Heike Monogatari, also known as The Heike Story, is a web animation series from Japan. It’s based on Hideo Furukawa’s 2016 modern Japanese translation of The Tale of the Heike, a 13th-century historical epic about the Taira clan’s rise and fall.
The anime series is directed by Naoko Yamada and is produced by Science SARU studios. It was released on the Japanese web streaming platform Fuji TV and Funimation’s streaming service on September 16, 2021. It has been set for airing on January 2022 over Fuji TV’s +Ultra.
Synopsis of Heike Monogatari
Japan’s Genpei War (1180–1185), a horrific civil war that tore the kingdom apart, is the backdrop of the story. The clan on focus is the Taira clan, also known as the Heike, who are striving for dominion over the other clans.
The narrative unravels through the eyes of Biwa. She has the power to see the future through her right eye. The heir of the Taira clan takes her in after the terrible death of her father. In an attempt to follow in her father’s footsteps to death, she tells a prophecy about the Taira clan’s downfall. Concerned about his clan, Shigemori takes Biwa with him – with the hope that her powers would help avert his clan’s fall.
Major Characters and their storyline
Biwa – The central character in Heike Monogatari
Biwa is a young girl who travels the country with his father. She plays the Biwa, which is a Japanese musical instrument, and dresses like a boy. She has one blue and one brown eye. The blue one on the right holds the power to see the future, which her father forbids her to do.
Her father, Biwa hōshi, is a blind man. One day, Biwa unintentionally insults the Taira clan in front of Kaburo Boys, who are the enforcers of the Taira clan. Furious by her actions, the Kaburo Boys kill Biwa hōshi as her punishment. This leaves Biwa as an orphan. Following her father’s death, she comes across Taira no Shigemori.
Taira no Shigemori
Shigemori is the eldest son of Kiyomori – the leader of the Taira clan. He is a thoughtful, level-headed, and responsible individual. He holds the posts of Palace Minister and Left Commander. Koremori, Sukemori, Kiyotsune, and Arimori are his four children. People mockingly refer to him as “the Lantern Lord”, as he keeps his mansion well-lit at night.
Like Biwa, he has a supernatural vision. At night, with his left eye, he sees the ghosts of those who died in the war. Using his ability, Shigemori learns of his clan’s role in the assassination of Biwa’s father. As a way of taking responsibility for his clan’s role in Biwa’s orphanage, he plans to look after and raise her. He also hopes that Biwa would help him save his clan, with the help of her power. Biwa agrees to go with him, but she refuses to use her ability to assist the clan that murdered her father.
Taira no Kiyomori
Kiyomori is the Taira clan’s chief. He is a driven and brave leader who oversaw the clan’s rise to prominence, following the suppression of the Hougen Rebellion. He intends to relocate to Fukuhara in order to construct a deep-water port. This will increase the clan’s wealth and influence through trade.
Despite becoming a monk, he still commands power. His erratic behaviour causes problems for the clan and Shigemori, his eldest son and heir. He is the one who disrespects the Emperor’s regent, humiliating him and his men by surrounding their procession and forcing them to cut off their topknots. This forces the regent to order him cruelly beaten. Many regards this to be the start of the Heike’s sinking fortunes.
Taira no Tokuko
She is Shigemori’s half-sister, who befriends Biwa. She gets engaged to Norihito, son of the Emperor of the Kingdom.
Heike Monogatari was almost certainly going to be more intriguing than most anime. And it sure is! It can’t be rated by the conventional criteria because it doesn’t strive to do anything that the usual TV animes do. With some really amazing people working on this series, what’s coming next will be really interesting to see.