General Akechi's banner unfurled.

Episode 10 is not only another good episode of Hyouge Mono, it is also a critically important one, full of character study, and significant events. In other words, reading this review will expose you to spoilers. This episode concerns itself with the events surrounding Lord Nobunaga Oda’s death in Kyoto, 1582. This was an event of extraordinary importance in the real world, so the details are well known to Japanese students. Hyouge Mono manages to alter the events, in many significant ways, all while making it plausible that our received history could have become the official version. In other words Hyouge Mono doesn’t depict an alternate history, but a secret history.

In addition this episode includes the most BAD ASS tea ceremony ever, a really interesting take on Bushido ethics, and in particular a complex study of Sasuke Furuta.

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A tea pot, modestly positioned in the hearth below.

Hyouge Mono is a work that emphasizes subtlety. This may be a surprising statement as many early reviews remarked upon things like the extreme facial expressions of the main character, Sasuke Furuta. What has become clear as the series progressed (and at episodes 7 & 8, we are still not one third of the way to the end) is that Sasuke, though the main character, in terms of much of our perspective on the period, and in terms of providing a center around which the events of the story swirl, is by no means the most astute character. These two episodes provide a clear indication that, though he has an eye for detail, Sasuke does not (at least yet) possess the discernment of human nature to interpret these details correctly.

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Sasuke Furuta, aesthete, and ambitious man.

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.

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