REVIEW: ‘The Heike Story,’ Episode 4

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Heike Story Episode 4

The Heike Story is an adventure/drama anime inspired by a 12th-century epic story produced by Science SARU. Having confronted his father about the plot to seize the Emperor last episode, Shigemori continues to face many strains that tax his fortitude. Meanwhile, Tokuko is going into labor with the long-awaited heir to the Imperial throne in The Heike Story Episode 4.

While music gets more appreciation in anime many many other forms of video media, it is frequently relegated to how cool/compelling the opening and closing themes are. There have, of course, been anime that more fully embrace and utilize the music that fills the episodes to a far greater extent than most of their contemporaries. Series such as Cowboy Bebop and Carole and Tuesday incorporate music into their narratives in ways that make it a truly integral part of their respective shows. While The Heike Story has put its musical aspects on display in its previous episodes, in The Heike Story Episode 4, they are taken to a whole new level as Biwa, and the instrument that is her namesake, are put in the limelight like never before.

This emphasis on music helps to fully realize the growing drama of the show’s narrative. As Tokuko comes to terms with her child, The Heike will be poised to one day have an Emperor of their bloodline. While this is great for the future of the family, how it may encourage their patriarch to further delusions of grandeur is a cloud that weighs over the heads of both the imperial family and Shigemori. The repercussions of his continuing struggles with his father begin to manifest in Shigemori in ways that do not bode well for his family.

As always, The Heike Story Episode 4 delivers its many dramatic moments primarily through the lens of Biwa. The uniqueness of both Biwa’s abilities, as well as her place in Shigemori’s household, further magnifies the impact of the story. Biwa’s ongoing struggles with her future sight, born of the fact that she can so rarely do anything about the futures she sees, adds a further emotional note to the episode’s plot.

While the visual presentation for this episode primarily delivers the same performance it has in the past, there was one sequence where the art felt strangely off. Not so much that it was bad, just that it felt out of place like there was a subtle style change, I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but it was enough to jar me out of the moment.

Offsetting this minor visual hiccup is a beautifully sequenced moment at the end of the episode. The camera angles, images shown, and the timing of cuts came together, accompanied by one of the aforementioned musical elements, to deliver an impactful wrap-up to this episode.

When all is said and done, The Heike Story Episode 4 delivers a pivotal plot moment for the story that steers the series in a direction I did not see coming. The greater emphasis on the music in this episode only further enhances the artistic beauty of this series.

The Heike Story Episode 4 is streaming on Funimation.

The Heike Story Episode 4
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

When all is said and done, The Heike Story Episode 4 delivers a pivotal plot moment for the story that steers the series in a direction I did not see coming. The greater emphasis on the music in this episode only further enhances the artistic beauty of this series.