Tokugawa Yoshimune is the 8th Shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate. He continues to have bad people creating havoc within his city of Megumi. With the help of his close associates, Lord Tokugawa is allowed to roam throughout his city, disguised as Tokuda Shinnosuke, an average Joe living within Megumi. By mixing in with the population, Shin-san (as everyone in the city calls him) is able to research issues first-hand. His help include oniwaban (ninjas) and the captain of the Megumi fire company. Yoshimune uses the fire company as his base while he's away from Himeji Castle. The captain of the company, and the oniwaban know his identity, but everyone else in the city are unaware that he is the Shogun. Once Yoshimune solves the crimes, he confronts them. Just about every time, the bad people whip our their samurai swords in an attempt to kill Yoshimune, although most of the time they still don't know who he REALLY is. Most of the time, Yoshimume flips his samurai sword so that the dull side is out. This way, he can still take his opponents down without making sashimi out of them. Very rarely will he actually hit people with the sharp part of the blade... They have to be some really mean guys for Yoshimune to go that far!
The show was frequently topical, and touched on many themes of present-day life. The most common subject was political corruption. Drugs, unequal power relationships, poverty, urbanization, the generation gap, inflation, and the tension between Japanese and foreign knowledge were recurring themes.
Abarenbo Shogun aired from 1978 thru 2002. In 2003, TV Asahi aired a final episode, ending Matsudaira Ken's 25-year reign. --- written by Groink 20:56, 24 Jul 2005 (EDT)
NOTE: The episodes weren't numbered. Fans attempted to number the episodes, including KIKU-TV, but the numbers differ between collections. Therefore, it is impossible to indicate which episode a particular cast member made an appearance. Also, there were literally over 1,000 guests appearing throughout the years. As a result, the cast listing consists of artistes who appeared in the show either on a regular or semi-regular basis.
When I first watched Aberenbo Shogun, two other shows came to mind. The first one is the tokusatsu Japanese TV series Kamen Rider V3 (TOEI, 1973). Both Abarenbo Shogun and V3 are quite similar in the way the formatting flow. Both series have incredible theme music. Second, the opening credits portion are very similar... Yoshimune is stampeeding on a horse, while Kamen Rider V3 is riding along on his motorcycle with bombs blowing up around him. And, the fighting scenes have some really cheezy sound effects (well, Abarenbo Shogun has a lot less).
The second show is the 1957 movie Toyama no Kinsan Hayabusa Bugyo (TOEI, 1957). Kataoka Chiezo plays the character of Toyama Kinshiro, a commissioner from northern Edo. He goes undercover as a commoner to unravel the mystery behind a series of murders committed within the city. Kinshiro and Yoshimune are almost identical in that they detect trouble within the city, they disguise themselves so that they blend in, they find out who the bad guys are, and then they kick butt! The only difference is that Kinshiro has his shoulders covered with Sakura tattoos, which he displays when confronting the bad guys. All Yoshimune does is say, "I know who you are! Drop that sword and put your hands up!!!!"
With all three of these shows made by TOEI, maybe that's why they all feel similar. As for Abarenbo Shogun itself, I'd score a 5 out of 5. That's because the show has a lot of action, heart, and great storylines. --- written by Groink 20:56, 24 Jul 2005 (EDT)
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