House of Five Leaves - Season 1 - Episode 1 - Review: "In Name Only"

I've always been a huge fan of alternative art in anime, in particular when so many series become popular and their style begins to dominate the field. Instantly I found myself therefore drawn to a new series called "House of Five Leaves" after seeing their gritty style mixed with drama and action which reminded me of the group "Gorillaz" when they first came on the scene. Written and drawn as a manga by Natsume Ono, the story revolves around Akitsu Masanosuke, a ronin during the Japanese feudal era who suffers from severe depression and lack of confidence. Fired repeatedly he ends up in a small town looking for any bodyguard work he can do, but fails due to his lack of spirit.

After losing his job as a bodyguard for a cotton retailer he runs into trouble with no money, no food, no friends, and no job. After wandering the city and scampering off when a gangster looks at him, Akitsu sits dejected and alone only to be tracked down by the same gangster who takes him to lunch. Yaichi, the gang leader, offers to hire Akitsu to help guard him from some recent trouble. Akitsu reluctantly accepts and the pair wander the city talking for hours.

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