TV Shows

Review of the Netflix series ‘Ōoku: The Inner Chambers’

Obscene and sometimes deaf. This alternate Japanese history may soon be forgotten.

Director: Noriyuki Abe | Cast (voices): Eriko Matsui (Tokugawa Iemetsu), Mamoru Miyano (Madenokōji Arikoto), Jun Fukuyama (Sutezō), Kikuko Inoue (Kasuga no Tsubone), Sanae Kobayashi (Tokugawa Yoshimune), ea | Episodes: 10 | Time to play: 79-25 minutes | Year: 2023

Ōoku: The Inner Chambers tells an alternate history of Japan. In this anime, the country has been hit with a vicious disease that attacks young men, and soon three-quarters of the population are women. This upsets the balance of power. After a while, women take over society and men are reduced to valuable possessions that are sometimes even traded. The shogun woman’s palace is filled with three thousand men with whom she can do as she pleases.

The series mainly shows the hard life of these languid men. They are told that they are doing a very honorable job, but most will not even see the shogun and will become cold and bitter. This internal battle between honorable duty and personal happiness is interesting, but only occasionally explored. That’s something the series tends to do: every interesting setting has little effect.

This anime is strongest when it comes to gender roles and positions of power. In this alternate narrative, the power rests entirely with women, but at times it becomes painfully clear how men feel about it. And where possible, they still abuse their position as men. Many view the female shogun as a surrogate mother who can continue the family line. For both sides and genders, the hardships and injustice that comes with it are discussed in more detail.

unfortunately spoiled Ōoku: The inner chambers however, this interesting fact is hidden behind the shock factor all too often. The entire series is so depressing, especially the first half, that it becomes a heavy seat. While this fits the theme, it’s admittedly a bit too happy. Rape and assault are presented as an everyday occurrence, but contribute little to the story. This feels a bit cheap and detracts from the story.

Despite the intense moments, the series is still an extremely boring whole. The scenes are often too long and the dialogues are endless, without the necessary development of the story or the characters. What doesn’t help are the washed out colors and completely static images in which only the mouths move.

The pacing and layout also leave a lot to be desired. The first episode is almost an hour and a half long and shows the current situation in Japan. The episodes that follow tell the true story and show how it happened. These episodes sometimes have a strange interpretation by following long and deadly boring scenes with sudden time jumps of a year. This makes it hard to get caught up in the moment. The many time jumps and the focus on characters who haven’t been in the picture before make it often unclear.

The melodrama is top-notch, especially when it comes to the romance in the series. It is a great glorification of what appears to be pure Stockholm Syndrome. It feels deaf in conjunction with the layered view of the genre. The voice acting does do a good job though, but that’s not enough to save this messy and raunchy series. A pity, because there was so much more to it. Ōoku: The inner chambers.


Ōoku: The inner chambers can be seen in Netflix.

Ritika Prasher

Hey! What's going on with TV Shows? I'll tell you. I am a TV show enthusiast that has watched over 500 TV shows and counting. I have the inside scoop on what to watch on Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, Hulu and more. Every TV show you want to binge watch, I've seen it. Want to know more about me, send me a mail at : [email protected]
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