“Criminals entering Gokumoji should bring a certain something…”
Donten ni Warau is one of the big favourites I’m looking forward to in this season’s new anime lineup. It focuses on three brothers of the Kumo family who live in a time of political instability. Our series is set in the final years of the Edo period where Japan is rapidly westernizing its culture and society. The samurai’s class and prestige thus slowly diminish and there is growing tension and strife within the towns. While some are eagerly looking forward to the dawn of this new Japan, others scorn the bitter changes.
The story is told from the Kumo brothers’ point of view. There are three of them, of different age and varying personalities. The eldest is Tenka, who seems to be the calm, strong and easy-going head of the Kumo family. Why is he the head of the family? Because the Kumo parents died from tuberculosis years ago…
The second eldest brother is Soramaru, a hotheaded and stubborn character who the story zeroes in on (over the other brothers). The theme of strength and pride surface through Soramaru’s internal thoughts and his struggle to live up to the Kumo name. Soramaru is always striving to be stronger and aspiring to be acknowledge by his brother and in terms of potential, Soramaru probably has the most leeway to grow and mature as a character. His back story is up for some big reveals later in the series.
The youngest of the three, is Chutaro, a really kiddy and lighthearted kid who doesn’t seem that fazed about the family issues (i.e. his parents’ death) because he barely recalls any of it. His entire world is the village and his brothers and that seems about it (for now anyways).
While all the brothers have their individual quirks and features, I’m drawn to Tenka the most because he has this great contradiction of proud warrior and protective doting brother all wrapped up into one great character.
The storytelling draws in a legend reference that somewhat alludes to the theme of clouds in the title and series. It is said that clouds will spread over the land every three hundred years as an omen of great calamity of the great snake, Orochi.
Yuuchi Nakamura, Yuki Kaji and Tsubasa Yonaga make a great mix of vocal ranges in the series. Everyone is saying how they keep hearing Kou in Soramaru and well that’s because it’s the same person LOL and don’t worry about it, Yuki Kaji is in everything, you’ll get used to it soon enough haha. Yuuichi Nakamura’s voice is as controlled and skilled as always… and as much as I love Tsubasa Yonaga’s voice as Nagisa, he becomes just a bit overbearing to me as Chuutarou. He does however do an amazing job at bringing out Chuutarou’s childish nuances.
Favourite moment: When Soramaru is giving his definition of a strong samurai and sees a visage of his brother. Dayum I really loved that moment (as brief as it was) and I have a feeling we’ll be getting tons of these dramatic moments soon. Literally after Soramaru’s dramatic fight though, Tenka is shown to have knocked out like six guys laughing easily to himself.
The previews after the credits roll out give a FANTASTIC cliff-hanger that reminds us there’s a much darker side to the story here beyond the brotherly good times. At this point the series has got both great characters and a mysterious plot to keep us interested. I’m totally looking forward to more of Donten ni Warau next week.
What are you pondering today?