TV Shows
Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

When Europe meets Japan. Will the new “Shogun” match the original?

We were first introduced to the story of John Blackthorne in James Clavell’s novel, which was later adapted into a TV series in 1980. In Poland, the production turned out to be a huge hit, and Richard Chamberlain, who played the main role, became an idol of viewers. Now, almost 40 years after the premiere of the first series, A series appeared on the Disney+ platform, which is called “the most important series event”. Is it right?

“Szogun” is a production that takes viewers to… Japan in 1600, then on the verge of civil war. The main character is the Lord Yoshii Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada), who has to fight for his life, as his enemies on the Council of Regents unite against him. Meanwhile, a mysterious ship with the navigator is found off the coast of a certain fishing village John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis). He is English and knowledgeablewhich may be useful for Toranaga in tipping the scales of victory to his side and at the same time reducing the influence of the Jesuits and the Portuguese in Japan.

Responsible for the script include: Justin Marks, who was nominated for an Oscar for the screenplay for the film “Top Gun: Maverick”.

It should start with the fact that the production is visually stunning. It cannot be denied that beautiful interiors and carefully crafted clothes attract attention. As the chief costume designer, Carlos Rosario, assured, great attention was paid to the work on the costumes.

“All costumes used in the TV series ‘Shogun’ sewn by hand. We made this assumption from the beginning. Thanks to this, the team had control over all details, including the quality and texture of fabrics, their colors, the style of costumes, patterns and sewing methods.

Thanks to the attention to detail also related to hairstyles and makeup, when watching the series, we have no doubts about the social position of a given character.

It is also impossible to ignore the scenography, which was created with great love. The outdoor locations and scenography were chosen to give the viewer the impression that they had traveled back in time – and they definitely succeeded.

The photos were taken in two locations located on the slopes of the mountains and in two sound studios. The interiors of the Osaka Castle, gardens, Catholic mission rooms and part of the Erasmus ship were recreated there. Scenes that could not be shot in reality were created in a virtual studio using blue screen and visual effects.

A huge advantage of the series is the fact that the characters practically do not speak English, with the exception of Blackthorne, who is a native English speaker. The creators did not take the easy way and the characters from Japan actually speak their native language.

The first 2 episodes of the series “Shogun” are available on Disney+. Does it impress? It is difficult to answer this question unequivocally. Visually, it is on par with huge productions, which fight for the biggest prizes. However, the plot is still developing. The action moves slowly, with threads being tied up political, cultural, and we can even see the seeds of romance. But what will be the fate of the heroes? Will there be room for honor and will the hero survive in an unfavorable environment where one wrong move can cost his life? We will have to wait for answers.

It cannot be denied that the time passed very quickly while watching both episodes. Each of them lasted about an hour, but the narrative is conducted in such a way that it is impossible to tear yourself away from the screen. Forward I’ll be looking forward to more episodes, which will be released weekly until April 23.