Ooku ~Tanjou~Arikoto Iemitsu Hen - 10 episodes
Only those who have seen the movie Ooku or read the manga can proceed. Also, for mature audience only. I remember in the first arc of the manga, but I can't seem to remember if it happened in the movie, the Shogun asks for the court historian of how it all began. The second arc of the story is continued in a 10-episode drama that takes as back to ground zero.
The shougun dies of the dreaded red pox without an heir. Luckily, he has left a girl born out of wedlock. The girl, Iemitsu, was raised in secrecy to cover the truth that the shogun have long been dead. Kasuga no Tsubone, the wet nurse, tasked upon herself to look for possible father candidates in order to continue the Tokugawa lineage. In her search for good looking, healthy men she meets, Arikoto, a Buddhist monk.
It's interesting that climax of the story happened in the first part of the series and then it plateaus down to the ending. The first part was so haunting and emotional and it goes to pain and misery and it ends with disbelief and numbness. The first part made me cry a lot of times and Misa's song of "Deepness" is perfect for the drama. Even now it makes me sad. I hate stories that bound characters to their destinies and hopelessness but even if it was painful I still love it. The only consolation was that they had their moment and it was theirs.
The story tackled reversal in roles that are taboo and shocking. But the treatment of the story was successful in bringing out emotions such as love, pride and sacrifice rather than dwell on the physical aspect of the actions.
I'm amazed of the age difference between the lead stars, Sakai Masato is 39 years old while Tabe Mikako is only 23! Great acting and chemistry for the two. The rest of the cast are impeccable. The next arc, Ōoku ~Eien~ Emonnosuke Tsunayoshi Hen, premiered as movie last Dec. 22.
Here's a reverse harem trivia, Sakai Masato also appeared in one of reverse harem drama, Himitsu no Hanazono. The new movie also includes Jun Kaname of Himitsu no Hanazono and Atashinchi no Danshi. I wonder if he's part of the harem too. I think I'll pick up the manga again to find out what happened.