Oh, dear, Utawarerumono. Whatever happened to you ?
I watched the 2006 series half a year ago. It was far from perfect, but its bizarre blend of harem hijinks and bloody war stories (with intense mood whiplash from an episode to the next) ended up quite charming. It had a focus on nation-building (betraying its tactical-RPG origins) that is rarely explored in anime and I found fascinating. It also had a very weird ending that put the world’s origins into quite uncomfortable a place, but that’s not an unredeemable taint. And for all its faults, it was never a boring show.
Still, it was quite a surprise when a sequel was announced for this Fall, tying in with a sequel to the original game. And it started decently enough, featuring a strong and multidimensional main couple, while promising a new take on the complex politics and world-building that had drawn me in. Big mysteries and conspiracies were hinted at around the edge of the slice-of-life stories, and the supporting cast from the first series made guest appearances to comfort the illusion that this was all leading to something.
Fast forward to episode #10. The main couple’s romance is not only getting stale, but actually regressing ; both of them have been getting more of a caricature by each week. And they’re barely in this episode anyway. Instead, all the focus is on a bunch of freeloading girls belabouring the running gag of fantasy yaoi bookstores (which wasn’t that funny the first time around, and has gotten downright painful by now). I have no clue what those girls’ deal is ; admittedly, I fell asleep during the episode introducing most of them, but it’s alarming that right now there’s no clue of them having any life besides their empty cookie-cutter banter. (The one exception being the naive young princess, who does have a visible reason to exist despite her one-dimensional personality.)
Who are these people ? Why are they here ? Why hasn’t anybody kicked them out, as they steal valuable screentime and audience goodwill from anything else that would make the show watch-worthy ? Has the show so little content planned out that it needed to be padded out with such dire nonsense ?
And thus my patience ran out. Goodbye, Utawarerumono ; I’ll remember you for the best moments of the first series, and pretend the second doesn’t exist.