I like the way swordplay is being handled in House of Five Leaves.
Masa finally got the chance to brandish his blade again at the end of the sixth episode, but it wasn’t an extended fight full of fancy choreography. When the opportunity arrived, i.e. Ume distracting Denshichi, Masa made a decisive move and knocked his foe’s weapon away.
With that, the fight was over.
Is that how people fought in the old days? I wouldn’t know and I don’t really care. The importance here is the tension being conveyed. So often in media, whether anime or not, fight scenes have to be this long struggle of epic proportions. Opponents are back-flipping and twirling… it’s really just unnecessary nonsense. These fights also turn into a dime a dozen. No one cares about the 27th fight when there were already twenty six of them beforehand. Here’s an example of what I’ve been talking about:
If you don’t want to slog through ten minutes of lightsaber fanservice, here’s the epitome of the scene’s stupidity.
In House of Five Leaves, the feeling is totally different. Fighters take only quick and deliberate actions. I get the sense that the margin of error is razor thin and any mistake spells death. In the face off between Yaichi and Masa in the seventh episode, there wasn’t any actual fighting, but the tension was palpable. The anime concerns itself with the build-up and anticipation instead of some silly swordplay. I especially like the pounding drums in the soundtrack during this scene.
Bits and Pieces
You know, I had a hard time distinguishing Denshichi, Matsu and Senkichi.
I guess Denshichi had some freckles to stand out a bit.
But honestly, they all looked like the same person.
There was also a noticeable drop in animation quality in the last few episodes. Everything in the background is as detailed as ever, but the character animations are starting to get a little sloppy.
The seventh episode begins with an ominous warning to Yaichi from the elder. Yaichi tells Masa, however, that he only wants to speak of the present.
Even so, almost everyone in the anime is controlled by their pasts. We just resolved a part of Ume’s side story with Senkichi. We find out that Masa can’t go home for some reason; all we know at the moment is that his troubles have something to do with his brother. Even more surprising, however, is that Matsu has a child. Otake seems to be the only character with little to reveal. Hopefully, she gains some depth because it would be a little silly for the only woman in the group to be a token character.