Posted by psgels on 27 January 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews, Hyouge Mono



Nowadays, there are few series that you could really call unique. Nearly all shows base their ideas and concepts off of some other work that came before them, or build further upon concept introduced anywhere else. Once in a while though, an anime appears that just can’t be compared to anything. Hyouge Mono is one of those series.

I mean, seriously, I’ve got nothing. At first sight this might be lumped with the other historical series, but there are just a ton of elements in this series that no other historical anime has. Here we have a series of 39 episodes that is solely about a bunch of old guys talking about aesthetics, while making the most bizarre faces in the process. Beyond my wildest expectation, this series ignores just about every convention that has been established over the past ten years and just goes into its own direction. It has really been years since I last saw a show do that.

Being unique is of course one thing, but you still need to be interesting. A show can be unique, but a chicken riding a unicycle while singing the Estonain National Anthem is too, but that perhaps isn’t the most interesting to watch. Thankfully though, Hyouge Mono is a delight to watch for those who are looking for something slow, yet substantial. There are a lot things that this show does right.

The acting in particular is just sublime. This series managed to deliver the most accurate version of the Sengoku era we’ve seen so far (which admittely isn’t that hard with shows as Sengoku Basara), and put down very believable portrayals of characters like Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and the tea master Sennou Rikyuu. And on the other hand it’s also chockfull of the most bizarre facial expressions that are almost glorified throughtout the entire series. And strangely enough, these two extremes blend in really well. The performances of the main characters in particular is stunning, but also the side characters (and that cast is HUGE) shines with very diverse and true to life characters.

By far the biggest mystery of this show is how on earth it managed to land itself a whopping 39 episodes. In a time when all experimantal series can consider themselves lucky if they can get 13 episodes, and here this show comes from out of nowhere with a length three times of that. Because of that, it can get really in-depth into its subject material. This both is a really good look into history, but it’s in particular the detail into aesthetics, and the teachings of “wabi sabi” that really stand out in this series.

In terms of flaws, I’d say that this series is a little too slow for its own good at times. It’s not exactly dragged out or anything, but when you look at each individual episodes, there is relatively little that actually happens, for the sake of detail, and that balance at times was skewed a bit too much to the slow side. The visuas in this series are limited, but most of the times they try to make very good use of their budget. There are some exceptions here, resulting in badly drawn faces on what are actually key moments.

Also, this series can be quite misleading in its actual subject matter. At first it might seem like there will be quite a bit of attention into medieval warfare, and the first half of the series has some very interesting battles (including what could possibly be one of the best death scenes of the most recent years). There really is signfiicantly less action and even more talking in the second half. The action that’s there however is incredibly stylish. This is a series that really evolves and changes over time, amd the conclusion they went with really fits the series perfectly.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Excellent direction. A bit slow at times, but the use of camera angles and the dialogue are just wonderfully written.
Characters: 9/10 – The acting for these characters is just sublime. Rock-solid performances from the main cast in particular.
Production-Values: 8/10 – The animation is simple. but very effecitvely used with very detailed character designs. Soundtrack also is excellent, but doesn’t get many chances to really stand out due to its restricted nature.
Setting: 10/10 – Spends a huge amount of time fleshing out the teachings of wabi sabi, japanese tea ceremonies, and is an amazing look at the days of the Sengoku Era.

Suggestions:
Not gonna even attempt to find similar series for this one

8 Responses

  1. q says:

    subs f-g where?

  2. Starry says:

    It really is kind of a shame that this series has only about a third subbed currently and trite series like Highschool DxD has about five sub groups ready on hand.

  3. cody says:

    so what type of show is it? Something akin to Oh! Edo Rocket yet not focused on comedy (well, I guess you would classify OER as a dramady…)

  4. mr. mopery says:

    How do you get 100 points from four categories totalling 40 points? And why have 100 points anyway if everything falls into the 77-93 interval?

    Don’t mean to sound overly (unconstructively) critical, but I’m honestly curious and the XX/100 grading system leaves something to be desired. This series got some serious love in the episode reviews, but it’s got an average score in comparison with most of the other finished series reviewed here.

    • psgels psgels says:

      This is a rating system that I came up with quite a while ago, when I was in college. The idea is that it’s based on the school system: 60/100 (or 6/10) is the bare minimum to pass. The thing is: would you want to watch these series who barely qualify? I personally disagree that rating systems should be evenly spread.

      And also, don’t get me wrong: I do not easly hand out ratings of 87,5/100 and above. Series for that need to be really amazing. However, it does fall a bit short when I compare it to the series that I rated 90/100. This mostly is due to the desceptively slow pacing that it has at times.

      • mr. mopery says:

        I wouldn’t advocate a system that puts undue emphasis on spreading the scores either. It just seems that the variance of scores is awfully low, given the xx/100 system.

        This can be partly explained by the fact that you choose which series to blog, weeding out series which might otherwise get low scores. But a system which comprises 100 points in theory but only 30-40 in practice seems senselessly complicated. That’s my humble opinion, of course, and I do thank you for the explanation.

        And anyway, it’s the descriptions and impressions that matter, not the numbers.

  5. Oroboros says:

    Just finished this series – thanks to Doremi subs.

    Sasuke Furuta is just as hilarious and as unique as Okabe from Steins; Gate, and the series composition is strong and utterly confident. The expressions never failed to deliver, and I particularly enjoyed the fact that other characters besides Sasuke got to crack their social masks more often towards the end.

    Easily one of the very greatest series ever, and far better than anything released in 2013 so far.

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  • jerkocaust
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 06:13 AM)
    What, when was eva relevant again? Both versions had bad static characters and a story that sounded like a 7th grader wrote it. Predictable at every turn and it thinks its sophisticated enough to half ass some religious symbolisms like it’s some deep story lr something lol what a joke
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 05:32 AM)
    [WARNING] incoming Eva rant inbound.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 05:31 AM)
    @Kaiser: welcome to the light.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 01:58 AM)
    Yes you heard it here, Kaiser admitted to this. Fully watching the films I thought they were alright. And I even liked the direction the third film went and consider it the best thing to happen to the franchise. The plot felt more accessible and easier to follow. It feels more tight and compressed and benefits from animation upgrade. I still think Mari is pretty worthless though and as much as I still hate Asuka and Shinji, their more tolerable here.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 01:54 AM)
    *Ahem*Ahem* I have a confession to make and now everyone can laugh at me for taking so long to come round to this. But I got past my stubborness regarding Eva and my old bitterness toward it that made me give up when I was trying to re-watch it/the movies. I sat down and watched the Eva film trilogy so far…and I admit…I admit I don’t harbour the same bitterness I had toward the franchise and Anno anymore.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 01:35 AM)
    *null 2nd[enough]
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 01:34 AM)
    And how come nobody tell me that it goes Lovecraftian with Necronomicom and a straight up Dagon summoning? I would’ve watched this a lot sooner if I knew it was daring enough for a mainstream anime enough to in any way address child sacrifices.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 01:31 AM)
    Also finished first cour of Fate/Zero. So far this is a lot better than UBW in my opinion. The removal of the highschool drama along with pubescent protagonists makes this a much more adult and sophisticated story. The level of creative freedom that the team had by not being a direct adaptation made this a much more wellcrafted piece.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 01:28 AM)
    @Aidan: I just YouTubed that game and it looks fun and cooky. Kinda reminds me of Futurama I gotta say, and that’s a plus. It’s not really a bullet hell as those are by nature a scrolling 2D shooter with very face ‘safe spots’ on screen.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Sep 4. 2015 01:25 AM)
    @Aidan: it was really convenient, I played Fate like a console game on TV and it was great. I think that version specifically had it since it’s a weird PSP/PC hybrid that has all the pros.

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