Hyouge Mono Episode 2
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.
Series Premise: Hyouge Mono is a televised weekly anime series started in April 2011, based on the prize-winning manga series by Yoshihiro Yamada. Set in sixteenth century Japan, Furuta Sasuke is conflicted by his loyalty to his master, and his undying appreciation of tea.
Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:
ep. tl;dr review: Medieval Japanese warfare and tea ceremonies collide; Tea for the Universe, Tea for Life!
Episode Summary: Sasuke gives a satisfactory answer to Nobunaga about comparing his grandiose warships to a tea bowl, also earning respect from a famed tea master. Sasuke and his wife, Osen, visit with his brother-in-law before he heads off to war under Murashige, who soon rebels against Nobunaga. Later, Sasuke is sent as a messenger to convince his brother-in-law to surrender, and by threatening the life of his wife in a bluff he gets him to accept surrender. Much later, Murashige is cornered in his castle, while Nobunaga’s forces search for him. Sasuke finds him running away disguised as a peasant, but is distracted by the amazing beauty of a famous tea bowl and lets him escape in exchange for the bowl. After that, when Sasuke is meeting with the famed tea master for a sublime ceremony, he is presented with a replica of the bowl, and Sasuke immediately worries he may have been found out.
My Impressions: This is perhaps the most difficult show to describe, because it is completely unlike anything else out there in the world of anime…or in the world of non-anime, for that matter. The humor is perfectly understated and sublime, relying more on tone and feeling rather than outright gags or punchlines.
Sasuke is an odd duck, completely out of his element. While clearly a competent vassal to his lord, his entire world view is colored through tea-colored lenses. Even when making love to his wife, the only thing he can think about is comparing her smooth, white skin to one of his prized tea bowls. (It would be creepy if it wasn’t so sardonic). When he has the chance to capture or kill his lord’s enemy, he allows him to go after being totally dazzled at the mere sight of a rare tea bowl. This man is dedicated to his obsession, to the point of a fault (or many faults). Sasuke’s inner dialogue borders on the insane at times, and some of his facial expressions are just…bizarre. All the more reason to love the show.
I may not know much of anything about Japanese history and the period of the warring feudal states, but that really doesn’t matter here. Even though the story is set in a historical setting, the story around Sasuke is fictional itself — and that is the focus of the show anyway. It’s all about Sasuke and his constant struggle between his professional life serving his lord, and his personal life serving his obsession. Often at odds, sometimes intertwined, his overwhelming desire for tea sometimes supersedes his sworn allegiance. It’s madness, I tell you, Madness! Tea for universe, Tea for Life!
Also: This is not a review, but for anyone who has watched the episode and is confused by some of the stuff that was shown (such as the tea bowls, who the characters are patterned after, that strange iron mask, the tea ceremony), then this blog post is a MUST READ.
- My earlier reviews: Episode 1 (July 8th)
- Info resources: My Anime List, Anime News Network, AniDB, and Wikipedia
- If you like this series, then you might also like: Well, nothing. Because I can’t think of anything else like this. Oh wait, I know! How about Black Adder?
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “This guy is completely out there: on one hand he is supposed to be this level-headed army commander, but on the other he is obsessed over tea and tea bowls. His inner monologues are all just wonderful, and especially his voice actor is amazing. Plus, this show has some unique facial expressions. I mean, anime is already known for its over exaggeration of faces, but this… I don’t think have ever seen facial expressions like this in series here. ” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
- “Sasuke’s consideration of life beyond struggle, a life of cultivated tranquility, is often presented in the most comical fashion. It is precisely when he spies a beautiful artifact that his eyes bug out, and he delivers lines that may be sincere and learned, but seem laughable and pedantic…I still don’t really know where this series will be taking us, but so far I’m enjoying the ride.” – Abandoned Factory
- “Compared to the first one, this is actually a lot more serious. We’re briefly introduced to Sauske’s family, and it’s surprising to see Sauske getting romantically involved with his wife, although he’s only feeling turned on because her physical characteristics resemble that of a tea bowl. =P Most of this episode delves into politics, which I loved, but it’s a little hard to follow when you’re not familiar with any of the names.” – Meeping Anime
- “Part of the fun of this show is watching Sosuke in action. There’s never been another lead quite like him – he’s a fascinating bundle of contrasts. He’s clearly clever, self-aware and creative – but also a slave to his own aesthetic passions and a social misfit of sorts…I have no more idea now who the target audience for this series is than I did a week ago when I watched the premiere, but I’m awfully glad it exists.” – Lost in America
ROUND TWO RESULTS FOR SPRING 2011 SHOWS:
Thumbs-up for Round Two: Steins;Gate, Deadman Wonderland, Hanasaku Iroha, Moshidora, Ano Hana, Tiger and Bunny, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, Nichijou, Yondemasu-yo Azazel-san, C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, X-Men, Blue Exorcist, Kaiji Season 2, Hyouge Mono
Thumbs-down for Round Two: Dog Days, Fireball Charming, A Channel, Sengoku Otome Time Paradox
Coming up next (in this order): Showa Monogatari, Appleseed XIII, Fujilog