Hyouge Mono

Title:Hyouge Mono
Hyouge Mono- Tea for Universe, Tea for Life
Tea for Universe, Tea for Life
へうげもの (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - BEE TRAIN
EBARA Masashi
TANAKA Hideyuki
In the age of civil war, when the shadow of Nobunaga Oda was still cast over the land, the warlord Furuta Sasuke lost his soul to the tea ceremony. While war shook the world around him, he faced his own conflict between his desire for promotion and his love for his art.
(Summary Courtesy of Anime News Network)

Airing for 39 episodes.
First aired on April 7, 2011
Animated by Bee Train

Based on the manga by Yoshihiro Yamada
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 8 7 8 8 9 10 Ggultra2764 [series:1793#1552]
About freakin' time I get a chance to complete and review this. I can't believe it took two years for fansubbers to complete all the episodes to it. But anyway, on with the review...

Hyouge Mono did quite a bit for me in sticking out from the mold of many recent anime offerings. The series offers a mix of comedy and drama in its focus on Furuta Sasuke's love of tea ceremonies and the complicated politics surrounding the war for territories in Japan's Sengoku era. The series is a historical title with emphasis on famous figures of the time period and its politics. With the large focus on Japan's history in the period, one should have enough knowledge of the era to get the most enjoyment out of this series, especially on the differing schools of Japanese aesthetics commonplace in the era. Plus with its rather unique storytelling and comical style, the series won't be for everyone.

The comedy element of the series comes from some of the exaggerated depictions shown of the characters, which was quite hilarious for me in many instances throughout the show's run. Examples of this include Furuta Sasuke's devotion to tea ceremonies and aesthetics bordering on fanaticism, Oda Nobunaga being quite over-the-top in showing off his wealth and Date Masamune acting out dramatics kabuki theater style. The show also shows off some of the most exaggerated facial designs I've seen from a recent anime title whenever something unexpected happens with the characters, adding more to Hyouge Mono's charm.

Aside from the comedy, Hyouge Mono still has its serious moments, though in a way different from how most historical Japanese titles depict older times. Rather than focus mostly on the battles occurring within the Sengoku era, Hyouge Mono is more focused on political banter and the large role aesthetics have on Japanese society at large. On the political end, Hyouge Mono shows the tensions and corruption of the period such as influential figures making grabs at power to expand their territory, negotiations between warring daimyo, planned assassinations of major figures and relations with other Eastern countries. While this aspect to the plot may seem dull, it does add more dimension to understanding life in the Sengoku era in a different way, beyond the glorifying of battles seen in samurai films.

The focus on ↗Japanese aesthetics is a little more complicated for me to cover, based on both my limited understanding of it and the differing schools of thought with it. I do know aesthetics is a big thing for Japan's cultural identity, which Hyouge Mono shows in a big way by highlighting the clashing beliefs that several characters in the series have on what kind of aesthetics the country should have moving forward. This is especially prominent in later episodes of the series when Akechi Mitsuhide gains power and tries enforcing his beliefs on the matter, adding also to the show's political elements.

The series isn't all plot though, as it also explores how the various historical characters in the series are affected by the various changes occurring within the country. Loyalties get tested, personal beliefs are put into question, some put their status and lives at risk to challenge the present status quo, some feel the pain of being used or losing loved ones due to the era's politics. It's quite the engaging stuff, especially with Sasuke Furuta's character who gets major focus in observing how those influential to his way of life suffer thanks to the era's politics and this usually gets quite dramatic.

Visually, Hyouge Mono is pleasing on the eyes with clean details and vivid color used in designing the various settings and characters of the show. The character designs stick out quite prominently as characters are drawn to be more realistic with their details, having a diverse number of features present with characters and none of the typical beautiful, rainbow-color and big-eye drawing style employed with designs. The mentioned exaggerated facial designs look silly and do well at adding to the anime's comedy. While animation isn't the major highlight of the series, it does its part to depict character movement and showing the actions of characters in both serious and comical moments.

Overall, Hyouge Mono made for a rather unique watch for me as it mixed comedy and drama in exploring elements to Japan's Sengoku era that I've never seen focused on in past historical titles. The lack of action and its unique storytelling style won't be for everyone, but is a definite watch if you are looking for something that sticks out quite heavily from more recent offerings.

Last updated Wednesday, April 17 2013. Created Tuesday, April 16 2013.

Other Sites
Official Japanese Hyouge Mono Web Site http://www9.nhk.or.jp/anime/heuge/

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