumono