Utawarerumono (うたわれるもの lit. The One Being Sung but thats not as fun to say) is a 26-episode fantasy action adventure series from 2006 by Studio OLM based on a game by Aquaplus.
After a pair of sisters find an injured, amnesiac man in the forest wearing a mysterious mask which can’t be taken off they decide to take him in and nurse him back to health. Hakuro1, as he becomes known takes to idyllic country life well and though he doesn’t remember anything about himself before waking up in the woods, he does somehow know how to build better infrastructure and refine iron ore which proves a great boon to the area. Unfortunately it also draws the ire of the local tyrant governor who attempts to crack down on the village leading to a rebellion and oops, Hakuro is in charge of the whole country now and having to deal with neighbors of varying friendliness, some of whom claim to have a grudge against him from the past.
Theres a lot going on there, and it does make the series start out a little rough as the first few episodes of Hakuro putzing around town, hanging out with people, and at worst dealing with an irate tiger dont really properly convey the tone the series will become once the rebellion starts. Once the action kicks off though things pick up a lot, the battles are much more thought out than you usually see in this kind of series with Hakuro consistently able to win against larger forces because he out thinks them in simple, yet clever ways. It also shows how just because you depose one tyrant doesn’t mean everything is going to be super easy as you actually then need to run the country in their place which is wrought with its own litany of problems and drama.
Carrying this whole (admittedly not overly ambitious) story is a host of characters who are the real charm here. The sisters, Aruru and Eruru, who become Hakuro’s family first appear fairly stock characters before showing some remarkable depth to them as the show goes on; the samurai Benawi goes from working for a tyrant out of a sense of duty to becoming Hakuro’s right hand in a fairly organic way; and both of the mercenaries Kagura and Touka are just fun to spend time with, especially the more Kagura drinks.
The story is also perhaps more twisty than I made it sound there. The entire back third pulls some nice twists with who Hakuro really is and why everyone looks… like they do to keep you engaged without things becoming dull.
Everyone looks… like they do. This isn’t strictly speaking a downside to everyone, but this is probably the first capital-A Anime Ive really covered here and there’s no getting around it. The weeb levels are off the chart, and thats before getting into the fact the original game was an Adult game2 so there’s lots of flirtation and implication between him and almost all the female cast.
The animation isn’t anything to write home about either. It works well in battles usually, although unevenly, and in more conversation focused moments it can get stilted. The CGI used for the really large battles really shows its age too.
Weeb Level: Peak. Between everything about its designs and fantasy elements plus a lot of its characters relying heavily on tropes, you’re a weeb if you watch this.
Content: Minimal fanservice all things considered, there’s certainly a lot of implication going on but nothing on screen. Violence though is another matter- after starting off refusing to show any kind of violence directly on screen it eventually starts ramping up and does have some brief moments of brutal violence smack in your face for a couple episodes before evening out more.
Worth Watching: Seek it out if you like fantasy action shows or catgirls. Watch it you want a fairly light series with fun characters. Skip under other circumstances as the nature of the show can’t be dismissed.
Where to Watch: Both Crunchyroll and Funimation have it available for streaming. Do note Crunchyroll also has the second season which you dont want to watch, I’ll explain why below, so choose the one without a subtitle.