In the final years of the Bakumatsu, wandering mercenary Yojiro Akizuki travels the length and breadth of Japan. And while he employs his sword in the usual fashion, he also uses it to help him locate supernatural items which he pursues with single-minded determination, often with bloody results. In the course of his quest, he crosses paths with a traveling theater group whose members have their own dark agenda. Is it a chance meeting or the result of some, as yet, undiscovered conspiracy?
I think it's important to firstly note that this anime is heavily influenced by Japan's history.
It is a re-telling of what Japan went through in the final years of the Edo period, when the Samurai, Ronins, Citizens, and Military forces from Japan and foreign countries, fought for control of the country. The interesting battles and real-life tales of betrayal and backstabbing, are retold with a hint of the supernatural element, which although seemingly far fetched, does hold more than a hint of realism. The story is fascinating, but if the viewer is not into the history genre and does not care about sitting through, what may at times seem like a history or Asian culture class, then this series is definitely not for them.
I enjoyed this tale immensely, as it was good to see the behind the scene drama of such an important era in world history. Some of the events are fictional, injected into the series so as to make it more "watchable" and a few of the characters never existed in real life, but it does make things fascinating.
The Supernatural factor, which focuses on the protagonist's journey to destroy an object that is too powerful to remain intact among humans, can be used as an element to show what happens in real life when man becomes consumed with power and greed, and their drive to do the "right then" soon gives way to the very thing they sought to fight against. Though the powerful object did not truly exist, the story does well to incorporate into history.
The Art for the series is good. It suits the story and its time-line perfectly, and is solid for all 26 episodes. The only problem I had, which really boils down to my preference, is that the art does have a smoky-like appearance at times, as if it is being viewed through a very very thin film of mist. I can understand why the method was used, as it does relate to certain scenes in the story, but since I like to view things nice and sharp it didn't win me over completely.
I am going to go out on a limb here and say that the sound is good, despite there being only a few scores, which were all used repetitively. But the thing is, they suited the story perfectly and since it's obvious that the creators did not want anything drastic and over the topic, it was right on the mark.
I'm tempted to say that the characters are Very Good, but I think "Good" is more accurate.
The lead protagonist, Akizuki, has quite a somewhat stiff and at times unreadable attitude, which suits his role perfectly. It may be viewed by some as "boring" but when really get into the story, you can tell why it's the best design for him.
Ibaragi Sōtetsu's character is one to look out for, although I don't need to tell anyone that because as soon as he is spotted, he will command your attention. I think it's very common for a character to be present whose true motives are unknown to the other characters, but very obvious to the viewer, but in Sotetsu's case he will keep you guessing about his real intentions until the very end. His character design is practically flawless.
Those two aside, even though a majority of the character designs aren't particularly intricate, someone will pop up every now and then that's quite interesting to watch.
So like I said, I enjoyed the story enough, even though it may not be extremely outstanding or addictive. I also can understand how the consistent 'history lesson breakdown' may easily be confusing and annoying to some. If you're interested about Japan's past, and a realistic view of Ronins and Samurai, you should really give this series a shot.
Although I haven\'t seen much of this anime, I feel I have to express myself about it, so I\'ll make this short. The story itself is certainly a refreshing change of pace from other anime which either ignore placing fantasy elements, or go overboard and spin a wild tale of youkai and miko. The art style is definitely top notch for a modern anime, especially taking into account it is not an OVA. As for the character development, I\'ve seen about 10 episodes or so, and I find the character development quite lacking, the main character simply meets up with the others and they quickly join forces. Also the main character\'s past is shrowded in mystery, too much, you hardly even know why he does what he does. I certainly don\'t get the feeling that he does it out of the goodness of his heart, although it is hinted at a duty of his, I want to see more, but not too much, otherwise the mysterious aura around him vanishes. Overall an enjoyable historical anime with some dash of demons, interesting sword styles, and sometimes a bit over the top action sequences.read more
Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto (Intrigue in the Bakumatsu: Irohanihoheto) is one of these shows that are really good, but never really got through to an lager audience. Why you should watch it? I will go down to that know.
The main part of the story focuses on Japanese history (1850´s) - and the civil war that accrued then. In this period the profession of samurais was phasing out, and in many factions that wasn´t welcome. Western countries as France and Great Britannia had started to get very involved in Japanese business as well, and were in some extent involved with the war. They have spiced the story up with some super natural elements, which made the whole story much more interesting. The show have it´s main focus on the plot and the character secondary, but not so much that it´s get´s boring. What we get is an interesting saga involved Japanese war history, samurai fights and ethics and super natural elements. The thing for me that dragged it down a little is the heavy focus on the politics, and less on the emotional aspects of the characters. I´m not saying it totally lack of the character aspect, it contain a lot of emotional moments - but often the characters doesn´t scream out their feelings, you sometimes has to read between the lines and facial expressions. And for me the ending was a satisfying one. If you are in to political intrigues with the focus on war and samurais with a touch of super natural and love, Intrigue in the Bakumatsu: Irohanihoheto will definitely appeal to you.
The art and animation, wasn´t outstanding in any means - it´s pretty standard from the time it´s was done (2006). You don´t watch Intrigue in the Bakumatsu because of the art. The thing Bandai Visuals did manage to to is to capture a pretty realistic look on the show. The motions of the character was often more realistic then in usual anime. Colors, cloths and backgrounds are very fitting to the shows plot. I liked many of the character designs, the main and supporting cast all had their unique features.
One of the best OP songs I heard - it´s really beautiful. Overall was the soundtrack very suiting and good. Background sounds as canon fires and such, was also pretty decant. I would recommend to watch this show subbed, the Japanese staff do a really good job. It makes the show much more intense and believable in Japanese.
As I mentioned before, the main focus is on the plot, but we also have some interesting characters. They all have their part to play on this stage. To see how many of them change status from friend to enemy, and back again in this show are very well done. As for character development I guess the shows focus didn´t really let the characters to develop so much. But the characters already starts out with a lot of personality and agendas.
Akizuki are your classical silent wandering samurai on a mission, but he do have feelings which are exposed time to time. Yuyama is first appearing as not that memorable, but has a big role to play and she have to go through a lot of hardships. Kanna is a very emotional plagued character, who had a lot of positional as one of the main antagonists. He spiced things up with his own way of doing things, and I would have liked it if they did more with his character the second half of the show. Ibaragi is the puppet master in this show. He writes plays that tells true stories - sometimes before they even happen. Ibaragi has he´s own agendas, which are explored trough out the show.
I truly enjoyed the show, due to I like Japanese history, samurais and super natural themes. Sometimes it´s was to much focus on political aspects, and to many names of political people that was thrown around - but it didn´t ruin my experience of the Intrigue in the Bakumatsu. Overall very entertaining - I really wanted to see what was about to happen next.
Always glad to find some hidden gems from the past. It isn´t the best show I watched, but was definitely worth my time. Nice historical setting, some interesting super natural elements, a plot that made the characters to face their destiny's, and some realistic love and friend relationships. If you are after something more then just passing your time with, and a cheap laugh here and there - well then this show is certainly for you.read more
When i started with this one i was too tired of watching mecha and school stuff which i can never get enough of. I thought that this was going to be an anime that i'd rather get out of my way before going back to where i was. But the show like all anime builds up on you. I remember being so intrigued at one point that i took a day off work to finish the series.
The ending in particular was a satisfying one...mostly that is. The songs were really catchy...in fact i still find myself humming them quite often. The only thing i hated was that they concentrated a tad too bit on the politics which is slightly a hassle. Analogies between historical personailities and characters are well placed. Character relevance is well balanced and each character is treated as a component to narate some element of the story which is a great thing since i have found that most of the time shows have good characters which are wasted or forgotten in the course of the story.
This is a great show for those interested in epic love sagas of warriors. do enjoy!read more