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
    (Sunday, Apr 26. 2015 11:56 PM)
    The Highlights for me in Sandman, a mixed bag though the series is are the Corinthian’s introduction and the orpheus bit.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 26. 2015 11:54 PM)
    Sandmans an easy adaptation if they were to focus on a main plot, do volume 1 and 2, then 5, one issue of vol6, condense volume 7 and 9, do one chapter of volume 10 as the epilogue.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 26. 2015 11:51 PM)
    The thing about these fantastic 4 flicks though is how on earth can you fail so hard that Ben Grimm becomes unfunny ?
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Apr 26. 2015 11:41 PM)
    That new Fantastic 4 just looks horrible, it needs a miracle to turn that shit around. I want to see that HBO adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman that was floating around, but just like the Guilermo Del Toro’s version of the Monster manga it sadly never materialized, although after seeing The Strain I’m rather glad it didn’t.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 26. 2015 11:00 PM)
    I’d have a hard time getting psyked for a new fantastic four movie, I think its evident that those characters are just too hard to get right.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 26. 2015 10:57 PM)
    These superhero movies can be enjoyable, though I wish DC and Marvel would start adapting stuff from their more adult lines.
    I’m really looking forward to the upcoming Preacher tv series. I also want a swamp thing film that follows Alan Moores run on the character.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 26. 2015 10:54 PM)
    Winter soldier missed the mark for me because I felt it overly long and dodgely edited, it tried to do too much and messed up trying to blend spy thriller and superhero flick and it just didn’t gel, the winter soldier himself also needed more presence.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 26. 2015 10:46 PM)
    The most disappointing thing with those two wolverine films is that they actually had a fair bit going for them but they completely undid and ruined themselves in their endings. I can’t forgive bad endings in films.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 26. 2015 10:45 PM)
    I feel X-men only becomes fun when you focus on Magneto, wolverine, deadpool (with cable) and maybe nightcrawler, I find everything around Jean and Cyclops whingy and always found storm a dull character.
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    (Sunday, Apr 26. 2015 10:41 PM)
    I’m a pretty big fan of the spiderman, daredevil, captain America comics so that added to a negative opinions I had on some of the films.

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