Shogun Episode 1 Review: Dive into the Thrilling Debut of ‘Anjin’

Sophisticated manipulation of politics. a ship lost at sea with most of its crew engaged in piracy, blackmail, or worse. countries that are about to go to war. Unusual customs and perilous confrontations occur when cultures converge like waves against a rocky coast. A new era dawning and an end to an old one. Feudal lords in the Atlantean era, where the feudal lords of Japan, their Portuguese friends, and the English and Dutch invaders intertwined like lovers, plotting to make Shogun—a stunningly beautiful film that combines acting and costume design—a huge hit overnight. All of a sudden, stunning, enthralling, and compelling.

“Shogun” Overview:

The 1,152-page book written by James Clavell, the inspiration for this new play, is something I’ve started but haven’t finished. This time, I’ve chosen to dive right in with each episode being released every week on Hulu, rather than concentrating on omitting the original source or drawing comparisons between the source material. That implies that, in contrast to a lot of other shoes I know, I won’t be carrying any preconceptions and will instead be able to enjoy this event for what it is.

In addition, a slow-reading book (I also have to finish the Three-Body Problem book). That’s alright! It can be entertaining at times to be ignorant of the original work. For instance, if I hadn’t watched the animated original Avatar, I’m confident I would like the live-action adaptation.

However, I believed that FX and Hulu aired the first two episodes of Shogun consecutively after seeing the first episode, but I’ve decided to review each one separately. I’ll be posting weekly summaries and reviews on my blog in light of the premiere of “Injin” and my intention to follow it up with the second review. And the reason I’m actually enthused about it is that it’s refreshing to be excited about something new.

I won’t go into further specifics. Just let’s do away with the necessities. “Injin” (meaning “pilot” in Japanese) alludes to John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis), one of the main characters in the program. However, it might have two meanings. The first is that Lord Yoshi Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada), the Shogun’s other main character, is trying to guide Japan toward a brighter future. After overcoming obstacles, the two men finally meet in person for the series premiere.

The episode opens with a title card telling us that it’s the year 1600. I want to praise this since I want to give the setup as quickly and effectively as possible so that we can get right to the good part. The Portuguese seek to build profitable trading links with Japan. Along with the installation of numerous Catholic missionaries, a sizable section of Japan has become Christian.

Englishman Blackthorne is employed by the Dutch, and it appears that his job is to locate Japan and begin the process of freeing it from Catholic rule. They desire a share of the affluent Pai’s pie. Indeed, it appears like the missionaries are searching for the entire pie because they want a piece of it. It was a difficult voyage. Along the voyage, nearly every man and numerous ships went missing. There are just twelve left, Blackthorne being their de facto commander now that he was discovered by the Japanese, saved, and sent straight to imprisonment.

It’s amazing that members of both groups refer to one another as “barbaric” or “savage,” and it makes sense considering how filthy, obnoxious, and wild the sailors are. One of the customs in Japan is seppuku. In this episode, at a gathering of Japan’s five regents, a young man named Tadayoshi, who works for Lord Toranaga, vents his resentment. Sadly, he vows to terminate his line, which entails killing his child, in addition to dying himself. It is just as terrifying as anything we saw in the first episode of the show (mostly because there isn’t a real kill of a child).

“Although Black Thorn is saved, the most terrible and terrifying death I have ever witnessed on any TV drama is when Kashigye Yabushige (Tadanobu Asano), the local lord of a Catholic priest, hangs another person after they are slowly boiled to death in a demon temple. It’s an eerie method of murder. But it soon becomes evident that both cultures have aggressive, harsh impulses, regardless of how they view other people. Working for a colonial empire that would eventually wipe out the entire earth is Black Thorn. However, there’s also no way to stop a desperate sailor who is dying to survive.

Yabushige desires ownership of the ship, along with its weapons and cannons. However, Lord Toranaga also has a local spy, an elderly Portuguese-speaking guy who can hardly translate with Black Thorn. When Toranaga is incarcerated in Osaka, where everyone else is a prisoner but him, the word gets out. Thus, he dispatches Toda Hiromatsu (Tokuma Nishioka), his right-hand man, to demand payment for bringing in a defenseless sailor. Hiromatsu made the wise decision to return Black Thorn to Osaka. Unfortunately, a strong storm destroyed the ship, the crew, and every passenger, but Black Thorn’s past triumphed.

Furthermore, Black Thorn has rescued his new rival, Rodriguez, a Spaniard who works for the Portuguese and is portrayed by Néstor Carbonell (though I had no idea who the former student was). After being hurled from the ship, Black Thorn is adamant about finding the man even after they have safely landed him on land. They go—under a cliff, there’s a turbulent sea. When Yabushige refuses to let Black Thorn descend, Black Thorn gives him a rope and demands that the Japanese lord descend on his own. He comes dangerously close to drowning and even considers suicide at one point, but he pulls through in the last second thanks to the rope (you were spot on, Shimogami).

After Black Thorn is brought to Osaka and Rodriguez is saved, Toranaga and Rodriguez meet. Though we haven’t found out yet, the strong Japanese lord believes that this new foreigner could be able to help him, surrounded by his fervent and crafty enemies.

His politics curiosity me a lot. It makes me think of the Netflix series Kingdom, which centers on Korean dynasties and zombies. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Now that the king is dead, everyone is vying for control. The first battle seems to be beating out of Toranaga, who seems to be the only one with the courage and dignity to take on the formidable Regent Ashida Kazunari (Takayuki Hira). But Toranaga’s prospects of surviving are much slimmer than that of Dutch and English ships at sea, given that four of the five Regents that govern Japan are opposed to him.

Thus, the stage is set for an epic play designed for the first population exchange between early modern Europeans and feudal Japan. We are in the midst of what feels like a voyage to hell in a clash of civilizations that is taking place between Protestant and Catholic, as well as between Japan and the West. Everything in this film is excellent, including the performances, music, and photography. Cosmo Jarvis is definitely imitating Tom Hardy here, and his character instantly has me fascinated because he’s not your typical good guy or white hero. Although intelligent, he is also cunning and brutal.

Naturally, Hiroki Sanada is a pleasure to watch, and he’s doing a fantastic job as Toranaga—safe, powerful, but not above endangering himself and his child in the crucible of fervent defense.

I’m really impressed so far, and I’m eager to watch it develop. Although there is a lot of terrible television available, Shogun will demonstrate that excellent television is still produced. It seems like something you would see on HBO, and it’s obvious that FX and Hulu are working closely together to produce one of the greatest new series out there. However, I’m also happy with the script, which is sometimes disregarded in favor of spectacular effects and large-scale action, because of its strong dialogue, rich world-building, and challenging, action-packed storyline.

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