Episode 1 : Joshi and Kashi (Upper Class and Lower Class)[「上士と下士」]
It was 70 minutes long of the usual 45 minutes episode. At one episode per week, I must say it will be pretty badly paced series since no one can wait a week! Will it hurt the storytelling? Maybe the Japanese are used to this sort of pacing. I am not. But aside from the pacing. I wish you could see the opening theme scene. I will hunt down the youtube video if there is one and post it here. It is long but it is gorgeous. A mix of pictures, scenes and computer imagery, it quickly establishes the tone of the series; one that is gorgeous to look at. The cinematography is excellent, some scenes were bright, at least from my Keyhole TV perspective and frankly even at that crappy quality it looked so beautiful, imagine your plasma TV! The sets look authentic, the costumes great, the make up not so. It would seem Taiga series don't require make up! The story starts with a young Ryoma and I was very surprised that was it. Meaning young Ryoma appears in first half and that was it! Frankly young Ryoma should have the privilege like young Dae Janggeum in Jewel In The Palace; show more of the young story first to establish an emotional root with the audience so that when the mother dies from exhaustion plus illness, we feel something for young Ryoma. I felt for him but that is because his mother died. I didn't feel that emotional link. I didn't even know young Ryoma and then he grew up into 19 year old Fukuyama Masaharu. I know I want to see Masha more but I hope for even paced storyline for young Ryoma. The young boy looks so beautiful but acting wise a bit stiff. I thought the other young actor was better, the one who plays Ryoma's rival/friend/love-hate sort of relationship, Iwasaki Yataro (which I read is the founder of Mitsubishi? Wow!). The very first scene we see Iwasaki being informed of Ryoma's assassination and the reaction on the actor's face was superb acting actually. He laughed and yet he cried, which quickly establishes the sort of relationship he has with Ryoma, his rival in love and life. The story is told through Iwasaki Yataro's eyes by the way. Then flashback we see young Ryoma as I have mentioned and then about 30 minutes later we see a happy go lucky Ryoma who doesn't seem to be concerned with anything. Actually he does. He cares but he can't show much because his mother's death made him into sort of guy who doesn't seek confrontation, who doesn't want trouble. We see his clan being bullied by higher ranked samurais, we see him bowing to their demands, we see him as a coward when in actual fact he isn't. He just wants to get by without a fight. We see him being teased into kendo fighting and we see that he actually is the best fighter but he chose not to. We see Iwasaki Yataro, at present a poor lowly ranked guy, so dirty and in love with Ryoma's childhood friend who is in love with Ryoma who probably doesn't know that yet. We see Iwasaki Yataro hating Ryoma for everything and we see him eager to learn to read and write if I am not mistaken. And then his teacher died of a heart attack or something and disappointed he drank and ran into those annoying higher ranked gangster like samurais who just kill as they like and we see Ryoma coming to his rescue and Iwasaki Yataro wasn't very appreciative of it. So remembering young Ryoma as someone weak, cries and scared of frogs, here we have the grown Ryoma who is not exactly fearless but does what he has to do when the time calls for it. I think that defines a hero; when at the time it is required of you to act valiantly, how would you react? What Ryoma chose to do defines him as a man. Ryoma saved the day for Iwasaki Yataro and I think that begins his grudging respect for Ryoma and a lifelong rivalry that borders on hatred and yet friendship, I suppose.
Click Read More for plot points explained and download links.
Thanks to Mashamasha of MashaPlus Info Forums finally found out! I should have just asked earlier! Very interesting ...
What did his mother said to him before she collapsed in the rain?
aka 1. when his mother died, what did she say to young Ryoma that made him defend himself against the world with his cheerfulness and obedience?
she said it is so good that the upper class samurai does not kill them and let them go, she said she would protect little ryoma with her life
And what did he say at the bridge that made everyone cry?
aka 2. What did he say to Iwasaki Yataro after the fall into the pond that made everybody sit up and listen to him?
He said everyone believes that the class discrimination in Tosa will never change, the lower class samurai does not have future in this city, and he said he does not believe it. He said this class discrimination will disappear in future (according to the drama, Tosa is the only place at that time which has such severe class discrimination)
And more plot points explained ...
Yes, it is mentioned in the last part of ep 1, where ryoma looking at the sea with his sister (on the question why Ryoma wanted to go to Edo in Episode 2, modern day Tokyo). His sister knows ryoma's thoughts as she is also there when ryoma talks to yataro under the bridge. She told him that tosa is such a tiny place (tiny = in japanese it is chiisai, and in tosa local lanugage, it is konmai, so they both keep saying konmai at the end), and the answer ryoma is looking for may not be found in tosa. This makes ryoma want to go to outside world. Here are my own interpretation: the answer mentioned here is the answer to ryoma's question: how the class discrimination can disappear. When ryoma told yataro he believes the class discrimination in tosa will disappear on one day, yataro asked him how it can happen, and ryoma replied (where he cried) he does not know, he thinks of this question everyday but he does not know (and i think this part is also a response to the previous part where his sister asked ryoma what he is thinking of everyday).
Ryoma called yataro aho (idiot) as he thinks yataro should not risk his life for such meaningless dispute with the upper class samurai. The reason why ryoma believes the class discrimination in tosa will disappear is because of his mother. His mother successfully convinced the upper class samurai to lower down his son's sword, she makes ryoma believe that things can change. He also learnt from his mother that hatred cannot make anything happen.
So that was the glimsp of the future great Ryoma we shall see.
Apart from that, I kinda understood the story even if I was huh huh huh when it comes to ranking and people. And that is because of my lack of knowledge on Japanese culture at that time and Sakamoto Ryoma himself.
Watch Ryoma-Den through Keyhole TV. Find out how here.
OPENING THEME VIDEO & DOWNLOAD LINK
Generally, people think the first episode is quite radical. The cinematographer (where it uses tons of different angles and it moves quite fast+ the colour filter they used) the script (it's a flashback), heck, even the opening. The taiga fans feel it's different from what they used to. There's lack of female narration, for once. And I believe lack of 'stage-acting'. It's more action-oriented and they're not too sure if it sits well with the older taiga-viewers generation. Note: The last Ryoma taiga, Ryoma ga Yuku (1968) achieved a rating of 14.8%.
There's a few torrent sources for you to choose now! One ordinary but still great quality and the other HD, super clear quality! Both RAW meaning no subtitles in any language. Soft subs are now available. Just scroll further down for the links.
TORRENT AND DOWNLOAD LINKS
Note on resolutions. The higher the clearer and the bigger the file size. For me any version is ok as long as it is clear. ALL RAW FILES.
Resolution of 720x480 : Here
The episode itself is 966MB and quality isn't top notch for serious torrent-ers but for me this is decent quality since no big deal. Very generous of this uploader for his effort and he even promised he will concentrate on the subbed versions if any. I hope it is true!
Or you can right click the link below which is the direct link to the torrent file itself and choose Save As or Save Target As ...
Go here to thank the great grzegorzbrzenczyszc for doing this!
1280X720 resolution can be found here with the torrent link here and download the torrent file here [right click and choose save target as or save as]
What the hell is a torrent?
No familiar with what the heck is torrent? No worries. I wrote a short guide on how to start downloading. Click here.
Typically divided into widescreen and full screen version. I've tried the full screen version on another version not listed above and the timing was perfect. So if any of the above starts and ends the same place, without any commercials in between, the subs would technically work for any video version. Download both and choose the one that is timed to your copy. It doesn't necessarily mean that resolution or that widescreen/full screen version to that subtitle file. Format is .ass. Mac users please use VLC to watch.
French soft subs be downloaded from here (scroll to bottom, look for the heading "Version Française" and download corresponding episodes). It is however at Megaupload where those from banned countries can try accessing using Hotspot Shield. I think tyhe French subs are meant to be used with Luna14's release.
Ideally for 720X480 video resolution. Click here and find the corresponding episode.
ENGLISH HARD SUBS/OFFICIAL RELEASE
Click here to thank the uploader, here to download and here, here or here for the torrent links (choose save as or save target as)
Source 1 Chinese subbed
Text says the uploader intends to English sub it. Hopefully! Anyway the link here. Click play TWICE.
The comments in ( ) is by Izumisano herself, I suppose to explain what is going on.
Part 1 : http://mashaheart.net/2010/01/21/ryomaden-episode-1-20100103-part-1/
Part 2 : http://mashaheart.net/2010/01/23/ryomaden-episode-1-20100103-part-2/