Chōyaku Hyakunin Isshu: Uta Koi

Title:Chōyaku Hyakunin Isshu: Uta Koi
Uta Koi
超訳百人一首 うた恋い。
Keywords: , , , ,
Notables: CHIBA Susumu
KAJI Yuuki
SUWABE Junichi
The "Hyakunin Isshu" are an anthology of one hundred poems found in a traditional Japanese card game called Karuta. Presented by the person who selected the writings, Fujiwara no Teika, this is a glimpse into the origin of some of them. Since the majority of them are love compositions, the focus remains on romance in ancient Japan.
(Summary Courtesy of Anime News Network)

13-episode series that premiered on July 2, 2012.
Animated by TYO Animations
2:07min Series PV - YouTube Video
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 8 6 7 7 8 8 Ggultra2764 [series:2585#1552]
This was an enjoyable title while it lasted. Uta Koi, for the most part, portrays animated adaptations of stories concerning the lives of famous traditional poets in feudal Japan having their own differing experiences with love that influence their writing. Each of the stories provides enough fleshing out of the characters to let you know of their upbringing and unique romantic dilemma, many of whom involve differences in age and/ or social standing, the latter of which being a huge deal in feudal times. It made for quite the interesting watch since it let me know a little more about Japan's literary history.

The series also mixes in some comedy with its romantic stories, mostly through Teika's easygoing narrations as he introduces the stories being portrayed in each episode of Uta Koi. The comedy mostly relies on anachronisms with Teika and the other poets making appearances at points throughout the series when relevant to the story being portrayed in said episode. I found this style of comedy to be hit or miss and an absolute waste for one episode when it was used as complete comical filler. Fortunately, it doesn't get too intrusive in the other 12 episodes that are telling their romantic stories.

In terms of visuals, scenery and character designs are fairly standard in quality and being rather limited in its animation. Like Gankutsuou, Uta Koi implements stylized methods with its scenery and characters by implementing a design pattern onto the kimonos of characters, clouds and even rain drops. While still sticking out quite prominently in moments where characters are moving about, it isn't as annoyingly glaring as when Gankutsuou resorted to this approach.

Uta Koi will certainly not be for everyone considering the title's strong focus on poetery, Japanese history and episodic storytelling. But if you have interest in these elements of storytelling and genres, then Uta Koi makes for an entertaining watch as you experience the love woes faced by famous Japanese feudal poets who lived centuries ago.

Last updated Monday, September 24 2012. Created Monday, September 24 2012.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:2585#628]
(One episode watched):

I had low expectations for Utakoi, since I expected it to be largely about poetry, which doesn't interest me much. But this was actually kind of fun. Perhaps that was because this deals with genuine romance rather than just ecchi. Apparently there was quite a permissive attitude towards love in Japan back in this era. The first half was a story about a playboy aristocrat who takes a liking to a noble woman who is already spoken for. The second was about the man's half brother, a more responsible type who needs to leave his wife behind for awhile after being appointed governor of a prefecture. I could really feel for these people and wish that things would work out well for them. But there is a touch of humor as well. This might be worth watching after all.

Last updated Friday, July 13 2012. Created Friday, July 13 2012.

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