I’m definitely enjoying getting back into the swing of things with Hyouge Mono, which may be the most unique anime currently airing. But the same question still nags at me that has almost from the beginning – just who exactly is watching this thing?
Whoever the target audience is and whoever gave this series the green-light, I’m glad it exists. I’ll admit that there are times when it’s a bit hard to tell all the old men apart, and the more working knowledge of Sengoku-era history you have (and no, Sengoku Basara doesn’t count) the easier all this would be to follow. Still, I try to focus a scene at a time and focus on the subtext elements which are the best part of the series for me. And of course, it’s much easier when you’re waiting a week between episodes instead of three months.
While Sosuke’s disastrous catering job for General Tokugawa was easy to predict, it was still a great scene – hilarious and extremely uncomfortable at the same time. I confess not to know enough of Ieyasu Tokugawa to know whether his slovenly personal appearance is a well-established trait, but it’s clear the he and his ascetic warrior clan find the aesthetic sense of Oda and his circle abhorrent to say the least. Tatty socks? It really makes me wonder if Senno intentionally selected Sosuke to help cater the banquet, knowing that he’d come up with such flamboyant and absurd dishes that Tokugawa would be enraged. It’s clear that wedging Tokugawa away from Oda is a goal of the leaders of the brewing rebellion, and more clear than ever that Sosuke is an unwitting pawn in a power game he doesn’t understand.
It takes a lot of extrapolation to get to this idea, but I’m thinking that Hideyoshi may be setting up Mitsuhide to be the fall guy for the whole operation. Clearly, he and Senno are the brains behind the fomenting revolution, and they seem to have both been nudging Mitsuhide towards betraying Oda by playing on his anger. Mitsuhide strikes me as very self-righteous fellow, and those two are playing on that trait. Is it a spoiler to talk about historical events? Well, stop reading here if you think so because I’m about to spoil the ending (unless they go the alternate history route). It’s Mitsuhide who kills Oda, of course, burning his castle down around him. And it’s Hideyoshi (conveniently far away from the action at the time) who comes racing back to Hanshin to put the “traitor” Mitsuhide to the sword. It’s clear from Mitushide’s words to Tokugawa and his act of burning Oda’s gift that’s ready to pop, and Hideyoshi openly speculates that Mitsuhide might assassinate Oda.
As for poor Sosuke, he’s more convinced than ever that his dreams of greatness are doomed – that he’s fated to never be more than comic relief for Oda (who laughed wildly at his absurd desert of fruits and cream in a pineapple husk at the banquet) and that only Oda’s kin will ever see true rewards as a result of service. Sosuke does get another nice moment with his odd-looking family, as Osen has ordered him a truly lovely suit of armor as befits his status as a 400 Koku vassal. That gives him renewed determination to prove himself to Milord in battle, and there’s a definite sense that while Sosuke’s major consideration will always be the accumulation of treasures, he does have a measure of real personal loyalty to Oda. Unfortunately for him, it seems as if he may be backing the wrong horse.