First Impressions: Hyouge Mono


Sadly, this First Impressions writeup for Hyouge Mono may be the last one. Not because the show isn't worth watching, but the lack of interest for it in the English-language internet community has been thoroughly disappointing. Not a single English-language fansub group has picked it up, and to be perfectly honest I'm not even sure if anyone will be uploading the raw recording for the second episode.

Thus, keep in mind that all of what I write about this show my far-from-perfect understanding of Japanese. I might be totally wrong about everything I thought I heard during this episode, but think of it this way: Hyouge Mono: Tea For Universe, Tea For Life is an interesting enough production that I'm writing up the raws despite the fact that no one else may be watching.

The first thing you'll notice watching Hyouge Mono is its funky-ass OP animation. Seriously, listen to that. You could probably play it in front of some blindfolded baby boomers and they'd mistake it for the theme song from a (Japanese) '70s-era cop show. Just watching watching it one can tell which target audience Bee Train (also responsible for several .hack series and Blade of the Immortal) had in mind when they took the manga in for licensing: slightly older folks, a little too young to enjoy Showa Monogatari (another program unattended to by fansubbers so far) but too old to regard Sengoku BASARA or Battle Girls with much enthusiasm.

Take, for example, the show's rendition of Nobunaga Oda, perhaps one of the most important people in Japanese history:

What? No demonic glowing eyes shooting laser beams? No knight's armor complete with evil purple-red aura? No powers of flight or ability to level whole castles with a wave of his hand? Where is the man that has been portrayed as a demon or some other god of evil in oh-so-many anime, manga, and videogames?

Nay, Nobunaga here is just a man. A fearsome man with a fancy for Portuguese clothing and a habit of intimidating his vassals, including one  Sasuke Furuta, a minor lord in his service. Sasuke's pretty poor, having a fiefdom of little more than 200 koku. That's about office section chief money in Sengoku-era economics.

That doesn't stop Sasuke from liking nice things, though. Nice things like Nobunaga's famous Ranjatai incense log, or awesome tea sets. Sasuke's a tea ceremony otaku, really, given his reaction face when ordered by Nobunaga to obtain a certain antique tea kettle:

The kettle is "Hiragumo", and is a priceless heirloom of the Hisahide Matsunaga, a traitorous lord currently under siege in his castle.

Samurai history buffs might realize that this episode is a retelling of the story of Hisahide's suicide, wherein the doomed lord decides to break his priceless teapot before committing seppuku, the better to deny Nobunaga the pleasure of having that antique in his collection. It's a scene often revisited in woodblock prints, like this one.

Anime, being no stranger to embellishment, can't simply settle for Hisahide cutting his stomach open, though. Instead, we have the lord of Matsunaga crafting himself a primitive suicide bomb...out of his prized tea kettle.

Sasuke's reaction face:

To be honest, I may not know exactly what goes on in an episode of Hyouge Mono, but I do know that I came away from episode one with a treasure trove of facial expressions. Just a few below:

C'mon! It's an anime about middle-aged geezers making silly faces over things like tea sets! Someone sub it or license it! For great justice!


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Josh Tolentino
Josh TolentinoManaging Editor   gamer profile

Josh is Japanator's Managing Editor, and contributes to Destructoid as well, as the network's premier apologist for both Harem Anime and Star Trek: Voyager For high school reasons, he's called "u... more + disclosures



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