This odd mix of Japanese folklore, alternate historical fiction, and shoujo romance caught my eye almost immediately during the fall season previews. I can enjoy something from just about any genre, provided it’s well-written and has interesting characters, but I’m especially fond of unique sociological settings. However, I was curbing my enthusiasm to the best of my ability following some lackluster trailers which were released a few weeks prior to the series’ premiere. My primary concern was that the show would shelve its interesting premise and instead degenerate to a standard romcom, but so far that concern seems to be unfounded. Instead this is shaping up to be an intriguing metaphor for the westernization of Japan during the early Meiji era.
The episode wastes little time on introducing the show’s premise: the various groups of youkai (which I will refer to as ‘spirits’ for the sake of English) are having difficulty adjusting to the westernization of Japan and the new Gregorian calendar in particular. Therefore, the new Meiji government charters the Ministry of Spirit Affairs, which will employ both humans from the military as well as half-human spirits in an attempt to mediate relations and help them integrate into modern society. Hilarity ensues when it comes to light that Agemaki, one of the military officers assigned to the new department, is so terrified of spirits that he can barely keep his composure in their presence.
Last week’s entries were pretty good, and choosing a winner was not easy. However, Starlogic managed to impress us once again, followed by Taiga for a close second. Congratulations to both of you; here’s your prize!
This week’s page is from The Legend of Koizumi. The Fuhrer has come down from the moon and is about to unleash his latent Master Race abilities. What could former Prime Minister Koizumi and his assistant have said to rile him up so fiercely? That’s where our readers come in! Fill in the blanks using the numbers provided. As always, keep comments PG-13 and safe for work. The winner will be announced next week, so take your time and come up with something good!
Many people have been talking about the the recent lull in the anime industry, both in Japan itself and abroad. The question is, does this lull spell the doom of anime as some have predicted? Or is it just a temporary setback for an industry that’s too mighty to perish? Well, to answer this question, we need to take a good look at the history of anime. This is an informative ANN article giving a good overview of the size of the anime industry over the last forty years. Of particular interest is this chart, a bar graph representing the growth of the industry since 1970.
What is quickly noticeable is the big boom around 1990, which is the time conventions began popping up in the United States and also when series like Tenchi Muyo and Ranma ½ were being released. Again, the industry sees another impressive climb by 1995, which is when Neon Genesis Evangelion and Ghost in the Shell were released. Moving into the new century, anime received increased exposure on cable television in the United States in the form of Toonami, which featured Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z and Gundam Wing starting in the late 90’s, and Adult Swim with Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Lupin III and FLCL into the early 00’s.
Many of these shows were critically acclaimed and financially successful in North America and the volume and quality of anime being produced and subsequently licensed overseas saw something of a golden age, noticeably peaking in 2006 at nearly 220% higher than just 11 years prior. The future of the industry was bright, many series were being licensed for North America before they even finished their initial television run in Japan, and it seemed like the world couldn’t get enough of Japan’s fastest growing cultural export.
But could the industry maintain that unprecedented success? Find out more after the break!