Ōoku: The Inner Chambers review: Great plot struggles with pace

In Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, the male concubines of the female shogun stay inside the Ōoku in a world where the male population has substantially declined. The series is now streaming on Netflix.


A plague known as red-face smallpox leads to a concerning decline in the male population. Due to this, women become the labor force, and the traditional roles of men and women are reversed.

It is women who now inherit their family’s trades, occupations, and even titles, including that of the shogun. At a time when there is a scarcity of men, 3,000 healthy young men reside in the Inner Chambers, also known as the Ōoku, of the Edo Castle to serve the shogun.

When the eighth shogun inherits the title, she begins to wonder about the history of her country and meets the chief scribe. He gives her a book called “The Chronicle of the Dying Day”, which was supposed to be the chronicle of the country’s doomed fate.

The book tells the story of the third shogun, Iemitsu. During her reign, everything changed because of the plague and the Ōoku became what it is today.


The show has a great premise. It imagines a society in which gender norms are very different from the real world. By subverting gender roles, it forces the audience to think about how pointless these roles truly are.

While there are other pieces of fiction that imagine a world where gender roles are reversed, this anime does it in a way that is believable. Here, men’s main role is fathering children, even though it is the women who bear them, and the audience will easily believe this idea because the series gives logical explanations.

The characterization in the show is another aspect that needs to be appreciated. The characters are all complex people that cannot be put into boxes. In a world without balance, they do what is needed to be done, even if it hurts them and others, and the audience will understand their actions.

The best thing about the show has to be its animation. The vibrant world that it creates with beautiful and detailed costumes and settings will definitely draw the audience’s attention.


The show struggles with plot development. While a lot happens in some episodes, especially the last one, there will be times when it will seem like the plot is moving at a snail’s pace.

There are certain parts that are dragged out more than necessary. Due to this, there will be times when the audience might lose interest in the plot.


While Ōoku: The Inner Chambers is not perfect, it is still an interesting show because of its depiction of a visually arresting world that is so unlike ours and yet so believable. You might want to give it a chance.

Ōoku: The Inner Chambers
Ōoku: The Inner Chambers review: Great plot struggles with pace 1

Director: Noriyuki Abe

Date Created: 2023-06-30 00:13

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: Ōoku: The Inner Chambers summary and ending explained

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