After last week’s interlude, Chouyaku Hyakunin Isshu: Uta Koi shifts into its next arc about the Mid-Heien era. While it’s sad to see so many great characters trek off into the annals of history, its a testament to the strong development within the series. In a few short episodes, I’ve grown to love Narihira and company. I’m sure that this won’t the last time we’ll be seeing the Six Great Waka Poets.
The current outing covers the stories of Fujiwara no Teika’s ancestors, Yoshitaka and Michitaka. Structurally, this arc opener emulates the format of the first episode. Split down the middle, the show attempts to tell a separate tale for each of the two leads. In my first impressions I described how the composition of the episode failed to create an effective foil. The two stories that seemed diametrically opposed on the surface failed to create a poignant statement. Each half of that lack luster debut was incredibly weak on its own and together they amounted to be even less than a sum of their parts.
I am happy to say that this isn’t the case for Uta Koi’s second dance. Both narratives are impactful and could suffice on their own. Together they effectively piece together a heart wrenching story that both depresses and uplifts. The placement of Yoshitaka and Michitaka in both sections is an important factor in achieving this result. Where Yukihara only had 10 minutes to create a foundation for himself, the Fujiwaras have the luxury of an entire twenty three minutes. It also help’s that the writing is a bit more nuanced this time around and the voice acting is spot on.
There is nothing wrong with Yoshitaka and Michitaka, but I have my apprehensions that Uta Koi can repeat the same magic of the first group. They had an inexplicable chemistry that pulled me in week in and week out. What I am afraid of most though is having personalities repeated. As much as I like Munesada, I don’t want him reskinned with a different hairstyle. It would dilute the characters and distract from the great stories that this anime wants to tell.
There isn’t much to say in the ugly except to state my longing for longer arcs. Uta Koi can’t keep putting my heart through all of this. I was just warming up to Narihira… a-and… I never had the chance to tell Komachi that I might have been starting to fall in love with her… Adieu mon cherie.