English: House of Five Leaves
Synonyms: Sarai-ya Goyou
Japanese: さらい屋 五葉
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 16, 2010 to Jul 2, 2010
23 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.961 (scored by 10761 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisMasterless samurai Akitsu Masanosuke is a skilled and loyal swordsman, but his naïve, diffident nature has time and again caused him to be let go by the lords who have employed him. Hungry and desperate, he becomes a bodyguard for Yaichi, the charismatic leader of a gang called "Five Leaves." Although disturbed by the gang's sinister activities, Masa begins to suspect that Yaichi's motivations are not what they seem. And despite his misgivings, the deeper he's drawn into the world of the Five Leaves, the more he finds himself fascinated by these devious, mysterious outlaws.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Saraiya Goyou
Characters & Voice Actors
Director, Sound Director, Episode Director, Script, Storyboard, Series Composition
Episode Director, Storyboard
While indubitably a good one, this anime might not be just everyone's cup of tea. Speaking of cups of tea, Saraiya Goyou is very much like a good cup of tea on a winter's evening, when you're snuggled up in a chair with a warm blanket and a good book. It's a cup of green tea, gently warming your freezing palms, with delicate yet sweet taste and subtle fragrance.
While one may call it slow-paced, and there's not much action to be seen there, its beauty lies precisely in its slow, meditative storytelling. It's a genuine drama in its portrayal of people with unique circumstances, how their fates, pasts, motivations, hopes and fears cross, clash, grow together. It's a show about forgiveness and reconciliation, with the world and with yourself, a show about how everyone starts out with different dreams and goals but, in the end, is just searching for a place in this world that they can call their own, about how letting people in and loving people is so hard, how it doesn't happen smoothly or easily, but how when it does happen, it's what matters most. It's a show about how what one may perceive as one's grave fault may very well be one's merit. It's a great slice-of-life in a historical setting of late Edo period (for those who are studying Japanese, it gives a nice sample of Edo period dialects), showing the frailties of everyday life and how unimportant and mundane things are often the best in life. One of the greatest strenghts of Saraiya Goyou is that while this is a show featuring samurai, yakuza and geisha, kidnappings and (some) swordfighting, it successfully escapes the tropes that usually go with it all. It discards the bombastic, bathos-laden, overly dramatic, move-flashing, testosterone-flaring, tear-jerking, over-the-top moves for a softer storytelling which makes everything a lot more believable, relatable, and manages to deliver a lot of impact. To continue the drinks analogy I started, it might be like a cocktail in a way: deceptively light and sweet, but packing a punch when you cease to expect it.
The art style is... unusual, especially the character design with angular faces and weird rectangular eyes. The color palette is muted, with a lot of greys, browns, yellows and blacks, underscoring the overall subdued atmosphere of the show. Yet let that not scare you away: the backs are drawn beautifully, you get treated to realistic representations of Edo street life and architecture, and character design, if not always easy on the eye, grows on you over time and is a nice change of pace from the stereotypical huge-eyed brightly-colored too smooth almost-no-nose faces you see everywhere lately. It adds this nice, tingling touch of uniqueness to the show.
The sound is absolutely fantastic. I will no doubt buy the soundtrack for Saraiya Goyou given the oppotunity. The score is heavily influenced by traditional Japanese music, using many traditional instruments, but retains a modern feel to it. It is very atmosperic, brimming with emotion, and compliments the action perfectly. Not only the music is outstanding, but the VAs did a damn good job too, conveying the complicated characters and their emotions perfectly. Masanosuke is completely believable with his soft, low voice, and Yaichi shines with his contolled intonations.
The characters are the core and the driving force of this show, so, naturally, for the show to work, they have to be good, and they are indeed. It's a shame that the show contains only 12 episodes, because there is not enough time to provide a proper background and exposition for everyone, but it's getting to know the cast and seeing them interact, clash, soothe and change each other that is the most enjoyable. The tones of their voices, their clothing, the faces and poses they make, their silences and gazes even, there's a lot more to the characters than just what they say, and it looks way more real and interesting than endless dialogues or narration. It's a shame that not everyone gets to shine, but everyone gets a unique personality constructed with love and care.
If you like fast pacing and action, this is not something for you. But if you're looking for a deep story with a lot of character development, room for thought and emotion, this is definitely something for you. This story might make you reconsider your own life - for, really, how many small coincidences, meetings, word exchanges that seemingly mean nothing occur every day in your life? You might not know it yet, but it is those small meaningless things that make up our lives and that weave the threads that will someday show bright and strong on the tapestry of your life. What is later perceived as fate always begins small and insignificant. This show teaches one to treasure it. read more
Masanosuke: That composure! I'd like to smile like you do.
Yaichi: If you try, you'll find there's nothing stopping you.
I have this weird attraction towards shows that are sluggish and don't appear to do much. Well the latter would be an understatement if we consider the in-depth character study here in this show. The music too, was a treat for me. The tracks match with the gloomy but eventful nature of the show to almost perfection.
Set in the Edo period, the story deals with a gang of kidnappers, five of them to be exact. I went in expecting some action for obvious reasons (there is samurai-related stuff) but was pleasantly surprised with something closer along the lines of slice of life/drama. In fact, the action scenes, which are hardly there to begin with, are extremely short-lived and are resolved/concluded without given any scope of built-up tension. This attributes the show with space to throw light upon its characters instead.
Akitsu Masanosuke, a hungry and desperate ronin, becomes a bodyguard for Yaichi, the charismatic leader of a gang called "Five Leaves." Although disturbed by the gang's sinister activities, Masa begins to suspect that Yaichi's motivations are not what they seem. And despite his misgivings, the deeper he's drawn into the world of the Five Leaves, the more he finds himself fascinated by these devious, mysterious outlaws.
Here we are provided with one/two episode(s) long stories of their misdeeds(?) as we get to know more and more about their motives and past lives. Masanosuke, although the main character and events unfold with him at the centre, is a dull, timid, and listless fellow. Yaichi, on the other hand is a much more complex and shady figure and seems to draw admiration from women and men alike.
As already mentioned, the show focuses more on its characters so the events of kidnapping and gathering ransom and that stuff are just there for the sake of it. They aren't even properly depicted, although I don't see it as a problem.
The anime has sort of a closure but I doubt you could call it a proper ending. Nevertheless, it's not open enough either to leave the viewer unsatisfied.
A. Story and characters
Plot and pacing: (9/10)
Episodic but consistent with an intricate, central storyline playing behind the scenes
The characters play the part of villains but each of them has that human touch to them which comes to light when we see them care for their families, or be loyal to that stranger who've helped them a long time ago, or come to their comrades' aid without second thought.
It tries to draw some sort of an ending but many knots in the story remain unsolved.
Character persona: (5/5)
Distinct, and complements their own life stories pretty well.
Development and catharsis: (8/10)
The anime appears as a character-driven drama
- Detailed backdrop of each character, that in turn aids to their characterization
- The supporting roles are equally good, not one of them is there who doesn't play a vital part in the story
- Yaichi's development is remarkable, and the way his relationship with Masanosuke turns out at the end is awe-inspiring
B. Production values
Background/scenery and animation: (12/15)
Character designs: (4/5)
Questionable but fits, I guess
There's one thing about the art of this show is that it draws you in into the story. The palettes are filled with dark and depressing tones, but it makes you feel like you're enjoying the evening with the members, having a good time, discussing trivial stuff, enjoying each other's company. The streets of Edo come alive with its everyday activities
Voice acting: (9/10)
Particularly worth mentioning is Takahiro Sakurai as Yaichi; he brought out the charisma of the character to the max. Masaya Takatsuka also resonated well as Umezou with his simple yet always concerned about his family and friends act
Ending theme is kinda out of place.
Background music is engaging and does a perfect job at setting the correct moods
C. Values and entertainment
As much as I've enjoyed it, I think this type of shows suit only a particular set of audience since they emphasize on essence instead of going for straightforward approaches to draw in viewers.
Composed and unruffled as a whole; gives off the initial vibe of not much going with it, gets even slower in the middle part, with a well-executed but incomplete outcome. read more
slow moving, calm pace, presentation that is strongly supported by an excellent music score and a unique animation style, story has a mysterious feel to it and it all falls together slowly piece by piece. Mushishi is episodic and more plot/world focused, and Saraiya Goyou is more character centric.
Slow pacing, inner warmth, similar time-period and art. Both are stories able to put a smile on your face as they end, there's something sweet about them.
There is a relaxed feel to both anime. Good for a rainy day when the pace will not bore you to death. At times it can seem a bit dark and sad, but at the same time, it's light hearted and doesn't sadden you too much. You'll enjoy one if you like the other, when you're in the right kind of mood to watch it ;)
It gives you the same feeling when you're watching Mushishi. Both are very atmospheric.
Both have peaceful atmospheric episodes. Gives you the same feel as the other.
There's a similar sense of feeling and backgrounds in both series. Mushishi and Saraiya Goyou (House of the Five Leaves) both has a slow pacing with a elegant mood to them.
Both series follows a more episodic path rather than arcs/linear story.
Both series' main male protagonist has great development and interactions with other characters and also bears some similar physical features. The coloring in both series is also natural and again has that elegance to them.
Both series presents a mature way of nature.
Mushishi and Saraiya Goyou are slow-moving dramas that touch more on the day to day sentiments of diverse people, rather than the power-levels of a prepubescent teen attempting to save the world.
The same soothing and heartwarming atmosphere can be found in both, as well as the attention to detail in the art that makes the viewing experience such a joy.
Opening Theme"Sign of Love" by immi
Ending Theme"all I need is..." by Rake
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