Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Saka no Ue no Kumo 6-13

I really wanted to like this dorama. As I said in my review of episodes 1-5, Saka no Ue no Kumo feels like a struggle between a history channel show and tell show and a dramatic story about 3 people who aren't that interesting to begin with.

The show and tell parts are mostly this guy this did this or this guy did that or this dude was ordered to promote uprisings in Russia and though there is no proof he did anything, the fact that he was in Russia during the upheavals means something. Instead its basically a history lesson written by the Japanese. Can't blame the makers but it just means its sorely lacking as a historical program.

As for the characters, let's just say I was so damn happy when the haiku dude died. I just wanted to get to the action. Since the beginning of the series we were told that one brother defeated the mighty Cossacks and one brother defeated the Russian fleet. Instead of the narrator telling me all the time they are like military geniuses, why not show me? Nothing to build the characters up for the final showdown and when the two big battles come, I'm left wondering what ingenious thing both of them did.

Its a famous book and there's even a Saka no Ue no Kumo museum in Matsuyama so the Japanese must love it. For me it fails as an interesting historical narrative nor does it make the characters interesting. I actually enjoyed all the parts about the Russians more because its more inclined to portray the Russians as characters rather than historical heroes and pound on that fact non stop. There's more politics on the Russian side of the story.

One part I really hated was when the sailor sank their boat and were rowing away desperately for their lives. They were fish in the barrel, enemy searchlights scanning for them and bullets and explosions all around them. One of them gets shot and all of them stopped rowing and started crying so the Captain can say something inspirational.

I think the true significance of the story is a fishing country modernising itself and going to war and winning against an established world superpower. Instead its about two brothers and their sick friend who the narratory keeps promising us are great people and we find out they are mere bit players in the big picture and I spent 13 episodes watching them from afar and they never felt real to me. I guess I wanted to see political arguments and stuff like the government using propaganda to drive public opinion.

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