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A Viewer’s Guide to RobiHachi — Getting Started

On its surface, the gag anime RobiHachi [ロビハチ] directed by Shinji Takamatsu is filled with contemporary and pop cultural references. But the story and characters are inspired from a book series titled Tōkaidōchū Hizakurige written by Jippensha Ikku and published during the late Edo Period.


May 13, 2019 1

A Viewer’s Guide to RobiHachi — Episode 1

~ ***SPOILER ALERT***This episode guide may include plot and/or character reveals. ~ Japanese Title: 旅は道連れ Journey to the Star English Title: Traveling Companions; Journey to the Star Characters: Robby Yarge*, Hatchi Kita*, Ikku/JPS-19*, Yang*, Allo*, Gras** Indicates the first appearance in the series. Summary: Bounty hunter Hatchi Kita tries to collect payment from unemployed freelance…
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May 22, 2019 1

Behind the Story of Blood and Tears — The End of Shogun Tokugawa’s Rule

This animation symbolizes the government changeover that followed the Boshin War. The first crest (3 leaves) belongs to Shogun Tokugawa, the subsequent crest (chrysanthemum) belongs to Crown Prince Mutsuhito who would later become Emperor Meiji.


October 2, 2018 1

Behind the Story of Blood and Tears — Tayuu and Uguisu Facial Cream

In Blood and Tears episode 4 (18JUN18),  Usaburo, O-Hatsu and O-Bun meet a tayuu who is part of a traveling theatre group that offers a variety show of sorts, which might include kabuki theatre, acrobatics, swordplay, dancing, singing, comedy, storytelling, etc.


September 25, 2018 0

Made in Japan: Kanjinchou (The Subscription List)

I found a terrific video of a live kabuki performance of Kanjinchou 勧進帳 (The Subscription List),  which is a favorite of yours truly. The play is listed among the 18 Famous Kabuki Plays (歌舞伎十八番) in the kabuki repertoire and still hugely popular to this day. The leading character is a fierce warrior named Benkei, regarded an exemplar of…
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September 25, 2018 0

Behind the Story of Blood and Tears — The 47 Ronin

In episode 6 of Blood and Tears, Usaburo received the gift of a small hand towel decorated with a print of contemporary actor Ichikawa Yaozo III. The print depicts him as the lead character from the traditional kabuki play, Treasury of Loyal Retainers (忠臣蔵 Chûshingura).


September 11, 2018 0