Friday, 4 June 2010

House of Five Leaves - Episode 8

Having learned a little about Ume as this series has progressed, I'm not sure whether I'm surprised or not to hear him announcing his attention to leave the House of Five Leaves come the start of this episode. Regardless, that's exactly what he does, putting himself out of the spotlight for the group's next plan.

Meanwhile, it appears that Matsu has other things on his mind, namely helping out a candle-maker to whom he feels indebted. The owner of the business in question has had the wooden tags that allow him to move around freely stolen to inconvenience him, seemingly by a rival in the same line of work, and thus Matsu attempts to break in to said business to snatch the tags back.

Of course, this plan fails horribly, and as Matsu fails to make an agreed rendezvous with Yaichi so Masa becomes worried, eventually dragging Ume out of his "retirement" to share in his concern. It seems quite clear that Matsu has been kidnapped as a result of his failed robbery (is it still robbery if you're stealing something back though?), and thus we rather surprisingly see Masa taking the initiative for once, gaining employment as a bodyguard at the employer which holds Matsu with a view to rescuing him.

As we should expect of this series by now, this episode of House of Five Leaves is largely about the various characters and their inter-relationships and dependencies far more than it is any broader plot. Thus, this time around we learn more about Matsu's past and his motivation for joining the Five Leaves (as well as his life of crime in general), while both Ume and Masa serve as intriguing examples of individuals who want to live a "straight" life but simply can't help but find themselves repeatedly dragged into the goings-on of those in the group, not just on account of Yaichi's magnetic personality but also a strange kinship with their fellow members. No better is this illustrated than by Ume, who has little time for Matsu yet still drops everything to search for him. All of this is without Masa's new samurai friend Yagi, who is quite the enigma at the moment but will surely play a pivotal role in the show's remaining episodes.

Despite my misgivings about it just a couple of short weeks ago, I'm beginning to warm to House of Five Leaves again - After threatening to flounder for a while it seems to have rediscovered its rhythm and purpose, and as a result is delivering a far more polished and intricate experience that is more pleasing on the brain as a result. It's still a very particular kind of series that you need to be in a certain mindset to enjoy, but hey - Isn't that entirely the point of the niotaminA slot in the first place?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed that we have not seen anything remotely like official elements of justice? No matter what happens, the solution is, at best, hire some ronin to attack the guy. It seems you can't even make candles without stealing things from your competitor and hiring multiple "bodyguards".