Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan (TV Mini Series 2021– ) Poster

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Solid Intro Gateway Into To Japanese History
mack197126 February 2021
While it is easy to get swept up into a sea of negativity and pick apart the fine details of a series, the reality is I feel this is a good gateway show. Could there have been more? Yes, always. However the director and production were not looking to create a flawless recreation, and openly state that they used creative costuming and sets for many scenes. The creative costuming and set designs were based on period accurate research, and then given a creative spin.

There are Japanese historians who appear in the series and speak, and a number of professionals who provide great quick info about the various events and battles. In truth, there was so much that happened in this period, a whole series could be made about just -1- historical figure such as Oda Nobunaga. Instead there was a broad review of the period that touched on many points.

I hope that the success of this series will prompt studios to take a more serious look at Japanese historical productions, and properly budget and dedicate more research and resource to them. This period in Japanese history, as well as many others, is ripe for film and deserves to be taken seriously.

So, if you enjoy Japanese history and want to quickly sink your teeth into this period, or introduce someone to this period this is a great series for you. LEt's hope that Hollywood in the future will take a serious approach to this kind of topic, and better fund and research their work.
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Too much fluff, too little history
KaZenPhi25 February 2021
Netflix productions tend to be more miss than hit but their documentaries are usually pretty decent, Age of Samurai very much ended up not being among them.

The show is presented through a bit cheap-looking but ok-ish reenactments (that honestly don't look much like japanese landscapes) filled with a myriad of historical inaccuracies, and a series of annoying talking heads, none of whom seem to be able to pronounce the word Samurai correctly. It's a bit of a nitpick really, but to me it's a telltale sign none of these supposed authorities on japanese military history even speak any Japanese. Their expert opinion thus mostly consists of old cliches that you already think you know about these mysterious Samurai of the exotic orient and very little of historical facts. There's one japanese historian who occassionally pops up and clearly knows his stuff, but he is unfortunately used very sparingly. His more nuanced and informed way of divulging information clashes wildly with the tone of the rest of the "documentary".

It's depressing really. The real Samurai, the real history, are so much more interesting, multi-faceted and gripping than the awful outdated cliches presented here. This has about the same historical accuracy as an episode of Naruto and feels like it was made decades ago, long before the wealth of translated research we have available now. You're better off reading the wikipedia articles or virtually any book on the subject, ideally not the ones by Stephen Turnbull though who shows up here as well to express his expert opinion of a 12 year old who has just watched his first Samurai movie and wants to tell you all about the cool stuff he saw.

Apart from the lacking accuracy of information it also offers surprisingly little thereof in a very drawn out and unengaging fashion to boot, despite its best attempts to entertain with its overly dramatic reenactments.

The only source of entertainment this show gave me is someone put the line "The episodes were filmed on a hill" into the imdb trivia section. Hats off sir or ma'am, spot on, that's my kind of dry sarcastic humour.
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Completely misleading title
MMNYMM28 February 2021
The show starts with the decline of the samurai, rather than Kamakura or Heian era a few hundred years earlier. And the props are clearly very cheap and historically inaccurate. It's almost offensive.
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Not a lot about samurais. Flashy language.
martinmelladog1 March 2021
All Japanese history is new to me so everything exposed sounds truthful, as a starting point it was an interesting show and a more dramatic approach, mainly focused on iconic people and their motivations. Context and culture are underdeveloped in my opinion and just linked to war and conquests. It doesn't go deep on samurais persona. It could be any other soldier executing the same wars and it would be irrelevant to the show. When they faced japanese an chinese armies it felt the same, they were just more experienced warriors.

Considering there are big differences in the strategic approach of some japanese clan leaders it also doesn't go deep on why they took their approaches. It is reduced to something like "there is an opportunity to take control, i want to take control to be the lord of Japan". I think one of the things that make the show feel flat is that, the motivation is kind of always the same, and even when there is a more stable approach, it doesn't explain how that specific warlord came up with his view and his strategies. There's a few times where education is mentioned but not a lot on what are their principles or logic. In the China's invation campaign, some other great warlords/emperors of other continents were mentioned, but not if the japanese warlords had some prior knowledge about their history or if they were some motivated by them. It was an open reference, and the only concrete one was that China was always a big goal. So i would say the show is a review of wars and control shifts monstly in the XVI century. The biggest principle to feel connected to the characters is the general sence of constant war, as a defensive nature, so they eat to not be eaten. It might be that way, so that is not something i consider so much to base this rewiew.

I enjoyed the show mostly (as a war documentary I think), however I didn't like how many times battles, decisions or anything important is stated as the "ultimate", "greatest", "biggest" and a lot of other flashy words. At some point we started joking about this with my wife because we actually got confused, to the point we couldn't compare turning points or battles. Is not a history class but as an informative piece it kind of takes away the importance of some historical moments trying to expose everything as epic.
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Great docudrama
Calicodreamin25 February 2021
Well made re-enactments and relevant interviews. The episodes had good flow and kept an even pace. The subject matter was interesting and easy to digest. Interesting to learn about an era of samurai.
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Sandalls_519 March 2021
Clumsy, inaccurate documentary is a sham. It is an insult to Japans extraordinary history and to Japanese. It's junk, and misleading history. A real shame, as it would have been so easy to do it right.
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Written and Produced by Weeaboos
borismk-389428 March 2021
This is a docuseries, not a tv show, so I feel justified in ripping this show a new one. It's entertainingly done and stylistically interesting, so I give it props for that, but that's all it gets

Historically, it fails on many levels, The Sengoku period is one of many fascinating eras in the story of this unique nation. It's a shame that much of the actual history has been sacrificed for cringe and romanticised portrayals of this culture.

It feels like it was produced by people who unrealistically worship the Samurai and don't fully understand them in the context of wider history. I suppose it might be a nice entry for people looking to learn more, but being misleading rather ruins that
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Gateway to Japanese history for me!
ariane-boisvert2 March 2021
So i went through the reviews and people are offended by the white historians and the dramatic acting/scenes in this series. (Lol)

None of it bothered me, but i know nothing of Japanese history and i enjoy content over presentation. I don't mind a bit of dramatic flair in a scene at all despite it being a historical inaccuracy, i think it broadens the audience to keep more people interested. Plus the series is not going in the details, it's just giving an overview of complex events and politics. At this point acting inaccuracy is not on my mind.

I loved the way this was edited and split into episodes, i watched the series in one sitting it kept me interested! I was delighted to learn more about Japan history, especially since i went to japan not too long ago.

I found it super informative although i couldn't say if it was accurate because i have no prior knowledge. I thought the historians presented it well and since im guessing this is made for a non-Japanese audience it doesn't bother me at all that the historians were Occidental. But to be fair, having more diversity would've been great! I would've loved a Korean or Chinese historian.

The acting was fine in my opinion and so were the sets considering this is made on a documentary budget. The blood added in post looks like they used the little budget they had left but so what, this isnt the point of this documentary.

Honestly watching this made me want to learn more about Japanese history and that's a win in my book!
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Might be a good idea to have Japanese historians for a Japanese documentary
arteternal28 February 2021
Call me crazy but for a documentary about Japanese history in the year 2021 it might be a good idea to have more than one Japanese historian as an expert.

Might also help to have the one or two women get more than 30 seconds screen time.

Who made this, The History Channel?
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One of the worst on-screen portrayals of samurai
shj_111926 February 2021
Yeah sure, it's a documentary. But this is one of the worst portrayals of Japanese culture and history. Almost no effort to make an accurate portrayals. Movement, hair, battle, style, props, dialogue, pretty much everything about it is incorrect. And one of the historian pronouncing samurai as samyuurai triggers me(also the fact that the score is at 7.6)
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Presence of Turnbull proves a foolish series
NanoFrog25 February 2021
This series is for people who know nothing at all, presented by people who pretend to know but really just make things up, like to rather sad Turnbull, a fake, self-appointed "expert" on the Japanese. Something he has never been and never will be. Here we havea lot of saggy, droopy, way past their sell by date old anglo historians pretending to tell us something of the Japanese Samurai. The revelations are all hand-picked and the anglo interpretations do not match up with japanese actual history very well. This is a nonsense "thrill a minute" posturing drama, not a real or even remotely serious look at Samurai history. This farce receives good ratings on INMB from people who know little or nothing, so I guess the less you know the better it looks. Pretty sad and childish overall.
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too many mistakes
robertdfrager24 March 2021
Several professorial "talking heads" mispronounced Japanese names and also misinterpreted Japanese history. For example, claiming that an arranged marriage led to unhappiness was idiotic. All samurai marriages were arranged. "Love marriages" did not exist until after WW II.

The battle scenes were filled with inaccurate sword work. Directly parrying with a sword would lead to chipping the edge or even breaking the sword.

The most glaring error was the claim that the sword was the main Japanese weapon during the Sengoku Period. The sword was a tertiary weapon. First was bow and arrow (bushido was originally referred as the "way of the horse and the bow" ). Second was spear or naginata. Third was the sword. The sword only came into prominence with the years of peace during the Tokugawa era, when samurai wore cotton kimono (no armor), and were forbidden to walk around with either bow or pole arm.

Also Ieyasu held his brush incorrectly when writing to Nobunaga. The calligraphy brush is held vertically, not like a modern pen.

There are dozens of other mistakes. I can't be bothered to list all of them.
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There are no Japanese historians
onepict8 March 2021
Apparently, there are no Japanese historians qualified to discuss 16th century Japanese history. Oops, there is one who appears very rarely. And female historians are apparently only qualified (briefly) to discuss wives, concubines and mothers. I actually enjoyed the series, but it was rather depressing to see a long line up of anglo historians discussing Japanese history. Just imagine a Netflix series on 16th century English history with only Japanese historians?
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Meets my entertainment needs
ziema-2961328 February 2021
I primarily watched the first season of this documentary series for the viewing of costumes, interior design, and overall Japanese artistry / craftsmanship. The historical accuracy and narrative quality were secondary or less to me. Many reviewers criticized the historical "inaccuracies" (we don't know this and the reviewers did not provide any credentials) and injection of Western historians, but given the target audience of the series, i.e., Americans, this makes sense. When the series employed an "authentic" Japanese historian, we had to read subtitles, which greatly interrupted with the flow of background re-enactments, etc. If non-citizen historians can be trusted with world history, why not Anglo-American historians with Japan's history? Nevertheless, I give this series an 8/10 in light of all of the reviewers who screamed, "Inaccurate!"
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Very enjoyable but a few too many inaccuracies
There-I-Said-it2 March 2021
This time in Japanese history is fascinating and Age of Samurai does a very good job of conveying that. The production values are very high with plenty of re-enactments that are portrayed by strong and compelling acting, but that's also part of the problem. This emphasis on entertainment means that just like in biopics, there have been quite a few liberties taken creating a plethora of historical inaccuracies. The flip side is that the 6 episodes really fly by and keep you vested in the next one.

An enjoyable series that should come with a disclaimer.
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Not really about Samurai.
KhunKai1 March 2021
It's OK to watch. Fairly good production as expected. However, the use of the word Samurai in the title is not really correct. The series is more about power and war between the various klans. Watchable. Especially for the ones interested in history.
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Polished quality doc, maybe too polished
ocacia1 March 2021
This is a proper doc, polished too the nines. The problem with its polish is it glamourizes and dramatized the period to a Hollywood standard. I am not sure how historically accurate the scenes are. Looks like Last Samurai. But it all sells the story and you def need to stay on top of it because the names will throw you. I would love to now go and read a book about the subject for further details. I am no expert so I have to take the information as factual and thank the producers for one polished historical production. Very similar to the one on Rome which was epic!
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Good info, terrible pronunciation
cantstopahapa26 February 2021
The information is interesting and the story is a good listen especially if you are interested in battle tactics.

However, the white historians just butcher the Japanese names. It's so cringey.
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Worst doc ever made
tuku-3249426 February 2021
The "historians" were terribly annoying and it was unnecessary to see their faces. The historian should have been a japanese historian and only have one narrator. The actors didn't flow and some of the actors were either over-acting or terrible at acting. This is a disgrace of a documentary.
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Very confusing
mgort-090673 March 2021
To anyone familiar with Japanese names, this series is very confusing. It's like speaking of George, Abraham, Andrew, Teddy or William when referring to Washington, Lincoln, Jackson, Roosevelt or Clinton. Also, according to the historians, every battle was the bloodiest and every decision was the most decisive in Japanese history. It gets old after a while.
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Why almost only women historians tell the women stories?
miracruzgar21 March 2021
I do not know much about the accuracy of the history here. I'm just dropping a note on a series of cringe moments where women historians were speaking only when a women/wife story to be told or where rather "light" rituals or events are discussed. Like seriously?
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Nani kore?
keikoyoshikawa17 March 2021
Please skip this if you want a true history documentary. There are so many things wrong with this Netflix series to go into details. Watching this mess, I wondered why anyone bothered to make it in the first place. Anyway, there are far better, accurate, and entertaining documentaries on YouTube. That said, I gave it 4 stars only because it is so bad that it is funny. And some of the Japanese actors are pretty good - even if the historical figures they portrayed were way off the mark. I particularly enjoyed Haneda Masayoshi's crazy version of Oda Nobunaga.
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Interesting watch
adaptor18 March 2021
I don't know anything about this subject so I can't speak to the veracity of the information. However, it is overall quite engaging and the mix of dramatized scenes, information from their experts, and narration is good. However, I feel like there could have been better diversity in their "experts". I find it odd that they're essentially all British or American. I can't believe that they weren't able to find more Japanese subject-matter-experts to interview. That strikes me as a real issue with their production decisions.
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Slick storytelling of bloody feuds
dierregi2 March 2021
Personally, my knowledge of Japanese history in the XVI century equals to not much, therefore I was interest in this documentary. I vaguely remembered the names of Hideyoshi and Ieyasu as the men who reunited Japan, but I missed a large part of the history.

The structure of the documentary is the usual: historians narrating the events, interspersed with acted battles and daily life scenes. The interior design and costumes look OK, but the narration (and battle scenes) go very much in the direction of "this strong samurai fought bloody battles" followed by even bloodier ones, won by the next fierce samurai.

I get that the point is narrating the reunion of Japan under a single ruler and that part of history is mostly the succession of samurais that it took to complete the task, but all the battle scenes look pretty much the same. Still worth to watch.

PS as to the criticism that the historians are mostly not Japanese... since when one should study only the history of one's own country? Which level of crazy is that even if I am interested in Japanese history, I should not talk about it because I'm not Japanese?
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Fake it till u make it....or atleast that seemed to be the intent!!!
talkhuloberal27 February 2021

M not sure where to begin...after going thru 6 episodes i have so many

1. Why is thr only 1 japanese historian in a series about Japanese history? And why is he used so sparingly throughout the series?

2. How is it that the samurai don't know how to use or maintain their katana? Reference - hand placement positioning on the tsuka of the katana, and the cleaning of the blade, post-usage

3. How are their clothes all so clean all the time? Even when they are supposedly peasants who live in the mountains?

4. Why do all the samurai armour look loke China made knock-offs?

5. how are they so new looking all the time even at the end of the battle which they have supposedly been fighting for days?

6. Why do 'samurai cavalrymen' not hav spears?

7. why are diamyos/ cavalrymen voluntarily getting off their steeds on the middle of a battle to fight on foot?

8. Why do the white 'historians' try to pass their interpretations off as historical facts throughout the series?

9. Why are there no actual Japanese actors whom we associate with period movies/series in this series when the series was supposedly shot in Japan?

10. Why is a non-Japanese director directing a movie about Japanese history with a non-Japanese cast?

Overall seems like a very rushed production where authenticity and actual history seems to hav taken a back seat, and pandering to western stereotypes of ancient Japan seems to hav been the priority.

Definitely NOT worth the watch.
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