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Entry updated 21 December 2023. Tagged: TV.

Japanese animated webfilm (2011), webseries (2012) and tv series (2013). Toei Animation. Created by Izumi Todo (a studio House Name). Directed by Rie Matsumoto. Writers include Kuraku Asagi, Miho Maruo and Rie Matsumoto. Voice cast includes Banjou Ginga, Aya Hisakawa, Akira Ishida, Eri Kitamura, Rie Kugimiya, Shigeru Nakahara, Chiwa Saito and Kenichi Suzumura. One 26-minute webfilm; five 7- to 12-minute webseries episodes; thirteen 25-minute tv episodes.

To avoid persecution from The Shrine, Priest Myou (Ishida) flees into a mirror world, accompanied by his lover Lady Koto (Hisakawa), and their children Yakishumaru (Suzumura), Kurama (Nakahara) and Yase (Kitamura). Yakishumaru was a dead boy reanimated and adopted by Myou: the others – like the mirror world itself – are drawings he brought to life: Kurama and Yase are a Buddha and demon, Lady Koto a black rabbit then made human by a Bodhisattva. Circumstances lead to Myou and Lady Koto's eventual departure: centuries later their Immortal children rule the mirror world's city as the Council of Three, still awaiting their beloved parents' return. Yakishumaru grumpily takes his father's name and priestly duties; Yase holds tea parties with her colourful Monster friends; Kurama does most of the work, setting up an organization to monitor the mirror city using advanced Technology; with him is Professor Shōko (Saito), who controls the giant Robot Bishamaru.

Then a red-eyed girl wielding a giant Dimension-piercing hammer arrives and creates havoc: reckless, endearing and named Koto (Kugimiya), she seeks her parents: a black rabbit and Inari (Ishida), her father. Until boredom drove him away Inari worked for The Shrine (aka the Unified Planetary Organization), which maintains "the balance of the planes", these being planets: there should be twelve but now there are thirteen.

Koto and the Council of Three are siblings: Inari had been Myoue, and before either a god (see Religion) – thus his powers – second-in-command to his brother who ruled The Shrine on behalf of their disappeared father, God (Ginga). The brother now arrives through the breach made by Koto, saying the thirteenth plane (the mirror world) is destabilizing the others, so must be destroyed. However, God shows up, manifesting as a trinity of monkey, rabbit and frog – previously seen as background characters – and accepts the thirteenth plane. All ends happily, with the extended family together.

The original webfilm was a rush of exciting scenes; the webseries provided a little more context – but it is not until the Television series (whose first episode is an edited version of the webfilm) that the story becomes understandable, with deeper character work. The Alice novels by Lewis Carroll permeate the series, not so much through the plot as in mood and numerous details. There are many pleasing surreal touches: some of the city's population are geometric shapes; annually, the city's unwanted items float off into the sky and head to the station, where they are carried off in railway coaches to who knows where. Though crowded and not entirely coherent, this is a memorable, visually exhilarating and emotional Anime. [SP]


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