Hyouge Mono 7
THIS IS SENGOKU
Back in January of 1582, Senno talks to Toyotomi Hidenaga (Hashiba’s half-brother). Oda will meet with the possessor of the Narashiba tea jar, Shimai Soushitsu, after the Takeda are defeated, for Oda wants all three tea jars to assert his absolute power.
However, as his meeting deals with tea, he will bring less protection, and stop at Honno Temple on the way…
Now in March, Furuta is kicked off the top of Katsuyori castle rather unfashionably. Oda gives him an estate worth 200 koku (one koku was a unit of wealth that could buy ~150 kilograms of rice – around enough rice to feed one person for one year), bringing Furuta’s total wealth up to 400 koku. However, Furuta is not satisfied, as his only chance to gather more achievements has vanished – he might die as merely an unknown Governor, not even deserving the title of Lord. Another man, Takigawa Kazumasu, has helped brought down the decisive victory over Takeda, and requests the Jukou Kanasu tea jar from Oda’s possession as a reward. However, Oda doesn’t relinquish it, instead ‘merely’ giving Takigawa control of the Kozuke and Shinano provinces.
Takigawa writes to Akechi about Oda’s plans to deprive Akechi of control over the Shikoku Islands. The seeds of doubt were first planted in Akechi’s heart by Hashiba two episodes prior, and have begun growing into the plant called ‘rebellion’, watered now by Takigawa’s letter. Akechi realizes that the only use Oda has for him is as a military general, and once Oda achieves unification, he will be useless.
“Sir, if the helmet doesn’t fit, you can ride your bicycle without one…”
“The helmets are only to prevent injury if you accidentally fall…”
“BUT IT IS FALL.”
A month passes, and it is now April of 1582. Hashiba and his generals, Kuroda Yoshitaka and Hachisuka Masakatsu, plan to attack the remnants of the Mori clan in Chuugoku. The clan numbers merely 5,000 men, entrenched in Takamatsu Castle and led by Shimizu Muneharu in the Bitch, you province. Hashiba has 25,000 men, but decides simply to divert the nearby Kawazugahana river to flood the castle (Wikipedia says that the strategy was thought up by Kuroda, Hashiba’s favoured strategist) in hopes of surrender – for the current Mori leader, Mori Terumoto, only desires peace. Although Hashiba may want to plot against Oda, he is unaware of Akechi’s plan at the moment…
Akechi meets with Furuta and Senno – Tokugawa Ieyasu, a general who was warring with the Takeda for ages, is attending a huge banquet in Oda’s Azuchi castle in a celebration of their victory over the Takeda. Akechi, in charge of overseeing the food, requests Senno’s help in preparing the finest ingredients, including many exotic fruits (pineapples, mangoes, pears, etc.) imported from the Philippines.
Senno hints to a possible dark event in his past when Akechi asks him why he so desires simplicity and black in his tea designs – he ominously replies that he will find out when he is near death.
“OH BOY, HE DIED! I hope he found out what he wanted to found out!”
I wonder where the original author got all his research from? Was he a history professor? An archaeologist? A sociologist? It’s funny, because this sort of research really is far too in-depth, almost to the realms of speculation – Hyouge Mono is this guy’s /life’s work/, if only because of the sheer amount of time you’d need to dedicate to produce such a work. I wonder if the animation team are the same, or whether they’re merely adapting the manga’s material. I do wonder whether the faces in both are actually true-to-life – I’m pretty sure nobody knew exactly what their faces looked like (the art from the period was… how should I say it, terrible), and even ‘major’ details like whether or not they had a moustache are lost.
The faces really matter, though – Furuta’s little ‘group of friends’ are reintroduced in this episode, and each of them have their own facial traits that now make it a little bit easier to know who’s who. Takayama Ukon was the suave, lightly moustached Christian samurai introduced in episode 5; Hosokawa Tadaoki was the round-eyed, round-chinned, scarred portly genius general introduced in episode 6; and Nakagawa Kiyohide was the pale, bony, cavernous brother of Furuta’s wife introduced in episode 2. I had to look back so many times during this episode – I expect my Hyouge Mono posts to be my most densely linked series.
It’s always fun to compare the different levels of everybody’s thinking. Furuta is short-sighted, caring only about achievements that he may get without regards to the current political situation. Akechi is mid-sighted, seeing that Oda may simply dispose of him when he becomes unnecessary, but not what may happen after Oda is killed. Soueki is far-sighted, seeing past everybody and realizing the true influence of Sengoku Japan may simply be its tea culture, a culture that cannot be sustained under Oda. Oda is too far-sighted, seeing a unification of the entire world under himself as emperor – which would not have been possible, even if he had not been attacked.
The introduction of the characters is also handled nicely, compared to, say, Horizon. Both introduced characters by saying their name in some convenient way (oh sorry [name]; [name] reporting for duty; oh it’s [name] how are you; hello [name]; I’m cool, unlike [name]) and presenting them with a definite trait. Hyouge Mono’s traits were often relationships or circumstances – we remember Nakagawa as the brother of Furuta’s wife, we remember Yamanoue as Senno’s assistant, we remember Nishina as the last remaining general of the Takeda. Horizon’s traits were often appearances – that guy’s a poring, that girl has huge boobs, that guy’s an incubus without a penis, that girl has tiny boobs, that guy’s a ninja, that girl has medium-sized boobs, etc. Which is not good at all – for example, what do we do when the girls’ boobs are obscured? How can we tell the difference in their characters then?!
Horizon also attempts to introduce every character in one episode, while Hyouge Mono spreads it across many, many, MANY episodes. Perhaps Horizon just has to go three times as fast as Hyouge Mono is three-cour? Hyouge Mono’s introductions of characters are similar to Horizon’s, but they just /work/. After all, the point of introducing characters is not for us to associate a breast size with a name, but to make us remember that there’s a guy here and he did this stuff. Names are unimportant when you can differentiate different people by what they have /done/.
tl;dr: ODA WEARS A FULL PLATE OF ARMOUR
UNDER HIS CLOTHES
man that must be uncomfortable