I find FUNimation's synopsis of Donten ni Warau to be just exactly right, for both fans and the uninitiated.
When swords were outlawed in the eleventh year of the Meiji Era, the mighty samurai population began to dwindle. Those who rejected the ban on blades rebelled, causing violent unrest to erupt throughout the countryside. To combat the rise in criminal activity, an inescapable lake prison was constructed. Three young men, born of the Kumoh line, were given the duty of delivering criminals to their place of confinement—but could there be more to their mission than meets the eye?
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You see, I watched this anime when I was very much into the supernatural genre and I really had a great time watching the episodes. I'm not much of a manga reader, so my timeline is quite different from those who became loyal to Donten via the original source. What I like most about it is the interaction between the Kumoh brothers - they have such distinct personalities. Even the supporting characters can be quite fascinating - the Yamainu Squad and of course, Shirasu Kinjo.
When the casting of Sota Fukushi as Tenka Kumoh was announced, it was such a disappointment! [ Read Kaye casting news here ]
I dunno really why they could cast such an incompetent actor to play such an intriguing lead, but hey, it's a done deal. Johnny's Yuma Nakayama & Kirato Wakayama are to play the two other brothers. Nakayama is just Ok for me, have seen him in a few shows (Pin to Kona, being one of them). The casting of Yuki Furukawa is great news, though his role may be quite limited...
Let's talk more about the 3 lead characters...
Tenka is the eldest of the three Kumō brothers, as well as the 14th head of the shrine. He is both the father and mother figure to his younger brothers after the death of their parents. When in combat, Tenka is known to be strong enough to defeat dozens of prisoners in an instant with nothing but a fan, as well as being quick on his feet. He refuses to let his siblings take part in any battles, always rescuing them from dangerous situations. He shows symptoms of being the Orochi's vessel, and is promptly prosecuted without a trial, but is later revealed to be alive under the protection of the police. After fighting against the Orochi and Fuma ninjas (including Shirazu and his younger brother), he sustained wounds that left him to use a wheelchair, unable to walk again.
Soramaru is the second eldest of the Kumō family. His elder brother, Tenka, entrusted him with the family's twin swords, which he practices with every day. Even throughout combat and practice, the swords remained in their sheath. Soramaru also struggles with the fact that he is weaker than Tenka, not being able to be recognized as a strong man who is worthy of protecting his household. He suffers from memory loss due to the childhood trauma of witnessing his parents' murder and nearly being strangled to death. This experience also causes him to develop an extreme aversion to having his neck touched. After Tenka's alleged death, Chutaro's disappearance and Shirasu's betrayal, Soramaru's negative feelings causes his mental state to deteriorate and he eventually turns into the real vessel of the Orochi. Later, with Nishiki, Chutaro, and Tenka´s help, Orochi is separated from Soramaru, and with Sousei Abeno´s Katana, and Chutaro and Takeda´s help, kills the Orochi once for all.
The youngest of the family, Chutaro is the fastest of the brothers when it comes to speed. He also has a friendly relationship with the shrine's tanuki. After learning that Tenka was actually not the real vessel of the Orochi and has died for nothing, he decides to seek revenge and leaves the Kumō Shrine with Kogami Naoto. Later, he discovers that Tenka is still alive, and reforms his way. He cooperates with Soramaru and Takeda in the finishing blow to kill Orochi.
Now imagine Fukushi playing the role... ? The second brother's character is the most challenging of all, and I also wonder if Nakayama can do some justice...
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Another casting news, Renn Kiriyama, a personal bias, plays Shirasu Kinjo, an inconsistent actor, maybe it depends on what sort of role he's to play. Remember that Kiriyama used to be co-lead with Masaki Suda in Kamen Rider and look at the difference between the two! Suda went on to become a dramatic actor, while Kiriyama remains on the sidelines...
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Speaking of Masaki Suda, I was totally blown away by his performance in Pink and Gray! This time, he's romancing Nana Komatsu in Drowning Love. Be warned, though, the manga was reported to be quite "disturbing", perhaps because of the characters? If you want a sampling of what manga readers have to say...
This story, is unique out of ALL the romance stories i've read so far. Which is over 300! (yeah i have no life sorry)
First of all. The guy. He is really good! Kyou sure knows how to get a woman to fall in love. lol. He isn't the type of bad- boy that just blushes or something, he IS a bad boy i know, but he is different unlike no other.
The heroine, she isnt a CRYBABY SHOUJO OMG. or that pure/innocent goody too-shoes. I really like this story overall. its great, a work of art.
unlike ANYTHING you've read so far.
trust me [ source ]
Screen Daily remarked:
... the film revolves around a successful Tokyo teenage model who moves to the countryside and falls in love with a member of a prominent family of Shinto priests. [ read more ]
That's about it for now! What do you think of both casting buzz?