I’m not sure how this show slipped past my radar during the previews of Fall 2015, but I’m so glad I caught episode one of this show. From the opening scene of the show to the end I was pleasantly surprised by this unknown anime. If you follow my social media, you know that I’m a fan on kemonomimi (animal ear) girls in anime, and this one delivers on that front! There isn’t much in the way of explanation in this first episode, but I suspect that the main character’s past will slowly unravel over the course of the season. Either way if they deliver eleven more episodes of Kuon I am sold for the rest of the season, the blu-rays, and the first figure of her.
We begin this tale with a young man ambling out of darkness into the snow in what appears to be a hospital gown. After realizing he’s freezing with no shoes on, he is attacked by a giant bug creature. Our presumed hero runs until he falls into a cave, and the monster follows. While in the cave a slime like creature eats the bug monster, stops in front of the protagonist while forming into a human face, and utters the word, “Umakeko”. A voice calls to the young man, and soon a bomb flies in stunning the slime creature. Our protagonist is lead by the hand into the freezing snows outside by a strange girl who saved his life.
At the girl’s camp we learn that she is a traveler named Kuon, but when she asks the man his name he seems to have forgotten it. Realizing that he’s alone and helpless Kuon decides to take him to the nearest village. On their journey the man makes the curious discovery that Kuon has a tail. When he grabs it to see if it’s real Kuon is apoplectic, turning around in her anger to reveal two animal ears under her hood. As they journey the Kuon discovers that her new travelling companion is not accustomed to traveling conditions at all. When they finally arrive in town, after camping out the previous day, the fellow is tired and worn from the journey. Kuon decides that she should be this man’s guardian, and as such she names him Haku.
After deciding his new name, Kuon and Haku enjoy a meal of Amamunii (burritos), and Haku decides to have a bath. This is possible the first time I’ve ever seen a reverse peeping scene, as Kuon in her curiosity peeps on Haku. She does this presumably to understand what manner of species he is, but the resulting scene is hysterical. Kuon heals the wounds on Haku’s feet from the road, and the next day they help the villagers to find out what it is that Haku is good at. As it turns out Haku is pretty useless and lazy in this semi-medieval setting, however he does wind up helping out by fixing the town waterwheel. Admittedly he does this to facilitate his laziness, but Kuon gains a better understanding of her new charge. The show ends with the two meeting Ukon a boss of sorts in the inn, and an ominous scene of workers getting killed by a mystery monster.
The vibe I got from this anime was somewhat like “Spice and Wolf” though admittedly I still haven’t finished that show. The protagonist is kind of lazy and stupid, but Kuon keeps him in line nicely and progresses the story through her grit. The reveal of Haku’s past will be interesting to watch so long as Kuon is there to prod him along. There is also the mystery of the “Haku” that Kuon is talks about when she names the protagonist. I’m somewhat interested in learning more about the world they are in as well, especially if the world is populated entirely by kemonomimi people. For some reason (possibly Kuon) the unanswered questions didn’t bother me like they did in other first episodes though. I find myself all too excited for the next episode of this show!
In terms of visuals, I am a big fan of the character art in this show so far, but again that might just be the kemonomimi fan in me talking. I will say that the color palette is a bit drab in this show, but it fits the world they’ve built. The color criticism could also be because I watched “Concrete Revolutio” before this “Utawarerumono”. The CG on the slime (curse) was well done too, and I’m expecting more of that creature since they went out of their way to explain it. We didn’t get a real opening or ending there, but this just meant gave us more time to learn about the world in this first episode. Overall it was a fine first episode, with potential for an excellent season to follow!
“Utawarermono” will be simulcasts every Saturday at 12:30 PM PST, so make sure to mark your calendars so you don’t miss an episode! As you can tell by my first impression, this is an anime I’ll be following the whole way through. I have high hopes for this show, and maybe it can wash the thought of “bad ends” from the last season. This is the sixth anime I’ve done a first impression for this week, so let me know what you think so far. Do you like the new format, new site, and/or the new season? Let me know in the comments, or on my social media pages. I’ve got to get back to watching, so until tomorrow…
Arigatō my fellow BrOtaku!