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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  • bundleofsticks
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 06:48 PM)
    Also would people really be interested in a blog that only reviews old anime not many people watch anymore? Its better to review new shows
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 01:48 AM)
    @Kevin, you sure seem fond of that word. Anyway still see you that you keep coming back and playing the same old tune.
    Blah blah blah circlejerk, blah blah blah get lives, blah blah blah
  • Kevin
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 12:29 AM)
    Man you guys are still doing your dumb ass circlejerk. How much semen do you guys have left what the hell
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 12. 2015 09:23 PM)
    @Joe: also note that a lot of the old famous ones were already reviewed by psgels and still up on the site. Don’t bother with the catalogue down there, just search them.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Oct 12. 2015 08:01 PM)
    I have begun reading the heavens feel route of fate/stay night because I was told that it may be one of the fate related things I’d actually enjoy.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Oct 12. 2015 07:38 PM)
    I think I’ll try that wait and see thing with the new Garo before watching any more of it and content myself for the time being with just utawerumono and subete.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Oct 12. 2015 07:36 PM)
    I still think you should watch texnolyze Aidan and put up a review of that show on here.
    Also I think by choosing to cover subete you’ve kept in the spirit of this site by doing so.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Oct 12. 2015 07:34 PM)
    I think Joes got it right with his wait and see approach and I really should adopt that approach when watching some shows, waiting until they are halfway through or finished their run before starting to avoid bothering with a disapointment.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Oct 12. 2015 07:23 PM)
    @Joe, Big problem with that is that I seen a vast majority of old anime. I don’t want to go too old anime and I would prefer to devote my time on my massive backlog of steam games. I might re-watch some old favorites and put a review of them in the future.
    I may complain about the this season but while the majority is pretty weak we do have four shows with the potential to be great.
  • Joe
    (Monday, Oct 12. 2015 06:52 PM)
    @aidan: I don’t blame you. I’ve always found it hard to watch currently airing anime because so many start well but become terrible at some point. I prefer shows that are already completed so I can see what other people think about it. Maybe you should try doing some older anime?

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