Utawarerumono
Cover of the Utawarerumono Windows game
うたわれるもの
GenreAdventure, Fantasy
Game
DeveloperLeaf (Windows)
Sting (PS2/PSP/PS4/PSV)
Publisher
GenreTactical role-playing game
Visual novel
Eroge (Windows)
PlatformWindows, PS2, PSP, PS4, PSV
Released
April 26, 2002
  • Windows
    • JP: April 26, 2002
    • WW: January 22, 2021[a]
    PS2
    • JP: October 26, 2006
    PSP
    • JP: May 28, 2009
    PS4, PSV
    • JP: April 26, 2018
    • NA: May 26, 2020
    • EU: May 29, 2020
Manga
Written byAquaplus
Illustrated byArō Shimakusa
Published byMediaWorks
ImprintDengeki Comics
MagazineDengeki G's Magazine
DemographicSeinen
Original runSeptember 30, 2005November 30, 2006
Volumes2
Anime television series
Directed byTomoki Kobayashi
Written byMakoto Uezu
Music byHijiri Anze
Miyu Nakamura
StudioOLM
Licensed by
Original networkChiba TV, ABC, TV Aichi, TV Saitama, tvk, AT-X, Tokyo MX
English network
Original run April 3, 2006 September 25, 2006
Episodes26 (List of episodes)
Manga
Utawarerumono Chiriyuku Mono e no Komoriuta
Written byAquaplus
Illustrated byMinakuchi Takashi
Published byASCII Media Works
ImprintDengeki Comics
MagazineDengeki Maoh
DemographicSeinen
Original runDecember 2007October 2010
Volumes3
Original video animation
Directed byKenichiro Katsura
StudioAquaplus (Production)
Chaos Project (Animation)
Licensed by
Released June 5, 2009 June 23, 2010
Runtime30 minutes each
Episodes3 (List of episodes)
Game
Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception
DeveloperAquaplus
Publisher
GenreTactical role-playing game
Visual novel
PlatformPlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
PlayStation Vita
Microsoft Windows
Released
  • JP: September 24, 2015
  • WW: May 23, 2017
  • WW: January 23, 2020 (Windows)
Anime television series
Utawarerumono: The False Faces
Directed byKeitaro Motonaga
Written byTakamitsu Kōno
Music byNaoya Shimokawa
StudioWhite Fox
Licensed by
Original networkTokyo MX, TV Aichi, MBS, AT-X, BS11
Original run October 3, 2015 March 26, 2016
Episodes25 (List of episodes)
Game
Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth
DeveloperAquaplus
Publisher
GenreTactical role-playing game
Visual novel
PlatformPlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
PlayStation Vita
Microsoft Windows
Released
  • JP: September 21, 2016
  • WW: September 5, 2017
  • WW: January 23, 2020 (Windows)
Original video animation
Utawarerumono: Tuskur-kōjo no Karei Naru Hibi
StudioWhite Fox
ReleasedApril 26, 2018
Runtime13 minutes
Game
Utawarerumono: Zan
DeveloperTamsoft
Publisher
GenreHack and slash
Role-playing game
PlatformPlayStation 4
Released
  • JP: September 27, 2018
  • NA: September 10, 2019
  • EU: September 13, 2019
Game
Utawarerumono: Lost Flag
DeveloperTose
PublisherAquaplus
GenreRole-playing game
PlatformiOS, Android
Released
  • JP: November 26, 2019
Game
Utawarerumono: Zan 2
DeveloperTamsoft
PublisherAquaplus
GenreHack and slash
Role-playing game
PlatformPlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Released
  • JP: July 22, 2021
 Anime and manga portal

Utawarerumono (Japanese: うたわれるもの) is a Japanese adult tactical role-playing visual novel developed by Leaf, which released in April 2002 for Microsoft Windows. It was ported to the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. In releases subsequent to the initial 2002 version, it is known by its more specific title Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen (うたわれるもの 散りゆく者への子守唄, Utawarerumono: Chiriyuku Mono e no Komoriuta).

The game was highly successful in Japan[1][2] and has since been adapted into a wide variety of other media, including several anime series, drama CDs, and Internet radio programs, and manga.

A sequel for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita titled Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception was released in Japan in September 2015, and worldwide in May 2017.[3][4] The final chapter of the trilogy, titled Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth, was released in Japan in September 2016, and worldwide a year later.[3] These second and third games were ported to Microsoft Windows in January 2020,[5] and a PC port of the remake of the first followed in January 2021.[6]

A spin-off hack and slash game developed by Tamsoft titled Utawarerumono: Zan, based on the events from Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception, was released in Japan in September 2018 for the PlayStation 4, and worldwide in September 2019.[7][8] A sequel titled Utawarerumono: Zan 2 covering the events from Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth is scheduled to release in Japan in July 2021 for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.[9] A free-to-play mobile game developed by Tose, titled Utawarerumono: Lost Flag, was released in November 2019 in Japan for iOS and Android, incorporating elements from throughout the franchise.[10]

Gameplay

Standard visual novel gameplay in Utawarerumono, depicting the main character Hakuowlo conversing with Eruruu.
Standard visual novel gameplay in Utawarerumono, depicting the main character Hakuowlo conversing with Eruruu.

Much of Utawarerumono's gameplay is spent simply reading the text that appears on the game screen, which represents either dialogue or the protagonist's inner thoughts. At times, the player will come to a "decision point" and may choose from a single or multiple options. Unlike many other visual novels, these choices do not affect the final outcome of the story, but influence the order in which scenes play out.

Utawarerumono also features a turn-based tactical role-playing battle system that centers on the player moving characters through a square-based grid to achieve objectives, which consist of either defeating a set 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 by clicking in the brief interval before a yellow circle on screen disappears. 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, 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 which are used to increase their abilities.

At the start of the game, the player is given a choice of four difficulty levels, which affects the difficulty of the battles. 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.

Plot

Utawarerumono is a story centering around the masked protagonist, Hakuowlo, 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. Hakuowlo is soon accepted into their village where he stays and lives with them, but before long Hakuowlo finds that life in this village is being oppressed by the greedy ruler of the land their village resides in. When these actions escalate into disaster, Hakuowlo leads a rebellion that culminates in his assumption of the throne of a new country, born from the ashes of the old, and named Tuskur after the grandmother of the two girls who helped save his life.

After taking and consolidating power, Hakuowlo soon learns that peace is difficult to maintain, and finds himself fighting a series of bloody battles to protect the peace of his country and his people. Along the way, Hakuowlo meets strong warriors from other countries and tribes and welcomes them into his growing family. The passage of time brings both laughter and hardship, but with Hakuowlo leading the way, all others are confident in their future.

The story's genre is at first a fantasy-style story with heavy Ainu influence, but later develops science-fiction themes. While it initially appears to take place in a fantasy world full of magical beings and new species of humans, it is later revealed that it takes place in Earth's distant future.

Characters

Main article: List of Utawarerumono characters

Utawarerumono features a broad cast of characters from various backgrounds. The main characters are all connected to the male protagonist, Hakuowlo, 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 around him when it comes time to fight. After earning respect commanding a rebellion, Hakuowlo comes to rule the newly founded nation of Tuskur—named after the grandmother of Eruruu, the woman who initially found him. Eruruu is a apothecary-in-training who often helps Hakuowlo in much the same way a secretary or even a mother would. She has a forceful but caring personality, especially around her younger sister Aruruu, for whom she cares deeply. Aruruu 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, Aruruu raises the tiger-beast's child as if it were her own, naming it Mukkuru, and the cub comes to regard her family as its own.

After Tuskur is founded, more warriors assemble under Hakuowlo's banner. The first is an impulsive and zealous dual-sword–wielding former bandit named Oboro. Dorry and Guraa 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 Hakuowlo is Benawi, a strong warrior who possesses a calm and logical personality—although he often gets irritated when Hakuowlo neglects his administrative duties. Benawi's right-hand man is Kurou, whose strength is comparable to Oboro's. There are several strong women who fight for Hakuowlo as well. Ulthury of the winged Onkamiyamukai tribe comes to Tuskur as a priestess sent to look out for the country's welfare. She and her younger sister Camyu, who comes to Tuskur as a stowaway with Ulthury's party, have powerful magic abilities extraordinary even among their own mystical people. Karulau, an enslaved warrior, is found after a shipwreck having slaughtered the soldiers who were holding her prisoner. Hakuowlo shows leniency, and she joins his cause, but keeps the great shackle around her neck as a memento. Karulau carries a ridiculously heavy custom-made black blade that only she can wield and has an affinity towards sake. Touka of, the noble-hearted Evenkuruga tribe, was first deceived into opposing Hakuowlo but joins him after the deception is revealed and her previous lord Orikakan is murdered by the ambitious conqueror Niwe. Touka is very protective of Hakuowlo, acting as his bodyguard. Her serious personality frequently leads her to regret her own natural clumsiness, though sometimes she is shown to have a softer side as well.

Development

Washimi Tsutomu directed the Utawarerumono Windows game, Naoya Shimokawa was the producer, and Suga Munemitsu planned the scenario.[11] Ama Tsuyuki provided the original character designs, and Matsuoka Junya, Takahiro Yonemura, and Shinya Ishikawa handled the music.[11] Neko Iwashiro, Yokoo Kenichi, and Okawa Masato programmed the game.[11] Lastly, AIC managed the production of the opening animation.[11] Flight Plan helped in the development for the PlayStation 2 version.[12]

The Utawarerumono series began as a Japanese video game for Windows on April 26, 2002 by Leaf and Aquaplus. A DVD-ROM edition was later released on December 12, 2003. The story was linear and contained no voice acting, and the original version of the game was never released outside Japan, although a fan translation patch for it exists.[13] A PlayStation 2 port, titled Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen (うたわれるもの 散りゆく者への子守唄, Utawarerumono: Chiriyuku Mono e no Komoriuta) and 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. This port introduced full voice acting and several other enhancements, including a new story arc, while adult graphics and scenes present in the original PC release were removed, and the game was rated for ages 15 and up. A PlayStation Portable version of the game, Utawarerumono Portable, was released on May 28, 2009.[14] A remake for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, also titled Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen, was released on April 26, 2018 in Japan, and in May 2020 in the west by NIS America,[15] with a Windows port published by Shiravune released on January 22, 2021.[6]

Adaptations

Utawarerumono manga volume 1 cover.
Utawarerumono manga volume 1 cover.

Manga

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.[16][17] A second manga series illustrated by Minakuchi Takashi, titled Utawarerumono Chiriyuku Mono e no Komoriuta, 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.[18][19][20] A one-shot manga illustrated by Arō was published in ASCII Media Works' Dengeki G's Festival! Comic magazine in the June 2008 issue.[21]

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.[22][23] A seven-volume anthology series, titled Utawarerumono Chiriyuku Mono e no Komoriuta Comic Anthology, was also published by DNA Media Comics between January and September, 2007; it was illustrated by various artists.[24][25] 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.[26][27] The last anthology series, titled Game Comics Utawarerumono, was published by La Porte in two volumes between August and October 2002.[28][29]

No. Title Release date ISBN
1Utawarerumono 01 (うたわれるもの 01)July 27, 20064-8402-3534-1
2Utawarerumono 02 (うたわれるもの 02)January 27, 2007978-4-8402-3746-8
No. Title Release date ISBN
1Utawarerumono Chiriyuku Mono e no Komoriuta 01 (うたわれるもの 散りゆく者への子守唄 01)January 27, 2009978-4-04-867552-9
2Utawarerumono Chiriyuku Mono e no Komoriuta 02 (うたわれるもの 散りゆく者への子守唄 02)June 26, 2009978-4-04-868063-9
3Utawarerumono Chiriyuku Mono e no Komoriuta 03 (うたわれるもの 散りゆく者への子守唄 03)November 27, 2010978-4-04-868981-6

Anime

See also: List of Utawarerumono episodes

The Utawarerumono anime aired in Japan between April 3 and September 25, 2006 and has 26 episodes.[30] 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,[31] 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.[32]

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 Ulthury'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,[33] and it is streamed on Crunchyroll.

On April 26, 2018, Utawarerumono: Tuskur-kōjo no Karei Naru Hibi was released with the premium collection PS4/Vita remake of Utawarerumono: Chiriyukumono e no Komoriuta.

On October 19, 2019, an anime adaptation for Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth has been announced.[34]

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.

Other media

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 Windows, based on the Utawarerumono characters and storyline, was released by Leaf.[35] A downloadable patch available on the official website adds additional characters to the game.[36] Characters from Utawarerumono are also playable in Aquapazza: Aquaplus Dream Match, a fighting game developed by Aquaplus featuring characters from various Leaf games.[37]

Reception

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 April 2004.[1] It ranked second in the first two weeks and 27th in the last two weeks of May.[2] It then ranked 16th and 29th in June before dropping out of the chart.[38][39] The PlayStation version of the game sold over 82,000 units in four days.[40] 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.[41]

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."[42] 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.[43]

The tactical role-playing visual novel sequel, Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception, shipped over 100,000 copies on September 24, 2015,[44] and sold 55,580 physical retail copies within its first week of release in Japan across PS3, PS4 and PS Vita platforms.[45] Famitsu gave the game a review score of 32/40.[46]

In the West, the PC releases of the sequel titles Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception and Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth were among the best-selling new releases on Steam in January 2020.[47]

References

  1. ^ Port of the PS4/PSV remake.
  1. ^ a b "PC News Top 50 Sales Ranking for Bishōjo Games Sold in Japan No.98 (4/16~4/30)" (in Japanese). Peakspub. 2005. Archived from the original on 2005-12-27. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
  2. ^ a b "PC News Top 50 Sales Ranking for Bishōjo Games Sold in Japan No.100 (5/16~5/31)" (in Japanese). Peakspub. 2005. Archived from the original on 2005-12-27. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
  3. ^ a b Romano, Sal. "Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception for PS4 and PS Vita coming west this spring, Mask of Truth this fall". Gematsu. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  4. ^ "Utawarerumono: False Mask announced". Gematsu. April 4, 2015. Retrieved May 24, 2015.
  5. ^ Romano, Sal (January 6, 2020). "Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception and Mask of Truth coming to PC on January 23; Prelude to the Fallen to follow". Gematsu. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Romano, Sal (January 7, 2021). "Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen for PC launches January 22". Gematsu. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  7. ^ Romano, Sal (May 17, 2018). "Utawarerumono Zan launches September 27 in Japan". Gematsu. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  8. ^ Romano, Sal (May 22, 2019). "Utawarerumono: ZAN launches September 10 in North America, September 13 in Europe". Gematsu. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  9. ^ Stenbuck, Kite (April 1, 2021). "Utawarerumono Zan 2 launches for PlayStation 4 and 5 on July 22 in Japan". RPG Site. Retrieved April 1, 2021.
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