Beauty and Brutality – Shōgun is Now on Hulu

Shogun FX Review

Based on the 1975 book by James Clavell, Shōgun is again making its way to the small screen, with a new adaptation by FX in 10 10-episode miniseries. While based on a historical fiction novel, the story of Shōgun is coming to the screen with a rich and historical approach to the 17th-century Japanese story. While the story of Shōgun is interesting, one could easily be pulled into the show with the historically accurate architecture, clothing, customs, and ceremonies. It is almost like opening a window to look into the past.

Shōgun starts as a Portuguese ship washes up on the coast of Japan after being stranded at sea for weeks. Now in a new land where they don’t speak the language, and where the locals believe them to be heathens – the ship pilot, John Blackthorne, is taken hostage and brought to the imperial court as a prisoner. He soon finds himself as a bargaining chip by the regents of the court and his life depends on Lord Yoshii Toranaga’s success in keeping his seat on the regents and staying alive himself.

The show highlights the different perspectives between both the Japanese and the Portuguese sailors. Focusing on how both groups perceive the other, and how those perceptions are both stereotypes as well as proven right again and again with the brutality that they enact on each other. Their cultures clash and with the tensions between them, it’s hard to see that theirs going to be any way that the two cultures are going to come to a common ground.

Shōgun seems to wrap the brutal 17th century and tortured deaths in between the beautiful culture. It can be intense at times and may not be casual watchers – but the production of Shōgun is better than most of the movies that have made it to the theater so far this year.

The first two episodes of Shogun are now streaming on Hulu. While the original version is in Japanese with subtitles and English (in place of Portuguese), there is an English dubbed version available as well. This allows fans of the book and the last adaptation in 1980 to watch it without any dubbed sections. But the English dubbed version opens the series up to a larger audience who may not be a fan of subtitles.

The show is a mixture of history, beauty, and brutality and it will be interesting to see the series unfold.

Overall Rating:

Four Star Review

About Shōgun

Based on James Clavell’s novel, FX’s Shōgun is set in Japan in the year 1600 at the dawn of a century-defining civil war. Lord Yoshii Toranaga is fighting for his life as his enemies on the Council of Regents unite against him, when a mysterious European ship is found marooned in a nearby fishing village.


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