Review: Utawarerumono

A pet peeve of mine when it comes to television has always been when I see a show with an interesting or unique premise, one that intrigues me enough to get me to pay attention - and then the show takes the idea and completely trashes it in favor of something far more pedestrian. It could be a unique setting or a compelling character concept; but regardless of what it is, it always seems that someone, at some point will step in and decide that it's too intriguing or intelligent to use, and all the potential it has is wasted as it's replaced by something that is decidedly less interesting and mediocre. And this just about sums up my thoughts on Utawarerumono: an interesting, compelling premise that completely fails to deliver.

Utawarerumono, aside from having the most unpronounceable name of any anime I've ever come across, is a twenty-six episode series that begins with one such interesting premise. The story starts off with the main character awakening in the house of a healer named Tusukuru to realize that he cannot remember anything about his life or who he is. Tusukuru gives him the name "Hakuoro" and, with nowhere else to go, he becomes a member of the small village that the healer lives in together with her granddaughters as he tries to sort out his past. Now, at this point, I was fairly intrigued. Yes, the whole "protagonist has amnesia" setup has been done before, but just about every premise under the sun has been tried in one form or other. And, if done well, an amnesiac protagonist can lead to interesting an unexpected character development.

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