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Re: J-Drama: おんな城主 直虎 (NAOTORA: The Lady Warlord)


I am enjoying this new Taiga a lot. But I missed some episodes and have trouble downloading from internet sources. So I really depend upon your comments here. OK, per usual, the characters change their names as they grow up or some other rite of passage, and Asian wiki and other websites don't have all those names listed. So please help me Hiroshi, to keep them straight? Kame is Ii Naochika, yes? That Tsuru actor is too cute, so distracting, LOL, he is Ono Masatsugu, yes? I like Towa, but whenever the actress is directed to get too excited with her voice (the hyper way they seem to expect in these dramas, did they really talk like that), I hit the mute button. Wondered about all those go games in these taigas, if they use real game matches on the set, like I suppose they can with chess sample matches in Western films. I like how we are really getting a different viewpoint of that period, with angles on different families. I'm in it for the year. Will have to visit Kinokuniya bookstore in Little Tokyo soon though...
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Re: J-Drama: おんな城主 直虎 (NAOTORA: The Lady Warlord)


<EPISODE 10>

Glad to hear that you're watching this drama, Mile Irene! I like it, too, and I like the unique perspective we're getting on the final years of the Ashikaga Shogunate and the Warring States Period. Sorry that I'm a little behind with my comments. I'm trying to catch up with what I missed over the last couple of weeks, but I finished Episode 10 and will get to Episode 11 either later tonight or tomorrow. Episode 10 was a good one!

But first, to answer your questions, yes, I was using the childhood names of the characters. They are easier to type, which is why I prefer using them. You are correct - Kame is Ii Naochika, the current lord of the Ii clan. Tsuru is Ono Masatsugu, and Towa is Ii Naotora.

Good question about the go games used in the drama. I'm not too sure if they use real game matches or not, but I'd imagine that it is all determined and calculated before filming!

What a relief that Tsuru and Kame have 'made up' and are able to resume their friendship. Things got awfully tense, especially after Tsuru was responsible for the death of Kame's father-in-law. However, he was defending himself, and Tsuru really had no choice if he wanted to save his own life. Wise move on the part of Tsuru to return the Ii's lands to Kame (more specifically, to his newborn heir). Kame has a soft spot for Tsuru, and now that he has an heir, and with the Ii family's future secure, he can start anew with Tsuru again.

Speaking of Tsuru,it never occurred to me that Tsuru's brother and Kame had married two sisters. I must have missed that. How interesting that Tsuru's brother's wife dealt so differently with the situation compared to Kame's wife. The two sisters both loved their father, but they reacted to the situation very differently.

I'd much rather see Tsuru and Kame as friends than rivals. With all the turmoil taking place within the Imagawa clan, the Ii will need to be fully united in order to protect themselves from external threats.

Speaking of the Imagawa, we're seeing Ieyasu's rise to power, and it will undoubtedly cause some trouble with his wife and children, who are still hostages in Sunpu at the Imagawa mansion. Now that Towa has gotten involved, I hope things will go okay, although Ieyasu's murder of an Imagawa family member in his aim to conquest Mikawa Province will not go over well with the Imagawa.

I'm vaguely familiar with this history but do not recall what went down with Ieyasu in his early life and how the Imagawa clan met their demise, so I am excited to find out what happened next. This is all new history to me!

We're still in 1560. Episode 11 is next!
6/24/2017, 9:34 pm Link to this post Send Email to Hiroshi66   Send PM to Hiroshi66 AIM
 
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Re: J-Drama: おんな城主 直虎 (NAOTORA: The Lady Warlord)


<EPISODE 11>

This episode started off on a positive note since we saw Towa, Tsuru, and Kame united again - just like when they were children. I thought we'd never see the three of them gathering around the well again, but sure enough, the détente between Tsuru and the Ii family has allowed for the three friends to hang out together again, despite the fact that they are all in different places in their lives.

As I mentioned last time, with all the turmoil taking place around the country between the Oda, the Imagawa, and the Tokugawa clan, Tsuru and Kame need to be united to create a strong Ii clan. The Ii need to put up a strong front in order to survive during these changing times. Otherwise, they may be caught up in another current.

Unfortunately, the Imagawa clan will test Tsuru and Kame's newly recultivated friendship. At the end of the day, Tsuru is still the Imagawa-appointed overseer of the Ii clan, and he is ultimately responsible for making sure they don't rebel against the Imagawa.

I must say that it was very smart of the Imagawa to try and nip a potential Ii revolt in the bud by testing Kame's loyalty and setting up that fake meeting with the imposter Ieyasu. With the Imagawa declining so quickly, they are desperate to make sure that they don't lose any more lands to the Tokugawa, and the worst thing for the Imagawa right now would be a Tokugawa-Ii alliance. Unfortunately, Kame's overtures to the Tokugawa were exposed and now he is potentially in a lot of trouble - hence the reason he is being summoned to Sunpu.

It was not a surprise that Sena refused to help Towa by going as a hostage to the Ii residence. Her mother (the last connection to the Ii clan) had just been forced to kill herself by the Imagawa, and if she left Ieyasu's side, she and her children might be forgotten, considering there were already calls for Ieyasu to take another wife. Towa might be upset, but I guess she should also consider Sena's position.

I found it a bit bizarre that Kame asked Towa to marry him if and when he returns from Sunpu. I know he's always loved her, but didn't he just have a tearful goodbye with his wife and son? Yes, Kame could take another wife, but let's assume he did marry Towa. Towa would have to be the official wife, taking into consideration her position as an Ii princess. What. then, would happen to Kame's wife who he was just having a special moment with? I guess Kame just made that comment in the moment - he thought he would never return and wanted to hear Towa promise she would marry him before he left. It might be why Towa answered him with a "yes", as well.

What a cliffhanger! Now, Kame is surrounded and ambushed - I just hope he will be okay. I have no idea what will happen, since this history is so new to me. I guess that's why I'm enjoying this Taiga so much. It's the first time in a long time that I'm watching and genuinely in the dark about what will happen.

The scene that worried me was Tsuru having a flashback to his father, who told Tsuru that he would one day retaliate against the Ii the same way he did if he was put in a corner. I hope Tsuru wasn't responsible for Kame's ambush.

All I can say is, the Imagawa is very brutal.They want to take everyone down with them!

We're already in late 1562. Episode 12 airs tonight! It looks like it'll be a sad episode...
6/25/2017, 8:03 am Link to this post Send Email to Hiroshi66   Send PM to Hiroshi66 AIM
 
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Re: J-Drama: おんな城主 直虎 (NAOTORA: The Lady Warlord)


<EPISODE 12>

Excellent episode that will prove to be a pivotal one for furthering the plot, as well as permanently altering Towa's life. She started off as a nun in mourning for the deaths of not only her childhood sweetheart, Kame, but also the lives of her great-grandfather and maternal uncle. She ended the episode as Ii Naotora, the regent ruling the Ii clan on behalf of Kame's infant son.

The stage is also set for an epic rivalry between Towa and Tsuru. I had hoped that Tsuru, Kame, and Towa would rekindle their friendship and rule the Ii clan together for the next few decades. That has proven to have been nothing but a "what could have been" situation. With Kame dead at the hands of behind-the-scenes maneuvering courtesy of Tsuru, I don't see how Towa could ever forgive him.

What's worse is that Tsuru has essentially turned into his dad. He appears to feel no remorse for what he has done and fulfilled his late father's prediction - that he would eventually turn against the Ii clan (including Kame and Towa) if push came to shove. In any other situation, I could see Towa try to understand Tsuru's position and feel sympathetic towards him, but now that Kame is dead and Tsuru is trying to destroy the Ii clan by stepping in as Kame's son's guardian, there is no (or very little) chance of a reconciliation between them.

If anything, the two of them find themselves as rivals in the middle of a power struggle over who will be Kame's son's guardian until he comes of age and rules the Ii clan in his own right. Towa has the support of the Ii clan and is the most legitimate - being an Ii princess. Tsuru has the support of the ruling Imagawa clan and has the authority to do whatever he pleases.

Tokugawa Ieyasu is being portrayed as a bumbling fool who is in over his head. He led a premature rebellion against the Imagawa and now has no idea what to do. Sadao Abe is certainly doing a good job portraying Ieyasu in this early stage of his life.

The episode was a tragic one, with lots of characters who have been around from the beginning losing their lives. The Ii clan essentially lost everyone who had ruled the province for the last 2-3 decades. Now, everything is in the hands of Towa - who has been a nun since she was a child and is brand new to political life. The only people left who can advise and guide her through this time are essentially her mother and the Reverend. It'll be an interesting ride.

We're now in 1563. Episode 13 airs tomorrow!
7/1/2017, 4:49 pm Link to this post Send Email to Hiroshi66   Send PM to Hiroshi66 AIM
 
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Re: J-Drama: おんな城主 直虎 (NAOTORA: The Lady Warlord)


<EPISODE 13>

Just watched this episode. I'll be referring to Towa as Naotora from now on, and Tsuru will be Ono. They have matured and come so far that it has started feeling odd referring to them by their childhood names.

Naotora is now Lord in her own right, although she is technically only a Regent and temporarily taking over the clan until Toramatsu comes of age and becomes the next Lord. It is quite interesting watching her handle so much authority. If you think about it, it's quite a traumatic experience for her! She's lived a rather isolated life, and is still quite young. Now, she finds herself as the Lord of the Ii clan surrounded by nobody but potential enemies and "vassals" who are really quite skeptical of her abilities. The only allies she has are her mother and the Reverend, really.

Still, I think Naotora has the heart and soul to govern wisely as the Ii lord. She's always had a certain presence about her, and I don't think there is anyone who loves the clan and province as much as she does. At the same time, Naotora is still rather naive and we see this in her governing style. She is a people-pleaser by default, and it may not have been wise to promise forgiving the debt of an entire village without doing the research beforehand. Sure, Naotora got the support of the people right away, but as she learned, it is just as easy to lose their support if you break a promise - which is what she has essentially done.

I didn't recognize Seto Hokyu as the homeless man who had helped the young Towa when she was a child! He certainly isn't who I would think of as a potential ally, but his business sense and knowledge of economic matters may help Naotora down the line. Things are tough right now, but I'm sure everything will be resolved... at least I hope it will!

The person who have irritated me the most are Shino, Naochika's widow. I understand that she is grieving over the loss of her husband, but so are many others in the Ii clan and nobody acts the way she does. Shino is rude, unappreciative, and downright cruel when it comes to Naotora. I understand the complex emotions that are at play, but it just has gotten annoying to see it over and over again.

I've also had it with the young man who is serving Naotora. With an ally like that, who needs enemies!? It is getting to the point where I find even Ono more tolerable than this guy!

Speaking of Ono, it looks like he's the one stirring the pot again - this time, he's trying to throw Naotora under the bus. I'd never think that he would do that to her, but I suppose Ono has changed and his position of power/influence within the Imagawa clan is more important than any sense of loyalty he has to Naotora.

We'll see what happens now, but it looks like the villagers may team up with the Imagawa against Naotora. Yikes.

We're still in 1563. Episode 14 airs next week!
7/3/2017, 6:22 pm Link to this post Send Email to Hiroshi66   Send PM to Hiroshi66 AIM
 
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Re: J-Drama: おんな城主 直虎 (NAOTORA: The Lady Warlord)


<EPISODE 14>

This was a vexing episode to watch, although it all ended up working in Naotora's favor at the end. She demonstrated that hard work and showing dedication can win over even the most ardent critics, such as the villagers. I agree with Naotora that Hokyu is not the most trustworthy person, given his obsession with money, but I think the villagers are in much better hands if they deal with him and Naotora than with Ono.

Speaking of Ono, it is really disappointing to see what a vicious man he has become. He has pretty much surpassed his father when it comes to exhibiting vile behavior. Does he hate Naotora so much that he wants to threaten her infant administration? I understand that his loyalty is to the Imagawa and that his ultimate wish is to see the Ii clan's destruction, but I had hoped that his childhood friendship with Naotora would soften his heart a bit. I guess not.

I wonder if Ono's actions are motivated by the fact that he never could win Naotora's heart. I think he's had feelings for her since he was a child, but he had always been overshadowed by Kame. Now, he's lost everybody in his family, and so there really is not much else for him to live for. His feelings have been hardened. Instead of teaming up with Naotora and governing the Ii, it might be easier for him to go against her and play errand boy for the Imagawa. Well, let's see how well they will treat him if he fails them - which he might!

Kame means turtle in Japanese, and so the turtle crawling on to the edict and prevent Naotora from signing might have been Kame returning to help Naotora make an important decision.

I don't like the fact that the Imagawa want Naotora to travel to Sunpu to meet them so she can be accused of treason. Isn't that what happened to Kame before he met his demise? According to the previews, we'll see Naotora being summoned by the Imagawa (namely, Yoshimoto's mother) and how that all plays out.

Shino (Kame's widow) is extremely stubborn and irritating. I really can't stand her, quite frankly. She is going to make Naotora's life miserable, and no matter how Naotora tries to compromise, she won't make it easy at all. She says she's doing it for her son, but if she is saying that Ono should be the guardian of her son instead of Naotora, she is demonstrating that she is being motivated by her selfish jealousy and not her love for her son. Even Shino's own sister realizes the illogical nature of her sister's actions.

Naotora may have to forge a relationship with Kame's young son if she wants to justify being his guardian.

We're still in 1563. Episode 15 airs later tonight!
7/16/2017, 1:53 pm Link to this post Send Email to Hiroshi66   Send PM to Hiroshi66 AIM
 
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Re: J-Drama: おんな城主 直虎 (NAOTORA: The Lady Warlord)


<EPISODE 15>

This episode seemed to mark a transition for Naotora, who is starting to act more like a clan lord in her own right. She's managed to quell all the internal opposition to her rule (I'm so glad we don't have to deal with Nakano's grumpy attitude any longer) and has even managed to win over Lord Imagawa's grandmother!

It's not really surprising that Imagawa's grandmother came around and supported Naotora. I didn't really think that she would ever truly cast her aside, given the fact that she's known Naotora since she was a little girl and seems to have a weakness for her courage and bravery. As somebody mentioned, perhaps she's reminded of herself as a young woman. That being said, Naotora should be very careful as I don't see Imagawa's grandmother putting up with the Ii clan's insolence much longer. It really does look like this could be their last chance!

Everyone seems to be rooting for Naotora now except for Shino. I don't think this is motivated by any political ambition on her part but just plain disdain towards Naotora. I don't think she's ever forgiven Naotora for the perceived relationship she had with her late husband. Who knows how this will transpire. I suspect it'll be many years before Shino will ever accept Naotora - if at all.

One thing Naotora definitely needs to do is harvest a relationship with Shino's son. She is his regent/guardian but I don't think they've ever interacted. I know Shino keeps him away from everybody in the clan, and I definitely don't see her letting Naotora get close to him. However, she needs to start preparing him for the role he will play as Ii clan lord one day. After all, she's only going to be the leader until he comes of age.

My comments about Ono being "vile" last week were spoken too soon. I realized that inasmuch as he was trying to prevent Naotora from being regent, this may have been done for her own good - to protect her from assassination at the hands of the Imagawa (or others). The farther Naotora was from administration, the safer she could be. Ono won't ever admit this or let Naotora (or anyone) find out, but I think it may be motivated by his feelings for her. Hmm.

We're still in 1563. Episode 16 airs next week! Good Taiga so far.
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Re: J-Drama: おんな城主 直虎 (NAOTORA: The Lady Warlord)


<EPISODE 16>

I was frankly a little bored with this episode. There was too much going on throughout the episode that had little to do with each other, and it felt more like we were watching little vignettes of an anime or manga than a Taiga drama. I've been enjoying this drama so far, but I hope this was just a bump in the road and not a sign of things to come. As many Taigas reach their midway points they start to slow down a bit, and I hope that this one doesn't drag out (like Burning Flower, for example) otherwise it will go sour quite quickly.

For instance, Hokyu's portrayal has turned into a parody (of who, I'm not quite sure) but I am getting annoyed with every scene he's in. His imitations of a baking dog and those howling sounds he makes (often to the beat of a drum) are so extra. I don't know if it's supposed to be funny, but it's as if he is being made out to be a caricature and I can't take him seriously at all.

Nakano got on my nerves at first, but it looks like he is becoming very loyal towards Naotora and I am starting to like him more and more. He seemed genuinely frightened when Naotora collapsed - he knew he was powerless to help her if she fell ill, and he couldn't imagine what would happen if she ever went to battle.

I chuckled at the scene where Naotora, Nakano, and Hokyu were spreading the word about the incentives farmers could get for working on the Ii's lands. They were pretending to be civilians, and nobody knew that Naotora was the lord of the Ii clan. It must have been easier to slip away and be amongst the people in the streets for rulers back then - before the days of photographs, where they could easily be recognized.

Mr. Traveler's entry into the show (whoever he is) seemed so random and out of place. The way his character was brought in made it seem like we were watching an idol drama from 2017 rather than a Taiga drama. The whole scene was weird, but they moved on from it so quickly that I forgot about it five minutes later. What was the point of that scene - to give Naotora the idea of recruiting slave labor? Bizarre.

Honestly, the only storyline that interests me is the Ono-Naotora rivalry. Ono seems to still care deeply for Naotora, even though he is also loyal to the Imagawa and takes his role as overseer very seriously. Perhaps he feels that the tougher he is on Naotora, the more safe she will be from scrutiny on the part of the Imagawa? If he knows what's going on, he can settle any issues before the Imagawa find out.

As for Naotora, I suppose she is still young and stubborn, refusing to go for ideas that Ono suggests simply because he suggested them. Hopefully she'll grow out of that soon - she's still getting used to being in a position of power.

The Reverend is one of the only characters I enjoy watching. Naotora should treasure his advice! Then again, I also enjoy the Ono actor. His facial expressions are excellent, and he really plays the role of Ono well. You don't quite know what he's thinking!

We're still in 1563... at least I think we are. They hardly reference real-world events in the story so it is hard to tell what year we are in. Episode 17 airs Sunday.
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Re: J-Drama: おんな城主 直虎 (NAOTORA: The Lady Warlord)


<EPISODE 17>

This episode was also a little boring for me. Actually, I didn't quite find it interesting until the last 4-5 minutes, when the musket was discovered by Tsuru and used as a way to blackmail Naotora into resigning as guardian. The overall pacing of the episodes seem a bit off now. They spend too much time on certain scenes and then more important moments (like Shino's semi-acceptance of Naotora as guardian) are glossed over.

Another problem I've started having with the drama is that they sort of abandoned the Tokugawa Ieyasu side plot. The story was moving along so quickly and now it's sort of slowed down, focusing on the Ii's domestic issues. Though I enjoyed the earlier episodes more, I hope this is just a momentary pause and that the story will speed up again over the next few weeks.

By the way, these muskets were named Tanegashima after an island in southern Japan where the Portuguese first landed in the early 1540s. Muskets arrived to this island first before spreading throughout the rest of the country, and the name of Tanegashima stuck!

I still find Masatsugu difficult to read. Is he really trying to get Naotora to step down as guardian because he cares for her and doesn't want her in the center of politics, where her life could bge endangered? This seemed like a plausible reason before, but now I'm getting the feeling that he is treating her this way to get revenge for her slighting him before and falling for Naochika. Or maybe he has just become power-hungry and is motivated by his own desire for political control. Who knows. Maybe Masatsugu is motivated by more than one reason? He is still an enigma to me!

All I can say is that the Masatsugu actor is my favorite in the whole drama. He does an excellent job in this role! Great facial expressions - especially when he is plotting something sinister or is silent, deep in thought.

What a relief that Naotora has finally attempted to make a connection with Toramatsu. After all, she is serving as his regent. Hopefully the rivalry between Naotora and Shino is over, too. Shino finally realized that it may be easier for her to think of Naotora as wanting to take over as a father figure for her son, rather than replace her as his mother. Come to think of it, lots of people have treated and considered Naotora more as a male than as a female. Her childhood name was a male name, her father said that he was treating her as if she were his son, she is ruling as a male lord despite her gender, and now she is considered Toramatsu's father figure. I wonder if this will be discussed more later on, especially if (when?) Naotora finds a love interest. Will the mysterious traveler woo her at some point?

By the way, the Shino actress looks very much like the child actor who plays Toramatsu! They did a great job casting this drama.

I don't know what year we are in anymore, but I think we're in 1564 now? Episode 18 airs on Saturday! I'll be out of town for two weeks, so I'll catch up with the next few episodes when I get back.
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Re: J-Drama: おんな城主 直虎 (NAOTORA: The Lady Warlord)


That's true they also did a good child casting with Toramatsu.

The village plot in the drama are not my cup of tea. Later in the drama it switches back and forth between the IeyasuxSena and village plots. I am always more interested in the Ieyasu and Imagawa plot than in the domestic one.

Naotora is in history most likely called Naotora in reference to Toramatsu since both names include the symbol for tiger (tora).
"Nao" was pretty much used in all male Ii names and her name represents her role until Toramatsu was old enough to get his adult name under which he is famous for.
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