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Re: J-Drama: 真田丸 (Sanadamaru)


<EPISODE 7>

Oh, the suspense! LOL. Sakai Masato's best scene in this episode was when he was trying to convince guards on two separate camps that he was a member of the opposite camp. It was like a moment from a comedy sitcom when they all came together in one room - including the two lords of the two clans Genjiro was pretending to be a part of. Now I see what the Japan Times article meant about Sanadamaru being more like a comedy. It was a classic scene that they pulled off really well! Sakai Masato's facial expressions were the best during that scene.

I can see why Genjiro would be down and out about this whole thing. Not only does he think that he caused for his sister Matsu to die, but now he considers his mission to rescue his grandmother a big failure. Then again, Grandma seems to know Kiso, the new lord she is a hostage under, very well - since he was a child. He holds her in very high regard, and she can essentially get whatever she wants - even being able to scold him freely. I think Grandma has nothing to worry about being a hostage under Kiso, so the important thing is that Genjiro was freed and able to go back to the Sanada. I think Grandma will be okay.

I'm quite annoyed with Kiri. Besides her blatant disrespect for Grandma, she is an immature child who only cares about herself (and Genjiro, I suppose) and isn't really concerned about what happens to anybody else. Even though she has a major crush on Genjiro, she has no problem making digs and jabs at him, such as when she blamed him for the failure of the mission and cited how Genjiro can't do anything right - after all, he let his sister die. That was a low blow. I know Kiri is probably supposed to be a teenager like Genjiro (15 years old?) and that might be why she is acting like this, but it got annoying quite fast - essentially since she was to blame for holding up the escape in order to get the comb Genjiro had given her.

I want to like Kiri, and so I'm hoping that she will mature sooner than later. It is hard to remember sometimes that both she and Genjiro are technically teenagers!

Speaking of which, I wonder why Masayuki left his 15-year old son in charge of a risky hostage rescue mission. I know he had more important things to take care of back at the castle, but was he really okay with leaving his inexperienced, teenage son in charge of a mission that essentially endangered several lives?

I'm not sure what Masayuki is thinking. It's like an emotional rollercoaster trying to figure out who he wants to side with. First, he said he wants to be independent. Then, he pretends to side with the Uesugi, and now he has told his sons that he wants to get the Uesugi's key vassal to rebel against them and join up with the Sanada. Why? So he can then go to the Hojo, with a key Uesugi vassal in his entourage. Masayuki believes that having such a powerful Uesugi vassal in tow will convince the Hojo to accept the Sanada clan as an equal (rather than as a poor, weak clan in need of protection)... which gives the Sanada a greater chance of becoming independent - their initial goal. We've come full circle. LOL. What is Masayuki going to do?

Relations between Nobushige and Genjiro's mother and Nobushige's wife seem strained - even though she seems gravely ill and can hardly eat. I wonder if this storyline will be explored more?

We're in mid-1582. An exciting episode. Episode 8 airs next week!
4/10/2016, 8:47 am Link to this post Send Email to Hiroshi66   Send PM to Hiroshi66 AIM
 
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Re: J-Drama: 真田丸 (Sanadamaru)


<EPISODE 8>

My first question after finishing this episode was identical to Nobuyuki's, who asked his brother Genjiro what in the world their father was planning by sacrificing the life of the poor Uesugi vassal who was duped and framed by the Sanada clan. The Sanada accomplished nothing other than getting in the way of an Uesugi v. Hojo showdown. The Sanada are hated by the Uesugi for betraying them, and the Hojo don't trust them one bit, either. So, what was the point?

Well, the ending made sense. By ruining the Uesugi's plans for a battle with the Hojo, and by distracting the Hojo away from the Uesugi and towards the Tokugawa, Sanada Masayuki succeeded in kicking both the Uesugi and Hojo out of the Sanada's ancestral lands. Now, the land was owned by no major warrior family - which Masayuki believes will lead to a power vacuum that will eventually lead to him taking power there - something that was normally thought to be impossible for a minor warrior clan like the Sanada.

So, the question now is, was it worth it? The Sanada played every dirty trick in the book - pulling out strategies full of lies and deceit - to accomplish this goal. They relied on emotionally convincing their sacrificial lamb - the poor vassal - to switch over to their side. This was all done from the get-go with the intention of sacrificing this poor man's life. Now it makes sense how Genjiro's uncle told him at the beginning - Don't become like me. He knew this job had to be done, but he didn't want his nephew to aspire to do the same sort of thing when he grows up.

Both Genjiro and his brother seem disgusted. It is hard to remember that Genjiro is just 15-years old. Witnessing not only this man's murder, but also the fact that his honor was trampled upon after death - with his body crucified and left out in the open for all to see - is not easy for an impressionable teenager. Hopefully Genjiro will not do this to others in the future, but who knows. It is the warring states era, after all.

It still cracks me up how historical figures we are used to seeing portrayed one way are given another spin in this drama. I find it somewhat refreshing, actually. Tokugawa Ieyasu is presented as a wimp, which cracks me up. LOL! The Hojo are seen as tyrannical - especially the young son, who rubs me the wrong way. I get really annoyed when he see him with that smug look on his face, yelling at everyone. He reminds me of those teenagers with no manners we see on the 'modern' dramas - it might be a millennial twist on the Hojo clan. LOL!

Kiri is the most narcissistic person we have seen on a Taiga. LOL! I got a kick out of how Ume, the farmer's sister, was doing her own thing while Kiri was going on and on about how Genjiro was so thrilled to see her during the rescue mission. She really seems to think that seeing her in the palace right before the rescue was the highlight of Genjiro's day. LOL. I really do hope Genjiro ends up with Ume, and not Kiri.

Sakai Masato is doing a great job. I hope that we will soon see the "adult" Genjiro - he's done a great job portraying Genjiro as a teenager, but I think it's time the story starts moving on. Although, I'm not complaining - this is a great drama and I am definitely interested so far!

We're still in 1582. Episode 9 airs next week!
4/17/2016, 12:36 pm Link to this post Send Email to Hiroshi66   Send PM to Hiroshi66 AIM
 
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Re: J-Drama: 真田丸 (Sanadamaru)


<EPISODE 9>

I like this Taiga. It is different and is definitely not the best we've seen, but it has gotten off to an excellent and strong start, and I think it is going to pick up around the middle or towards the end. As of now, the Sanada are still a minor regional power, and so they don't have any impact on national affairs... yet.

Good episode with lots of character development for Genjiro. I think he realized that his idealistic position, though warranted and righteous, was not going to work in the Warring States Era for a small family like the Sanada. It was a dog-eat-dog world, and the Sanada would have been crushed in a Hojo-Uesugi showdown had Masayuki not done what he did. Either way, it would have resulted in a war, and so Genjiro realized that he has to join the club if he wants to survive.

The Genjiro-Ume-Kiri plot thickens. I think that Genjiro and Ume have strong feelings for each other, but the reason Genjiro is telling himself (for now, at least) that there is nothing between them is due to the fact that it was not acceptable for a samurai (the son of a local warlord, nonetheless) to marry the sister of a farmer. However, who knows. Masayuki seems awfully progressive and doesn't let himself get bogged down by precedent and tradition. If Ume inspires his son and has helped him get to a positive place in his life and career as a samurai, why wouldn't he look the other way and let these two stay together?

As for Kiri, while I don't care for her one bit, I do feel bad watching her get treated like a nuisance by everyone around her. Genjiro seems repulsed and annoyed by her behavior, and her father keeps forcing her to try and woo Genjiro - even though she knows now that he is not romantically interested in her. Kiri represents the fate of many women in the Warring States Era - their fathers would use them as political pawns to further alliances with powerful warlords or even enemies by marrying them into these families. Luckily for Kiri, she does have feelings for the man her father wants her to marry, but he can't stand her - for now, at least.

I'm still eagerly awaiting news on Genjiro's sister, Matsu. Where is she? What happened to her?

As for all of Masayuki's plans, I'm getting dizzy trying to keep track of them! First he sides with the Hojo, then he decides to preside over a council of local, independent warlords, and then he decides to side with the Tokugawa until he can become the leader of a province in his own right. LOL!

There are two things wrong with this plan:

The first issue is that Masayuki's colleagues in his province are going along with his plan simply because they think they will share equal amounts of power in this new "union." They have no idea that Masayuki has now decided to be the big boss, the provincial warlord - if this happens, the other lesser warlords will be demoted to "vassal" status. I doubt they will be happy with this.

Secondly, Masayuki has already betrayed the Oda, the Uesugi, and the Hojo in a matter of two or three months. I doubt the Tokugawa weren't suspicious of the Sanada's motives before asking them for their cooperation militarily. In fact, the Tokugawa probably just wanted to use the Sanada and then stab them in the back once they agreed to an alliance with the Hojo - which is just what happened at the end of the episode. Now, the Sanada's "ally of the day" (the Tokugawa) has allied with the group they most recently betrayed (the Hojo). How is Masayuki going to get himself out of this one!?

The two funniest moments of the episode:

1. Hojo Ujinao (the young lord of the Hojo clan) throwing a temper tantrum when he realizes the Sanada haven't reported for battle agains the Tokugawa.

2. Tokugawa Ieyasu and Hojo Ujimasa hysterically laughing and embracing upon the conclusion of their alliance. Definitely creepy. LOL! Hojo Ujimasa's actor is our beloved Masahiro Takashima, and he is doing such a superb job in this role.

We're still in 1582 - I think. LOL! Episode 10 airs next week.
4/24/2016, 10:28 am Link to this post Send Email to Hiroshi66   Send PM to Hiroshi66 AIM
 
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Re: J-Drama: 真田丸 (Sanadamaru)


<EPISODE 10>

I'm starting to find the personal relationships and dynamics of this drama more interesting than the political aspect.

For me, it is difficult to get into the politics of the Sanada family because it is so difficult to keep track of whose side they are on. Let me rephrase that - the Sanada clan is loyal to nobody. My jaw dropped when Masayuki sent Genjiro to convince the Uesugi to agree to stage a "fake victory" in order to scare the Hojo away from their attack on the Sanada's castle. I don't know what surprised me more, the fact that Masayuki sent his son crawling back to the Uesugi after a humiliating betrayal, or whether the Sanada's plan actually worked! LOL.

The Tokugawa, Hojo, and Uesugi are all awfully foolish if they fall for another Sanada trick again. At the end of the day, I think the Sanada find the Uesugi to be the lesser of the three evils. They don't seem as imperialistic as the other two clans, and largely leave their weaker neighbors alone if they aren't attacked. The Uesugi have gone down in history as being righteous to a fault, so it makes sense that they agreed to help the Sanada out. I just hope Masayuki doesn't betray them again... even though no formal alliance was declared. The Uesugi are just helping the Sanada out to protect themselves against the Tokugawa/Hojo.

The Sanada need to be very careful going forward. We know the Tokugawa are a force to be reckoned with. I'm not sure, but it seems like the Tokugawa are trying to attract the Sanada's rivals to them so they can divide and conquer. We know the Sanada have created a lot of enemies in the process of their wheeling and dealing, so if the Tokugawa manage to align themselves with other, smaller clans who have gotten burned by Masayuki at some point or another, things might get dangerous for the Sanada. That's what is happening now, it appears. The Sanada shouldn't have alienated the Tokurgawa and the Hojo. Even with the Tokugawa building that castle for the Sanada, it means nothing in terms of loyalty and building an alliance.

In terms of our characters, I was also surprised to hear that Ume is pregnant with Genjiro's child. I didn't know these two had been intimate with each other - we knew Ume and Genjiro had feelings for each other, but I didn't think that anything was official between the two of them yet.

Now, Genjiro has proposed marriage to Ume. Mmm... I don't think Genjiro's parents will be too happy about this. In those days, it was almost unheard of for a samurai - namely, the son of a rather powerful lord of a clan - to take a farmer's sister for an official wife. It would be acceptable for her to be brought in as a concubine or second wife, but not as the principal wife. Genjiro loves Ume deeply, and I don't think he would accept anything other than Ume being his official, principal wife - as she should be. I think Masayuki and Genjiro's grandmother would be okay with it, but Genjiro's mother seems like an awfully difficult person to deal with, and I don't think she will approve. Which is a shame, as Ume is perfect for Genjiro.

Another person who will probably not take to this so well is Kiri. Then again, she doesn't really have clout with the family and has proven to be extremely selfish and self-centered, so I don't think anyone will care what she has to say, anyway. I'd much rather see Genjiro with a kind, selfless soul like Ume rather than Kiri.

Next week looks awfully interesting. Can't wait for Episode 10. We are still in 1582... at least I think we are!
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Re: J-Drama: 真田丸 (Sanadamaru)


<EPISODE 11>

A very sad episode. I expected Genjiro to be more upset at the fact that his father essentially organized a wedding party for he and Ume in order to eliminate his rival Muroga, but after finishing the episode, it made sense to me why he became sort of numb about the whole thing. Genjiro realized that his dad will do whatever it takes to accomplish his immediate plans and goals. Nothing is off limits - if he has to stain and ruin his son's wedding with the blood of his enemies, so be it. Genjiro is used to it by now and knows that his dad is a loose cannon - expect anything to happen, because it probably will.

Sanada Masayuki is a shrew and he will get whatever he wants. I noticed that he is also a people pleaser and will tell people what they want to hear. He supported his son's request to have a wedding ceremony to celebrate his union with Ume, but then supported his wife in canceling the ceremony, since Ume (due to her status as a farmer's sister) would be a concubine and weddings were not traditionally planned to welcome a concubine into the family. Masayuki will only do something if there is something political to be gained from it - which is why he went against his wife a second time and planned the wedding for Genjiro and Ume. It wasn't out of love for his son - as Genjiro might have thought - but rather to eliminate his rival, Muroga.

I can't blame Muroga for having treacherous thoughts about Sanada Masayuki. Muroga was probably sick and tired of watching Masayuki go from the Uesugi to the Hojo, to the Tokugawa, and then back to the Uesugi. How can anybody govern a clan if their alliances are up in the air? The sad thing is that Muroga was used and sacrificed by the Tokugawa to eliminate the Sanada. The only person who was eliminated was Muroga himself.

Kiri - For the first time, I felt sorry for her. I think her father had been expecting her to capture Genjiro's heart, but without her even realizing it, Ume and Genjiro had gotten together and Ume was even pregnant. This was quite a shock to Kiri, and it showed in this episode. I think her sudden change of heart and decision to support Genjiro and Ume was because it was the only thing she really could do - other than being completely broken-hearted.

I wonder what will happen with Ume and Genjiro. She is expecting, and Genjiro has promised to take no other wives or concubines. However, the narrator commented that Genjiro would take 3 other women as wives or concubines in his lifetime - 4 if you count Ume. I hope nothing tragic befalls this couple or their soon to be born child, since bloodshed during a wedding was considered horrible luck for the bride. We can only wait and see.

Somehow, I think Kiri might have a chance yet to win Genjiro's heart. It all depends on what fate awaits both Genjiro and Ume. We shall see!

Genjiro's mother (Masayuki's wife) gets on my nerves, I don't know why. LOL! Her voice is so high-pitched, especially when she starts ranting and raving. I much prefer Genjiro's grandmother (Masayuki's mother). She is played by one of my favorite actresses who always portrays very kind characters in other dramas where I have seen her.

Genjiro and Ume are now married, and we have yet to discover which clan (Hojo, Tokugawa, or Uesugi) the Sanada decide to stick with - assuming they stick to one at all. We are still in 1582, and Episode 12 airs next week!
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Re: Clan economics


 Hi Hiroshi,
I enjoy your comments so much. You always clear up something I puzzled over. thanks. Now I am wondering where does the money come from in a clan and how do they pay their suppliers of food etc. Who is in charge of the finances. Is it entirely impossible for a person like Genjiro to opt out of the family and take his new wife to live elsewhere in a new life. I realise it is not possible but I wonder why everyone is so tied up in a clan.
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Re: J-Drama: 真田丸 (Sanadamaru)


You are very welcome, Peg! That's a great question about clan economics. To answer your question, it would generally not be acceptable for Genjiro to leave his clan and leave a quiet life elsewhere with his wife Ume. For one thing, it would only be possible if Genjiro received a stipend from his father - in other words, from the clan. This wouldn't be acceptable, since deserting one's clan (especially if you were the son of the clan lord!) was considered betrayal and not even fathomable during that time. It would result in being disowned from the clan, most likely.

If Genjiro were to leave, he would likely not receive any official support from his family and would make his own living somehow.

Small clans like the Sanada probably received a stipend from whichever clan they were serving at the time. During the Tokugawa period, even major clans received a stipend from the shogunate, depending on how large/powerful they were considered by the shogunate.

Hope this helps!
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Re: Money


I did not think of clans receiving money from the shogunate but that makes sense. I can also see that leaving one's clan could lead to being ostracized and even killed as a traitor. It was a very constricted time to be in a clan I think. I think I would have been happier selling trinkets in a market place.....

Last edited by brad6, 5/13/2016, 5:33 pm
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Re: J-Drama: 真田丸 (Sanadamaru)


Yes, that system of clans receiving a stipend from the shogunate was really expanded under the Tokugawa regime. Clans were ranked based on the strategic importance of each clan,, the population of each province, and its location. Of course, clans who got along with the Tokugawa had an advantage and would receive more of a stipend! emoticon
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Re: J-Drama: 真田丸 (Sanadamaru)


<EPISODE 12>

I enjoyed this episode very much. It is a shame that newlywed Genjiro was sent as a hostage to the Uesugi right during his wife's pregnancy, but it was for the good of the Sanada family. My main concern was whether or not Masayuki could keep his promise about being a loyal vassal to the Uesugi - if he had switched sides again, there is no doubt that Genjiro, as a hostage, would be executed right and then there. Luckily, that didn't happen.

Genjiro seems to have lots of similarities with the Uesugi lord, Kagekatsu. Kagekatsu has gone down in history as a very righteous but indecisive fellow who would make promises he couldn't keep. He suffered from an inferiority complex and would allow others to make decisions for him - which we saw portrayed quite accurately in this episode. Luckily, Kagekatsu's advisors shared a similar sense of justice and righteousness, so he went down as an effective ruler, but he didn't really insist on anything to be done.

Kagekatsu is also known for getting involved in highly personal matters relating to his people - including farmers and merchants. In those days, samurai lords didn't get involved and allowed local magistrates to handle 'petty' matters involving everyday people. If we consider this drama to be accurate, we can thank Genjiro for convincing Kagekatsu to 'see the light' and take charge of his domain - and of the people living in it.

I do hope the Sanada keep their promise and stick with the Uesugi. Among the other players (Hojo, Tokugawa, etc.) the Uesugi have the most heart and loyalty. We saw this when Kagekatsu agreed to send his men to help the Sanada against their impending battle against the Tokugawa - despite the fact that the Uesugi were involved in territorial skirmishes with the Hojo, as well. The fact that they gave the key Numata castle back to a small clan like the Sanada shows how much they value their allies, as well.

I suspect it will go down into a Uesugi/Sanada v. Hojo/Tokugawa match. Then again, the alliances change so often whenever Masayuki is involved that things could change rather quickly.

Ume - What a surprise that she lied about her pregnancy in order to get Genjiro "to act quickly." She had a 'feeling' she was pregnant, but wasn't sure. Ume's hunch turned out to be correct, and she gave birth to a baby girl in 1584, but I was surprised that she was so up front about this lie to Kiri - knowing full well that Kiri was in love with Genjiro.

Honestly, this made me a little disappointed in Ume. It's not like she had to push Genjiro at all - she knew he was already in love with her and even though Kiri was her 'competition' Genjiro was always head over heels about her. I didn't picture her lying to him and then being so bold as to reveal the truth to Kiri, later. Hmm.

I got a kick out of the scene where Genjiro's mother was sneaking into the room to play with her granddaughter while Ume was away. She can't let her guard down and make Ume think she is warming up to her as her DIL, but at the same time, she desperately wants to see her granddaughter - her first grandchild ever.

We're now in 1585. Finally, some movement. I thought we would be stuck in 1582 forever. LOL! Episode 13 airs next week.
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