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 10584 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
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
Saraiya Goyou is about a gang called “Five Leaves” during the Edo period in Japan. There is very little action, the artwork is nontraditional, and the story moves at a snail’s pace. So why should anyone pay attention to this? Actually, I’d say that those points work to Saraiya Goyou’s advantage, resulting in a well-written, mature story.
Story & Characters
The members of Five Leaves make their money through undercover jobs such as kidnapping, but they are not the usual rough and tough gangsters. Most of them appear to be friendly, thoughtful people who spend their time lounging around in a relaxed environment, discussing personal issues until their next job. The gang includes a charismatic leader, a shy swordsman, a shop owner, a metallic ornament craftsman, and a woman. Their varied personalities make them an unlikely group to hang out, but they manage to work together on behalf of Five Leaves.
This series is completely character-driven and wastes no time in exploring the member’s personal backgrounds, revealing each of their motives for joining the gang in the first place. Perhaps the most intriguing member of Five Leaves is the leader himself, Yaichi. He is admired for his calm demeanor, yet he is perceived as mysterious because he seems to hide a lot of information about himself. The show delves into how the other members feel about Yaichi, particularly the shy swordsman who is new to the group.
The scenes move slowly and quietly as you watch the characters contemplate about things, plan their missions, and embark on a few short travels. You won’t see a lot of sword fighting or other eventful action here. Even when the members carry out a job, it is more about information gathering and sneaking around places rather than fighting. That is not to say that the show never has its intense moments though; it masterfully weaves in tension and drama just at the right times.
The characters are so down-to-earth and believable that the pleasure of this series comes from observing their close interactions, facial expressions, dialogue, and the subtle changes in their personalities. If you don’t particularly enjoy concentrating on such details, this series might be perceived as a bit dull.
Artwork & Animation
I know a few people who thought that Saraiya Goyou was quite interesting, but they couldn’t continue watching it because they were distracted by the character designs. They're distinguished by having dark, gloomy eyes, pointy noses, and low, wide mouths. Some people just say "frog faces." Even though they are a little odd, I find the designs to be personally fitting in the context of this series. I've also known them to grow on viewers who have given them a chance.
The amount of detail in the animation is very impressive. For example, I appreciate how well they animated the momentum of water in a cup while it was being swayed or tilted, the breeze effect on a lighted candle after a door was just closed, and the fluid movement of the characters. The artwork is finely detailed as well and really captures the look and feel of the Edo period.
There always seems to be a dark cloud looming over the characters. Their minds are heavy with thoughts of their pasts and current responsibilities. Some viewers say that the show is merely all about "gloomy people," and they are right to a certain degree. The characters aren't that upbeat, but despite that, the atmosphere doesn't feel depressing all of the time. I found that there's also a lighter air of relaxation and occasional amusement which adds to the enjoyment of watching.
The opening song, “Sign of Love” by Immi, is a melodic, electronic beat which surprised me. I took a liking to it, so I had high hopes for the rest of the soundtrack. Fortunately, the background music has been superb. Nearly every musical piece is a calm, soothing melody that enhances the show’s atmosphere. Some of the tunes are also catchy, and I’ve found myself randomly playing them in my head.
Without a doubt, Saraiya Goyou is a must-see from the Spring 2010 season. Rather than relying on action to tell its story, the show excels in rich characterization, detailed animation, sound, subtleness, and realism. Saraiya Goyou is an example of maturity in anime at its best. 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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