Ooku The Inner Chambers Ending Explained

Ooku: The Inner Chambers is a new anime series available on Netflix that perfectly encapsulates Fumi Yoshinaga’s popular manga series of the same name. At its core is Arikoto, a monk who is forced to join Shogun Iemitsu’s exclusive harem known as Ooku due to circumstances. Drawing inspiration from Yoshinaga’s work, the series spans much of the Shogunate era, resulting in a slightly disjointed narrative arc. However, it remains an enjoyable and fulfilling viewing experience throughout. Overall, Ooku: The Inner Chambers is engaging and enjoyable.

This captivating adaptation introduces viewers to Arikoto, who finds himself unwillingly coerced into entering the Ooku. We witness the intricate dynamics and complexities of the Ooku, such as the significant power and influence it holds within society as the Shogun’s private harem. This offers an interesting look into the social and political climate of the time.

Ooku: The Inner Chambers stands out among many drama series for its ability to cover an entire shogunate period within its storyline, often with unexpected results. Though this expansive scope sometimes results in uneven storytelling, viewers gain invaluable insight into the historical context and knowledge of significant societal changes, power dynamics, and gender roles during this era through Ooku: The Inner Chambers.

Ooku: The Inner Chambers provides a satisfying and enjoyable viewing experience, staying true to Yoshinaga’s manga while adding its own artistic interpretations and adaptations. This Netflix anime series manages to engage its viewers through historical accuracy, engaging storytelling, and captivating characters. It is a must-watch experience, regardless of whether you are a manga enthusiast or a newcomer to Ooku.

Ooku The Inner Chambers Plot Summary

Ooku The Inner Chambers Plot Summary: What Is This Show About?

Ooku: The Inner Chambers opens with Sadakichi, an enthusiastic boy from a hamlet, who eagerly enters the nearby forest with little explanation of the historical context. He discovers wild mushrooms for sale that he plans to give as gifts, as they are said to extend life according to local legend. Unfortunately, tragedy unexpectedly strikes when an angry bear attacks Sadakichi, causing serious injuries before returning him home safely.

Sadakichi’s body is returned to his village, but unfortunately, his condition cannot be saved. Soon after his passing, an illness quickly spreads among the male villagers, manifesting as red rashes that spread rapidly and cause death within days. While wild bears likely transmit the illness, locals attribute its spread to the anger of forest gods, dubbing it “red-face smallpox.” Over eighty years, the sickness decimates the male population, vastly outnumbering females and altering gender roles and society.

Moving forward to 1716, Ietsugu, the seventh Shogun, takes control of his domains. Yunoshin is a young man living during this era who spends his days engaging in paid encounters with women while lamenting how young men have become valued commodities for women’s bodies. O-Nobu is his true friend and confidant, and Yunoshin eventually decides to enter Edo Castle’s Ooku and become a concubine to Ietsugu. Starting as a page boy, he eventually adopts the last name Mizuno to gain social status within the castle’s walls.

Yoshimune succeeds the deceased reigning Shogun after his tragic death, becoming the eighth Shogun in succession. While searching for his future consort, Senior Chamberlain Fujinami recognizes Yunoshin’s potential and supports his ascent to becoming one of Yoshimune’s concubines.

Ooku: The Inner Chambers weaves personal stories within a historical framework to examine the effects of an illness that dismantles society and the pursuit of status and power within Ooku society.

Who Was Arikoto?

While traveling through Edo, Lady Kasuga encounters Arikoto and two of his disciples. Initially, they are instructed to rest in a village, but eventually, Kasuga reveals her true intentions of targeting Arikoto himself. She had been searching for an attractive young man to pair off with Shogun Iemitsu, and Arikoto was her ideal candidate. With incredible skill, she orchestrates the quick assassination of Arikoto’s servant, followed by convincing one of his disciples to remain at Edo Castle as part of her plot against Arikoto.

Arikoto lives as a monk following the teachings of Buddha but mourns, above all else, the lives lost due to his actions. Gyokuei, one of his students, always remains by his side.

As time passes, Arikoto becomes aware of the shogunate’s expectation for him to fulfill his duty by engaging in intimate relations with Iemitsu, the future shogun. Initially reluctant due to his vow of chastity, he eventually accepts this task and visits her. Unfortunately, her mental state is fragile, and she expresses her displeasure at being held captive in Edo Castle. Arikoto voices his own frustration, but upon learning of Iemitsu’s tragic past, he feels immense regret and repentance for his outburst while understanding her suffering.

Arikoto manages to break through Iemitsu’s hardened exterior by approaching her with affection and providing her with the comfort she had been denied. This prompts strong and intense emotions of love from Iemitsu, who had not felt such a connection before.

Arikoto and Iemitsu’s relationship is at the center of Ooku: The Inner Chambers as they navigate their shared sense of duty, power, and personal desires within the intricate network of Ooku. Their connection forms an essential thread within this showpiece that displays both human emotions and dynamics unique to a Shogun’s private realm.

Why Couldn’t Arikoto and Iemitsu Stay Together?

Lady Kasuga watches Arikoto and Iemitsu’s tender romance blossom from a distance, eagerly awaiting the moment she can put her plan into motion. Kasuga has one simple goal in mind: to ensure Arikoto and Iemitsu unite and conceive a son who will eventually become the Shogun. But after several nights together without Iemitsu becoming pregnant, Lady Kasuga becomes impatient. In response, she takes matters into her own hands by bringing Sutezo into Ooku as part of her plan. To her disappointment, Arikoto reluctantly agrees to support Lady Kasuga’s scheme despite his deep affection for the Shogun.

Understandably, Iemitsu is angry about this turn of events, as she does not want to be used solely for procreation purposes. After her difficult childbirth experience, she confides in Arikoto about her infertility issues and promises him that her devotion will remain consistent regardless of who else may enter her life. Iemitsu eventually falls pregnant with Sutezo’s child, contrary to what she had earlier promised Arikoto. However, her second daughter brings a newfound purpose and direction to Iemitsu’s life. Before meeting Arikoto, she felt hopeless, but after encountering his motherly figure, she feels encouraged and desires to embrace life more fully. She remains deeply attached to him and continues to express her emotions towards him.

Kasuga actively seeks more men to serve as her concubines to produce either an heir or more children for her husband, the shogun. Arikoto understands this fact and feels extremely threatened and betrayed by Iemitsu’s involvement with Sutezo. Therefore, he makes the conscious decision to protect Iemitsu at any cost. Arikoto devises an infidelity scheme in which Gyokuei, his loyal subordinate, and Iemitsu spend time together to father a child. Initially unsure, Gyokuei eventually agrees, resulting in Iemitsu giving birth shortly thereafter—proof of Arikoto’s successful plan to protect her while continuing her lineage.

Ooku: The Inner Chambers explores the complex relationships and power dynamics within Ooku, showing individuals willing to go to great lengths to protect and secure their desires and the difficult emotions triggered by such actions. Ooku delves further into each character’s personal journey while exploring love, duty, and ambition against Shogun Yoshitsune’s rule.

Ooku The Inner Chambers Ending Explained

Lady Iemitsu, as the Shogun, becomes increasingly confident in her leadership of the Shogunate and starts making independent decisions and taking decisive actions on her own accord. Concurrently, Lady Kasuga’s health starts deteriorating. Although known for being tough and uncompromising, Lady Kasuga has always been a trusted advisor to Iemitsu. Even after seeing her predecessor fall ill from “red-face pox,” Kasuga makes an oath never to seek medical treatment for herself or anyone else again. After Kasuga’s passing, Iemitsu finally finds the freedom to live on her own terms.

Arikoto initially accepts his role as Iemitsu’s lover. However, realizing that he can never fully be with Iemitsu or fulfill her desire for children, he struggles under the burden. He is saddened to see his beloved seek comfort elsewhere due to physical limitations. Arikoto requests some distance from Iemitsu to give himself some breathing room, and his wish is granted.

As Japan witnessed an exodus of men due to an epidemic of smallpox, Edo Castle significantly diminished, and women began filling official roles alongside the few men still serving under the Shogunate. Arikoto, after Iemitsu’s untimely demise, takes on the position of Senior Chamberlain while remaining loyally in service to him, thus staying within Edo Castle’s walls.

As smallpox spreads, top officials of the Shogunate are deeply fearful that their society will crumble due to the effects of the outbreak. This outlook is captured in an album entitled “The Chronicle of the Dying Day.” Additionally, many believe that women in positions of authority across society are only temporary substitutes until suitable men can fill these roles, expecting them to step down once men become available. However, Yoshimune changes this paradigm with an unexpected matriarchy, reshaping social expectations and norms like never before.

“The Chronicle of the Dying Day” is a testimony to turbulent times and the remarkable resilience of individuals and institutions within Ooku. It explores the profound transformations brought on by circumstances, challenges gender roles, and demonstrates the unexpected paths history can take.

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