Posted by psgels on 27 March 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Genji Monogatari Sennenki



One of the more unique series that started airing in the past winter season (not that that says much since more than half of them were sequels, but okay) was Genji Monogatari: an adaptation of a novel that’s about 1000 years old by now. While that sounds a bit strange at first, the unique flavour comes from the director Osamu Dezaki, who managed to turn this series into a feast for the senses, although it’s obviously not for everyone.

Genji Monogatari is romance. It’s about a prince called Genji who ends up screwing countless of women, call him the Japanese version of Don Juan if you want. This anime stands out because of its specific style of storytelling: the pacing is kept tight, with a lot of focus on emotions and bringing these out of the viewer and the characters. The animation is full of visual effects, and overly present filters and sparkling overlays, sound effects are either overly present or kept completely quiet, depending on the situation. And in the end, it works: although only 11 episodes, Genji Monogatari is a consistent emotional ride from start to finish.

But yeah, the style of this series is a double edged sword, because as easy as it is for some to like it, it’s also a style that’s very easy to dislike. The character-designs are nothing like your average bishie or moe cute girl, so if you absolutely need those in your anime, you’re going to find a hard time liking this series. The visual effects can also very easily become grating if you’re used to quiet and simply drawn series.

Still, I personally liked this series a lot, even though I’m not easily impressed by romance shows. A glorified harem show it may be, but the visuals, fast pacing and the fact that in eleven episodes, many years pass that allow us a great look at a period of Genji’s life set this series apart from all the others. If you’re looking for something different (and know Japanese or Chinese, since it’s probably going to take a while for this show to get subbed) then this here is a pretty good recommendation.

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

3 Responses

  1. windy says:

    I liked it too! Well, almost every series that follows a novel ends up being quite good, because of the large amount of thoughts in it or just because if a novel is chosen it’s because it had something special in it.

  2. Anithin says:

    I wish the anime could have been longer and cover more arcs of Genji’s life. However, it is very compact and concise in its style of story-telling, and the aesthetics of the series stands out very much as well as background music and ending song. It would be good if there’s a sequel next year, maybe with the name “Senichinenki” (1001st anniversary)…but this is already good enough.

    Thank you very much, psgels, for blogging this series through. Now let’s wait and hope the subbed version won’t take to much time.

  3. WillMunny says:

    This is a great series! Sure hope there will be a new season.

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  • Rinegar
    (Sunday, Nov 23. 2014 04:43 PM)
    Hey, nice reviews, I began to make my own reviews as well, so check them out if you are interested! https://www.animetier.blogspot.com
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Nov 23. 2014 03:40 PM)
    Okay, Cossette no shouzou rewatched now too. This was on the high end of Shinbou’s cinematography and pretty much the best he’s outputted even if it has its choppiness/stiltedness in parts. It remains a creepy, surreal, trippy and grim, forboding, gruesome and immersive atmospheric ghost story that feels like it could have gone on a bit long and bar the three main focused characters could have had a little bit more depth.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Nov 23. 2014 12:16 PM)
    It was only really entertaining for how nuts it got.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Nov 23. 2014 12:15 PM)
    Aku no hana’s manga never really felt like much more than “crazy shit happening and femdom” = guilty pleasure to me.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Nov 23. 2014 12:07 PM)
    @Emma: Gankutsou was fine in my opinion tho, as it was so out there that I never saw it as a real attempt at adaptation.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Nov 23. 2014 12:06 PM)
    I don’t have much exposure to Cumberbatch beyond seeing him talk on film programs and also his role in that Star Trek movie, kind of want to see him in imitation game.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Nov 23. 2014 12:06 PM)
    @K-off: Don’t give ‘em ideas m8, that actually sounds like a pitch that they would pick up.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Nov 23. 2014 12:04 PM)
    There is a shoujo manga adaptation/rework of King Richard, there is also a romeo and juliet anime, it was one of the worst thing Gonzo produced, still didn’t dislike it as much a gankutsuou though.
  • k-off
    (Sunday, Nov 23. 2014 11:58 AM)
    @Bam He’d probably find some dumbass way to make it into shonen. Maybe Raskolnikov battles Alyona Ivanovna before he kills her.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Nov 23. 2014 11:55 AM)
    Whoever made Aku no Hana should totally make a Catcher in the Rye adaptation tho, as they’re both fittingly pretentious and empty.

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