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Utawarerumono Vol. 2-3
Distributor ADV Films
Certificate 12 / 15
Date 08 Apr 2008
Usually I’m quite wary of anime based upon other media. As past films and series have proven over the years, just because it was cool as one thing, doesn’t mean it’ll work just as well in another media. There are times where there are exceptions to this and thankfully it’s safe to say for at least this part of the series, Utawarerumono seems to be keeping the faith alive.
Volumes 2 and 3 are continuing with the revolution that Hakuoro started in volume 1, as the various villages around the country begins to take up arms against the oppressive emperor. To say more would to spoil the volumes - save to say that it gets very good indeed.
If there is one thing that has to be highlighted about this series (apart from trying to spell the damn name) it's the emotional impact the series produces so very early on. It's amazing how I actually started investing some serious emotion into the characters so quickly. Whether this is down to clever writing, brilliant character development or mixture of the two could be argued for years. But it’s safe to say that if you come away from these first volumes without feeling anything, then you, dear reader, have a heart of stone.
Action fans should be warned however as Utawarerumono is more political than hack'n'slash in nature. While there is a good amount of action, especially with some fairly large armies, characters are more willing to settle things with talking rather than all out fighting. Not to say you won't see your share of blood being spilled, but it can take time to get to that point.
What could have so easily just been a story of a man searching for his past evolves into so much more than that. The series takes us in some surprising directions, but never to the point where it loses credibility. It’s extremely powerful stuff.
The cast of characters are nothing to overlook either. We a fantastic range of characters who are all incredibly easy to distinguish with their own unique features, along with their own unique personalities makes them all fantastic viewing, no matter who is on-screen at the time.
There are however some dips in quality where animation is concerned - too many cases of static images and panning shots are commonplace and the integration of CG are unfortunate issues. While at times it merges well into the traditional cel-animation, making some of the large battles appear incredible in scope, there are times where it can seem out of place.
Another issue is the music. While it does do the job in a lot of circumstances, it never seems to rise above the average, with no real memorable or toe-tapping tunes.
If you are willing to give the time to full immerse yourself into Utawarerumono, then at this half way point it seems like you’ll be greatly entertained by this series. The characters and story will keep you entertained right up until the end of this set of volumes. Imperfections in animation, sound and CG aside, this is one series that is worth a curious look. Fantasy anime like this come once in a blue moon, and it would be a crime not to at least take a look.
Hats off to ADV for an interesting collection of extras. As well as the usual filler, ADV has thrown booklets with more info on the series from the creators point of view, as well as some fantastic art on the flip side of the DVD inlay. A full glossary of terms is included with each DVD too.
Things are kicking off and it only seems to keep bringing more to the series.