The drama revolves around Sakamoto Ryouma, who lead his people to get over the feudal regime they were under and bring another regime upon them. The story shows us the long way he made to fulfill his vision.
Can I just say...this is a masterpiece. I usually don't write these kind of long comments on dramas, but this one just needs to be commented on, since people seem to be a little afraid of the number of episodes, and it's a pity so little are watching it. The first episodes might be not that interesting (although I already loved the drama at that point), but you can't expect something being all action-filled for 48 episodes. This drama steadily gets better and better, believe me.
I'm actually very glad it had so many episodes. I don't know if it's really completely historically correct, but the main events are right, and it gives you some good picture of the time from about 150 years ago. There were so many happenings that had to lead to one another until Japan was finally able to advance into the Meiji-era and escape the inflexible system of the Tokugawa-bakufu. And this drama demonstrates it in moving pictures. What could be better?
This is a very touching drama, with so many emotions and beautiful human relationships. It has moments that make you cry, moments that make you laugh, moments that make you angry and moments that just make you happy. You'll be sucked into the plot pretty soon. The characters are all extremely interesting and greatly acted, with so many well-known actors participating in it, I guess this point speaks for itself. Of course, especially Fukuyama Masaharu does an amazing job in every episode, showing the entire development of Sakamoto Ryouma's character, from the carefree Tosa-samurai, suddenly having to face all the injustice in this world and the deaths of some of his closest comrades, to the strong idealist and peacemaker we all know today, fighting for a better Japan and finding people who believe in him on the way.
As for the "artistic" elements in this drama, the sceneries and colours are beyond beautiful, just watching the landscapes and cities of feudal Japan alone is already worth every second of this series. On top of that, the soundtrack itself is a masterpiece, too. Especially the opening gives me shivers everytime I hear it.
Well, I'm not finished yet, and I'm expecting a pretty sad ending, considering Sakamoto Ryouma's biographic dates. I'll enjoy the last episodes as much as I can.