Posted by psgels on 30 December 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


A modern Japanese cruiser that somehow through some strange cosmic reason travels back in time to 1942. Of course, for these sorts of premises it’s easy to simply fall into a “let’s use this chance to show those American pigs how superior we are”-formula, though it’s one that Zipang does pretty well at avoiding these clichés. Instead, it becomes an intense and thought-provoking war-drama.

The interesting thing is that despite this being a series about the Second World War, there’s hardly anyone that’s really portrayed as a bad guy, apart from a number of high Japanese officials who hardly ever get any screen-time. This series isn’t looking to provide excuses for what happened back then, but instead focuses on completely different issues: if you had the power to prevent the loss of thousands of lives, yet this involved a radical change of history in who knows what kind of direction, would you do it? And what do we people who have lived in these times of peace, know about what being in a real war is like?

It’s a surprisingly intense series, and what makes it so interesting is that every single character has a different view on the events that happen through the series. Everyone has different ideals and priorities, which quite often clash with each other. Characters like Kusaka, Yonai and Kikuchi and their ideals are a delight to watch.

As for downsides, this series showed me why Studio Deen’s series hardly ever feature any major use of CG: they’re just not good at it. They were unable to evade it with this series, and the CG-warships look pretty fake. It’s a shame, because the characters look excellent and down to earth, not to mention the terrific soundtrack. Then there’s also that final episode: it’s rushed, doesn’t really solve anything, and simply stops at a point where the manga went further. Sure, I can understand that the series was planned for 26 episodes, and that the manga’s storyline simply doesn’t fit in such a length, but at least some kind of closure would have been preferred.

Overall, Zipang is for those who are looking for series about realistic warfare, which lacks humanoid mecha and instead focuses on traditional military weaponry. In fact, most of the action here is psychological warfare, rather than fast-paced and flashy dogfights. Thumbs up to Kazuhiro Furuhashi, the director of Chevalier, Amatsuki and Rurouni Kenshin Tsuiokuhen.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 9/10

3 Responses

  1. Windspirit says:

    That’s Kaiji Kawaguchi for you.

    PS : The manga is moar than 30 volumes long and still ongoing. If you’re interested.

  2. bridge says:

    The series was fine, I suppose, but as you said leaves you completely cold. Makes it feel like a waste of time, as if a full series just kind of ended during the 2nd act. I also didn’t like that they completely ignored the method by which they went back in time. It feels like a cheap excuse to just get to the actual series. Imagine if Bakurano didn’t have Dung Beetle or if Death Note didn’t have the Shinigami.

    Also, I found the story a bit confusing and hard to follow near the end. Most of the characters aren’t given distinguishing enough features, both visually and characteristically for me to remember their names. I remember being somewhere in the middle of the series, and they kept mentioning someone’s name I didn’t recognize. Turns out it was the main character! ack! Also, the whole thing about the actual guy from the war on the boat was interesting for the most part, but I got completely lost during the politics part he was involved with near the end.

    But I appreciated the maturity that the show treated its topic with. They tried to pepper some action in there, but the action felt a little flat. The stand out part of the series was the stuff that took place on the island, I think in the middle. I missed some of the historical references, but it was still neat.

    Overall a bleh series with some bright spots. Maturity is good, but not at the expense of entertainment. It’s just kind of slow and boring without a whole lot of payoff.

  3. vazhavandan says:

    I would personally rate it as one of the best anime series(would have seen about 50 or so) i have ever seen.I felt like they thought about the characters well, also the main characters are very mature,not emotional wrecks like all other anime series that come out these days.Hats Off

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  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 01:13 AM)
    @Ninja: yeah spending a week at Black Rock City with 100k people with all the madness that transpires is pretty exhausting. The thing about Burning Man is that given the open atmosphere of acceptance makes it much easier to socialoze since you can keep the ego bullshit to a minimal.
  • ninjarealist
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 12:58 AM)
    @Bam I just mean I don’t have the energy for that type of event any more. It just wears me out. That amount of constant socialization.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 09:15 PM)
    @Ninja: yeah pyro contraptions are a big hit there, but that’s a lofty project indeed.
    And I’m pretty sure you’re not that old, there’s a lot of 50-60 year olds there and they’re having a good time. If you’re not a camping person then yeah … it’s not gonna be easy for you, but given the atmosphere, the music, and the art I firmly believe it’s worth checking out at least once.
  • ninjarealist
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 06:18 PM)
    @Bam Ahhhh Burning Man. I had some friends from Indiana who were trying to get me to help them build an organ that shoots fire with each key-press for Burning Man. It sounded fun but I already feel too old for something like Burning Man.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 08:32 AM)
    @Ninja: no I met most of them at Burning Man.
  • ninjarealist
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 08:23 AM)
    @Bam I see I just figured that if you had a lot of friends in KY you must have lived in the region.
    @Friend Yeah or involved desserts like Palmiers or Croissants. I actually am pretty decent at making croissants from scratch but it’s a pain in the ass.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 08:21 AM)
    And that’s … The More You Know ;)
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 08:19 AM)
    “Iran” originally means “the land of the Aryans”. The European settlers of Aryan decent are correctly labeled Indo-European as they traveled from north of India across Iran and the Caucasus mountain range (hence the term Caucasian) and settled in pastural lands in Europe. Hence we are the original white people. Go figure.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 08:14 AM)
    @K-off: some good-looking corn there m8.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 08:13 AM)
    @Ninja: No I’m Persian since I was originally born and raised in Tehran/Iran. I am mostly of Parthian decent with a quarter of Kurd in me. I have moved around the globe since I was 16 and now live in Sacramento California.

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