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Old 2011-04-17, 22:03   Link #1
Guardian Enzo
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Hyouge Mono

I don't see a thread for this yet. It really should be in "Current" as the premiere has finally been subbed, but this seems as good a place to start as any.

About:

I know this isn't going to get much attention, but it's really excellent - well-crafted, smart, funny and often surprisingly intense. Perhaps if we're lucky future eps will be subbed as well.

Blog review of first episode:
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Old 2011-04-18, 12:21   Link #2
TinyRedLeaf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guardian Enzo
I don't know who'll be watching this. It is a much-honored manga, so perhaps there's a small cadre of tea otaku out there who will follow along.
I could care less about the tea. I'm in this for keeps: For the politics, and the intense study of raw ambition versus aesthetic refinement, exploring the roots of that peculiarly Japanese brand of obsession and dedication that makes one a rabid otaku.

I found my first true love of this anime season.
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Old 2011-04-19, 08:42   Link #3
SeijiSensei
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I'm going to have to watch episode one again. I got "psychic whiplash" as the story jumped between comedy and drama. The "esthete as warrior" plot is certainly original.
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Old 2011-04-19, 09:33   Link #4
Dop
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I really enjoyed the first episode, and while I'm not holding my breath waiting for the entire series to be subbed, I'll watch more. Anything that bears the subtitle 'Tea for universe, tea for life' can't be half bad!

It kind of puts me in mind of what you'd get if you made a Japanese version of Blackadder.

It's unlike anything else this season, and that's a real point in its favour.
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Old 2011-04-19, 09:58   Link #5
TinyRedLeaf
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Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
The "esthete as warrior" plot is certainly original.
Hmm... perhaps because of my prior knowledge on the subject, that theme isn't as strikingly original to me, but it's definitely refreshing the way it was presented in this episode.

Notable samurai of the late Sengoku period were well-known for their pretensions to more refined tastes. Takeda Shingen, for example, was known for composing haiku in the middle of military campaigns. Uesugi Kenshin was reputedly a keen student of Buddhism and Buddhist philosophy. Oda Nobunaga, as portrayed in this episode, famously indulged in extravagant displays of wealth.

At the same time, these vain men were also very sensitive about their appearances as rough and ready warriors. They were openly disdainful of effeminate palace culture, exemplified by some daimyo with court connections, like Imagawa Yoshimoto, for instance.

So, this constant tension between "warrior and aesthete" is very much a feature of samurai culture, as observed by British historian Stephen Turnbull. It has its roots in Confucian ethics, from the idea that scholars rank higher than warriors in the social hierarchy.

Which of course brings up the question: To what extent were these men genuine aesthetes? I suspect that, in most cases, what these samurai were truly after was the appearance of power, on top of real power. Add to this the fact that many of the "samurai" of this era were originally mere peasants who brashly seized opportunities to climb a once-rigid social ladder — the pursuit of "culture" was thus their way of showing that they have arrived, not unlike the noveau riche of more modern times.

And that's what this episode brilliantly explored, by presenting the ambitions of three different men, and juxtaposing them with those of our protagonist, Sasuke.
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Old 2011-04-19, 20:14   Link #6
Simon
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Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
I got "psychic whiplash" as the story jumped between comedy and drama.
That's my one and only grumble about what was otherwise an intriguing first episode. Perhaps my unfamiliarity with the manga led me to expect a more traditional "serious historical drama", but Sasuke's moments of comedic overacting felt a bit out of place.

But even if I wasn't hooked by the subject matter, I'd easily forgive that for the final scene where Oda asks Sasuke his opinion on the warship. That exchange captured the contradiction of Sasuke's position perfectly - how do you serve a master whom you can't wholeheartedly respect?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Which of course brings up the question: To what extent were these men genuine aesthetes? I suspect that, in most cases, what these samurai were truly after was the appearance of power, on top of real power.
Hasn't that been true throughout history? It seems common that once people claw their way to the top through brutality and absence of scruples, they set about clothing themselves in the trappings of culture - for a present-day example, just look at corporate leaders who promote themselves as patrons of the arts.
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Old 2011-04-22, 18:02   Link #7
Guardian Enzo
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Good Lord, episode 2 was fascinating. That whole sequence with Osen and the tea bowl, and Sauke comparing the two in his head... It was a stunningly realistic and surprisingly electric depiction of an intimate moment between a married couple - how rare is that in anime? - yet totally run through the weird contradictions that make up Sasuke's character.

Loved the rest of the ep, too. I still have no idea who the audience is or why this is being produced, but I'm glad it is.
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Old 2011-04-23, 07:25   Link #8
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The anime is great and all..

but you know,

THAT EPIC NOBUNAGA LAUGHTER totally was the highlight of the opening episode for me lol. God damn it. I couldn't help but laugh out loud myself. That was just fucking hilarious, the way they presented that.
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Old 2011-04-23, 08:51   Link #9
sapphire-pyro
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There are so many rare and unusual yet good stuff in this show Hilarious too xD

(The married couple scene kinda disturbed me though ;_; Looks like I'm still not used to this...)
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Old 2011-04-23, 09:44   Link #10
SeijiSensei
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Originally Posted by Guardian Enzo View Post
Loved the rest of the ep, too. I still have no idea who the audience is or why this is being produced, but I'm glad it is.
It is based on an award-winning seinen manga, so I'm guessing NHK thinks there's some built-in audience for Hyouge Mono.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Hyouge Mono (へうげもの?) is a Japanese manga written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Yamada. It won an Excellence prize for manga at the 13th Japan Media Arts Festival and the Grand Prize at the 2010 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize.
I looked at Mahou Showtime today and discovered this show occupies a Thursday at 11pm timeslot with no other anime scheduled against it on any other channels. Maybe NHK thinks this could be attract the noitaminA audience, though the first of its current shows, [C], doesn't start until 12:45 am.

I thought this episode was even better than the last one. The confrontation with his brother-in-law was simply breath-taking. The contrast between that scene and moment of marital intimacy portrayed moments before only heightened the drama. I wonder which will win out over the long term -- Sasuke's ambition or his aesthetic passion.

I do have a hard time with Osen's facial expression. In a show where all the main characters' eyes are drawn so elaborately, her slit-like eyes are very disconcerting. I can understand why she might drawn that way (to heighten her mystery or to emphasize her demure wifeliness), but I'd still rather see her eyes. Also that child looks at least four or five years old, no? If she's twenty now, that means she gave birth around 15 or 16. Probably not uncommon from what little I know about classical Japanese marital institutions.

I would never have guessed that the crew that produced Bee Train's girls-with-guns shows like Noir and Madlax are behind Hyouge Mono. So far I think they're doing an excellent job.

Thirty-nine episodes of this, huh? I'm in for the long haul. I'm about to watch episode two of [C] now, but it's going to have to be a lot better than the first episode to displace Hyouge Mono from the top of my spring list.
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Old 2011-04-23, 11:19   Link #11
Guardian Enzo
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Did they say she was 20? I didn't catch that.
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Old 2011-04-23, 11:48   Link #12
SeijiSensei
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Originally Posted by Guardian Enzo View Post
Did they say she was 20? I didn't catch that.
At the beginning of the first episode there's a meeting between Nobunaga and his vassals. Sasuke becomes the butt of a few jokes, one of which was a comment about how much he seems to be enjoying his young wife of twenty.

Oh, and having watched episode two of [C], I can state for certain that I'm enjoying Hyouge Mono more.

Edit: I did some research into the historical period because I was surprised by the use of firearms and wondered about the historical accuracy of the atakebune. Both of these turn out to be true portrayals of the "warring states" period.

Firearms came to Japan in 1543 when a Portuguese ship was blown off-course and landed there. The Japanese quickly adopted and refined these new weapons. They had become widespread by 1577. Nobunaga apparently built half-a-dozen atakebune. As episode two notes, their interior walls where lined with iron for protection against enemy weapons. The atakebune represented a major change in Japanese naval battles as conflicts between the vessels themselves replaced hand-to-hand fighting between the sailors on-board.

We've already seen Nobunaga's famous general Hideyoshi, who completed the unification of Japan after Nobunaga was assassinated in 1582. Tokugawa Ieyasu appears in the list of characters at ANN so I'm guessing he'll be appearing soon as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sengoku_period
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oda_Nobunaga
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firearms_of_Japan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atakebune
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Last edited by SeijiSensei; 2011-04-23 at 17:01. Reason: Added historical background
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Old 2011-04-23, 11:55   Link #13
Guardian Enzo
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Me too, though it's still early.
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Old 2011-04-23, 18:06   Link #14
SeijiSensei
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I looked all over for audience figures for this show, both in our own thread and at this usually-reliable site. The Geocities site is way behind and has no ratings for the spring season. Katapan and company don't report any ratings for Hyouge Mono either.
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Old 2011-04-23, 18:07   Link #15
Guardian Enzo
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Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
I looked all over for audience figures for this show, both in our own thread and at this usually-reliable site. The Geocities site is way behind and has no ratings for the spring season. Katapan and company don't report any ratings for Hyouge Mono either.
Perhaps less than 100 viewers won't show up?
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Old 2011-04-23, 18:31   Link #16
SeijiSensei
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Originally Posted by Guardian Enzo View Post
Perhaps less than 100 viewers won't show up?


No, there aren't figures yet for the week that includes 4/14, when Hyouge Mono premiered. I suspect we might see something from Katapan soon.

I'd think 11pm on Thursdays might be an attractive spot for an animated show targeting mature viewers. Thursdays tend to be an off-night for broadcasters because there are fewer people in audience. Take a look at the top-rated shows for the week Hyouge Mono aired. Only a handful of shows in that list aired on a Thursday; the biggest-audience nights are unsurprisingly Sundays and Mondays when people generally stay at home.

In the US, Thursday nights have been a place for experimentation since the expected audience ratings are going to be low to begin with. That's probably even more true for the NHK; I don't see many shows on that list originating from them. Both of these factors suggest to me that they're willing to take a chance on Hyouge Mono in a time-slot that humans, rather than DVRs, might actually watch.

Fuji gets so much credit for noitaminA, yet the NHK seemingly gets no such enthusiastic plaudits for the many high-quality shows they've aired over the years.
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Old 2011-04-23, 22:55   Link #17
TinyRedLeaf
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Edit: I did some research into the historical period because I was surprised by the use of firearms and wondered about the historical accuracy of the atakebune. Both of these turn out to be true portrayals of the "warring states" period.
Indeed, the Japanese took to firearms like ducks to water back in the Sengoku era. It was one of a number of crucial factors that led to swelling numbers of ashigaru (peasant footsoldiers) in the armies of the time. Oda Nobunaga was the first warlord who created a whole new set of drills to enable continuous firing of firearms during battle, a tactic that other generals would soon adopt (they had no choice, it was do or die).

There were, of course, daimyo who were reluctant to follow the technological trend, particularly those from the Kanto region, such as the Takeda of Kai-Shinano. There was the problem of greater isolation — given that firearms spread from Kyushu to Kansai before coming to Kanto, the eastern samurai would naturally be among the last to see, and use, such new technology.

Furthermore, the Kanto samurai were country bumpkins of a sort and considered themselves rougher and tougher than their more urbanised brethen in the western regions of Japan. Since the time of the Kamakura shogunate (the first bakufu), the Kanto region was regarded as the font of "true" samurai values, in contrast to the more "cultured" traditions of the Kansai region (the warriors there were considered softies by the Kanto samurai). Using firearms, to the doughty samurai of the east, felt like "cheating", a necessary evil of the times.

The battle that decisively changed the balance of power between firearms and a good ol' cavalry charge was the one in Nagashino, resulting in the massacre of the cream of the Takeda army by a hail of Tokugawa lead. Thereafter, no serious warlord would dare challenge the power of firearms.

(This rivalry between east and west Japan, warrior values versus aesthetic traditions, thus has deep roots in the country's history. The Kansai region has always been the heart of Japan's higher culture, while Kyushu has always been the country's gateway to modern technology, be it from Korea, China or Portugal. It wasn't until the time of the Tokugawa shogunate that the centre of both political and cultural power shifted decisively east, thanks to the burgeoning growth of Edo, which became Japan's first million-person city.)

I credit Koei's Nobunaga's Ambition wargame simulations for spurring me towards such (otherwise useless) trivia back in my teens during the late 80s. Like you, I was also surprised at the time to learn that the Japanese had adopted then-modern firearms. In the end, though, it was all about political and military expediency, and not because of any particular love for firearms. Shortly after Tokugawa Ieyasu united Japan, he strictly limited the production of guns, ostensibly to curb foreign (read, Christian) influence. In reality, he was just being practical — he wanted to prevent further rebellions armed with such weapons.
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Old 2011-04-24, 05:07   Link #18
frubam
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I just watched episode 1, and I'm not sure what I just watched . I really lol'd at Sasuke's serious observations depicted in a comedic fashion, but the whole reason they were fighting flew right over my head. Probably because it's 6am in the morning (>.>). I'm not quite seeing the reasons that emphasize these special artifacts are worth fighting and dying for, but that might be attributed to me not knowing anything about the era the show is depicted in or the real-life personae that the chars are based on.

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I could care less about the tea.
Your username would say otherwise .
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Old 2011-04-24, 09:31   Link #19
cyth
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I loved episode two. Sasuke's perceptions and wit buff up the tension each conflict presents, further increasing hilarity in some cases. After watching the first episode, I thought the series was only worth for its shits and giggles, but despite those it's entertaining not just in its humor but the drama/game of thrones aspect as well.

I'd like to compliment TinyRedLeaf for his informative contributions. I'm afraid I'm not versed in Japan's military history to really bring value to this discussion, but I like the series' atmosphere nonetheless and just wanted to share my excitement.
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Old 2011-04-24, 09:53   Link #20
mizuki_tohru
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"Hyouge Mono" is comics with many fans. I also own the comics book whole set. I am evaluating the bold art style and idea of Yamada Yoshihiro highly.
His previous work "Dokyou Boshi" was a wonderful work. However, the art style of Yamada is not evaluated except Japan at all.

Many of depiction of "Hyouge Mono" is based on the historical fact. If history of Japan is investigated, all the future fate of Sasuke is known. Although I knew beforehand about Furuta Oribe's, i.e., him, whole life, the tale is still filled to charm.
Sasuke is Samurai and Otaku. At the start time of a tale at least, he is only the teacup otaku smeared with the desire. This situation changes with encounter with Rikyu. He himself becomes an artist and becomes an artist's patron. Sasuke gropes for Samurai-oriented art.

Speaking of anime, I cannot see it. Broadcast channels are NHK BS, broadcasting satellite channel. This is not free broadcast. It is unthinkable to make a contract of paid broadcasting only for Hyouge Mono.
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