Tales of Genji (源氏物語千年紀) is an anime based on the Japanese classic and possibly the first Japanese novel “The Tale of Genji” written during the Heian period by Lady Murasaki. It will be broadcast on 15 January 2009.
I LOVE PERIOD DRAMAS! So I’m looking forward to this very much… what’s more, Sakupyon is voicing the lead *doki doki* (=^_^=) The art looks very pretty and romantic. Hope it doesn’t disappoint!
Update 17 Jan 2009:
I watched the first episode. It has promise! The narrative flows well and I think this series will be a good introduction for newbies like me to the classic tale. For those who have watched the 1980s OVA and came off confused and hating Genji for his “philandering ways” and arrogance might have a better understanding of the background of his story this time round. I think you may even come away sympathising with him.
Anyway, right at the beginning, we’re greeted with a love scene (sex scene to be exact but nothing explicit) of Genji and one of the women in his many affairs where the couple sprout poetic sounding lines during/after their passionate embrace… Cheesy as it might sound, it was quite beautiful, actually ^^;;; hah~ and with Sakupyon delivering those lines, I think all the fangirls just died right there.
Although the animation and artwork can be uneven at times, the overall animation is still very good. So far, the first episode gave us a rather detailed visual depiction of the setting and environment where the story takes place. There are so many breath-taking, dreamy and artistic scenes which will hold your attention even when it is only a panned talking head or a voice over by the narrator.
The background music is classical and soothing. I enjoyed it. As for the opening and ending themes, I think I’m not the only one who thinks that the opening song by PUFFY is rather out of place in this anime. You’ll understand why when you hear it. The ending song “Ai” by Atari Kousuke was lovely tho’.
With the back story concisely summarised and explained in the first episode, I’m eagerly looking forward to the upcoming ones for the drama to unfold.
Update: 19 March 2009
I left this big comment at another blog and find that now that the series is nearing its end, it pretty much sums up my feelings while watching it.
I’ve not read the original classic, so I’m not sure how differently the story and characters were being portrayed from the anime. From what I read from wiki, there seems to be some discrepancies with the anime cos I felt quite sympathetic towards Genji as the story progressed. I still find his character/personality questionable and flawed (I didn’t know that Murasaki, the little girl was kidnapped by Genji lol~ it certainly didn’t appear like so in the anime) tho’ but well, no one is perfect.
As an additional note, it is said that all the men during that period did similar things and try to get lucky with the ladies in this manner, just probably not as openly and at such scale as Genji due to his power and favoured position.
Based on the anime, I think this story is more about Genji’s personal tragedies and search for love rather than a one-couple romance story. He loves his stepmom whom he cannot have and he flutters from one woman to another to fill his emptiness. They pretty much spoil him and become miserable after he loses interest.
Because the affairs are mostly illicit, you don’t see any of the women throwing tantrums and making demands on Genji since they don’t have the right to do so. The thing is, Genji meant everything he said when he was romancing them so that makes it worse. They want to hate him but end up hating themselves ^^;;; so much so that one of them (Lady Rokujou) ended up attracting/becoming an ayakashi who killed Genji’s wife and a young woman he thought could be “the one”.
It is tragic cos he doesn’t realise how much hurt he is causing them. And just when he might be redeemed, important people in his life either die or leave him.
I’ve watched it till the 9th episode and I think the series surpassed all my expectations for it. I think it is a tad short trying to squeeze everything in 11 episodes… but still very well-executed and engaging :)
Rating: Recommended! Thanks for reading this far anyway ^^
Official site: http://genji-anime.com/
Staff & Cast:
Creator: Murasaki Shikibu 紫式部
Director/scriptwriter: Dezaki Osamu 出崎統
Series composer/scriptwriter: Konparu Tomoko 金春智子
Art director・character design: Sugino Akio 杉野昭夫
Art director: Kawano Jiro 河野次郎
Music director: Suzuki Kiyoshi 鈴木清司
Anime production: Tokyo Movie, Tezuka Production
Hikari Genji 光源氏: Sakurai Takahiro 櫻井孝宏
Kokiden no Nyougo 弘徽殿の女御: Fujita Toshiko 藤田淑子
Murasaki no Ue 紫の上役: Endou Aya 遠藤綾
Fujitsubo no Nyougo 藤壺の女御: Tamagawa Sakiko 玉川紗己子
Kirotsubotei 桐壷帝: Horiuchi Kenyuu 堀内賢雄
Atama no Chuujyou 頭の中将: Sugita Tomokazu 杉田智和
Aoi no Ue 葵の上: Hiraita Eriko 平田絵里子
Rokujyou no Miyasudokoro 六条の御息所: Tsuru Hiromi 鶴ひろみ
DVD available here: Tales of Genji Sen-nen Ki Genji Vol.1