Posted 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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  • Juno
    (Monday, Apr 21. 2014 08:28 AM)
    I just decided to watch through all the Kagerou Project videos again. I’ve yet to get to the anime. Has anyone here watched the first two episodes? What did they think so far?
  • Nyangoro
    (Monday, Apr 21. 2014 08:25 AM)
    Isshuukan Friends 3: I love Shogo so fucking much. He really balances out the cast.
  • ninjarealist
    (Monday, Apr 21. 2014 07:23 AM)
    about both artists*
  • ninjarealist
    (Monday, Apr 21. 2014 07:23 AM)
    I guess for one I just don’t find the subject matter that interesting. Most of their stuff centers around white males doing typically white male things without much in the way of sub-text or social commentary that I really find engaging. I could say that about artists. I respect them for their craft but I don’t enjoy their work.
  • ninjarealist
    (Monday, Apr 21. 2014 07:21 AM)
    I’m just not a fan of Chuck Palahniuk’s writing. I can’t quite put my finger on it but it’s just not for me. Fincher is a pretty good director but I mostly feel the same way about his movies.
  • Deadlight
    (Monday, Apr 21. 2014 06:20 AM)
    Night y’all
  • Deadlight
    (Monday, Apr 21. 2014 06:20 AM)
    @Emma: Thanks for sharing, haha. Yeah, best if you see the Fargo series first. Who knows, you might find some of the liberties they took to be engaging. Anyway, I’m really dozing off here. Worked too hard all day and barely got any sleep XD
  • Emma
    (Monday, Apr 21. 2014 06:10 AM)
    From dusk till dawn I noticed also got a tv show as a remake.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Apr 21. 2014 06:07 AM)
    I agree with you deadlight on Fincher’s use of athmosphere and lighting in general.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Apr 21. 2014 06:07 AM)
    Good to hear though the remakers of Fargo are taking their own initiative though, that its darker intrigues me also.

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