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Shogun Review (Disney + Hotstar)


This 10 episode miniseries on Disney + Hotstar is sure to interest period- drama lovers. The series begins with one of the coldest moments in the history of TV Shows that happens at the end of the pilot episode. Thankfully, the viewers don’t have to watch it on screen. Indeed, this is a clear indication to the audience of what is to follow in the following episodes.

The series follows the Japanese power struggle for the title of ‘Shogun’, which means the supreme commander of Japan and primarily centres around the impeachment of Lord Toranaga played by the talented Hiroyuki Sanada, by other lords. The series deeply explores the political conspiracy and bureaucracy of the ambitious warlords that gets spiralled out of control. In a way, this can be drawn lines to the plot-line of ‘Game of Thrones’. Apart from the brutal violence and gore scenes, the series relies on lengthy dramatic conversations and character development. By the time, the series pass through 3 episodes, the viewers would finally get to understand the protagonists and their significance in the development of the storyline.

Somehow, Lady Mariko happens to be the favourite character of the show. She represents the womanhood during that time and the show gives a frank and sharp take on their plight at the hands of men. She happens to be the lady who can win against any men at their game using her wits but pledges an unwavering fealty to her lord. She is the epitome of loyalty and culture. Out of all the characters, she leaves a long-lasting impression and plays the very crucial role in the culmination of the story. ‘We live and We die. Nothing else is in our hands’. She has this very deep and profound dialogue that set the tone of the series. Especially, Japan is a land that takes the brunt of nature very often with Tsunami, earthquakes and many more.

‘John Blackthorne’ is the third protagonist, a foreigner who gets trapped in the Japanese land. He gets an intense and complex character arc but gets an undesirable mention in the season finale, deeming his actions pointless as it goes by. He seemed to be wasted in the latter episodes, particularly after building a consequential role. Yet, the viewers go for an emotional journey alongside his character throughout the series. He represents the viewers who are unfamiliar to Japanese culture and might deem some of their actions and customs silly. Pilot John goes from this to comprehending the Japanese traditions as the show finally ends.

The final episodes made things a bit overstretched and found some of the sequences thoughtless and unreasonable. Moreover, the show doesn’t end on the much anticipated war which could have given the high of a series finale. Despite that, ‘Shogun’ is all about human emotions, culture, strategies and conspiracies that make up for a riveting drama.

Compiled By Jayaram