REVIEW: ‘The Heike Story,’ Episode 3

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The Heike Story Episode 3 - But Why Tho

The Heike Story is an adventure/drama anime inspired by a 12th-century epic story produced by Science SARU. Having found a place in Lord Shigemori’s home, Biwa seems to be settling in, despite the continued darkness her prophetic vision foretells for those around her. But, when a lord’s anger drives him to reckless action, the Heike is drawn into a situation that will leave the land stained with blood and perhaps herald a falling out between them and His Majesty the Emperor in The Heike Story Episode 3.

In storytelling terms, it takes a tremendous amount of confidence to allow a story to be quiet. To be sure enough in your narrative and characters that a story can let a moment just be. Play a bit of atmospheric background music or ambient noise, and then gently nudge the next beat to roll in. When a story can pull off quiet, that’s when you know the plot and characters are strong enough to hold onto the audience truly. The Heike Story Episode 3 delivers its quiet moments with all the confidence one can ask for. And it is justified in that confidence.

Even as the show’s overall narrative begins to pick up steam in this episode, the story never breaks its measured control of the narrative’s pacing. The moments that could’ve been delivered with a greater measure of excitement are instead brought to the viewer with a focus on the emotional impact. The aversion to intensive action to emphasize the artistic presentation of these key moments is a masterful stroke of storytelling.

This artistic presentation reaches its zenith during a confrontation between forces led by Lord Shigemori and a hostile force outside the Emperor’s palace. While little is shown directly of the conflict, the moment is narrated in a bardic style that employs the classic style of Japanese music. Usually, I’m not a fan of programs cutting around violent confrontations. I tend to think that such moments hit best when the viewer can see what is wrought by those at the moment. However, The Heike Story Episode 3’s use of music and art to impart the moment’s impact compels me to make an exception in its case. The gorgeous handling of the sequence forfeits none of the emotion while crafting a combination of visual and audio narrative that makes the moment a far more striking sequence than it might otherwise have been.

The other biggest takeaway for me in this episode is solidifying Lord Shigemori as my favorite character. I have a weak spot for the honorable warrior who will put right before all else, and Shigemori grows into that mold greatly here. This creates a powerful character dynamic between him and his father, who thinks only of increasing the power of the Heike.

When all is said and done, The Heike Story Episode 3 begins to escalate the story as confrontations begin to reach a fever pitch. What will come of the episode’s cliffhanger moment has me eagerly awaiting next week’s installment.

The Heike Story Episode 3 is streaming on Funimation.


The Heike Story Episode 3
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

The Heike Story Episode 3 begins to escalate the story as confrontations begin to reach a fever pitch. What will come of the episode’s cliffhanger moment has me eagerly awaiting next week’s installment.