The Heike Story 2021
The Heike Story 2021
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The Heike Story 2021

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The Heike Story, 平家物語
Status: Completed Network: Studio: Released: 2021 Duration: 22 min. Season: Country: Type: TV Fansub: anime1st Censor: Censored Director: , Casts: , , , Posted by: micho Released on: Updated on:
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Synopsis The Heike Story 2021

The anime shows the war’s events through the perspective of Biwa, a young girl who makes a living as a traveling musician. Though blind, Biwa is gifted with the ability to see the future. She meets Taira no Shigemori, one of the patriarchs of the powerful Taira family, and tells him about the prophecy that may change the future of his clan. The Heike Story 2021 (Heike Monogatari, 平家物語) anime for free.

Heike Monogatari (The Heike Story, The Heike Monogatari Story, 平家物語) 2021 anime 2021 all full episodes for free in high-quality streaming.

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The Heike Story 2021

The Heike Story 2021

Before Watching The Heike Story, Here is Everything You Need to Know:

A young orphan named Biwa is taken in by the powerful Taira Clan—also known as the Heike—after their leader witnesses her extraordinary psychic abilities. Unfortunately, what she predicts is a future of bloodshed, violence, and civil war. The Heike Story is based on Hideo Furukawa‘s Heike Monogatari novel.

To begin with, this main character doesn’t exist in the original story, which is actually a collection of oral tales told by the blind Biwa Houshi storyteller monks.  They were compiled in written form in the 14th Century, and this series is loosely based on the translation by Furukawa Hideo (who also wrote the Heike-themed novel Yuasa Masaaki’s upcoming film Inu-oh is based on) – the first ever to present Heike Monogatari in modern Japanese.

In Japan, this is a very important series, where the source material is universally known and taught in schools.  The two species of Japanese firefly are called the Heike and the Genji after the Taira and Minamoto clans (Heike and Genji are alternative Kanji readings).  It must be said that this is “Heike Monogatari” – it’s the story of the Taira, not the Minamoto who battled them.

But the source material takes the form of a Buddhist parable, lessons on impermanence and arrogance and cruelty and forgiveness.  It judges, but it doesn’t take sides.  This anime can take many liberties (and already is) and still succeed, but that’s one element that it absolutely cannot twist around.  That’s the third rail.

The director is Yamada Naoko, one of the great lions of Kyoto Animation.  When one of those lions leaves KyoAni – especially now – that’s news.  The writer is Yoshida Reiko, who should certainly need no introduction to anime fans as she’s one of the foremost writers in the industry.

The music (and ED) is by Ushio Kensuke, outside of anime known by the stage name of agraph, and one of the most respected composers in the medium.  It’s a stellar group, and we know Science SARU is capable of great work.  We also know they’ve been in the news for adverse working conditions, and the cratering of the Nihon Chinbotsu 2020 production is evidence it’s been happening for a while.  In that sense, this show is a crapshoot.

The Heike Story Synopsis:

A young orphan named Biwa is taken in by the powerful Taira Clan—also known as the Heike—after their leader witnesses her extraordinary psychic abilities. Unfortunately, what she predicts is a future of bloodshed, violence, and civil war.

While I would obviously prefer it if Yoshida and Yamada had played it straight, they’ve chosen to recast the story around the original character of Biwa (Aoi Yuuki).  She’s the daughter of a blind man, presumably a Biwa Houshi, who’s killed by the Kaburo – the roving band of Taira pageboys who roamed the capital searching for offenses against the clan.

She also has one blue eye which can see the future, something her father forbade her to do.  That eye has seems the decline and fall of the Heike, which makes little sense given that they were at the height of power – dominating the imperial court, the military, and the provinces.

The Heike is centered around Taira no Kiyomori, the ambitious and fearless family head who shepherded the clan’s rise to power in the wake of their success suppressing the Hougen Rebellion.  He’s planning to move to Fukuhara – present-day Kobe (about 30 minutes by Shinkansen but a day’s ride in the Heian Era) to build a deep-water port and expand the clan’s wealth and power through trade.

He’s also planning to build an audacious shrine on the water at Miyajima, which would become Itsukushima Jinja – now a hugely popular pilgrimage site and tourist attraction.  He turns affairs in Kyoto over to eldest son Shigemori.  He also has a roving blue eye – though there’s no historical record of that actually being the case.

Eventually, the orphaned Biwa turns up at the Taira estate in Kyoto – to gloat, perhaps – but Shigemori sees the bond between them and takes a shine to her.  He takes her in as his ward alongside his four sons, the most important of which are the cultured eldest Koremori and second son Sukemori.

It’s he who sets off the event which many consider the start of the Heike’s declining fortunes by accidentally disrespecting the emperor’s regent, causing the regent to order him savagely beaten.

Shigemori is content to apologize and move on, but Kiyomori has other ideas and humiliates the regent and his men by surrounding their procession and forcing them to cut off their topknots.  The emperor is unsurprisingly less than pleased.

Opening Theme of The Heike Story:

Hikaru Toki (光るとき) by Hitsuji Bungaku (羊文学)

Ending Theme of The Heike Story:

Unified perspective by agraph feat. ANI (++SCHADARAPARR++ (スチャダラパー))

All Information about The Heike Story:

Type: TV
Episodes: Unknown
Status: Currently Airing
Aired: Sep 16, 2021, to?
Premiered: Fall 2021
Broadcast: Unknown
Licensors: Funimation
Studios: Science SARU
Source: Book
Theme: Historical
Duration: 22 min.
Rating: None

Official Website of The Heike Story:


The Heike Story 2021

The Heike Story

Characters from The Heike Story:

Main Characters from The Heike Story:

  • Biwa (びわ)

A psychic orphan is taken in by the powerful Taira Clan. Unfortunately, what she predicts is a future filled with violence and civil war.

Gender: Female
Hair Color: Black
 Rank #57,600
 Rank #210,546



Side Characters of The Heike Story:

  • Biwa’s Father

Biwa's Father

  • Shigemori Taira no (平重盛)

  • Gender: Male
  • Hair Color: Black
  •  Rank #89,765
  •  Rank #210,548
  • Eye color

Taira no Shigemori

  • Kiyomori Taira no (平清盛)

  • Tokuko Taira no (平徳子)

Watch a Video about The Heike Story First Impressions:

The Heike Story First Impressions:

So, for all that, how does this premiere episode actually work?  It’s superb for the most part – not quite transcendent, but certainly classy and often visually stunning.  If you’re going to shoehorn an original protagonist in, getting Aoi Yuuki doesn’t hurt, as she’s one of the best seiyuu around – but I still have my doubts about Biwa.

The cast seems strong generally, the music is lovely, and the direction and animation are quite striking.  It plays as more Science SARU than Kyoto Animation but there are elements of Yamada’s signature that slip through.  She employs a lot of live-action (her first love) techniques, and generally favors looseness and snap over gently flowing classicism.

There was almost no way Heike Monogatari wasn’t going to be an order of magnitude more interesting than most anime, and it is.  It can’t really be judged by the usual standard because it’s not trying to do things TV anime often do.

There are legit questions about Science SARU’s ability to sustain production, and if the reports of 11 episodes are true that’s not nearly enough time to do the source material justice – if indeed that’s something Yamada and Yoshida intend to try to do.

There’s also the matter of whether their original twist on a peerless source material will work, and we won’t know that answer for a while.  But this is certainly something special, something important, and something unique in anime.  Let’s hope we look back on it as something great, too.

Reviews of the First Episode of The Heike Story:

1. Review of The Heike Story Episode 1

Caitlin Moore
Rating: 5/5

For a while, I felt like one of a very small contingent of anime fans who didn’t care for Naoko Yamada‘s work. I found K-ON insipid, never got into Tamako Market, and couldn’t make it all the way through A Silent Voice even though I liked the manga.

However, when Heike Story was announced only a few short weeks before its premiere, I found myself intrigued – what would Yamada’s direction look like outside of Kyoto Animation‘s fairly limited aesthetic palette, at the more avant-garde studio Science SARU? What would result from a female director best known for intimate, female-focused stories, taking on a centuries-old military epic?

Turns out, whatever it is, I’m into it in a big way.

I’m not going to pretend to have more than the slightest familiarity with The Tale of Heike, the story of the multi-generational conflict between the Taira and Minamoto clans that rocked Heian-era Japan. That sentence right there?

That’s pretty much all I know, and even then I gleaned it from Wikipedia just before watching the episode. However, something tells me it’s not about a gender non-conforming biwa (Japanese lute) player that Shigemori, the son of the Taira patriarch, took in after his family’s thugs killed their father. And yet, here we are.

This is the kind of series where I could easily write an entire essay based just on the first episode; for someone like me, who loves critically analyzing anime, it’s practically a feast even as it’s clear to me that my ignorance of the source material will limit my understanding of even a loose adaptation like this.

Through Biwa, Yamada, and the veteran screenwriter, Reiko Yoshida looks to be challenging this ancient story of high-born masculine values with characters that exist on the margins of a highly patriarchal society.

What’s more, I feel like I finally get what the big fuss over Yamada is about. The close attention to body language — yes, including feet — deliberate frame composition and camera focus, and melding of sight and sound that she’s developed a reputation for are all on display here, with grittier art and storytelling that may very well appeal to those of us who always found KyoAni’s style a little too highly polished and distancing.

The voice cast is nothing but all-stars, from old-timers like Shigeru Chiba and Kikuko Inoue to more recently prominent names like Saori Hayami and Aoi Yūki.

Heike Story kicks off the fall season in an unbelievably powerful way, and the premieres that follow will be hard-pressed to meet its high bar. I can’t wait to see where it goes.

2. Review of The Heike Story Episode 1

Nicholas Dupree
Rating: 4/5

I’m of two major impressions on The Heike Story, as of their first two episodes. On the one hand, I feel decidedly under-educated and too out of the loop to understand its nuts & bolts story right now. I have no familiarity with the epic literature it’s adapting and/or re-imagining, and only a passing understanding of the history it’s built around.

Much of my experience with this early premiere was just piecing together the basics of the political jockeying going on around Biwa and her new family. I gather there’s a powerful family known as the Heike who have built considerable but controversial influence in the government, there are dueling alliances within the said family, and a strong undertone of the struggle between law and religion broiling underneath it all.

I imagine (and hope) things will get clearer as the series The Heike Story continues, but it has no patience for holding my hand, so I better start building a character chart to keep names straight, as right now the only way I can tell the two different bald old guys apart is by the width of their eyebrows.

Usually feeling that in over my head would be alienating for getting into a new show, and that’s partially true, but it’s largely counteracted by the sheer atmosphere and personality of the production. Naoko Yamada may be working with a new team and house style at Science SARU, but her dedication to delicate and expressive character animation is unmistakable.

SARU’s previous works have been generally experimental, often minimalist with their art design, but could at times feel too abstract or alienating in their simplicity. Here, combined with the warmth and humanity Yamada’s directorial eye brings, Heike Story is absolutely dripping with a welcoming, enveloping atmosphere.

Characters move and emote with an abiding gentleness that resonates through the screen in its strongest moments, so even if I don’t fully grok the particulars of what characters are talking about, the emotions at play are never in question.

That’s especially true of Biwa, the prophetic little girl at the center of this show, whom I gather is an addition unique to this production. Her visions of the future make for startling contrasts to the relatively peaceful and static present, most especially as her foresight gets the best of her at the end of episode two, and the violent destiny of her adoptive aunt plays out in chaotic snippets.

It’s that understated yet inescapable harshness that really sells the otherwise contemplative storytelling so far. The Heike Story may play at times like a dry political account, but Biwa’s prophecies and her fear assure us there is tumult on the horizon that will tear these pastoral moments to shreds far too soon. And with how human even the least developed of the cast feel already, that’s sure to be both heartbreaking and enthralling.

Altogether, I was very much taken by this The Heike Story premiere, even if I would struggle to explain the actual plot. But the magic of animation is that, with the right delivery, you can overcome near any culture gap and become enthralled nonetheless. And with production as rock-solid as we have here, this is definitely one to watch.

3. Review of The Heike Story Episode 1

Richard Eisenbeis
Rating: 4.5/5

The Heike Story is one of the classics of Japanese literature. It is a historical epic set in the twelfth century that follows the Taira family’s rise to power and subsequent fall to ruin. On one hand, it is a heroic story filled with all the fighting and drama you would expect. On the other hand, it is also a story centered on Buddhist themes such as duty and Dharma.

One interesting thing about the original tale is that it is part of an oral storytelling tradition—that of the Biwa Hōshi. The Biwa Hōshi played their lute-like biwa instruments as they recited the tale across the centuries, which brings us to The Heike Story. The anime is told from the viewpoint of our fictional protagonist “Biwa”—the young Biwa Hōshi who would go on to create the epic after living through it.

The first episode of The Heike Story introduces us to Biwa, explaining her past and how she becomes involved in the story. Biwa is a surprisingly complex character. She is torn between wanting revenge for her murdered father and the kindness Shigemori gives to her.

More than that, the two share a true emotional connection due to their supernatural eyes; Shigemori is perhaps the only one that can understand the pain and loneliness that comes from seeing what others can’t. Thus, the anime clearly establishes Biwa’s dilemma from the start: does she do nothing and get her revenge on the Taira, or does she fight fate and try to save the one Taira worth saving?

The second episode of The Heike Story is where it gets personal. As country-changing events happen around her, Biwa gets something she thought she lost: a family. Through her relationship with Tokuko, she comes to accept those good things can happen in the future.

Moreover, both she and Shigemori learn to appreciate the present despite being haunted by specters of the past and visions of the future. It’s both a heart-wrenching and beautiful episode. However, it also highlights the glaring issue with the series The Heike Story.

While the emotional core of the series is easy to understand, the political ongoings are not. Names, places, priest orders, familial relationships, means of punishment, and asking for forgiveness—all of this is treated as if it’s obvious common knowledge.

And while this may be less of an issue to the average Japanese viewer thanks to general education and cultural osmosis, it’s a barrier to entry for the rest of us. Honestly, to get the most out of this show The Heike Story, you’ll likely need to pause constantly to take notes. Still, that’s a small price to pay for an amazing retelling of one of Japan’s great classics.

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