Otake likes the bad boys, almost as much as she likes her sake.

In House of Five Leaves episode 5, personal histories return to haunt several people, including Ume. The difficulties of attaining money are shown to be nothing when compared to the intractable problem of running away from your past. Also, sake is extolled as the one thing with which we can become involved that will leave us free from care or remorse.

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Masa finds life in a bordello unsettling.

In episode 4 of Saraiya Goyou: House of Five Leaves Masa attempts to unveil Yaichi’s character, and in so doing irks his patron. The show continues to be a sort of visual poetry, not sumptuous, as a feast, but carefully selected and arranged to display what is minimally necessary for the character study that is at the heart of this series.

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Some people really enjoy their pipes.

House of Five Leaves episode 3 continues to develop at its own pace. This truly is a slice of life show, in the meaning I have tried to articulate elsewhere; it conveys the experience of life in old Edo, which is presented as a dark, dispirited place. Meanwhile the deeper plot starts coming into view, as this episode challenges Masa’s ethics like never before, and gives us an idea of the experiences that made Yaichi the man he has become.

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Masanosuke and prostitute

Masanosuke is a push-over.

In the second episode, despite his intentions, Masanosuke gets deeper enmeshed in the affairs of the House of Five Leaves. The principle characters have all been introduced, and some of the gang members seem to have taken a liking to the timid yojimbo. Now that the setting and story has been established, this show seems to be developing into its potential.

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Edo street scene.

House of Five Leaves (Sarai-ya Goyou) is a new series about Edo-period Ronin, being broadcast in the Noitamina slot Spring 2010. It features animation by Manglobe (e.g. Michiko to Hatchin and Samurai Champloo) from source material by Natsume Ono (mangaka for Ristorante Paradiso). This is my most highly anticipated show of the season, and it is being simulcast at the Funimation website.

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