Piyo Piyo Productions presents:
Genji, Part 1 1-2
A note about old PPP torrents:
Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat: No, there is no Genji Part 2. Genji Part 1 is an adaptation of an incomplete manga by Yun Kouga. She is probably best known today for her character designs for Gundam 00, but I was a fan of her artwork long before that. (“I liked her BEFORE she was cool, man”) Before Gundam 00 she was probably best known for Earthian.
Genji is visually impressive, but a bit of an odd duck. For starters, it takes place in an alternate universe in which the Genpei War occurs in modern times. So right off the bat, if you don’t know Japanese history and the Genpei War, you might get lost. But don’t worry, scroll down a bit, I’ve done a quick writeup of the historical background.
The other problem is that our main character is a real off-putting weirdo. For example, early on, a peacock saunters up to our main character and starts talking to him, and offers to take him on a boat to another universe. And our main character doesn’t even blink at this, like birds take him on a trip though Yes album covers every Wednesday or something. The ending of the first episode is hilarious – unfortunately, it isn’t meant to be. Think along the lines of the ending of X/1999.
In short, I’d describe Genji Pt. 1 as “interesting,” but I can see where it was never gonna be a big mainstream success. If you’re into Yun Kouga’s artwork, it is on glorious display here, so its worth watching on that level.
Filtered x264 conversion and untouched high-bitrate DVD conversion included for archival purposes.
Boring history lesson bullshit that I’m probably mis-remembering from college:
Wikiepedia doesn’t do a very good job at explaining the background of the Genpei War, so here is my attempt. This is, like, the short version, believe it or not.
Back around 500AD, Japan was literally a prehistoric society. That doesn’t mean they were running around with stone knives and bearskins, it just means they didn’t have a formal written language, and thus, no written history of their own. It was around that time that Japan was introduced to Chinese writing, Buddhism, and various Chinese concepts of government.
The Chinese had an interesting system of land ownership. Specifcally, the Emperor owned every scrap of land in China. The land was administered by various government officials. These officials had control of a certain area for a period of time, and then were rotated out to a different piece of land. They were reponsible for the labor of the people in that parcel of land, be it agricultural, infrastructure, military, etc. By rotating officials out, it prevented any one official from gathering too much personal power. The Japanese thought that this was real neat-o.
Except, after a while, they kinda forgot about the rotation part.
Sometimes disasters would occur: Fire, flood, famine, typhoons, droughts. Maybe a section of land would get wiped out, and maybe, through misfortune and/or mismanagement, the guy in charge couldn’t recover. The imperial court wasn’t gonna help, they just wanted results. So, what did he do? He would turn to his more successful neighbor(s) for help. They would take at least a piece of his turf in exchange.
After a few hundred years of this, two very large prominent clans emerged: The Minamoto clan (also known as the Genji clan), and the Taira clan (also known as the Heike clan). By the time 1100AD rolled around these two clans controled a huge chunk of Japan’s land, and by extension, labor. They each had their own large private armies. They each worked for the imperial court, but bear in mind, the imperial court had no army of its own to enforce its will – on paper, these guys WERE the imperial army.
It also must be noted that Japan had developed an odd system of “cloistered government.” An emperor would reign for a period of time, and then resign to a monastary. The “reigning” emperor was more of a figurehead, and the “resigned” emperor was really the guy in charge.
This all came to a head in 1180AD with the Genpei War, with these two major clans declaring war on each other, and the rest of the lesser clans in Japan choosing to back one side or the other. The reigning emperor was a Taira, but the retired emperor was a Minamoto.
The Taira lost the war.
The end result was the end of the Japanese Heian imperial system, and the beginning of the Shogunate system, a feudal military dictatorship. The emperor still existed, but lived in relative poverty and had no power whatsoever.