Posted by psgels on 26 April 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews

Tenpou Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi was supposed to take over from Blood+ on the Saturday 18:00 timeslot, the number-one prime-time spot for anime, which also housed series as Full Metal Alchemist and Gundam Seed Destiny. For this, it had to live up to some great expectations, and it came with a story about Youma-hunters, during the Tenpou era of Japan.

If I had to say so myself, then Tenpou Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi definitely lived up to these expectations, but it’s so not suitable for the prime-time spot. Timeslots like these are meant for popular shows with lots of fanboy-pleasing action, not an intelligent show like this one. Because of this, the series’ original length of 52 episodes was cut in half, leaving only 26 episodes for this anime to work with. This, in fact, is the only really bad point of this series.

Like I suggested above, this series’ great strength is its storytelling. It consists out of small arcs, ranging from usually two or three episodes, which all centre on themes, deeply rooted in the history of Japan and its religions. I’ve almost never encountered an anime which did so much research for its stories. As a result, the individual tales just sparkle with creativity and originality, while they still hold a large amount of realism. To give a small indication, brothels have often appeared in historical anime (to name a few, Samurai Champloo, Peace Maker Kurogane, and quite some more), but never was this concept so fleshed out as in the three episodes Tenpou Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi dedicated to the subject.

Because these stories have such a good base, the characters also can be really fleshed out. Every important character has at least one arc in which he or she stands in the spotlight, and even though the character-development is incomplete, because of the reduced anime-length, the development that we do see is truly fascinating. To add that, nearly each arc has one major climax, and perhaps with exception of the first arc, each of these climaxes turns out to be really captivating, and full of tension.

Even in the graphical and musical department this series delivers. The background music makes sure that the climaxes work even better, while the character-designs are really lifelike. I remember commenting about how these characters looked so standard when I first saw them, but the fact remains that every single character looks unique in this anime, instead of being a clone of character A with different hair and eye-colour (something which seems to plague other anime). Add in a couple of great special effects, and you’ve got yourself a visual treat.

Because of the reduced length, I can’t rate this 90% or higher, because I feel that this anime would have been even better if the remaining 26 episodes were added (and not to mention the rushed ending), but I definitely recommend giving Tenpou Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi a try. It’s probably one of the few anime with a guy in his fourties as a main character, and this works perfectly. Just be aware that the dialogue can be quite intensive, so this isn’t an anime that you can just watch leisurely

4 Responses

  1. kuromitsu says:

    It’s quite ironic that for once a show didn’t benefit for airing in a “special” timeslot. But then, as you said, this was an intelligent and kind of laid back show and not a showy and loud Gundam Seed ripoff, so… yeah. :/ I’m very sorry for Ayakashi Ayashi. I really liked it, especially its somewhat old-school style, and it’s a real pity that it had no chance to fulfill its potential.

  2. Babel says:

    Agree completely about this series. It was a real shame that the producers couldn’t hold onto the initial 52 episode budget – we can only guess what it could have been. But as you say, even hacked down to half it’s length, it still (for me anyway) beat a lot of the competition in it’s season. I can only hope it’s lack of success doesn’t provoke a reaction against intelligent drama from the production companies.

  3. Christopher says:

    6 P.M. on a Saturday night is a good television spot? The only thing they ever show around that time on American TV are Xena reruns and Cops, it’s like a night when people go out, I’m thinking that’s why anime on Adult Swim gets lousy ratings here in the U.S. I guess Japanese youth go out on a different day (in anime it always seems to be a Sunday…)

  4. L.A says:


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  • Masky
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 08:03 AM)
    @Bam: Yeah, but simulating reality applies to certain types of games. Judging EVERY game by how realistic it is is silly xD
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 02:36 AM)
    @Masky: lots of game designers aspire for realism. Now this can be done for cosmetic purposes like face textures and lighting, practical with physic engines and movement, or contextual like believable character reactions and dialogue. Now some games thrive in being ridiculous and fantastic, but some want to create a realistic setting to further the emotional impact. Nothing wrong with that.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 02:32 AM)
    @ratsgnoF: and happy Thanksgiving to you as well.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:43 PM)
    Anyway seriously though, I’d say it does actually make sense in context xD Since none of monsters are actually that threatening.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:42 PM)
    .-. I have no words, mainly because whenever anyone uses word “Realism” in context of video game, I want to say rude words xD
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:40 PM)
    I think he gave it a passing glance and felt it wasn’t his thing, I remember he also felt that he thought the idea of sparing the monsters wasn’t believable or realistic given that he felt if you were realistically placed in that situation yourself, the real thing to do would be to fight back out of fear.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:37 PM)
    Did he actually play the game though? I mean, did he actually discover it himself or did he just heard the spoilers?
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:35 PM)
    I had a talk with a friend about undertale and he wasn’t a fan, he prefers other types of rpgs, the choice element also made him uncomfortable and that he felt the game was too punishing.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:34 PM)
    @Kaiser: Puzzle elements, outside of sparing everyone, seem to be mainly just parodying video game puzzles. Like, only place where you actually have to solve actual puzzles is in Hotland, before that pretty much every puzzle is automatically solved, really easy or has some silly twist to it. Like the puzzle you can skip by pressing a switch in tree trunk. Can’t say I’m too fond of puzzles either, but I liked how game was making fun of them
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:32 PM)
    Speaking of awful sense of humor and things that dorks like, just wanted to say that turns out I was right about Jitsu wa watashi wa in that main couple does get together before chapter 100(forgot what exactly, some where in 80-90 range I think). But they are such huge dorks that they do everything ridiculously slowly because they are that embarrassed, so they have had like just one date(in chapter 100). Not that I expect anyone to remember what the heck I’m talking about xD

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