Onihei

Title:Onihei
鬼平
Overall:Unevaluated
Keywords: , , , , , ,
Notables: HORIUCHI Kenyuu
In the late Tokugawa period, Hasegawa Heizou Nobutame leads the Edo prefecture Anti-Arson and Theft Squad in a fierce crackdown on crime, which earns him the nickname among criminals of 'Heizou the Demon', or 'Onihei'.

13 episodes
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Unevaluated Stretch [series:3315#628]
(Eight episodes watched):

Well, it looks like this show will not be about Kumehachi, a thief turned police spy who was the main character in episode one, but rather about Hasegawa, the leader of the arson and theft squad, who played a subsidiary role. I sort of regret that, because I had gotten to like Kumehachi. Maybe he will return to the story now and then. Whatever the case may be, I liked this show. The story in episode one was balanced and intriguing, rather than the simplistic and predictable stuff that we often get from anime. I wouldn't be surprised if the episodic subplots, like Kumehachi's, were based on a true stories. I remained interested throughout the episode, even though my initial feeling had been that Samurai era shows were as common as dirt and this one probably wouldn't be any better than the rest. In fact, I was impressed by the professionalism behind it. The fact that Hasegawa's son and daughter are both introduced to us suggests that they too will play parts in the ongoing story; it's encouraging to see characters being prepared in a disciplined way for roles later on. So far, so good; I just hope all episodes are as much fun as the first one was.

The stories are well balanced; they grab your attention without wasting time, and are sophisticated enough to be rewarding to watch. Some sort of surprise/irony is typically in store in regards to the way they work out--like the professional assassin who was also on a quest to find the man who killed his father. He seemed so good as to be almost invulnerable, yet got his comeuppance in a startling way. There was a moral to the story. You get the feeling that some definite effort was put into writing these stories, rather than them being cranked out as part of the mass production of mediocre anime. On the other hand, it seems that it was agreed at some point that each episode would include a savage swordfight with plenty of blood getting spilt. The sexuality can sometimes get pretty explicit, like in the episode in which a prostitute plays a major part. The general effect is of a show which was definitely meant for adults rather than children or teenagers. Each episode introduces a new character who usually acts as the main character while the likeable Heizou provides continuity. I think this is the best drama anime of the season, and maybe the best overall.

Some episodes, however, are better than others. The morals behind episodes six and seven seemed weaker and less moving than previous ones. The revelation that Heizou's daughter is adopted and is actually the daughter of a thief seemed to me like a major plot element that ought to be slowly and carefully developed over numerous episodes--or at least all of one. Instead, it seemed to be hastily trotted out for a quick shock as a subplot of an unremarkable episode. Then the whole thing is quickly forgotten as we are told that what might have been a major problem is in fact no problem at all. That seemed discordant when compared to the quality of previous episodes. The fact that we haven't even learned much of anything about the girl since episode one is indicative of what a waste of potential this was.

Episode eight was better. It had a plot which had obviously required at least a little talent to write, and it didn't include the usual bloody swordfight. In fact, there was no violence at all. An entertaining episode without any action can only have gotten it's entertainment value from good writing.

Last updated Sunday, March 26 2017. Created Friday, January 27 2017.

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