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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  • Emma
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 11:49 PM)
    The first half in particular seems to drag and go no-where.
    I think that they’ve taken these films too far now.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 11:48 PM)
    The actors are really sleepwalking their way through this one for the most part also and the snarky humour completely falls flat here, its also one of the more childish of the marvel films. I also felt that for an action film, making me wait 70 minutes for an over two hour movie to get going was inexcusable, way too much filler/dull exposition.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 11:48 PM)
    Got back from watching the new avengers film. But its only a decent watch at best. The hulk vs ironman scene is worthwhile as is the last act but the actions inferior to the previous film. Black widow gets some good development in this film. However despite James Spaders performance as the villain it doesn’t do enough to lift the character out of the usual undercooked marvel antagonist.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 11:31 PM)
    Or just torrent it and revel in its graphics. I think it makes enough of a point for itself to push you over the fence to buy it.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 11:29 PM)
    Get the Disappearance of Ethan Carter. Should be cheap on steam and it’s one of the best looking games out there. The atmosphere, music, story and the Lovecraftian vibe makes it a memorable game.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 11:27 PM)
    @Aidan: SSDs are worth ever penny, since they make quite an observable difference. I wouldn’t bother with Unity unless you really enjoyed the last two games, although I think Black Flag was a much better game.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 11:19 PM)
    I am loving this laptop already. two drives with one being a regular 1 terabyte and the other being a 250 solid state drive. Anything on that SSD runs like lightening.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 11:17 PM)
    I don’t know, I am still having fun with DxD. Laughed my ass off over his power up.
    Got the Kill la kill vibe from Gakuan straight away. So far I found it alright but I wonder if I should bother finishing it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 11:16 PM)
    @Bam, Exactly that. The graphics card came with the laptop and I got the game free because of that. Also could get assassins creed unity for free as well but I think I am not going to bother with that.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 10:58 PM)
    Anybody else getting a strong Kill la Kill vibe from Mikagura Gakuen or is it just me? This is pretty bad tho. I can’t even get myself to watch the third episode, which is where some people said it gets better.

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