Posted 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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  • Bam
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 05:51 AM)
    I wanted to catch up on SAOII … but then I took an arrow to the knee.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 05:24 AM)
    Now, theres thunderball watched, competent Bond fare, but better than nothing, mid tier Bond is still entertaining and it had its moments, suffers from comparisons to other Connery Bonds though I saw however. Watchable nonetheless.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 05:22 AM)
    I think even if I was stuck I don’t feel I would end up updating myself on sword art, what K-off just detailed there has further dettered me. That sounds like a kind of fanficy/12 year old fiction plot that the writer probably thought was fantastic as he was coming up with it but didn’t have the skills to pull off.
  • afgm
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 05:00 AM)
    You caught up on Sword Art Online, because frankly, you had nothing else to do and it seemed worthy of your time.
  • k-off
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 03:31 AM)
    Let that sink in. So you’re telling me, that in a tournament played by 50+ players all over Japan, this guy can somehow travel cross country, break into someone’s house, and kill them ALL within the short time frame of the tournament match? What the fuck? You defy common sense, shitty writers, not that I expected anything out of you twits in the first place.
  • k-off
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 03:30 AM)
    Don’t ask me why I bothered catching up on SAO, but I did, and holy shit it is bad. So apparently, this Death Gun fellow is actually two people, with one playing the game while the other sneaks into people’s houses and kills them when Death Gun shoots someone in-game.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 02:55 AM)
    Yellow face, yellow face, oh heaven above… =<
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 02:54 AM)
    @Aidan: Thanks, noted. Live and let die interests me I guess for the Baron Samedi guy, I remember him from the goldeneye game as a secret boss.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 02:46 AM)
    Lazanby has only one bond film. That being her majesty secret service. Dalton has two films.
    As for bond films for you to see emma, The spy who loved me is considered Moore’s best, though Live and let die is not too bad.
    As for the rest you have seen the best. Connery has only one decent bond film left, that being thunderball. His other two, diamonds are forever and you only live twice are pretty terrible. For one Connery goes yellow face for YOLT.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 01:52 AM)
    regarding Bond: I didn’t mention George Lazanby since I frankly haven’t seen any of his bond flicks, And I’ve only since Dalton’s License To Kill which was alright. I like to add that Dalton did an alright job on the Penny Dreadful tv series. That series is weird with not much sense of direction but can be ultimately entertaining.

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