Ranked #527
Aoi Bungaku Series

Aoi Bungaku Series

Alternative Titles

Synonyms: Blue Literature
Japanese: 青い文学シリーズ


Type: TV
Episodes: 12
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 11, 2009 to Dec 27, 2009
Duration: 22 min. per episode
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company


Score: 7.991 (scored by 21760 users)
Ranked: #5272
Popularity: #537
Members: 60,378
Favorites: 501
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.

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The series consists of adaptations of six modern classics of Japanese literature: Osamu Dazai's No Longer Human (Ningen Shikkaku) & Run, Melos! (Hashire, Melos!), Natsume Soseki’s Kokoro, Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s Hell Screen (Jigoku Hen) & The Spider's Thread (Kumo no Ito), and Ango Sakaguchi's In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom (Sakura no Mori no Mankai no Shita).

No Longer Human (Ningen Shikkaku) - A high school student becomes lost and alienated. Despondent and aimless, he falls into a cycle of self abuse, depression and drugs that taints his life for years. Told in four chapters, each chapter deals with a different point in his life and the final chapter leaves him standing alone - an empty and hollow caricature of his former self.

In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom (Sakura no Mori no Mankai no Shita) - A love story between a 12th-century woman and a mountain bandit who abducts her.

Kokoro - A 1914 tale of a young man's life journey during the Meiji era. The work deals with the transition from the Japanese Meiji society to the modern era, by exploring the friendship between a young man and an older man he calls "Sensei". It continues the theme of isolation developed in Soseki's previous works, here in the context of interwoven strands of egoism and guilt, as opposed to shame.

Run, Melos! (Hashire, Melos!) - An updated retelling of a classic Greek tale of the story of Damon and Pythias. The most prominent theme of "Run, Melos!" is unwavering friendship. Despite facing hardships, the protagonist Melos does his best to save his friend's life, and in the end his efforts are rewarded.

The Spider's Thread (Kumo no Ito) - The Buddha Shakyamuni chances to notice a cold-hearted criminal suffering in Hell. But this criminal did perform one single act of kindness in not stepping on a spider in a forest. Moved by this selfless act, Shakyamuni takes the silvery thread of a spider in Paradise and lowers it down into Hell, but it falls upon the criminal to seize the opportunity and pull himself out - if he can.

Hell Screen (Jigoku Hen) - A famous artist is commissioned by a great lord to create a series of paintings depicting scenes of the "Buddhist Hell." The artist is unable to paint scenes that he has not seen himself, prompting him to torture and torment the Lord's staff to create his imagined images of hell. His creative efforts taint the household, as the story descends into madness and destruction.

(Source: AniDB)

Related Anime

Adaptation: Ningen Shikkaku
Summary: Ningen Shikkaku: Director's Cut Ban

Characters & Voice Actors

Sakai, Masato
Sakai, Masato
Mizuki, Nana
Mizuki, Nana
Sakai, Masato
Sakai, Masato
Koyama, Rikiya
Koyama, Rikiya


Asaka, Morio
Director, Episode Director, Storyboard
Miya, Shigeyuki
Director, Episode Director, Storyboard, Character Design
Araki, Tetsurou
Director, Episode Director, Storyboard, Key Animation
Nakamura, Ryousuke
Director, Episode Director, Storyboard

Write a review | More reviewsReviews

Mar 24, 2015
As a huge fan of the psychological (mostly thriller) genre, this anime was a diamond in the rough. I have not seen a series that did so well in presenting and going through human psychology. Not only that but, Aoi Bungaku also takes a look at issues involving human morality. The whole series consists of 6 works of fiction from Japanese authors. On the surface the idea sounds dull as it relates with classic Japanese literature, which as we’ve seen in multiple school SoL anime, are apparently a bore to read. Though I don’t know what the original pieces of read more
I found this review Helpful  Not Helpful
Jan 10, 2011

For a long time now, the psychology genre has been dominated by the likes of Elfen Lied, Higurashi, Monster and Requiem for a Phantom. All these anime looked at psychology as the mindset of a murderer or the troubled past of the protagonist, and there were also shows like Death Note, which focused on the mental abilities of two geniuses. This has been the way anime have defined the psychology genre for years.

But, as always, along comes a player that changes the way the game is played.

Aoi Bungaku Series thrusts you into the shows of the protagonists and synchronizes their brain to yours. read more
I found this review Helpful  Not Helpful
Jan 30, 2010
One thing I have learned after finishing this series, that the world and its society is a one cruel place full with violence, madness, and betrayal, or in the other hand, overpowered by those with the authority.

Story: 9/10
The Anime itself is divided into 6 different famous Japanese literatures made by famous authors from the past and all of the arcs has no connection with the others, but don't let this make you down because those 6 literatures sure were masterpieces indeed. You may prefer some arcs over the others, but overall it was a roller coaster full of emotions. One has to think deeper to read more
I found this review Helpful  Not Helpful
Aug 17, 2014
Anime being based on manga adaptions are very much common place, in fact, I'm not sure if I know an anime not based off an adaption. However, anime's based on old novels are very rare, and Aoi Bungaku is one of those rare types.

Aoi Bungaku (Or Blue/Evergreen literature) follows the adaptions of some of the most popular Japanese literature in the mid 20th century, and how their messages still resonate today.

As for the story, Aoi Bungaku is split into 5 arcs, one 4 episode arc with three 2 episode arcs. The last 2 episode can be left as either separate stories or together as they read more
I found this review Helpful  Not Helpful


Both are great, mature, serious psychological anime made by the same studio (Mad House) and with the amazing character design of Takeshi Obata (but only for the first 4 episodes of Aoi Bungaku).
Raito & Yozo are very similar: both are handsome, well-known young men with their own vision of the world and who don't have a good relationship with society. Oh, they both have a lovely crazy laughter, too.
The only two anthology anime that I am aware of where Japanese classics (novels in Aoi Bungaku; plays in Ayakashi) were adapted into mini-series/arcs; each with their own director/staff and art style changes. Outside of that, the biggest link they share is that only DARK stories were adapted: in the case of Ayakashi because it's a horror-themed series, and in the case of Aoi Bungaku because the title translates into 'Blue Literature' (fun fact: a lot of the authors of the novels adapted killed themselves). Every episode of Aoi Bungaku had a live-action intro, where an actor would delve into the back-stories of each author, while the Yotsuya Kaidan arc of Ayakashi had something similar in the form of a quirk where its dead author's spirit provided fourth wall breaking insights into how the ghost story became a sort of urban legend over time. The only fully original / non-adapted content in both series are Ayakashi's Goblin Cat arc and, in Aoi Bungaku, Kokoro's second episode, as well as most of the Hashire Melos episodes.

Aoi Bungaku had a more impressive budget (a Madhouse production; the art often being reminiscent of Death Note), as well as its opening four episode No Longer Human arc ranking highly among anime's best with its relatable glance into suicidal despair. After that, though, only largely unsatisfying one-two episode adaptations followed. Ayakashi's claim to fame, on the other hand, lies with its arsty-stylish Goblin Cat arc, which would later be turned into a full series of its own titled Mononoke. The Yotsuya Kaidan arc did, however, have Final Fantasy character designer Amano design its characters.
Classic Japanese literature adapted by Madhouse. Same sort of atmosphere and feeling, same director.
Both are very moving and poetic, and while Aoi Bungaku deals with a lot of more disturbing and horrific events. They are both very emotionally driven and convey a very strong sense of atmosphere within them.
They both have a similar dark undertone in the storytelling, although Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei is a bit more lighthearted in nature. They both have their own way of providing social commentary.
Similar art style, characters, and story. Same production company: MADHOUSE.
(Judged Aoi Bungaku only by the first episode, may differ from future episodes)
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