Saturday 8 January 2022

TV Review: Age of Samurai - Battle for Japan (docu-drama)

Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan
6 episodes

Dynamic reenactments and expert commentaries bring to life the tumultuous history and power struggles of a warring 16th-century feudal Japan. (Netflix Synopsis)  

Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan was a mixed bag for me. The drama parts were well shot, especially for the battle scenes, and that added some excitement to the narration. I already knew the central figures and broad strokes of this era at the end of the Warring States period (戦国時代) from prior reading, but it was interesting to get some further details. However, the series fell down on a couple of points for me. One, the number of historians narrating seemed excessive. One or two would have felt smoother, I think, and would have avoided the diverse pronunciation of names etc. Two, there were some historical inaccuracies that even I, with my layman's knowledge, spotted, such as saying the Japanese attacked Seoul, when the city wasn't known by that name until after WWII; it was Hanseong at that time. It made me wonder about the accuracy of the information overall. Finally, they really needed an editor to check the script for repetition, as the word 'decisive' (especially the phrase 'a decisive battle in Japanese history') occurred so many times that my husband and I began to make fun of it, cheering every time it was said. Overall, I'm giving this three stars. It was mostly entertaining, but it had some flaws and I wouldn't rely on it for 100% historical accuracy, despite the number of historians credited.

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