Shōgun 2024 Miniseries Review

Shōgun 2024 Miniseries Review: Masterfully Crafted Chess Game

Watch this show right now:

We recall learning about samurais and seppuku in our world history class, and the concept of seppuku (ritual suicide) truly puzzled us. We never grasped how someone could take their own life merely because of their code of honor. "Shōgun" delves deeply into the culture, history, and beliefs of 17th-century Japan. By the end of the series, seppuku and many other nuances became aspects we deeply understood and comprehended. The beauty of this series lies not only in its masterful storytelling but also in its exploration of the beauty and ugliness of humanity simultaneously.

Set in 1600, a crew of sailors becomes marooned in a remote fishing village in Japan. Their English pilot, John Blackthorne (played by Cosmo Jarvis), gets captured and taken to Lord Toranaga (played by Hiroyuki Sanada), who is battling for survival as his enemies on the Council of Regents in Osaka unite against him. Toranaga believes that the Englishman, whom he names Anjin, possesses secrets that could help him tilt the scales of power in his favor. Toranaga assigns Mariko (played by Anna Sawai), a Christian noblewoman, to be Anjin's translator.

Restraint. That's what struck us most about the portrayal of Japanese culture in "Shōgun". Despite harboring animosity towards their enemies and exchanging insults, characters rarely express their anger or frustration openly. It's a delicate balance between respect and contempt. Hence, it's not surprising that the controversial finale doesn't culminate in an action-packed climax. The series was never solely about the physical warfare between factions but rather the intricate machinations behind it. For us, condensing all its material into ten episodes was an accomplishment in itself. While some episodes stand out, all are nearly perfect in execution, each contributing uniquely to the overarching story. The pacing towards its eventual conclusion was masterful, withholding the truth until the very last scene of the last episode. Another surprising aspect was the series' production quality. It felt authentic not only due to its cast but also because of its epic and grand scale costumes and settings. You never feel that anything is artificial or reconstructed.

However, what truly stood out to us were the characters. Without revealing too much, these characters are flawed, each with their own intricacies. There's no hero here, and certainly no white savior. This achieves what Frank Herbert attempted with Paul Atreides more clearly—that we should be cautious of concepts like messiahs and heroic figures, as each of us harbors our own motivations and dreams that only we can truly comprehend. For those seeking historical intrigue and profound cultural and character analysis, "Shōgun" fits the bill perfectly.

Rating: 4 and a half reels

Post a Comment