Despite the discouraging length, It’s never wrong to watch a taiga drama. Or at least that’s how I see it through my experience. Kurode Kanbe is an acknowledged figure of the Sengoku period –the most chaotic era of Japanese history. He came from a humble clan in Himeji Castle but he distinguished himself through his impressing battle tactics. I will stop here to not spoil those who are unfamiliar with the history of the main character. This taiga drama illustrated the life of the historically-famous strategist. It wasn’t only a numeric retell of his life story. On the contrary, Gunshi Kanbei was more focused on the emotional side more than anything. Which implores that you will get to know the story without the clinical heavy/slow pacing. Sengoku Jidai is known for its numerous battles, renowned generals, political clashes, lots of betrayals and utter turmoil. This drama didn’t only illustrate Kanbe’s personal battles but it also included all of the major events that occurred during his lifetime. And since he was close to several main figures of the era, Kuroda Kanbei found himself entangled in all of those continued wars. He was forced to make critical decisions and became a key character in the unification of Japan. That aside, Kanbe’s familial life was also put in the spotlight. His relationship with his vassals, his wife and his offspring was vastly explored and beautifully dramatized. But the over-idolizing was probably a bummer. Kuroda Kanbei wasn’t exactly a selfless man like the screenwriting pictured him to be. He was known to be quite ambitious. They didn’t focus much on that side except near the end. But again this isn’t a documentary and the main historical points were left untouched. As usual in Taiga dramas, the cast was relatively loaded. Okada Juichi was marvelous as Kanbe. He’s definitely a rare Johnny’s –an idol of high caliber. I am so glad I got to first meet him through this. Other cast members were pretty fitting. But the ones who stood out the most were Egushi Yosuke’s Oda Nobunaga (one of the best portrayals of the legendary character), the penetrating performance of Takenaka Naoto as Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Nakatani as Kanbe’s wife, Tanihara Shosuke short yet amazing portrayal of Takenaka Hanbe and other remarkable talents like Tanaka, Kuroki, Uchida, Ikuta, Matsuzaka, Hamada, Tsurumi and Takahashi. The directing was noticeably improved from previous taigas but it’s nowhere near perfect. The cinematography was catching. The sceneries and outfits were as usual historically accurate despite some insignificant flaws. The smooth flowing of events in Gunshi Kanbei proves that this is an impeccable example of how taiga dramas are supposed to be.
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