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
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 03:38 PM)
    It is easy to undermine the value of originality, but it’s also fairly easy to show how that’s plain wrong. It’s objectively much easier to improve on existing concepts than to use creativity and imagination to come up with new angles, styles and fresh perspectives and twists in a medium that had gone stale. Any work can age and become old, but one can never take away from what made it special in the first place. They’ll forever be hailed as the Pioneers that they were.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 03:25 PM)
    Now on unrelated note:
    “[Anno turned EoE] into what the original end of the series would have been if it was given enough budget: strange, absurd, confusing and a work of art”.
    Must be a quote from the “prime example of a blind fanboy” Bam right? Wrong! This was written by psgels himself. Guess whoever praises Eva is an idiot fanboy who doesn’t know any better. But yet those who bash it for a few repetitive shallow arguments are the true erudites.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 02:53 PM)
    “He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.” – Samuel L. Johnson
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 02:50 PM)
    What are we numbing ourselves to? The pain of band stress of modern life? Failing to fit or preserve the image that they tell us to uphold? This certainly needs to be brought to attention and critically analyzed.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 02:45 PM)
    Then there’s the 90 million daily opiate users, which basically means one out of every four people you meet are on one form of these things. Mothers, daughters, doctors, cops, teachers, all circling the drain. The US is nowhere near the most populated country, but we are by far the most consumer of prescription narcotics. That has to say something about our society.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 02:41 PM)
    There are 4 million patients, mostly kids between 8-16, that are on a daily dose of Adderall. That’s a straight mixture of several amphetamine salts, so for all intent and purposes crystal meth. Ritalin is also a powerful stimulant, and the cost/benefit analysis of this approach has always been proven to be damn reprehensible. ADHD is very rare, but used as a blanket term to just sedate the hell out of children that lazy parents don’t wanna deal with.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 02:37 PM)
    @K-off: well these drug-peddling doctors are just dealers with 20 years of schooling and half a million dollars in student debt. There are good caring doctors, but way far in-between. The few cases of actual neural chemical imbalance that benefit from these drugs are a shocking minority. There has been too many scandals of uncovered “donation” from big pharma to medical boards and hospitals.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 02:25 PM)
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 12:04 PM)
    Ah, I definitely see where Bam is coming from with the its easy to trade one addiction for another, that happened with my aunt, although I fundamentally believe that the smoking has kept her away from abusing alcohol.
  • K-Off
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 10:01 AM)
    Well, accidentally deleted my next comment. Basically just ranting about the geniuses at the VA suddenly cutting off veterans from oxycodone after they’d been dependant on it for decades.

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