Hyouge Mono 2 – the color of loquat

April 24, 2011

Beautiful ceramics, treachery, and sex ... this episode has it all.

Episode 2 of Hyouge Mono builds nicely on the character introductions so far. It also shows more clearly the tension between our hero’s passion and his profession.

Sasuke's wife, equal parts fascinating and frightening.

There is so much to talk about this episode, but I really want to comment on the ancient Japanese ideal of a beautiful woman. I have seen this style before (there are some great scenes in Millennium Actress, for example), but it always makes a big impression on me. The hairline is artificially raised, and the eyebrows are removed, and something is painted on the forehead. I don’t understand it, and find it a bit horrifying (maybe because you mostly see it in ghost stories), and yet I know that the intention is to make the woman look more “beautiful”. :shudder: Anyways, Sasuke’s wife is docile, yet loving, a tragic combination that leads to a terrible crossroads in their relationship.

Oda Nobunaga, the boss from hell.

One of the great things about this episode was the way it could be received allegorically as the experience of the average guy working today. Sasuke does his best to provide for his family, but it is never quite enough. He has a wife that he loves (and knows he doesn’t really deserve), but sometimes has to choose work over his commitments to his family. And to make matters worse, he doesn’t really like his job; it is just something he must do to support his family, and to make enough money to pursue his hobby. Some guys love to fish. Some guys are dedicated to their local football team. Sasuke has refined tastes; he loves beautiful things, including ceramics and the tea ceremony. It is very easy to see how Hyouge Mono would be well received as a seinen manga. Despite the exotic setting, Sasuke’s concerns are those of your average businessman.

Sasuke, a man torn between his day job as a warrior, and his passion for tea.

There was a lot of great stuff in this episode, from the mundane to the dramatic, from the ridiculous to the sublime. We met more characters, hunted down traitors, and enjoyed the simple pleasures of the tea ceremony. Our guide to this world is Sasuke Furuta, who we find wavering between the respectable life of a warrior, and his admiration of the finer things. Yet Sasuke’s consideration of life beyond struggle, a life of cultivated tranquility, is often presented in the most comical fashion. It is precisely when he spies a beautiful artifact that his eyes bug out, and he delivers lines that may be sincere and learned, but seem laughable and pedantic. One of my favorites from this episode: “These wonderfully coarse protrusions compliment the lovely loquatesque glaze.” I had to look up loquat, it is a yellow-skinned fruit, also known as the Japanese Plum.

I still don’t really know where this series will be taking us, but so far I’m enjoying the ride.

Tea for Universe, Tea for life!

8 Responses to “Hyouge Mono 2 – the color of loquat”

  1. Toronja Says:

    Very good review! I really enjoyed the reading. And thanks for explaining wath loquatesque means, i didn’t have a clue!

  2. vp Says:

    Could not help but chuckle a bit as a read this – I had to look up loquatesque as well. Anyway, great review.

  3. Ginnodangan Says:

    This episode really did do a lot for Sasuke’s character and comparing him to a modern day businessman like that probably best exemplifies it. It turns him from a guy who just liked beautiful things back then into someone we can relate with today. Not to mention that it also showed that he has an inner struggle between his career and hobbies, with his responsibilities and family adding pressure to it.

    Also at only two episodes in we’re already at the year 1580, so depending on the pacing of the next few episodes it could mean sadly bidding farewell to Oda quite early into the story.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      Yeah, there are a crazy lot of episodes remaining, so I guess this show is going to takes us all the way up into the early Tokugawa shogunate. Now, where the heck is my subbed copy of episode 3?

      • Ginnodangan Says:

        You mean 4 right? Since episode 3 has been out for almost a week, it introduced Mitsuhide and had Oda reveal his intentions to go even further after he took Japan.

        I wonder, it would ultimately depend on how far the manga has gone and how much time will be spent in Hideyoshi’s reign/the pacing itself. So there’s a chance that it may not even get that far.

      • Joojoobees Says:

        Well, I meant 3, because I hadn’t seen it, but thanks for pointing it out. :Runs off to watch episode 3:

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