REVIEW: ‘The Heike Story,’ Episode 6

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The Heike Story Episode 6 - But Why Tho

The Heike Story is an adventure/drama anime inspired by a 12th-century epic story produced by Science SARU. With Kiyomori consolidating the Heike’s power by moving the capital to Fukuhara, the patriarch hopes to ensure his clan’s continued dominance. But even as the Heike’s star seems to be on the rise, a new threat is soon on the march to challenge them. And without Shigemori to lead the armies, Kiyomori looks to another family member to walk in his footsteps in The Heike Story Episode 6.

Few things set me off more than when someone who can’t handle violence is made to feel like they are less of a person for it. Violence of any kind, let alone full-scale war, is a terrible thing that is generally loved only by those who haven’t experienced it. For someone to be made for things other than war isn’t a sign of weakness. Fighting is, at times, a necessity. But for someone to be expected to face such things with courage and strength simply because of their gender is, and always will be, ridiculous. The Heike Story Episode 6 reaffirms this stance for me once again.

The Heike Story Episode 6 opens with the late Shigemori’s children, along with Biwa, preparing to leave their home for the new capital in Fukuhara. Upon arriving at their new home, they are greeted by a relative who grants them a kind welcome. This opening brings some familial warmth to the episode as the siblings squabble about mundane matters like who is bringing too much or too little for their imminent move and the simple kindness of a pleasant beginning in a new home. This bit of relaxed conversation helps the viewer ease into what quickly becomes a weighty story.

As the family settles in at the new capital, everyone decides to have dinner under the moon. There is lots of star-gazing and music as the family tries to relax. But despite the calm of the moment, talk of war and past deeds cannot help but come up. It is during this scene that a growing problem with The Heike Story has a spotlight shined on it—the passage of time.

During this sequence, someone mentions it has been a whole year since Shigemori died. While there have been battles and travel during the two episodes since the event occurred, it seems plausible that so much time could’ve passed. The problem is, if the line had not been uttered, I would’ve thought maybe a couple of months at most had gone by. Unfortunately, with so little visual change in characters or the environments, the passage of time feels impossible to discern in this series.

After this quiet moment under the stars, The Heike Story Episode 6 gets to the meat of its story as a new opponent challenges the Heike’s power. Kiyomori decides to send Shigemori’s son Koremori to lead the Heike army to respond to this rising threat. Having already shown less than stellar aptitude for combat, Kyomori is the only person who seems to think this is a good idea.

The Heike Story Episode 6 handling of the ensuing battle and aftermath flows as one would expect at this point. The major moment of the story is presented through a lyrical sequence where the events are song to the viewer.  The reactions and emotions in the battle’s aftermath are, in some cases, also sadly predictable. And through it all, Biwa herself remains the emotional touchstone for the audience. Her outsider perspective continues to shine a harsh light on the flaws and contradictions in the way the Heike’s world works.

The animation continues to showcase both its strengths and weaknesses. While its simple elegance is still there to enjoy, its failings to clearly define its elements seem to only grow with each episode.

So, when all is said and done, The Heike Story Episode 6 delivers a tale that opens softly and ends with the harsh realities of war. Unfortunately, while I continue to look forward to experiencing the story of the Heike, its visual shortcomings continue to hold the show back from what it might’ve been.

The Heike Story Episode 6 is streaming on Funimation.


The Heike Story Episode 6
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

The Heike Story Episode 6 delivers a tale that opens softly and ends with the harsh realities of war. Unfortunately, while I continue to look forward to experiencing the story of the Heike, its visual shortcomings continue to hold the show back from what it might’ve been.