Hyouge Mono Episode 3
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: Sasuke meets with Senno, then with Nobunaga, then with Akechi; Perhaps the most understated show of the year.
Episode Summary: Sasuke agonizes during his tea ceremony with Master Senno, and confesses that he let Murashige go in exchange for a tea bowl — which, it turns out Senno has lent to Murashige, and he just wants it back. Sasuke visits with Nobunaga in his grand, ostentatious castle, where he gets to choose his reward between an exquisitely crafted box and money; reading the non-verbal cues he correctly chooses the money, and then learns of Nobunaga’s megalomaniacal ambitions. Sasuke has tea with General Hashiba, where he discusses an earlier dinner party with Akechi. Nobunaga was insulted and Sasuke stood up for him; Akechi backed him up but Sasuke picks up on a subtle sign that he really doesn’t support Nobunaga, and predicts conflict ahead.
My Impressions: If my recent reviews have been a bit cursory or scattershot, I apologize; I’ve rushed through 14 reviews in about 48 hours in an attempt to gain some ground, and after a while I start to run out of things to say.
Could Hyouge Mono be the most understated and under-appreciated show of the year? Methinks yes. 95%+ of the anime watching community are avoiding this because it doesn’t have blushing underage girls, giant robots or high school harems — and they are missing out. This is a thinking person’s anime, and I’d love to see more companies go out on a limb and try something different. Like this.
Fungafufu (linked below) has it spot-on: there are two levels of communication going on at any time, and Sasuke is clever enough to pick up on that. Three times this episode we get to see him noodle out the hidden meaning of what is truly going on, in his meeting with Master Senno over the ill-gotten tea bowl, with Nobunaga in testing his loyalty with the choice of rewards…and most importantly on when Akechi non-verbally shows his support to Nobunaga with his choice of teaware…while Hashiba quietly expresses his opposition the same way. Sasuke is able to “read the tea leaves”, as it were, and sees storm clouds brewing between Hashiba and Nobunaga. Oh boy.
Ah, and Sasuke’s facial expressions are just as insane as ever – you can tell the animators are having a ball on this show. I decided to do nothing but screenshots of his face this time around. Unconsciously I am imagining Rowan Atkinson playing the part of Sasuke. Seems only fitting.
- My earlier reviews: Episode 1 (July 8th) and Episode 2 (September 29th)
- 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 episode had even more talking than the previous two episodes. It had a lot of politics and other conversations, and it actually managed to make them exciting. A lot was about Oda Nobunaga’s ambitions, discussed by his followers. It’s an excellent build-up, it touched a bit upon his backstory and really made him out to be this megalomaniac leader.” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
- WORTH READING IN FULL: “Hyouge Mono handles quite the superb balancing act; the characters never feel so exaggerated as to seem real or incompetent. The series’ portrayal of Nobunaga is probably the most compelling I have seen in a long while, and Sasuke’s conflict and compromise between the demands of warrior and aesthete is done in a very natural manner.” – Fungafufu
- “This episode is nothing but talking, and yet it’s immensely enjoyable because the characters are so perceptive and thoughtful. Hyouge Mono continues to impress me again and again; is there no end to its greatness? So far, each episode feels distinctly different from the other, which also helps to keep things interesting.” – Meeping Anime
ROUND THRE RESULTS FOR SPRING 2011 SHOWS:
Thumbs-up for Round Three: Steins;Gate, Deadman Wonderland, Hanasaku Iroha, Ano Hana, Tiger and Bunny, Nichijou, Yondemasu-yo Azazel-san, C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, Blue Exorcist, Kaiji Season 2, Hyouge Mono
Thumbs-down for Round Three: Moshidora, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, X-Men
Coming up next: Shows receiving a passing grade now move on to the fourth round!