Utawarerumono is a ★★★★★︱The Beautiful Progenitor to Kemono Friends

Utawarerumono was the progenitor to Kemono Friends; the plot for the famous mobile game franchise is actually near-identical to Leaf’s iconic visual novel! The fantasy world is massive and is part of a regressive, post-apocalyptic premise. The character’s reside within warring tribes, unique cultures/names, etc. Aquaplus delivered every ounce of writing prowess it could muster when creating this phenomenal story!

This review of Utawarerumono is spoiler free! 

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: An injured man is found in the woods by a girl named Erurū, and everything about him is mysterious. Without knowledge of his past nor even his own name, he is welcomed to Erurū’s home and is given the name Hakuoro by her grandmother, and younger sister, Arurū. While the inhabitants of the village have large ears and tails, Hakuoro’s defining physical trait is quite different as he has neither ears nor tail, but only a mask that he cannot remove. Soon after he becomes a part of the villagers’ lives, a revolution against the tyrannical emperor of the land begins, and the conflict finds its way to his new home. Hakuoro must do whatever he can to save the people and the village that he has come to love, all while uncovering the mysteries that shroud his past.

Like Texhnolyze, Utawarerumono is a series that I went into, not sure if I was going to like it at the start, but then ended up developing a deep affection for the franchise! I don’t say this with very many series, the two that come to mind are Urusei Yatsura and Macross Frontier, but I actually love every single character in this series! Even characters that I was iffy about in the beginning! Like Arurū, she came across as a pertinent child when the series first began, but then she was unraveled and it’s revealed that she’s an awkward, genius strategist with interpersonal issues.

The characters are all flawed and have their weaknesses, but are incredibly likable in one way or another. I have heard critiques leveraged towards the main character, Hakuoro (or just “Haku”), for being an amnesiac. But—if you watch the series all the way to the end, you discover that he has a big role as a catalyst that permanently altered the world, so there’s a reason! He isn’t just an amnesiac for drama; it greatly serves his purpose in the story.

I hadn’t read any spoilers before going into the story, so I was bamboozled at how deep and intricate the plot became! I watched the first few episode and was like, “cute kemonomimi girls in a tribal village,” and then towards the end, I was like, “this is a serious war drama that is deep, meaningful, and philosophical.” The series starts like Kemono no Shōja Erin and ends like Neon Genesis Evangelion!

The series emphasizes the importance of family and community, while showing the horror and destruction that war can bring. 

This meme is the exact same reaction you’ll have when you watch the anime adaptation of Utawarerumono

—Technical

Tomoki Kobayashi (director, storyboard)
* Akame ga Kill!
* Amagami SS+ Plus
* Hundred
* Ichigo 100% (OVA)
* Infinite Dendrogram
* Seiren
* Sola
* Tears to Tiara

Commentary: Despite the hate that it typically gets from disgruntled fans of the manga, I really enjoyed the last half of Akame ga Kill. I liked Hundred, too, and what I’ve seen of Tears to Tiara. The directing could be a little jumpy in Utawarerumono, but Tomoki Kobayashi was able to preserve the integrity of the source material. Verdict: Mr. Kobayashi should direct more Aquaplus adaptations! 

Makoto Uezu (script, series composition)
* Aa! Megami-sama!: Sorezore no Tsubasa
* Akame ga Kill
* Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka, localized as “The Hill Dyed Rose Madder”
* Amaenaide yo!!, localized as “Ah My Buddha”
* Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, localized as “Ansatsu Kyoushitsu”
* Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova (script composition)
* Arslan Senki (TV), localized as “The Heroic Legend of Arslan”
* Carnival Phantasm
* Danganronpa: The Animation
* Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita, localized as “Humanity Has Declined”
* Kamisama Dolls
* Katanagatari
* Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!
* Kūtei Dragons, localized as “Drifting Dragons”
* Kuzu no Honkai, localized as “Scum’s Wish”
* Maburaho
* Nanatsu no Taizai Movie: Tenkū no Torawarebito
* Quiz Magic Academy: The Original Animation
* Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace
* Rikujō Bōei-tai Mao-chan, localized as “Ground Defense Force! Mao-chan”
* School Days
* Seikon no Qwaser, localized as “The Qwaser of Stigmata”
* Seto no Hanayome, localized as “My Bride is a Mermaid”
* Tayutama: Kiss on My Deity
* Tentai Senshi Sunred
* Yumeria
* Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru: Washio Sumi no Shō

Commentary: Really wonderful script-writer. I really loved his work on: Carnival Phantasm, Katanagatari, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo, Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace, School Days, and Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru: Washio Sumi no Shō! I’m really hyped about him writing the script for the new Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru series!

I watched Utawarerumono subtitled, so I can’t comment on the English dub. Also, I will put green checkmarks (✅) by the seiyūs with the most roles, so I can keep track of their best performances. The “best” part is, of course, entirely subjective!

Ryōka Yuzuki as Erurū, notable roles:
* Minagi Tōno, Air
* Tokiko Tsumura, Busō Renkin
* Yukino Sakurai, Candy Boy
* Takako Shimizu, Chobits
* Satsuki Kiryūin, Kill la Kill
* Shamal, Mahō Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha
* Ino Yamanaka, Naruto
* Tetsuko, Oh! Super Milk-chan, localized as “The Super Milk-Chan Show”
* Charlotte Hazelrink, Princess Lover!
* Cattleya, Queen’s Blade
* Marie, Sister Princess
* Akio Fudō, Trinity Seven
* Arashi Kishu, X (TV)
* Shizuka Hiratsuka, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru, localized as “My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU”

Commentary: Ms. Yuzuki has a very sweet and refreshing voice. Even in her more terse roles, like Shizuka in OreGairu or Ino in Naruto, there’s still an element of kindness and humility to her performances. I really love her as Erurū. She’s the best heroine in the franchise, sorry Kuon fans!

Rikiya Koyama as Hakuowlo (or Hakuoro), notable roles:
* Eutus, Abenobashi Mahō☆Shoutengai, localized as “Magical☆Shopping Arcade Abenobashi”
* K, Aoi Bungaku Series, localized as “Blue Literature”
* Retsu Kaiō, Baki
* Curtis Miller, Biohazard: Degeneration
* Yukichi Fukuzawa, Bungō Stray Dogs
* Victor, Busō Renkin
* Kogorō Mōri, Detective Conan
* Kiritsugu Emiya: Fate/stay night, Fate/Zero, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya, and Emiya-san Chi no Kyō no Gohan
* Mamoru Takamura, Hajime no Ippo, localized as “Fighting Spirit”
* Azazel, High School DxD
* William A. Zeppeli, JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken (TV)
* Kogarashi, Kamen no Maid Guy
* Narumi Katō, Karakuri Circus (TV)
* Klaus von Reinherz, Kekkai Sensen
* Yamato, Naruto
* Sensei, Planet With
* Rokurōta Sakuragi, Rainbow: Nisha Rokubō no Shichinin
* Jōichirō Yukihira, Shokugeki no Sōma, localized as “Food Wars”
* Shinigami, Soul Eater
* Rudolf Ushiromiya, Umineko no Naku Koro ni
* Tora, Ushio to Tora (TV)

Commentary: He has an amazingly expressive voice! I especially love Mr. Koyama as Kogorō in Detective Conan! He is more silent and contemplative in Utawarerumono, but despite that, it’s still easy to get attached to his characterization of Hakuoro and feel his struggles as a leader!

Miyuki Sawashiro as Arurū, notable roles:
* Maria, Arakawa Under the Bridge ✅
* Kaiser de Emperana Beelzebub, Beelzebub
* Slan, Berserk
* Cassandra Jill Warlock, Black Blood Brothers
* Yomi Takanashi (“Dead Master”), Black★Rock Shooter ✅
* Canaan, Canaan ✅
* Kei Yuki, Captain Harlock ✅
* Eiha, Chaos Dragon: Sekiryū Seneki
* Tōko Fukawa, Danganronpa 3: The End of Kibōgamine Gakuen
* Dalian, Dantalian no Shoka, localized as “The Mystic Archives of Dantalian” ✅
* Petit Charat, Di Gi Charat
* Celty Sturluson, Durarara!! ✅
* Aka no Saber (“Mordred”), Fate/Apocrypha ✅
* Julia Jinyu, FLCL Progressive
* Yu Lan Xia, Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid ✅
* Mint Blancmanche, Galaxy Angel
* Kitarō, Gegege no Kitarō (2018)
* Yuzuki Seo, Gekkan Shōjo Nozaki-kun ✅
* Towa Akagi, Go! Princess PreCure ✅
* Reika Honjō, Goshūshō-sama Ninomiya-kun
* Katalina Alize, Granblue Fantasy ✅
* Saeko Busujima, Highschool of the Dead
* Kurapika, Hunter x Hunter (2011) ✅
* Queen Diamond, Kaitō Joker
* Kiari and Ririka Momobami, Kakegurui
* Kazune Kūjō, Kamichama Karin
* Tsugumi Aoba, Kannagi
* Ayane Yano, Kimi ni Todoke
* Himeko Inaba, Kokoro Connect
* Shinkurō Kurenai, Kure-nai
* Masazumi Honda, Kyōkaisenjou no Horizon, localized as “Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere”
* Myao Rei, Loups=Garōs
* Fujiko Mine, Lupin III ✅
* Dorm Mistress, Maria†Holic ✅
* Izuna Hatsuse, No Game No Life ✅
* Bishamon, Noragami ✅
* Aria Kurenaino, Occultic;Nine ✅
* Pudding Charlotte, One Piece ✅
* Cal Devens, Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom ✅
* Tomoe Misumi, Photokano
* Kotarō Higuchi, Pita Ten
* Kamitsure, Pokémon ✅
* Shion Karanomori, Psycho-Pass ✅
* Claire Forrest, Red Garden
* Narrator, Rokka no Yūsha
* Shinku, Rozen Maiden ✅
* Racine, Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarō, localized as “Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms” ✅
* Tarō Sekiutsu (“Maria”), Sayonara Zetsubō Sensei ✅
* Rita, Shingeki no Bahamut ✅
* Perrine H. Clostermann, Strike Witches ✅
* Shino Asada, Sword Art Online ✅
* Lag Seeing, Tegamibachi
* Tycho Science, Top wo Nerae 2! Diebuster (“Gunbuster 2”) ✅
* Marisa Kirisame, Tōhō Niji Sōsaku Dōjin Anime: Musō Kakyō ✅
* Haruka Nanami, Uta no☆Prince-sama

Commentary: Ms. Sawashiro is great at conveying complex emotions; that’s probably why she was cast as characters like Mordred in the Fate franchise, Fujiko in Lupin III, and Cal in Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom!

Atsuko Tanaka as Karulauatsuurei (or Karura), notable roles:
* Bayonetta, Bayonetta
* Silene, Devilman: Crybaby
* Caster (“Medea”), Fate/stay night
* Motoko Kusanagi, Ghost in the Shell
* Claudette Vance, Queen’s Blade
* Kyrie Ushinomiya, Umineko no Naku Koro ni
* Jagara, Wolf’s Rain

Commentary: The sexy seductress voice, Ms. Tanaka’s archetype fits Karura’s character very well! Great performance!

Kaya Miyake as Tōka, notable roles:
* Juli Sawaragi, Battle Spirits: Shōnen Toppa Bashin
* Maria van Hossen, Princess Lover!

Commentary: Tōka is one of the most likable characters in Utawarerumono, it’s a shame that Ms. Miyake hasn’t been cast in more roles!

Daisuke Namikawa as Benawi, notable roles:
* Narsus, Arslan Senki (TV), localized as “The Heroic Legend of Arslan”
* Rokurō Okajima, Black Lagoon
* Araya Kawakami, Blade of the Immortal
* Jellal Fernandes, Fairy Tail ✅
* Waver Velvet, Fate/Zero ✅
* Leonard Testarossa, Full Metal Panic! ✅
* Van Hohenheim, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood ✅
* Kei Kurono, Gantz ✅
* Leon Luis, Garo
* Joe Hibiki, Gachaman Crowds
* Tatsuya Madoka, Gilgamesh
* Seiya Ichijō, Gyakkyō Burai Kaiji: Hakairoku-hen ✅
* Tōru Oikawa, Haikyū!! ✅
* Manabu Itagaki, Hajime no Ippo, localized as “Fighting Spirit”
* Rumaty Ivan di Raginei, Hanasakeru Seishōnen ✅
* Walter C. Dornez, Hellsing: Ultimate ✅
* North and South Italy, Hetalia
* Hisoka Morrow, Hunter x Hunter (2011) ✅
* Yashiro Hisana, K
* Shōta Kazehaya, Kimi ni Todoke
* Goemon Ishikawa XIII, Lupin III ✅
* Kōki Akune, Medaka Box
* Alfred Izuruha, Kidō Senshi Gundam 0080: War in Pocket
* Kid Eustass, One Piece
* Yū Narukami, Persona 4
* Lucario, Pokémon
* Jōji Nezu, Prison School
* Squealer, Shinsekai Yori ✅
* Fai D. Flōrite, Tsubasa Chronicle
* Gilbert Bougainvillea, Violet Evergarden
* Jin Kanzaki, Zetman ✅

Commentary: Mr. Namikawa is very good at voicing the serious and kind, Benawi. Calm and logical, but he also has an irritable side to him. His role as Benawi is similar to the character impression that he conveys in Fai D. Flōrite (which is crazy because Mr. Namikawa and Vic Mignogna apparently play both characters)!

Oboro as Daisuke Kirii, notable roles:
* Takashi Morinozuka, Ouran Kōkō Host Club, localized as “Ouran High School Host Club”

Commentary: I feel the same way that I do about Tōka’s seiyū, Mr. Kirii needs to have more roles! Oboro is easily one of the easiest to feel affection for. He starts out as a complete butt-monkey, but then you find out that he’s being so defensive because of his blind sister. Very emotionally compelling role and character!

Rie Kugimiya as Kamyu (or Camyu), notable roles: 
* Yūhi Katagiri, Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka, localized as “The Hill Dyed Rose Madder”
* Astarotte Ygvar, Astarotte no Omocha!, localized as “Astarotte’s Toy”
* Maya Jingu, Burn Up! Scramble
* Ikuto Noguchi, Digimon Savers
* Aguri Madoka, Dokidoki! PreCure ✅
* Rose, Dragon Crisis!
* Happy, Fairy Tail ✅
* Alphonse Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist ✅
* Kagura, Gintama ✅
* Vyrn, Granblue Fantasy 
* Hasuta, Haiyore! Nyaruko-san, localized as “Nyaruko: Crawling With Love!”
* Nagi Sanzenin, Hayate no Gotoku, localized as “Hayate, the Combat Butler”
* Aria Holmes Kanzaki, Hidan no Aria, localized as “Aria, the Scarlet Ammo”
* Alexandrite, Hōseki no Kuni ✅
* Yukimura Sanada, Hyakka Ryōran: Samurai After
* Tio, Konjiki no Gash Bell!!, localized as “Zatch Bell”
* Koto, Kyōsō Giga
* Alisa Bannings, Mahō Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha ✅
* Tōko Matsudaira, Maria-sama ga Miteru, localized as “Maria Watches Over Us” ✅
* Mimi, Mnemosyne ✅
* Miharu Rokujō, Nabari no Ō
* Nora, Noragami
* Rise Kujikawa, Persona 4
* Koboshi Uematsu, Pita Ten
* Melona, Queen’s Blade
* Angela Balzac, Rakuen Tsuihō, localized as “Expelled from Paradise”
* Airi Yukifune, Robotics;Notes
* Mizore Shirayuki, Rosario to Vampire
* Yūki Kataoka, Saki
* Shana, Shakugan no Shana ✅
* Momo Akanegakubo, Shokugeki no Sōma ✅
* Mametchi, Tamogochi!
* Iori Minase, The iDOLM@STER ✅
* Taiga Aisaka, Toradora! ✅
* Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière, Zero no Tsukaima, localized as “The Familiar of Zero”

Commentary: Ms. Kugamiya does a great job at giving Kamyu a very youthful personality, while also conveying layers of mysteriousness through her gleeful free-spirit!

Akira Tomisaka as Kuya Amururineuruka, notable roles:
* Alexa, Chō Robot Seimeitai Transformers Micron Densetsu, localized as “Transformers: Armada”
* Kate Ashley, Red Garden

Commentary: Another seiyū that deserves more roles; Ms. Tomisaka’s portrayal of Kuya will leave you absolutely heartbroken by the end of the series!

Mai Nakahara as Yuzuha, notable roles:
* Rena Kunisaki, .hack/Legend of the Twilight Bracelet
* Chitose Nanbu, Amaenaide yo!!, localized as “Ah My Buddha”
* Hatsune Otonashi, Angel Beats!
* Akagi, Azur Lane
* Felli Loss, Chrome Shelled Regios
* Nagisa Furukawa, Clannad
* Chisa Yukizome, Danganronpa 3: The End of Kibōgamine Gakuen
* Thanast Useim Ruki Miu Sia Nostal Ren Naguregyug (“Miu”), DearS
* Haruka Niekawa, Durarara!!
* Juvia Lockser, Fairy Tail
* Reika Rikudō, Fate/Apocrypha
* Rena Ryūgū, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, localized as “When They Cry”
* Watashi, Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita, localized as “Humanity Has Declined”
* Karin Hanazono, Kamichama Karin
* Nanami Yasuri, Katanagatari
* Teana Lanseter, Mahō Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS
* Mai Tokiha, Mai-HiME
* Yui Takamura, Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse
* Anna Aoi, Chōjūshin Gravion
* Aono Morimiya, Sola
* Nagisa Aoi, Strawberry Panic
* Morgan, Tears to Tiara
* Reimu Hakurei, Tōhō Niji Sōsaku Dōjin Anime: Musō Kakyō
* Morgan, Tears to Tiara
* Yashirō Shimogamo, Uchōten Kazoku, localized as “The Eccentric Family”

Commentary: I love so many of her roles. She doesn’t get as much lines while performing as Yuzuha, but in the instances that she does voice her, the character comes off as very saccharine and blissful.

Conclusively, I really am completely captivated with Utawarerumono. There are top-tier seiyū, lush designs, a really well-thought out world, beautiful music, and a story that ends in a crescendo. There’s a reason that this franchise has continued to live on decades after its release. It’s such a good, wholesome, and often tragic tale of the trials that a village must go through. I give Utawarerumono an 8.5/10, and strongly suggest it to anyone interested in a dystopian fantasy series!

Rating: ★★★★★

Published by EggheadLuna

H.E. Rodgers is the author of the Juniper's Tree series, also known as the 真柏Project. MyAnimeList: https://myanimelist.net/profile/Egghe... Twitter: https://twitter.com/EggheadLuna #真柏Project #JunipersTree

8 thoughts on “Utawarerumono is a ★★★★★︱The Beautiful Progenitor to Kemono Friends

  1. I’m glad someone else checked this out. 😁. It’s a lot more interesting then one would expect it to be with a lot of great characters and even an interesting twist in the end. The dub is surprisingly good as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. People are often too skeptical about visual novel adaptations! Series like this and Higurashi no Naku koro ni prove that they can work though. 😄 Have you seen White Album?

      I’m glad that the dub is good. This series is such an underrated gem!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember watching the trailer a long time ago, but I didn’t know what to think. That’s awesome how the show is really good. Nice name drop of Texhnolyze, by the way. It’s also interesting how the creators of To Heart and Comic Party would make a fantasy show.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: