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Why is everyone happy with the TV series “Shogun” and why is it being compared to “Game of Thrones”?

The fifth episode of the acclaimed series “Shogun”, which is about the struggle for power of samurai clans in feudal Japan at the beginning of the 17th century, will be broadcast tomorrow, March 19. The series received 8.5 points on Kinopoisk and 9.3 points on IMDB and continues to rapidly gain popularity in world ratings. The first two premiere episodes were watched by more than 9 million people; This is a new record for the Hulu service. We tell you why “Shogun” has captivated audiences around the world and why it has been called the Japanese “Game of Thrones.”


The atmosphere of great geographical discoveries

A frame from the “Shogun” series

Let’s start with the fact that, like George RR Martin’s invention, this story is based on a bestselling book. FX and showrunners Rachel Condo and Justin Marks brought James Clavell’s historical novel Shogun to the big screen. By the way, this is not the only adaptation of the movie. In the 1980s, a TV series with the same name was first adapted from the book and received praise from critics. True, its significant drawback was that the plot was shown mainly from the perspective of the European hero, and not the Japanese.

A frame from the “Shogun” series

We first see the world through the eyes of British sailor John Blackthorne (played by Cosmo Jarvis), who finds himself aboard the Dutch ship Erasmus on the Japanese island of Kyushu. His goal is to establish business relations and become rich, but instead he faces shackles. Not only the local rulers of the Land of the Rising Sun, but also the eternal rivals, the Portuguese, indicate that the presence of a foreigner is undesirable. John Blackthorn is saved from death by the protection of the visionary Daimyo Toranaga, who aims to use the knowledge of the Europeans in the struggle for power.

It’s hard to say which is more fascinating to watch: the struggle between clans using people as pawns on the chessboard, or the competition among Europeans for a sphere of influence. Fans of stories about pirates and sailors from the era of great geographical discoveries will discover many interesting things. For example, the religious contradictions of the colonists – the Portuguese Jesuits are weaving intrigues against the English Protestants. And of course, it’s interesting how they use these differences and pit local elites against each other. Sometimes it is not clear who is manipulating whom.


The Art of Palace Intrigue

A frame from the “Shogun” series

Perhaps the main difference from “Game of Thrones” is that the heroes of “Shogun” have real historical prototypes. Yes, the epic fantasy based on George R.R. Martin’s epic also has references to history, especially the War of the Roses, but in Shogun the characters are people living in real conditions, without magic and dragons. But what really brings these two worlds together are reflections on the nature of power, palace intrigues, and exciting battle scenes that do not spare the audience their cruelty. This originality acts as a powerful catalyst for the plot and makes you care about the fate of the characters. Meanwhile, series producers Rachel Kondo and Justin Marks immediately stated in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that they have no plans to shoot a second season, preferring to focus only on the film adaptation of the book.

A frame from the “Shogun” series

It should be said that the events in the book and the series took place in the Sengoku period, that is, the “Age of Warring States”, when the country was ruled from the second half of the 15th century to the beginning of the 17th century. The power of the most influential daimyo (the elite among the samurai) and the shogun (military ruler and dictator) is formalized. Meanwhile, sea ships are being sent from distant lands to European countries for the purpose of trade and colonization of new lands. During one of these expeditions, passing through the Strait of Magellan with the Dutch ship Lifde, English sailor William Adams reached the shores of war-torn Japan in 1600. He is immediately imprisoned in Osaka for the slander of the Portuguese Jesuits, but is soon released and placed at the disposal of Tokugawa Ieyasu. He becomes his right-hand man by building European-style ships from a prisoner. The man will never return to England: he will spend the next 20 years with his second family. The Briton will be given a monument in Tokyo for his services to his new homeland. The biography of William Adams is reminiscent of the biography of Marco Polo, who also discovered the magical and mysterious East for Europeans.


samurai spirit

A frame from the “Shogun” series

The new mini-series “Shogun” most accurately shows the collision of two worlds – European civilization and Japanese feudalism. The military-historical drama captures you with strong excitement from the first frames. After a storm, the crew of the sailing ship “Erasmus” arrives on the shores with an incomplete composition: the captain died, half died of hunger, scurvy and other diseases. The few who are lucky enough to survive face certain death, and this happens in the most brutal ways: some are cut down by the Japanese, others are boiled alive in boiling water, and still others are crucified. But, as we know, Europeans were also not distinguished by their humanity towards the barbarians. Jesuit priests immediately call the English pirates and send them to certain death.

A frame from the “Shogun” series

It is unlikely that the viewer will remain indifferent to the local color. Even punitive measures are accompanied by poetry: Japanese executioners are ready to devote lines of praise to foreigners who died honorably during torture. In such cases, Blackthorn will have to make an incredible journey from the gaijin (foreigner – Ed.) who is worse than a dog for the Japanese, to Hatamoto, that is, the first white samurai. However, a new title brings with it new problems. Now the British will have to join the civil war to unite the country under the rule of a powerful heir. Two opposing sides; Toranaga, who advocates progress, and Ishido (Takehiro Hira), the insidious reactionary. Blackthorne grows from a teenager inexperienced in political intrigue to a true admirer of Bushido and a “master of the game of Go” who pre-calculates his opponents’ moves.


beauty of japanese women

A frame from the “Shogun” series

There is no blind admiration for Japanese culture in the war drama Shogun. The girls’ beauty and elegant demeanor are hidden by daggers in fans and sharpened hairpins. However, there is a romantic streak here too. John Blackthorne becomes one of the outsiders. After all, this is where he will spend the rest of his days with the woman he loves.

Source: People Talk

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