Donten ni Warau (Laughing Under the Clouds): Season 1/ Episode 1 “Three Brothers, Standing Under the Clouds” [Series Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

Three brothers living in the beginning of the Meiji period find themselves to be bounty hunters, sort of, to deal with rebellious samurai.

Review (with Spoilers)

When it comes to anime, if they are action oriented, and aren’t part of the mecha sub-genre, I usually give them a chance. As for this show, with it being placed on the cusp of the westernization of Japan, featuring samurais, and three brothers who face off against them, I expected a lot of action, some laughs, and a lot of heartfelt moments. Of which the series premiere delivers 2 out of 3.

Characters & Story

Three brothers, listed from oldest to youngest, Tenka, Soramaru, and Chutaro live together at Kumoh Shrine with a man named Shirasu and are part of a legendary samurai family. However, as the world changes, and samurais slowly lose their purpose, they find themselves at a slight disadvantage. Though with Soramaru and Chuturo delivering prisoners to this island prison named Gerokichi, and Tenka assisting the police with runaway criminals, they get by.

But, with them being on the side of the government, despite their family’s illustrious past, it seems they will surely make enemies. As for who these enemies will be, and how threatening they maybe to this family, it is hard to say. However, considering the three brothers strong bond for one another, I’m sure that when one falters the other will rise, and where there may be a weakness and one the other will find strength. For with their parents gone, all they have is each other and they cannot spare one more person of blood dying.

Praise

What I liked about this show is that in just the first episode it does well in establishing the family dynamic and showing how much each brother means to the other. Like with Tenka, he is the sort of father figure to both Soramaru and Chutaro and he worries about them deeply. Especially Chutaro who seems like he may be starting to develop a life outside of idolizing his two brothers, partly thanks to Botan who seems suspicious. Then, as for Soramaru, with him looking up to Tenka as his strong big bro, he wants to be like him, surpass him, honor him, and be reliable enough to Tenka to join him on capturing criminals and be relied on in the family. Something which seems so sweet.

Also, when it comes to the show, it is a little bit funny as well. Mostly due to Tenka and Chutaro though. Starting with Tenka, being that he has a sort of goofy dad, with a serious side when it comes to work, type of persona, as he believes Chutaro is starting to outgrow him and try to find love outside of what he is giving him, he decides to for some reason dress as a woman, perhaps to be incognito, to spy on his little brother. Then, with Chutaro, he takes things very literal and is sort of like the cute baby of the family you’d see on a sitcom. He is odd, adorable, and his unique trait is he takes things a little too seriously. Like when Tenka asks his younger siblings to stay behind as he apprehends some run away and Soramaru rejects this, Tenka tells them to bury it and then Chutaro buries himself under the floor of the shrine.

Criticism

When it comes to criticism, the main thing I had a problem with is I wanted more action. For while Soramaru has a good fight with one samurai, it was more talk than anything. Plus, while the comedy made me laugh once or twice, it is so silly to the point it may make it hard to take Tenka and the rest silly if they are dressing up one minute and then taking on the persona of these legendary samurai seemingly known throughout Japan.

Overall: Stick Around

Generally I prefer anime with action and a sense of depth, in terms of emotions or the characters seeming more complex than they seem, but with the lack of action, and Tenka and Chutaro being a bit too cartoony for me, I’m not sticking with this show. However, overall it is a good show and worth sticking around for. If just because while the first episode may have had low level, throw away, samurais, based off the end credits I would assume some formidable characters are on the way. Plus, with Botan acting rather strange, I can see her maybe causing some interesting trouble down the road.

No ratings yet.

What's Your Take?

Author: Amari Sali

New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all. An avid writer, Amari hopes to eventually switch from talking about other people's productions to fully working on his own. Such a dream is in progress to becoming reality.

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