Hyouge Mono 6 ~ naught but a hook before a starving fish
September 19, 2011
Huzzah’s recent release of a subtitled version of episode 6 of Hyouge Mono is very welcome indeed. It transports us back to 1582, and the struggle for Japanese unification under Lord Oda Nobunaga. This episode principally concerns itself with Sasuke, his realization that the window of opportunity is closing, and his desperate attempts to raise his stature.
As the episode begins, Sasuke and others have assembled at Lord Nobunaga’s residence on New Year’s Day. They are shown the splendid “Imperial Veneration” room, which has been richly decorated in anticipation of a time when the Emperor might wish to visit. Sasuke realizes that such a visit would signal the end to the age of opportunity, as it would mean that Nobunaga has solidified his power. Sasuke, an ambitious man hopes to take advantage of any remaining opportunities to achieve glory, as this is the only path toward raising his stature to that of a lord.
As a result, Sasuke seeks out the difficult assignments, the ones that will curry favor with his superiors. In addition to courage, Sasuke uses cunning, some counterfeit ceramics, and his capacity as an aesthete to persuade his lord’s opponents to surrender or flee.
Having had some success, Sasuke presses his luck. He begs Oda Nobutada (Nobunaga’s eldest son, and designated heir) to be allowed to try another diplomatic mission into the stronghold of Morinobu Nishina, after the previous emissary returns with his nose cut off. The final portion of the episode is structured a little like the pagoda in Bruce Lee’s Game of Death. Sasuke overcomes a foe, and climbs a staircase, only to encounter another.
When his counterfeit ceramics fail to persuade a female warrior, Sasuke is forced to personally provide something more compelling. This takes a bit longer, but, as the dawn approaches (and with it the attack by Nobutada’s forces), Sasuke has convinced her that there are still things worth living for. Thus the final staircase is cleared and Sasuke ascends to meet Morinobu Nishina.
Poor Sasuke! After all that work, he isn’t successful. I expect the next episode to return to this battle as, prior to his committing seppuku, Morinobu Nishina famously predicted Oda Nobunaga’s imminent death.
It was great to see the return of Hyouge Mono. The political intrigues are swirling, and the tea is being poured. I really enjoy each one of these episodes, and hope that Huzzah has the stamina to continue producing translations. 16 additional episodes are already available raw, and the show is slated to run through the Fall season.