Saraiya Goyou – House of Five Leaves 6: a friend in need
May 21, 2010
In episode 6 of House of Five Leaves (Saraiya Goyou), Masanousuke lets his hair down, and Umezou has some trouble with blackmailers.
Masa is still recovering from his malnutrition, when the guy from Ume’s old gang unwillingly tips off his blackmailer to the Elder’s location.
Seeking the source of the hush money, the blackmailer heads out to the old man’s cottage. This puts the Elder, and Otake, who is visiting, in danger, and Masa is injured in the ensuing fight.
But with all of the overt drama surrounding Ume and the old gang member, the most shocking moment came in the show’s closing moments, as Yaichi is revealed to have an (as yet) unexplained connection with the Elder.
This episode showed the most significant action sequence so far. Although relatively brief, it was nicely handled. I found this quite fitting, as the samurai approach to fighting is brutally effective, which doesn’t lend itself to the intricate, drawn out fight scenes to which we have become accustomed.
The actual plot was an interesting combination of depressing observations, nuanced with positive revelations. The Five Leaves are a criminal organization, but even worse groups are common. The Edo in which this show is set is populated almost exclusively by those who would prey on others given the chance. For this reason, the Elder has urged Masa to leave Edo many times, not just to go some place with better nutrition, not just to leave behind the criminal activities of the Five Leaves, but to escape from the general atmosphere of predation, to which he knows Masa is not suited. And yet, as Masa observes, the Five Leaves act as friends to protect each other, an observation for which he is instantly criticized by Ume; it seems everyone is more comfortable pretending that no one assists another in Edo without having a financial interest in the outcome.