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Ooku The Inner Chambers Season 1 Review

Ooku The Inner Chambers Season 1 Review: What would happen if the gender roles in the society were changed? What would happen if women rose in population and power than men? The answers to these questions lie in the latest anime ‘Ōoku: The Inner Chambers’ on Netflix. The anime premiered on June 29, 2023 and is based on the manga of the same name. It tells the fictional story of during the Edo period in Japan where the male population dwindled drastically and women took upon the major roles in the society. It also sheds light on a female shogun’s reign and how she changed the country’s standing globally.

Ooku The Inner Chambers Season 1 Trailer

Ooku The Inner Chambers Season 1 Summary

Ōoku: The Inner Chambers tells the fictional story during the Edo period in Japan where the roles were reversed in society. After men began to die of an illness and their population dwindled as compared to women, the women took upon the roles previously helmed by men. This affected all sections of the society, right from the royalty to the peasantry. Ōoku: The Inner Chambers particularly focuses on Ooku, the harem of the reigning queen. Ōoku are a special group of men groomed in arts and warcraft, to serve the queen and maintain the upkeep of the royal palace.

Men become an object of desire and a way to breed children. They were even sold by their families to women who were looking for male companions to help them get pregnant. The condition and status of men was lowered in the society and they were seen either as a burden or an object to earn a few bucks.

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The first season of the anime focuses on the story of Mizuno Yūnoshin and his time at the Ōoku. The story then also moves back to the past when the story of women rising to power actually started. The 10-episode anime tells the tale of the first woman shogun Iemitsu and her rise to power and the subsequent change in power dynamics throughout the country.

Ooku The Inner Chambers Season 1 Review
Young Queen Iemitsu and Lady Kasuga from ‘Ooku: The Inner Chambers’ on Netflix. Credits: Netflix/IMDB

Ōoku: The Inner Chambers Season 1 Review

Ōoku:The Inner Chambers makes a great attempt at showing what would happen if the roles were reversed in the society. As soon the male population became a fraction of the female population, the very foundations of centuries old customs were shaken. Women began taking roles previously reserved only for men. Brothels became occupied by men instead of women. The treatment that women received in the society was directed towards the men now. Since the ‘fairer sex’ was no longer the ‘weaker sex’, the loyalties were switched and the men submitted to the power wielding women.

It also shows how women were told to dress up as men in the initial years of this change to keep the family name going on. The women took upon male names which simply discarded their own identity. This gave rise to a queer line of thought among the populace as well. While there lies a lot to delve into the queer representation in the drama, the initial glimpses serve a good example for initial discussion.

While the anime shows how the reversal of roles affected all sections of society, it also goes to show that despite the dismissal of gender-operative roles, certain patriarchal ideas still persist. The shogun ordered women to replace the men but the underlying condition was that the situation would only be carried forward until the male populace is restored to its previous ratio. Despite women taking up on the roles bravely, their positions were just a temporary measure. Like a queen consort who holds the court while the next king is still a child, women in this fictional Edo world were just the keepers of the court.

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The love story between Arikoto and Queen Iemitsu goes to show how the circumstances and one’s duties makes one pick others over self. Their love story was doomed from the start, but the fleeting moments they had together were pure and true. It also gives a snapshot of how perhaps the love stories of the commoners would be where the man would have to be with several woman if it was asked of him.

Speaking of the visuals in the anime, Ooku: The Inner Chambers is a delight for the eyes. The intricate designs of the palace, the costumes, and other city settings is nothing less than a colourful array of visual treat for the audience. Only the first episode was an hour long, and the rest were less than 30 minutes long. While the first episode served as an exposition to the main story, it does leave something to imagination with regards to Mizuno and Nobu’s future.

Will there be Ooku The Inner Chambers Season 2?

Considering the manga series which spans several volumes, it won’t be incorrect to assume that a season 2 of this anime series would be a possibility. There are no official reports to support this idea yet, but one can sure be hopeful.

JAL Rating – Ooku The Inner Chambers Season 1 Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

JAL gives ‘Ooku: The Inner Chambers’ a delightful rating of 4 for its new idea, visual packaging and impeccably crafted storyline.

Have you watched Ooku: The Inner Chambers Season 1? If yes, do let us know your say in the comments below.

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Nandini Iyengar
Nandini Iyengar
A writer and translator by profession, Nandini is also known for using a lot of pun.

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JAL gives 'Ooku: The Inner Chambers' a delightful rating of 4 for its new idea, visual packaging and impeccably crafted storyline. The love story between Arikoto and Queen Iemitsu goes to show how the circumstances and one's duties makes one pick others over self. Check out the link below to read the full review in detail.Ooku The Inner Chambers Season 1 Review

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