If you’ve watched Rurouni Kenshin, you know the Bakumatsu — the period when the shogunate fought various rebellions, the rebels strove to bring down the shogunate and put in a new “imperial” government, and all while foreigners traded in Japan courtesy of Commodore Perry’s Black Ship “diplomacy” and brought in change after change.
So… an alternate history Bakumatsu anime? With an acting troupe? And geisha? And all sorts of real historical characters tangled up in ahistorical revenge plots, conspiracies, and magic? And all sorts of pretty and cool things?
Yes, that’s right. I’ve been sucked into another intellectual, arty magic kenjutsu anime full of history I don’t know, the way other people are suckers for bishonen or pretty girls with guns. But dang it, at least I’m a highly cultured fangirl sucker for this stuff.
The name of this thing is *take deep breath* Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto.
Watch for it.
UPDATE: Spelling fixed. Also, the meaning of the title is apparently something like “Bakumatsu Machinery of Power Theory: Colorful Flowers Must Fade”. That last bit is all the first line of a poem — a poem which incidentally determines the order of the Japanese syllabary. It probably is using it both in the sense of “The ABCs of the Factions That Made History” and the sense that “all these characters and factions will pass away shortly, due to the new world they’ve made”.
Btw, if all this isn’t enough for you, the manga of Gintama is readily available in American stores and the anime is probably coming soon. Gintama imagines what would have happened if 19th century Japan had been visited by black starships full of aliens instead of US navy ships. Suddenly Bakumatsu Edo is reimagined with limos and VCRs, basically. And giant monsters are rampaging through Tokyo for a reason — the aliens brought them along as pets.
It’s a pretty funny concept, but for a non-Japanese person, it’s more of a heh. I mean, it’s hard to really get into the game when you keep remembering, “Oh, yeah, they’re comparing us — or our ancestors — to these crazy, incomprehensible alien critters.” OTOH, it is definitely good skiffy entertainment.