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:

    OVAs OVAs OVAs OVAs OVAs OVAs OVAs OVAs!!!

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  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:21 AM)
    All thats left now is macross 7.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:20 AM)
    However this one begged to go on for more than just five episodes, come on now and it had the franchises penchant for weak villains. It doesn’t get me as emotional as do you remember love does, the characters of Macross plus were more likeable. Still its a step above Macross II and I at least had fun with it on an action level.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:17 AM)
    Thats Macross zero completed then, it was great to see the background arc/plot for this franchise, the pace is tight and the action is arguably the most immersive, well done of the Macross universe along with Frontier.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:33 AM)
    While Tatami Galaxy and Ping Pong were definitely sharp I felt that Kemonozume and Kaiba were more inventive.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:30 AM)
    Aye,it was the visual style of the film being so different from the norm that drew me in. Still out of Yuaasa’s stuff I found myself more taken with tatami galaxy.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:22 AM)
    I think creatively the anime industry has plateaued a bit by now, where we see more derivative stuff and there has a formed an almost universal “anime style” which hinders non-traditional voyeurism.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:18 AM)
    I love the tonal whiplash that the story goes thru and the then-impressive-and-new visuals. Both 4°C and Hifana take queues from the Kansai art and the underground graffiti styles that prospered in Japan after the 70’s. Parallel to the postmodern movement in the Western world, the new wave was more expressive than fine and you see its heavy influence on the manga and anime industry.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:14 AM)
    @Bam: It is at the last stretch on the film where it is at its strongest visually in my opinion.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:10 AM)
    @Bam: For only 100 minutes it did a decent enough job on its protaganist in any case.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:02 AM)
    Mindgame is amazing. It is as unorthodox as they come but not really pretentious. It’s pretty humble and does have an actual message and proper story arc, so it’s definitely not just random for random’s sake. The industry needs more Yuasa.

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