Cover of the Utawarerumono Windows game
|Genre||Tactical role-playing game
|Illustrated by||Arō Shimakusa|
|Magazine||Dengeki G's Magazine|
|Original run||September 30, 2005 – November 30, 2006|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Tomoki Kobayashi|
|Written by||Makoto Uezu|
|Music by||Hijiri Anze
|Studio||Oriental Light and Magic|
|Network||CTC, ABC, TVA, TVS, tvk, AT-X, Tokyo MX|
|Original run||April 3, 2006 – September 25, 2006|
|Utawarerumono Chiri Yuku Mono e no Komori Uta|
|Illustrated by||Minakuchi Takashi|
|Published by||ASCII Media Works|
|Original run||December 2007 – October 2010|
|Original video animation|
|Directed by||Kenichiro Katsura|
|Released||June 5, 2009 – June 23, 2010|
|Runtime||30 minutes each|
|Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen|
|Genre||Tactical role-playing game
|Anime television series|
|Utawarerumono: The False Faces|
|Directed by||Keitaro Motonaga|
|Written by||Takamitsu Kōno|
|Network||Tokyo MX, TVA, MBS, AT-X, BS11|
|Original run||October 3, 2015 – ongoing|
Utawarerumono (うたわれるもの?, lit. "The One Being Sung") is a Japanese adult tactical role-playing visual novel by Leaf which was released on April 26, 2002 for Windows. A PlayStation 2 version was developed by Sting, and released by Aquaplus on October 26, 2006. Utawarerumono was later ported to PlayStation Portable on May 28, 2009. Two Internet radio programs based on Utawarerumono aired on the Oto Izumi broadcast station. Three manga adaptations were published by ASCII Media Works. A 26-episode anime adaptation aired in 2006 and is licensed in North America by Funimation. Three OVA episodes were later produced by Aquaplus and Chaos Project, released between 2009 and 2010.
Several Utawarerumono drama CDs have been produced by Lantis. Four different comic anthology series have been published by DNA Media Comics, Ohzora Shuppan, and La Porte. A sequel visual novel titled Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita was released on September 24, 2015. An anime series based on Itsuwari no Kamen, known in the west as Utawarerumono: The False Faces, premiered in October 2015.
Much of Utawarerumono's gameplay requires very little interaction as most of the duration of the game is spent simply reading the text that appears on the game screen, which represents either dialogue the various characters or the inner thoughts of the protagonist. At times, the player will come to a "decision point" where he or she is given the chance to choose from a single or multiple options. Unlike many other visual novels, these choices do not affect the final outcome of the story. The time between these decision points is variable and can occur anywhere from a minute to much longer. Gameplay pauses at these points and depending on which choice the player makes, the plot will progress in a specific direction. As game progresses, the player will come across sex scenes depicting the protagonist, Hakuoro, and various female characters having sex or related activities.
Utawarerumono features a tactical role-playing battle system that centers on the player moving a group of characters through a square-based grid during turn-based battles in order to achieve an objective. The objective of the battle, displayed in the upper-right hand corner the screen when viewing the actions available for a specific character, consist of the player either defeating any number of enemies or moving one or all characters to a specific location. During each character's turn, the player may choose to have the character move, attack, or cast magic, of which only moving and attacking can be performed in succession, in that order. When a character attacks an enemy character, the player is given a chance to add additional attacks should he or she time his or her mouse click by clicking while a yellow circle is present on screen that disappears shortly after appearing. The number of attacks that the player can add to a character's attack is based on that character's current "technique" skill, and the maximum varies based on the character. After adding a certain number of attacks to the character will perform a special finishing attack should they have the required abilities. As characters defeat enemies and participate in battle, they gain battle points at the end of battle which are used to "pay" for increasing the character's abilities.
At the start of the game, the player is given a choice of four different difficulty levels from which to choose, which affects the difficulty of the battles the player must participate in. After completing the game once, the player is given two even more challenging difficulty levels to choose from and may choose to skip the dialogue.
Utawarerumono is a story centering around the masked protagonist, Hakuoro, who one day is found by a family of two girls and their grandmother in a nearby forest close to their village. He is badly injured and is soon found to have amnesia, so they take him to their home and treat him until he is well again. Hakuoro is soon accepted into their village where he stays and lives with them, but before long Hakuoro finds that life in this village is being oppressed by the greedy emperor who rules over the country their village resides in. Soon after, these negative actions taken towards their village result in him leading a rebellion against the emperor of the country which later lands him to become emperor of a vast new country which is named Tusukuru, after the grandmother of the two girls who helped save his life.
After becoming emperor and things begin to calm down, Hakuoro soon finds out that peace is hard to maintain and finds himself constantly in battle in order to protect the peace of his country and his people. Eventually, he is led into many bloody battles in order to fight for the freedom of all those residing in Tusukuru. Along the way, Hakuoro meets several other strong warriors from several other countries and tribes who are fully accepted into Hakuoro's growing family. Many moments of hardship and laughter ensue as time continues but with Hakuoro leading the way, all others are confident in his ability to lead.
The story's genre is at first a fantasy-style story with heavy Ainu influence, though later develops science fiction themes towards the end. It first appears to take place in a fantasy world full of magical beings and new species of humans, but it is later revealed that it takes place in Earth's distant future.
In Utawarerumono, there is a wide range of characters from several different countries that appear throughout the story. The main characters are all connected back to the male protagonist, Hakuoro, a man found injured in a forest who wears an irremovable mask and has lost his memories. He is a charismatic man who has the power to rally people under him for a cause when it comes time to fight. After earning much of the respect from the people who served under his command, Hakuoro was appointed emperor of the newly founded country Tusukuru, named after the grandmother of the woman who initially found him - Erurū. Erurū is a physician in training who often helps Hakuoro in much the same way a secretary or even a mother would. She has a forceful, but caring personality which is how she acts most of the time, especially around her younger sister Arurū who she cares for deeply. Arurū is a playful young girl who is shy and quiet, usually only saying a word or two when spoken to. After the god of the forest, Mutikapa is killed, Arurū raises her child as if it were her own, naming it Mukkuru. Since Erurū was the one who initially cared for him, Hakuoro regards her and her family the closest thing to a family of his own.
After Tusukuru is founded, Hakuoro gets many warriors under his command. The first is an impulsive and zealous dual-sword–wielding former bandit named Oboro. Dori and Gura are his two twin archer servants. Oboro has a younger sister named Yuzuha who has been sick with an unknown illness since birth, and is usually bedridden because of it. The next man to join Hakuoro is Benawi, a strong warrior who carries with him a calm and logical personality, though often gets irritated when Hakuoro ignores his duties as a ruler. His right-hand man is Kurou, whose strength is comparable to Oboro's. There are several strong women who fight for Hakuoro as well. Urutori of the winged Onkamiyamukai race comes to Tusukuru as a priestess sent to look out for the country's welfare. She, and her younger sister Kamyu who follows Urutori to Tusukuru, have powerful magic abilities akin to those of their race. Karurauatsūrei, whose name is shortened to Karura for simplicity, is found having slaughtered many soldiers from another country who were holding her prisoner. Hakuoro decides to have her join his cause and she agrees. Karura carries a ridiculously heavy, black personalized blade only she can wield and has an affinity towards sake. Touka of the Evenkuruga tribe was deceived into fighting against Hakuoro but joins him after the deception was revealed and her previous lord Orikakan was murdered by another emperor, Niwe, a common enemy of Touka and Hakuoro. Touka is very protective of Hakuoro, acting as his bodyguard. She usually has a serious personality though sometimes she is shown to have a softer side as well.
Washimi Tsutomu directed the Utawarerumono Windows game, Naoya Shimokawa was the producer, and Suga Munemitsu planned the scenario. Ama Tsuyuki provided the original character designs, and Matsuoka Junya, Takahiro Yonemura, and Shinya Ishikawa handled the music. Neko Iwashiro, Yokoo Kenichi, and Okawa Masato programmed the game. Lastly, AIC managed the production of the opening animation. Flight Plan helped in the development for the PlayStation 2 version.
The Utawarerumono series was first released as a Japanese video game for the Windows on April 26, 2002 by Leaf and Aquaplus. A DVD-ROM edition was later released on December 12, 2003. Unlike most turn-based strategy games, the story is linear and there is no voice acting in the Windows version. A PlayStation 2 port, featuring a new battle system by Flight Plan (of the Summon Night series), was developed by Sting, and released on October 26, 2006 in Japan. The PS2 port included voice acting and several other changes to enhance gameplay. The adult graphics and scenes were removed from the PlayStation 2 version, which was rated for ages 15 and up. A PlayStation Portable version of the game was released on May 28, 2009. The game was never released outside Japan, however, a complete fan translation patch for the PC DVD version of Utawarerumono exists.
The first Utawarerumono manga series, illustrated by Arō Shimakusa, was serialized in the bishōjo magazine Dengeki G's Magazine between September 30, 2005 and November 30, 2006. Two bound volumes were released by ASCII Media Works under their Dengeki Comics imprint compiling the entire manga story. A second manga series illustrated by Minakuchi Takashi, titled Utawarerumono Chiri Yuku Mono e no Komori Uta, was serialized in ASCII Media Works' Dengeki Maoh magazine between the December 2007 and October 2010 issues. Three tankōbon volumes were released between January 27, 2009 and November 27, 2010, under their Dengeki Comics imprint. A one-shot manga illustrated by Arō was published in ASCII Media Works' Dengeki G's Festival! Comic magazine in the June 2008 issue.
DNA Media Comics has published two Comic anthology series for Utawarerumono. The first anthology series, with the general title Utawarerumono Comic Anthology, consisted of three volumes (including a special edition) released between August 2002 and November 2006. A seven-volume anthology series, titled Utawarerumono Chiri Yuku Mono e no Komoi Uta Comic Anthology, was also published by DNA Media Comics between January and September, 2007; it was illustrated by various artists. Ohzora Shuppan has published a five-volume comic anthology series, titled Utawarerurmono Anthology Comics and released between August 2002 and March 2003 under their Twin Heart Comics imprint. The last anthology series, titled Game Comics Utawarerumono, was published by La Porte in two volumes between August and October 2002.
|1||Utawarerumono 01 (うたわれるもの 01)||July 27, 2006||ISBN 4-8402-3534-1|
|2||Utawarerumono 02 (うたわれるもの 02)||January 27, 2007||ISBN 978-4-8402-3746-8|
|1||Utawarerumono Chiri Yuku Mono e no Komori Uta 01 (うたわれるもの 散りゆく者への子守唄 01)||January 27, 2009||ISBN 978-4-04-867552-9|
|2||Utawarerumono Chiri Yuku Mono e no Komori Uta 02 (うたわれるもの 散りゆく者への子守唄 02)||June 26, 2009||ISBN 978-4-04-868063-9|
|3||Utawarerumono Chiri Yuku Mono e no Komori Uta 03 (うたわれるもの 散りゆく者への子守唄 03)||November 27, 2010||ISBN 978-4-04-868981-6|
The Utawarerumono anime aired in Japan between April 3 and September 25, 2006 and has 26 episodes. With the first DVD release of the anime on August 23, 2006, a short omake episode lasting about seven minutes was also included. Two pieces of theme music are used for the anime series: one opening theme and two ending themes. The opening theme is "Musōka" by Suara, the first ending theme used for the first twenty-five episodes is "Madoromi no Rinne" by Eri Kawai, and the second ending theme used for the final episode is "Kimi ga Tame" by Suara. The North American rights to the Utawarerumono anime were initially held by ADV Films for $109,201 effective August 1, 2006, who completed a full DVD release of the entire series. In July 2008, Funimation announced that the license to Utawarerumono (and other titles formerly held by ADV) had transferred to them.
A three-episode Utawarerumono original video animation series was developed by the creators of the anime. These episodes focus on side stories from the game which were not covered in the TV series. The first OVA was released on June 5, 2009. The OVA's opening theme is "Adamant Faith" by Suara and its ending theme is "Yume no Tsuzuki" by Rena Uehara. In the first OVA, the episode focuses mainly on Urutori's relationship with the child rescued from Niwe's attack, and how she refuses to give up the child to another family, going so far as to attack her friends.
The anime adaptation of Utawarerumono: The False Faces began airing on October 3, 2015, and it is streamed on Crunchyroll.
Drama CDs and radios shows
Four drama CDs based on the anime were published by Lantis and distributed from King Records. The first drama CD was released on July 26, 2006, the second was released on December 6, 2006, the third was released on February 21, 2007, and the fourth was released as an extra edition on May 23, 2007.
The first Internet radio show, called Utawarerumono Radio, was aired on Oto Izumi broadcast station from July 7, 2006 to July 2, 2007. A total of 51 broadcasts were made, with the addition of an extra edition. It was available on the net station Radio Kansai every Friday, and aired from October 6, 2006 to March 30, 2007. Hidaka Shigeki directed the radio show. Imagica Imageworks published the radio CDs for Utawarerumono Radio. Another internet radio show called Web Rajio Eruru no ko Heya IN Utawarerumono, was also aired on Oto Izumi broadcast station from April 16, 2009 to June 17, 2010. It would air every other Thursday. The radio show was also directed by Hidaka Shigeki. The Web Radio Eruru no Kobeya in Utawarerumono radio CDs were published by Frontier Works.
A now retired series of eight plushies based on characters from the series was available for a short time in 2005 in Japan and could be obtained from UFO catcher crane machines and several hobby outlets. Some gashapon figurines were also produced after the release of the original Windows game, including uncolorized versions, and rare adult versions of some figures. Availability on the international market of any Utawarerumono merchandise is extremely limited, but as of 2005, both new and collectors' Utawarerumono merchandise was still readily available in Japan (notably in Akihabara).
On March 28, 2004, an isometric scrolling fighting game for the Windows, based on the Utawarerumono characters and storyline, was released by Leaf. A downloadable patch available on the official website adds additional characters to the game. Characters from Utawarerumono are also playable in Aquapazza: Aquaplus Dream Match, a fighting game developed by Aquaplus featuring characters from various Leaf games.
Across the semi-monthly chart of top 50 best-selling bishōjo games sold nationally in Japan, the Windows version of Utawarerumono ranked first in the last two weeks of the April 2004. It ranked second in the first two weeks and 27th in the last two weeks of May. It then ranked 16th and 29th in June before dropping out of the chart. The PlayStation version of the game sold over 82,000 units in four days. In an August 2007 survey conducted by Dengeki G's Magazine, Utawarerumono was voted the 15th most interesting bishōjo game by readers, tying with Kimi ga Nozomu Eien.
On Mania.com, the six volumes of the DVD set for the anime adaptation of Utawarerumono were reviewed and rated by Chris Beveridge. He gave volume one a 'B+' rating, and praised the anime saying, "Over the course of the five episodes, the series drew me in more and more until I became completely engaged in it and wished I had not only the next volume but all of the volumes on hand. These episodes turn into "page turners" pretty quickly and do a very solid and entertaining job as the first chapter of a larger story." He also gave volumes two and three a 'B+' rating, volume four an 'A-' rating, and volume five and six an 'A' rating. The anime received a mostly positive review from Stig Hogset of THEM Anime Reviews, saying, "A rather great fantasy piece. I can't really see it disappointing anyone." He gave Utawarerumono a four out of five star rating.
The tactical role-playing visual novel sequel, Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen, shipped over 100,000 copies on September 24, 2015, and sold 55,580 physical retail copies within its first week of release in Japan across PS3, PS4 and PS Vita platforms. Famitsu gave the game a review score of 32/40.
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- Leaf/Aquaplus game page (Japanese)
- Anime official website (Japanese)
- Utawarerumono at Tokyo MX (Japanese)
- Utawarerumono at VAP (Japanese)
- Utawarerumono (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- Utawarerumono at The Visual Novel Database