1 September 2008 | bigpaulshy
2007's Japanese NHK Taiga drama Furin Kazan aka Samurai Banners contains everything you could want in this type of series- characters, action, intrigue, philosophy etc delivered by a superb cast. This is the story of a one-eyed limping ronin called Yamamoto Kansuke whose expertise in military tactics & strategy brings about the rise of the Takeda Clan. While most films made on the subject focus on the warlord Takeda Shingen, Kansuke is very much the focus here. The series is set during the turbulent Warring States Period in the mid-16th century when provincial warlords were constantly attacking each other. The benefits of sound strategy were immense & Kansuke's shrewd manipulation of the enemy reaps dividends for Takeda Shingen. It would be pointless to try to explain any more of the plot - the series spans 50 episodes of 45mins each! Everything from the storyline to the direction to the acting recommends this as one of the finest of the annual NHK dramas. Uchino Masaaki is superb as the wily Kansuke while Gackt turns in a spellbinding performance as the mystical Lord of Echigo. After each episode is a short documentary describing the modern-day sites of the battles/castles/shrines portrayed in the series but be warned! These often give away information not yet shown in the series & can act as a spoiler. Apart from that, Excellent Stuff.