REVIEW: ‘The Heike Story,” Episode 8

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The Heike Story Episode 8 - But Why Tho

The Heike Story is an adventure/drama anime inspired by a 12th-century epic story produced by Science SARU. With the Heike Clan’s patriarch dead, the clan struggles to maintain the strength that propelled it to the pinnacle of Japanese politics. With their enemies sensing their weakness, the Heike need a victory to stem the tides. Meanwhile, Biwa wanders the land, searching for her lost mother in The Heike Story Episode 8.

With the last episode’s pivotal moment for the Hieke Clan, this episode sees how the clan attempts to move past the loss of the architect of their power. As is often the case, such a personality is not easy to replace. But the clan must move forward. Seeing an opportunity to re-establish their dominance, the Heike send out an army to squash their latest rival for power.

Absent from the last episode, The Heike Story Episode 8 sees the return of the beautifully haunting musical interpretation of a key moment in the fortunes of the Heike. To the strands of the series trademark biwa, we see the event play out in this crucial moment in the tale. It is my favorite aspect of the series and it was wonderful to see it return.

While the return of the artistic flair to the series was most appreciated, the star of the episode must once again be Tokuko. As she and her rapidly growing son, the Emperor, are forced to ride the tides of fortune with the Heike Clan, Tokuko and her child continually deliver the most human elements to this side of the episode. That the two who have had the least to do with the clan’s machinations are also the most tangled in the web is a saddening situation.

Apart from directly following the fortunes of the Heike, The Heike Story Episode 8 also follows the now outcast Biwa. Having visited some people she knew before she was taken in by Lord Shigemori, Biwa learns the location of an older woman who has the same unique eyes as her. Suspecting the woman to be her lost mother, Biwa begins a trek across the countryside in search of the woman.

While Biwa has a couple of nice encounters with those random individuals she meets along her travels, the bulk of this episode’s time with her feels largely like filler. The show just needs to get Biwa to where she is going. Whether or not that place is found by the end of the episode is uncertain, as this story leaves Biwa in a minor cliff-hanger.

While the visual presentation is strengthened this week by the aforementioned return to its artistic strengths, its weaknesses have also become more noticeable here. With more time passing, the changes characters undergo visually often leave some difficulty with telling who is who. More than once I wasn’t sure who someone was till someone named them.

When all is said and done, The Heike Story Episode 8 delivers another overall strong episode. I felt for Tokuko and her child as I watched their fates dominated by forces beyond their control. All the while, I continue to be curious to discover where the story will lead our young protagonist in her wandering.

The Heike Story Episode 8 is streaming on Funimation.


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

TL;DR

When all is said and done, The Heike Story Episode 8 delivers another overall strong episode. I felt for Tokuko and her child as I watched their fates dominated by forces beyond their control. All the while, I continue to be curious to discover where the story will lead our young protagonist in her wandering.