Utawarerumono: Wait, Excuse Me, He’s Not the Father . . .


Just in case you’re wondering, it’s Ooh-tah-wah-ray-roo-mo-no. Utawarerumono. Like many of the words in this show, it’s something you’ll have to learn a bit about via outside sources, thanks in no small part to our friends at ADV films.

But I get ahead of myself. For those of you who watched this show on fansub, you’ll know that it has an interesting plot that develops gradually, with characters ranging from unique to tediously archetypical. It’s got attractive, if at times generic, art and the character designs are actually fairly interesting.
For those of you who didn’t… Well, the art is the same, at least. The plot is largely unchanged as well. However, the ADV subtitlers have (in the first volume) managed to severely damage any credibility they may have built up over the years (or at least, this subtitling team has).

I won’t go into the details of the syntactic and translation genocide that was performed by these people (well, alright, one example is that they’ve turned “jii-san” into “father”), but suffice it to say that I actually found myself seeking out the English dub for better translations.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that, in the first few episodes at least, the English dub is actually quite good. It’s not going to win any serious awards, but the intonation, language and synching are all above average for what I’ve come to expect from ADV dubs.

Sadly, they don’t match up to the original cast, however, and barring a friend who knows Japanese, chances are you’ll be without the full experience if you use the ADV-released DVDs.

ADV, for its part, seems to have been bent on marketing this series to a younger age group than it probably should. Utawarerumono is an epic, an epic in the same vein as the Chinese romances (Romance of the Three Kingdoms and the Houshin Engi are excellent examples), and younger audiences just don’t have the patience necessary to concentrate on the huge cast and a story of slowly-building conflict, rebellion, political intrigue and a host of other things that are all very interesting by themselves, much less taken in combination.

Yet another case of love the series, hate the release, thanks to a company that’s proven its hit-or-miss nature in the past.