Gender is a trap. The binary is a lie. And flexible sexual politics can lead to real change.

That’s some of the subtext in the fascinating Netflix anime series "Ooku: The Inner Chambers,” which tells a complex love story in an alternate-reality Edo Japan in which an illness upends society’s gender norms and expectations.

The show’s story, adapted from a popular manga that also spawned several live-action series and movies in Japan, is framed as a historical record of how this alt-Japan and the shogunate came to be.