Mirai, an improved Kongou-class Aegis guided missile destroyer, is one of the newest and most advanced ships in the entire Japanese Self Defense Force (SDF). Her crew, also one of the newest, is lead by Capt. Umezu Saburo and Executive Officer Kadomatsu Yosuke. While running scheduled training exercises one day, Mirai encounters a fierce storm that throws their navigation systems into temporary disarray. After a few minutes of recovery, the crew is shocked to discover that they've been transported back in time to June 4, 1942—The Battle of Midway, during World War II. Letting history take its course for this battle, they manage to avoid the conflict firsthand and make a vow to remain anonymous, changing history as little as possible. However, when the crew comes across the dying Lt. Commander Kusaka Takumi, XO. Kadomatsu's instincts to save lives takes over, changing the course of history more than he could've imagined.
I would have never watched this if my internet hadn't had some connection issues. To my huge surprise from the very first episode it already caught my interest and I ended up watching 7 episodes without a break.
I personally want to give title "Cliffhanger" to this anime. Like 90% of the episodes ended up with a cliffhanger... Don't get me wrong, I actually loved this. I kind of regret it aired before I started watching anime, because this anime had enormously huge variety of topics to discuss. Every episode was very different from the previous one and many turnarounds happened. I was sometimes even confused
so who's right and who's wrong, who's the ally and who's the enemy... Great mind games (not as great as Code Geass and Death note tho) were played during the episodes and it was almost impossible to predict what will be their next move.
Basically this anime starts with 21st century's battle ship leaving the port for some training exercises and encountering some sort of anomaly that sends them back in time to 1942 year (60 years ago). This was the time when Japan were in a war against USA. The next 26 episodes of this anime is how the whole crew struggles to avoid any contact with the people from those years so that they wouldn't change the history.
However, can you actually avoid everyone when you are in the middle of a war? Obviously not...you need food, fuel and other things to survive... and this is were the fun begins... The battle ship from 21st century has such advanced weapons that are enough to destroy the whole USA army (it's realistic, in 60 years weapons do advance that much). Moreover, they know the whole history of this war. In other words they know every movement of both Japan's and USA's armies and what were the turning points of war and just basically they were overpowered. However, they didn't want to participate in this war at all, this was not their war, so this what makes the anime so great... Just how they try to avoid any minimal contact with anyone and what happens when they finally get spotted by both Americans and Japanese people...
The realism of this show was incredible if you don't think about this "time travelling thing". Zipang did a good job portraying the moral issues and how they were dealt with within the crew and their opponents/allies. However, those 26 episodes weren't enough to finish the series. They ended up on another big cliffhanger. Of course, there is manga, but... the disappointment of not having a sequel is huge.
If you were the captain of a highly advanced Japanese warship sent back in time to the Second World War, would you change history to bring victory to your people, or would you do everything to preserve the way of life you knew in the 21st century? The crew of the Mirai are torn, as they grapple with this very question, watching the legendary Yamato slink by them in the fog. "Zipang" is less about time travel and altering history, than it is about accepting the reality around you. While many hold out hope for a return to the "present", many others
decide that they have no choice but to make the best of their situation, even if that means serving an emperor-worshiping dictatorship. The true drama comes from those characters who try to straddle the line between those extremes, finding that neutrality is a difficult position in history's most devastating total war.
In-between well executed naval battles (who doesn't want to see a modern Japanese warship take out several waves of American fighter planes, followed by their aircraft carrier?) you'll be entertained by the machinations of the Imperial army and navy, as they try to figure out what the Mirai is, and what its mandate is. Is it a secret project of a rival country? Something from another branch of the Imperial military? Seeing 1940s-era warriors (many of them historical figures) grapple with such concepts as guided missles is both amusing and moving. Indeed, these weapons seem like godlike miracles from a fantasy world, and I'm sure we'd be similarly baffled by future technology from the year 2100.
While I can tolerate the merely adequate art, I ultimately found the story the most disappointing, specifically towards the end of the series. I felt a lot of questions were left unanswered (in a rather typical "life goes on" sort of way). There was little hint left as to what would happen, leaving the feeling that the series simply ran out of money and just opted to roll credits and pack up.
Ultimately, this is an anime designed for war geeks, although anyone with an appreciation for history will be intrigued by the moral issues dealt with by the cast, a group of characters who are interesting in their own right, but largely serve to fill the roles made by the historical debate. It is a solid concept that carries this series, though I imagine in more capable hands, this could have been a masterpiece.
A modern naval destryoer from Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force is sent back in time via some sort of quantum anomaly to the battle of Midway. For 26 episodes they struggle with where their loyalty lies, do their best to protect themselves without killing anyone and without doing anything that would change history.
The contrast between modern Japan and that of the 1940's is stunning. It is a critical look Japan's militaristic government at the time, at war in general, and at hard moral questions.
Although I feel the facial character designs could have been a little more realistic, they were refreshing
in that they didn't try to make everyone beautiful. The technical drawings of the ships, planes, uniforms, and weaponry is extraordinary. There were have bound to have been errors, but I didn't notice anything glaring.
Its thoughtfulness and realism isn't for everyone but it is one of my all time favorites. One word of warning, the final episode does not tie things up with a bow but leaves you wondering. There is a manga but I haven't taken the time to track it down.
The story begins as Mirai, a newly constructed improved Kongou class missile destroyer and one of the most advanced ships of the Japanese Self-Defence Force, and its crew of more than 200 people departs from Yokohoma Base to Pearl Harbor. However, a strange phenomenon occurs as they are on their way to the Pearl Harbor and the crew becomes shocked when they see Yamato, the strongest ship of Imperial Japanese Navy from WW2, and other WW2 ships like Nagato,Akagi etc. They realize that they are no longer in post-war Japan of 21st century and they are sent to 1942— to the middle of Battle of
Midway no less! So begins their struggle to survive in an era and country that completely foreign to them.
The story is the strongest point of Zipang. It is unique and enthralling. First of all let me warn you about one thing. Although nearly all of the series takes place in warships and battlefields, battle scenes are really few albeit satisfying. So if you are expecting battles and bloodshed, Zipang is not anime for you. Story is about the crew of Mirai struggling to get out of this era and searching for a way to survive while not intervening in the war to not alter the history. Yet, it is of course impossible for them to survive without supplies and fuel for their ship and not to be noticed as a strange ship that isn’t ought to exist in WW2 era.
Since the crew of Mirai are the officers of the Self-Defence Force, they basically have never seen war let alone killing someone. The were trained to save lives— not taking them. And they desperately try to do the thing they were trained for while fearing that their actions may change the future and make the future they have come from non-existent. This contradictory feelings and actions are what makes Zipang beautiful. They want to save people, yet who are they going to save? The Japanese soldiers who follows the orders of the military government? Any people they can save? Will the history they know change if they save them? Different people will give different answers to this questions according to their ideals and situation.
The only thing I didn’t like in the story is that it doesn’t end with a clear ending. A lot of things are left unanswered, and nearly nothing in the plot got concluded .
The art is the weakest point of Zipang. Characters look really similar. The ships and sea was beautifully drawn but the anime emphasizes the characters and their psychology and not the ships. If it was a show concentrated on naval battles, I would give no less than 8. Yet it is not.
Zipang as it is a historic and realistic anime, doesn’t have the usual colourful hair,eyes and big eyes from the usual anime shows.
Although the crew’s situation and their decisions are really impressive, there are no person that stands out on his own. Kadomatsu Yosuke can be called as protagonist somewhat but even he is very forgettable. The only main character I like is Kusaka because he is a really shrewd opponent and his ideals which are too different from of Kadomatsu’s makes the characters do heating debates. Apart from main characters there are a lot of historic characters like Isoroku Yamamoto or Ishiwara Kanji. I personally liked the historical characters more than main characters (except Kusaka).
Not bad, yet not impressive either. It doesn’t make you feel heated up in battle scenes, or sorrowful in tragic moments.
I finished the anime in a week and never got bored. Each episode makes you curious about what they are going to do next. And historical side-characters who makes great effects on the storyline comes one after another.
Zipang is a good anime and I recommend you to watch it. The story was great except the thing I said in the spoiler above. However, I think it could have been done far more better. I give a 7/10 to Zipang.