Sunday, 23 May 2010

House of Five Leaves - Episode 6

With the reasons for Ume's place within the Five Leaves laid out in episode five, this sixth instalment of House of Five Leaves brings this particular story arc to a close.

Despite Ume helping his former gang-mate Senkichi out in terms of finances so that he can in turn pay off Denshichi, things clearly still aren't going well, with Denshichi still not allowing Senkichi to "walk free", before following him to Ume's bar in the hope of finding out the real source of his funds so that he can effectively cut out the middle man when it comes to receiving protection money.

To protect Ume, Senkichi instead points in the Elder's direction as the source of his cash, which sends Denshichi knife in hand to confront him. Of course, little does he know that Masa is still recuperating there, thus giving us a brief and rare opportunity to see his swordsmanship in action as he protects his host from attack, risking his own life in the process before Senkichi himself puts an end to the whole mess in a decidedly bloody fashion. This might not be the end of the story however, as Denshichi's gang is still at large, which leaves the Five Leaves with some additional work to do. Putting that aside however, the visit of Yaichi suggests that he's somebody who is already more than a little familiar to the Elder....

Try as I might to like House of Five Leaves, it seems to be struggling more and more to keep my interest. Although this episode ended well enough, it remains far too muted to really be effective - Its drama is underplayed, and its characterisations make up for this to some degree but not enough to be truly compelling. Indeed, it's difficult for me to really express any emotion either positive or negative for the series at this juncture, leaving it to occupy what I can only describe as a "neutral" place in my heart - I certainly don't dislike it, and I have a certain appreciation for the way it handles itself, but it's at risk of being too subtle and slow-burning for its own good. It's almost as though House of Five Leaves is so determined to go against type within the samurai genre that it point-blank refuses to do anything that might see it lumped in with more typical shows of its ilk; a stubborn streak that risks allowing the entire endeavour to sink into the mire of mediocrity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm really enjoying the subtlety of the series. It seems to have a complexity that other shows lack. I also am rather fond of the artwork.

Plot-wise, they seem to have set up a couple of interesting things: Masa's past, and Yaichi's past. We know Yaichi has some messed up stuff in it, but there is a big chunk that, so far, hasn't been revealed. As to Masa, why can't he go home?