This time I’m reviewing an anime series that I thought was going to be horror, but became ended up being rather different, while retaining its horror elements.
Cast & Crew
Keiji Fujiwara as Yukiatsu Ryuudou
Fumiko Orikasa as Atoru
Michi Niino as Saizou
Norio Wakamoto as Youzou Torii
Rikiya Koyama as Abi
Shinichiro Miki as Genbatsu Edo
Tokuyoshi Kawashima as Houzaburo Ogasawara
Yuji Ueda as Kumoshichi
Minami Takayama as Kyousai Kawanabe
Directed by Hiroshi Nishikiori
Written by Shou Aikawa
Character Design by Toshihiro Kawamoto
Music by Kô Ôtani
Animation by BONES
Available from Amazon.com
In Japan during the Tokugawa Shogunate, during a period of incredibly draconian social reforms, Japan is also facing an outbreak of predations by monsters called Yomi. A group of fighters, called Ayashi, all taken from social outcast groups (Japanese First Nations, Vagrant samurai, Heretical priests, an actress, a student of foreign learning, and a foreigner) is assembled by the government under the pretense of the “Office of Barbarian Knowledge Enforcement” to fight against the Yomi. However, directly & indirectly, the Shogunate may have more to do with the outbreak of Yomi attacks than the Ayashi suspect.
I came in expecting a horror anime. What I got was an anime which uses giant monsters as (in Japanese popular entertainment at least), how they were originally intended – for commentary. In this case, to highlight the harshness and cruelty of life in Shogunate Japan, and to counter some of the romanticisation of the shogunate and its defenders – especially the Shinsengumi.
The English DVD release includes a 5-episode OVA that is set 6 months after the end of the TV series. WHile the end of the TV series left things open, the end of the OVA doesn’t exactly provide closure.
Animation: I’ve noticed a few continuity slips in the animation, particularly when it comes to the Vagrancy tattoos of several characters. 4/6
Story: It’s not great, but it gave me a lot to think about related to the show. 4/6
Emotional Response: This is a show that got me thinking more than it did anything else, but not quite at Lain levels. 4/6
Overall: My knowledge of Japanese history definitely gave me something to think about with this show. Those with less (or no) knowledge will get less out of it. 4/6
In total, Ghost Slayers Ayashi gets 29 out of 42.
October 1: Blair Witch (2016) October 8: Ghost Slayer Ayashi (2006)
October 15: Shin Godzilla (2016)
October 22: Dracula vs Frankenstein “marathon” (1971, 1971, and 1969!)
October 29: Requiem for Darkness (2003)
October 31: Trick ‘r Treat (2009)