Ryoma-Den [Episode 1] : [P][R][D][V][RR][YT][SUBS-ALL]

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UPDATES - 11.05.2011
Added link to Spanish sub 

UPDATES - 31.03.2010
All information added such as ratings, reviews, plot summary, episode summary, torrent and download links, English softsub/fansub, dialogue translation, official hardsub, links to online viewing as well as French soft subs!. Post reverted back to original airdate. However this post may still be updated if there is any new sources to add.

Did you watch Episode 1? What were your thoughts? Do share with me! The following is mine and since I am very blur on everything, I don't consider this an episodic thought. Just a short review.

04 January 2010 7pm Malaysian time
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.

Last scene we see a big ship of Commander Perry (got the name from the forums!) and heading to Japan. I suppose what Ryoma did next defines him as a legend.

And you have to wait 1 week for episode no. 2! Such a long wait!!

Acting wise, I didn't think it was excellent. These are Japanese sort of acting, either too restrained or over the top but for this setting it works wonderfully except for the actress playing Ryoma's love interest. I hate the mousy breathy voice (she's the same actress in Galileo in one of the episode about the haunted house and she was the wife in Okuribito-her name escapes me this time). The actress who plays Ryoma's sister was fearless and brave. Her younger self actually took it upon herself to train Ryoma when he was scolded for crying and being weak! Masha himself gave an elegant and understated performance. Other actors were of course better than him as actors, they stood out but for a character that is looking rather cowardly at first, rather weak and in the background, Masha stood out quickly. I love that one scene where he was challenged with Kendo, he won, went back to his back porch and sat alone with a stick and he rose up and held that stick and fling it like a kendo sort of thing. He knew how to fight, he chose not to. It was beautifully filmed and no dialogue but you see his Ryoma, you feel his Ryoma. And for that I felt Masha was rightly cast because he is always excellent in those quiet scenes where his character is being reflective, and though Masha is not a believable 19 year old, to be able to carry that scene where he has a sad past and with such heavy burden, the guilt of his mother's death, his reluctance to step out and all, requires age and wisdom and no 19 year old can really carry that scene well. Masha did. Moreover, he does look good for a 40 year old, I buy him as a 25 year old guy. 19 is a bit of a stretch but who cares?! He is Fukuyama Masaharu and he will play 19 to the end of the series! I have a feeling if he was any shorter, he would have played the kid Ryoma too!

And mind you the above recap is from someone who doesn't understand what was said! So the story was easy to follow and if you have watched a lifetime of TVB series concerning costume series and reluctant heroes and such, believe me, the 1st episode would be a breeze for you because that is the core of the story. An ordinary guy doing extraordinary things and thus led an eventful life becoming a legend. However I wished I could understand 2 scenes;

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?

2. What did he say to Iwasaki Yataro after the fall into the pond that made everybody sit up and listen to him?

Arghhhh! I wish I knew!!

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.

I hope the Ryoma die hard fans would be pleased with his performance. Masha needs a bit of warming up to as an actor. I realise some will say he was terrible but like I said in my Suspect X and Galileo reviews, if you appreciate subtlety, Masha is your kind of actor. He's not a bad actor. He is in fact a very good actor and have he concentrated more in this area I have no doubt this charismatic actor would have been a character actor. It is just that he is rather subtle and sometimes just because you don't throw a chair when you're angry or knock on the table when you're happy doesn't make you a bad actor. It just makes for better viewing because I am sick of over the top actors. Of course not doing anything doesn't make you a subtle actor, you can be a bad actor too. Watch as many TVB, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, English, whatever series as I have for the past decades, you too will see that much of differences. Of course I may be biased. He can stand there and I could still stare at him. If there is any consolation to that part of you that dismisses everything I am trying to say, well, he is way better singer/songwriter (NOW not then) than as an actor. I am sure some may even say he is a better radio DJ and entertainment personality or just that handsome dude than a singer. I understand now which took me years to understand; it is ok to be biased as a fan. Just try not to dismiss before seeing/hearing I suppose. I really do understand the fans of actors/singer who are often branded terrible even after decades in the entertainment scene. Doesn't make them better singers or actors now but I feel for their fans and their constant need and fight to justify their faithfulness to their favourite stars by justifying the greatness of their stars by justifying their body of work. For Masha, I don't need to do that for his music but his acting may require a bit of justification. I don't mind that, which is the purpose of this blog anyway and why it is branching out from just music. Also innately I know failing all that, 20 years of popularity and sell out concerts can't just be based on his good looks alone so his longevity and the fact that he is MORE popular now than back then is proof enough. Ok, naysayers can dismiss all they want, he is still at the very least a very tall handsome young looking 40 year old oyaji (his nickname at the MashaPlus Info Forums)!

If I do find the torrent for this episode, subbed or unsubbed I will post it here so do remember to bookmark this post!

Watch Ryoma-Den through Keyhole TV. Find out how here.

This is the opening theme scene for Ryoma Den. Looks great! Download using Clipnabber fast!

Thanks to River of MashaPlus Info Forums we all now know the pilot episode garnered to me a rather respectable 23.2%. Further, this is what River has to report ...

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%.

Some reports did highlighted that the ratings was lower than a certain other series, I believe which also has the character Ryoma in it but again the number to be is pretty respectable. And it won the ratings war I believe with other TV stations showing other shows at the same time. Moreover if the ratings were to take into account those watching from Keyhole TV, foreigners as well as those who WANTS to watch the series, it will be higher but alas, ratings only from Japanese household. Generally I noticed fans of Masha were happy with his performance. I was.

So far none. Apparently NHK no longer license to American Satellite TV so that means subbed version is none. Hopefully die hard taiga fansubbers who are also die hard Masha fan might take up the challenge.

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.

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!

Resolution of 1920 X 1080 : Here
The episode itself is 966MB and this is the highest quality there is. I could even see the drops of blood on his neck which means this is the real deal. But file size is impossible and the format is MKV for video and AAC for audio. You will need to download the codecs for these so do get the codecs that I mentioned in my post about downloading torrents, link is below. See the screencap posted by the uploader for quality check. Amazing!

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 mikaljan 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]

960X540 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]. File size is 865MB. Screencaps looks good. This is the Hanaren H.264 version.

Source 5
There is a clubbox version out there with resolution 704X396. If you have that version which I don't, the soft sub version is as below.

Source 6
A new alternative file which can be downloaded from here. Find the corresponding episode number. It is however at Megaupload where those from banned countries can try accessing using Hotspot Shield. This is called the Full Screen Version for the purposes of the fansub by Luna14.

Please do remember to seed for some time after you finish downloading. Right now the seeders are only a few as many has yet to finish downloading. Please don't switch off your computer once you finished downloading so that other fans can enjoy the show as well.

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.

>> Full screen version

>> Specifically for FULL HD version aka 1920X1080 version (the link actually contains subs for eps 1 to 13)

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.

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)

Note : looking at the file, it should be hardsubbed

Source 1 Chinese subbed
Lucky you if you can read Chinese! Here's the link.

Source 2

Text says the uploader intends to English sub it. Hopefully! Anyway the link here. Click play TWICE.

In English translated from Chinese subtitles by Izumisano of Masha Heart and MashaPlus Info Forums. So far no timing yet so no one is hardcoding this. Moreover news has it there may be English subs in February 2010 so the following is reposted here for references only. A MUST READ!!

The comments in ( ) is by Izumisano herself, I suppose to explain what is going on.

Part 1 :

Part 2 :


mel22 said...

Funn, your site never ceases to impress me. thanks and keep it up!

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Sometimes I receive some media files or stuff about Masha that can't be publicly shared, but I can however share privately, such as concert clips, etc. I would love to share whatever I got with you, as a way of disseminating information of Masha to the masses. You probably have all that stuff if you're an experienced fan, but if you are new to Masha or does not know other experienced fans, you probably won't have most of what I can send to you. I don't send emails often, since frankly I don't get such stuff often but when I do, I will send the link if I am allowed to do so. So do join my contact list but be reminded, you're not allowed to repost/redistribute/reupload whatever I send you whether in whole or in part. Anyone interested, redirect them to my blog and ask them to join my contact list. But this is only open to those who will answer the questions in the form below accurately. If you're successful, you will receive quite a few emails since I group all links together into categorised documents. If you're not, I will email and inform why (probably answered some wrongly, such as title not in Romaji or wrong answer). Once you found the answer, please RESUBMIT THE FORM. If you did not receive my emails (whether the many materials or rejection email) within 3 days of joining, please do resend your request. Thanks for joining!



I do not know Masha, nor am I affiliated with him, BROS or AMUSE. This is a private fan site built by a fan for fans of common interest. The graphics were adapted from various free usage vectors and cliparts found in the internet. All pictures are collected from various sources. All text are either by me and/or collected from various sites and forums. Any enquiry please see "CONTACT".
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