Cover of DVD Vol. 1
|Genre||Military science fiction, Alternate history|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Kazuhiro Furuhashi|
|Network||Tokyo Broadcasting System|
|Original run||2004-10-07 – 2005-03-31|
Zipang (ジパング Jipangu ) is a twenty-six episode Japanese anime television series directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi and produced by Studio Deen. It aired on the Tokyo Broadcasting System in Japan from late 2004 to early 2005, and was licensed for release in North America by Geneon Entertainment with DVD release starting in September 2006. It was adapted from the manga of the same name by Kaiji Kawaguchi.
The newest, most advanced destroyer in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, the JDS Mirai, sets sail from Japan on a training exercise with the United States Navy. En route, they encounter a strange meteorological anomaly, causing the Mirai to lose contact with her sister ships. After a short time, the crew detects a fleet approaching, but can barely believe their eyes as a massive battleship passes by them. The crew soon identify it as the Yamato, a ship which was sunk in 1945. As the crew scans with their radar, numerous other ships, including a Nagato-class battleship, are sighted. Two destroyers from the unknown fleet attempt to intercept the Mirai, but she manages to escape.
After examining the situation, the crew concludes that the ships they passed are part of the Imperial Japanese Navy and that they have somehow been transported back in time more than 60 years to June 4(5), 1942, the first day of the Battle of Midway. Knowing that an American attack will soon devastate the four aircraft carriers of the Kido Butai, some Mirai crew members believe that they should intervene, to save the carriers and the 3,000 Japanese lives that will be lost. With the Mirai's advanced technology and weaponry, which is far superior to anything possessed by the United States (or any other nation) in this era, the crew realize that they could potentially alter the course of the Second World War. However, they agree that their top priority is to return home, and to ensure that they have a home to which to return they decide to do nothing that will change history.
Despite their initial intentions not to alter history, they soon find themselves gradually drawn into the war, though they continue to refuse to choose one side over another. The struggle of the crew from a modern, peaceful, and wealthy Japan to resist the nationalistic appeal of defending their country, knowing that in this time it is ruled by a brutal, totalitarian and militaristic government is the central theme of Zipang. Their rescue of a Japanese navy officer from the past, Lt. Commander Kusaka, who would have perished in the normal timeline, causes unstoppable and devastating changes in the past when he seeks to create a stronger Japan no matter what the cost.
- Episode 1. The Mirai Sets Sail — The JDS Mirai sets sail from Japan as one of a four-ship squadron going to Hawaii to participate in a joint exercise with the United States Navy. In the vicinity of Midway Island they encounter a strange meteorological anomaly. The Mirai loses contact with her sister ships but finds herself sailing straight for what can only be the Imperial Japanese Navy battleship Yamato.
- Episode 2. Midway — The Mirai finds itself in the middle of the Combined Fleet formation of the night before the Battle of Midway. First, Mirai is signaled by the Yamato, the Combined Fleet flagship, then two destroyers attempt to block its path, but it successfully eludes the Imperial Japanese fleet using superior acceleration from modern gas turbine propulsion. Reluctantly, the crew realizes that they have traveled sixty years into their past, to the eve of the Battle of Midway. They witness the battle but make the difficult decision to not become involved so as not to affect history. Captain Umezu decides that, since they obviously cannot enter Pearl Harbor to reprovision as originally planned, they should head back to Yokosuka and hope that they may encounter the anomaly again on the return trip.
- Episode 3. Drifters — Kadomatsu rescues an Imperial Japanese Navy officer, Lt. Commander Kusaka, from a sinking seaplane. The Mirai’s crew is split over the fact that they may have changed history. The Mirai is discovered by an American submarine, USS Guardfish (SS-217).
- Episode 4. Mirai’s Battle — The Mirai narrowly escapes the American sub’s torpedoes. A panicked sailor in the CIC launches an ASROC. Captain Umezu considers sinking the sub but, at the last moment, self-destructs the ASROC. The Americans escape with knowledge of a new Japanese ship with incredible capabilities. Kusaka learns that the ship is from the future. On board the battleship Yamato, Admiral Yamamoto summons Lt. Tsuda, a naval intelligence officer, to investigate the strange warship flying hinomaru that mysteriously appeared and quickly disappeared in the midst of the Combined Fleet just before the Battle of Midway.
- Episode 5. Kusaka’s Choice — Kusaka is given access to the Mirai’s record room and learns the outcome of the war and the future of Japan. He decides to throw in his lot with the Mirai. He is shown quoting from a speech by Sun Yat Sen in Kobe on November 28, 1924, when Sun asked whether Japan will seek Western way of domination (覇道) or Eastern way of kings (王道) as its future policy, as he weeps over the future that would descend on Japan. The VTOL Umidori is sent on a recon mission over the Japanese naval base at Chichi-jima in the Ogasawara Islands to evaluate the situation before sailing towards Honshu. While daydreaming about his grandfather, who is from the island, the overconfident pilot is engaged by two Japanese floatplane fighters whose pilots think it suspicious that the odd-looking plane should be trying to escape, despite the presence of the hinomaru insignia.
- Episode 6. Order of Attack — The VTOL recon plane damages the two fighters and forces them to ditch without injuring their pilots, but its weapon systems officer is killed, the Mirai’s first casualty. Kusaka proposes that the Mirai go to Japanese-occupied Singapore, rather than Japanese mainland, to refuel and reprovision, He believes that he can arrange the resupply, armed with forged documents and fake currency produced on board the ship. Having examined Japanese Navy's personnel records in Mirai's record room extensively, Kusaka is certain that there is no one in Singapore who would recognize him.
- Episode 7. Malay Railway — Kadomatsu and Kusaka travel by the Malayan Railway to Singapore, while the Mirai hides in the Anambas Archipelago. Kadomatsu gets a view of the colonized people and has a close call with a brutal Kempeitai inspection. In Singapore, Kusaka requisitions a tanker to carry supplies for a "special mission" for the navy. While waiting for the ship to sail, Kadomatsu and Kusaka attend a party. There, Kusaka is shocked to run into Lt. Tsuda, his kohai from the naval academy, who, according to Mirai's records, should not have been anywhere near Singapore. He remarks to Kadomatsu that this is no longer his past, since the actual events are already diverging from the records of Mirai's past — as evidenced by Tsuda's unexpected appearance in Singapore. Kadomatsu refuses to believe this and punches Kusaka in the face. In the meantime, the Mirai is spotted by a local fisherman.
- Episode 8. The Pursued — The two from the Mirai arrange for a tanker loaded with fuel and provisions to rendezvous with the destroyer. But Lt. Tsuda, having recognized Kusaka and realizing something odd is afoot, has found out about the ship. After being informed of the fisherman's discovery of a hidden Japanese warship in Anambas, he realizes that his encounter with Kusaka, mysterious purchases of fuel and foodstuffs on the black market, the unexplained "special mission" involving the tanker, and his mission regarding the mystery ship are all connected. He has the tanker’s crew replaced with his own men and confronts Kusaka after the ship sets sail.
- Episode 9. Deadline — Tsuda reveals that, in addition to the crew of the tanker, he has put together a sizable task force at Singapore around the cruiser Kashii for dealing with the mystery ship that he has been ordered to investigate, should it become necessary. However, Kusaka and Kadomatsu convince Tsuda that force will not work and ensure that the Mirai is fueled and provisioned accordingly. Tsuda has an opportunity to tour the Mirai but has difficulty coping with knowledge of the future. Kusaka tells Tsuda that the future is not fixed as recorded in Mirai's history, since its very presence is actively forcing changes, and that their job is to ensure that these lead to a "better" future for Japan. Specifically, he informs Tsuda that he intends to convince Captain Umezu and Admiral Yamamoto to change the outcome of the Battle of Guadalcanal. Captain Umezu accepts Kusaka's suggestion, though with much difficulty, and calls for a meeting of the senior officers to plan their moves.
- Episode 10. Interchange — Lt. Commander Oguri and Lt. Satake visit the crew of the tanker and the sailors from the 21st and 20th centuries have an opportunity to learn about each other — and Oguri consequently arrives late and drunk to the staff meeting called by Captain Umezu. Plans for Guadalcanal are developed. Kikuchi thinks the Mirai should intercept the U.S. fleet and inflict enough casualties to convince the latter not to press the attack but Kusaka argues that Americans would not give up so easily and instead proposes to fly to the Japanese base at Truk to convince Admiral Yamamoto to withdraw Japanese forces instead so as to avoid the battle.
- Episode 11. Guadalcanal Island — Kusaka is flown in the Umidori to meet Yamamoto at Truk Island. The IJN staff find the idea of a ship from the future hard to believe, but the technologically advanced nature of the Umidori is indisputable. American Marines in the attacking task force discuss stereotypes of the Japanese soldiers and get a more realistic view from their commander, General Alexander Vandegrift. At a private meeting with Admiral Yamamoto, Kusaka suggests that Japan should withdraw all the way to Manchuria, now that they have already broken the myth of European invincibility. Yamamoto replies by asking whether that means Japan should flee from the fight, Kusaka replies that he has another plan — which is left hidden from the viewers. Admiral Yamamoto then asks Kusaka what has happened to him on the Mirai, to which Kusaka replies that the experience opened his eyes as a Japanese. When Yamamoto asks what happened to him as a naval officer, Kusaka hands in his dirk in implicit resignation from the navy. Yamamoto, however, replies that the dirk is not his to accept — he can only hold on to it for a while. The crew of the Mirai devise a back-up plan to cause the Americans to withdraw from Guadalcanal should Kusaka fail to convince the Japanese command or betray them.
- Episode 12. The Arrow of Sagittarius — A landing party from the Mirai on Guadalcanal has close calls with both the Japanese on the island and with the attacking American forces. The Mirai witnesses the Battle of Savo Island, where the Allied naval force covering the landing is destroyed by the Japanese Eighth Fleet under Admiral Gunichi Mikawa. When the Japanese fleet withdraws without attacking American transports, the crew of Mirai think history as they know it — in which the fear of a possible air attack from US carrier forces caused the Japanese fleet to withdraw prematurely — remains unchanged, but Admiral Mikawa remarks to his staff that he is in fact aware that U.S. carriers are far away and cannot intervene. The withdrawal, in fact, is a part of a larger strategy. General Vandegrift receives a message from the Mirai warning that, at 3 am, an "arrow of Sagittarius" will strike his camp as a demonstration of their power and that his men should withdraw immediately if they value their lives. Among the landing party, Lt. Commander Oguri wants to blow up the American ammunition dump, thinking that it would be more likely to strike fear into the Marines. However, Kadomatsu overrules him since such an attack would cause many casualties and orders the Marines' food supplies targeted instead.
- Episode 13. The Land of Gold — Kadomatsu and his landing party use a laser designator to guide a blank Harpoon missile to strike the American supply depot, an attack which harms no one but demonstrates their ability to do so. But the Americans do not retreat as the Mirai’s crew expect, but instead send out patrols into the jungle to ferret out suspected Japanese infiltrators. Meanwhile, a large Japanese fleet unrecorded in history, led by the battleship Yamato, arrives to shell the American Marines. Kusaka radios Kadomatsu from Umidori — now stowed in Yamato's hangar — to reveal his vision for a new country that is neither the militaristic empire of his time nor the defeated Japan of the future. He calls his ideal land Zipang. He reminds Kadomatsu that they are caught up in a war and that Japan cannot just withdraw from the fight without striking some blow at the Americans. In particular, Kusaka argues that, if the 1st US Marine Division, a vital component in the US strategy in the Pacific, is wiped out on Guadalcanal before the Japanese withdraw, it will make it easier for Japan to arrange an honorable peace treaty with the United States — as a first step towards his vision. Kadomatsu refuses to consider this and calls Kusaka a murderous madman.
- Episode 14. Collision! — The Yamato fires on the American forces on Guadalcanal, but the Mirai uses its Aegis combat system and Sea Sparrow missiles to intercept and destroy the first wave of shells in flight. However, the Mirai crew are aware that they cannot keep intercepting shells, as the Yamato has hundreds of shells to fire, while the Mirai is limited by both the technology and the supply of missiles. Lt. Commander Kikuchi suggests that, if Yamato were to keep firing its main battery, the only way the Mirai can stop the shelling would be to disable the Yamato itself. After tense several minutes during which the Mirai aims its missiles at the Yamato, Admiral Yamamoto agrees to withdraw his battleships and evacuate Japanese personnel from Guadalcanal. In the meantime, Lt. Tsuda prepares to commit Seppuku with his Dirk (since he heard that the Mirai has intercepted the Yamato's rounds, viewing it as a battle and viewing himself already as a prisoner of war), as the Mirai's female medical officer Lt. Momoi serves came his room to serve him coffee.
- Episode 15. The Living and the Dead — On Kusaka’s advice, Yamamoto calls off the attack and orders the withdrawal from Guadalcanal to begin. As Lt. Tsuda worries about himself committing suicide and calling himself a "pathetic man", Lt. Momoi calms him down, preventing him committing suicide by stating that there is no problem for being a pathetic man and that he is better than those who do not value human lives, then embracing him, making Tsuda drop his Dirk and faint. While trying to reach their helicopter for extraction, the Mirai’s landing party is forced into close combat with an American Marine patrol. They kill all the eight Marines, but the taking of other human lives leaves them in shock. It is especially hard on Kadomatsu.
- Episode 16. The Will of Lieutenant Okamura — The Mirai landing party assists in the evacuation of the Japanese engineers from Guadalcanal. Kadomatsu goes into the jungle alone to look for stragglers. He encounters Lieutenant Commander Okamura (who is identified as a major in the fan-dubbed version and as a lieutenant in the official Geneon version, but as a member of Japanese Navy ground forces, he would be correctly ranked at a lieutenant commander). Okamura displays admirable bravery and dedication by staying behind to look for the rest of his men scattered in the jungle.
- Episode 17. Zipang Initiation — The Mirai enters the Japanese naval base at Truk Island under Admiral Yamamoto’s sponsorship and the crew looks forward to a shore leave. The Army and the Navy disagree about the operation to recapture Guadalcanal and a delegation from the Army insists that the battle for Guadalcanal resume, with an elite army regiment under Colonel Kiyonao Ichiki, en route from Guam, leading the way. After the meeting with the army officers, Admiral Yamamoto flies into rage and orders his staff to devise a plan that could convince Mirai's crew to join his cause, saying that the ship is essential for avoiding needless sacrifices. Captain Umezu meets Admiral Yamamoto who suggests that the Mirai base itself at Yokosuka, its home port in the 21st century, so that the presence of both the ship and its crew can help change the minds of the contemporary Japanese and make them amenable to accepting an early peace with the Americans. Lt. Col. Masanobu Tsuji, the head of the army delegation visiting Truk, has been tipped off of the secret meeting and attempts to interrupt it, but Kusaka stops him at the last minute. He takes Tsuji at gunpoint to the harbor and shows the Mirai. Kusaka then asks for Tsuji's help so that he can leave for Japan and meet retired general Kanji Ishiwara, whom he calls the “man who started the war” (presumably on the account of his role in the Manchurian Incident).
- Episode 18. Reunion — Kadomatsu learns that the operations on Guadalcanal are to resume — under an imperial decree — and blames Kusaka for this development. He goes ashore with Lt. Tsuda to talk to Kusaka — and is shocked to see him in a car heading towards the airfield with Lt. Colonel Tsuji. Kadomatsu tries to stop Kusaka but fails. As Mirai prepares to sail to Yokosouka, Lt. Commander Taki, a naval staff officer, plots with Admiral Matome Ugaki, the Combined Fleet Chief of Staff and a hardliner in the navy, to destroy the Mirai by arranging to have radio messages about her movements transmitted in a code that they know has been cracked by the Americans — so that it would be destroyed by an American, rather than Japanese, attack. Taki remarks that he is working under orders from someone high in the Japanese naval command, whose identity he cannot reveal. Kusaka meets General Kanji Ishiwara, a famous army officer who is out of office for criticizing Prime Minister Hideki Tojo and the war, at a lecture that the general gives at the Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto.
- Episode 19. The Other Staff Headquarters — When some of the Combined Fleet staff (specifically Admiral Ugaki) balk at the idea of sending badly needed destroyers to escort the Mirai, Lt. Commander Taki proposes that a new submarine, the I-21, be sent instead, with himself on board to observe. Yamamoto reminds Taki that he is essentially protecting Japan's future — and without Japan, there is no navy. However, Taki retorts — silently — that without the navy, there can be no Japan. In Japan, Kusaka and General Ishiwara develop a plan to create Kusaka’s vision of Zipang, an undefeated Japan, with its economic heartland in Japanese-dominated Manchuria. Specifically, Kusaka reveals the 1959 oil strike at Daqing, Heilongjiang Province, in Manchuria, which could supply many times Japan's needs for decades. Ishiwara is astonished and agrees that this single piece of information could change everything about Japan's future and that the first thing they have to ensure is to create a coalition uniting bickering Japanese factions — the army and the navy as well as business interests — behind their vision of the future. In the meantime, Commander Hutton (again, referred to as a "Lieutenant Commander" or "Lieutenant" in English dubbed versions, despite his rank being correctly identified in Japanese), the leader of an elite U.S. Navy bomber squadron unexpectedly summoned to board the carrier USS Wasp as a part of a 10-ship task force engaged in some secret mission, plays poker at a bar in Townsville, Australia, with his old friend, Commander Chris Evans. Evans is the captain of the USS Guardfish, the U.S. submarine that encountered the Mirai shortly after its arrival from the future. Commander Evans tells Hutton about the Japanese warship with unbelievable capabilities — such as a flying torpedo capable of tracking its target. As Commander Hutton and his crew arrive on board the USS Wasp, the commander of the task force, Admiral Noyes remarks that Commander Hutton has never lost anyone under his command in battle so far. After being briefed on his mission, Commander Hutton responds angrily to Captain Gray, the commanding officer of the Wasp, when he is not given the specifics about the target his men are to attack — and is subsequently informed of the events on Guadalcanal from the episode Arrow of Sagittarius. In Japan, Lt. Tsuda meets General Ishiwara to find out where Lt. Commander Kusaka is — and the General reveals Kusaka's whereabouts under one condition, that Tsuda help him arrange a meeting with retired Admiral and former prime minister Yonai Mitsumasa.
- Episode 20. Submarine I-21 — Kadomatsu goes to the I-21 to consult about an approaching scout plane the Mirai has detected. Taki takes Kadomatsu prisoner and the I-21 submerges, leaving the Mirai’s crew confused and unsure about what to do as time runs out. The mystery plane is indeed American, but Mirai uses its ECM system to jam the radio waves and prevent the pilot from reporting back. Nevertheless, Commander Hutton correctly suspects that a distortion field that suddenly appeared on USS Wasp's radarscope is the work of the mysterious Japanese warship and recommends an attack. The episode ends as the USS Wasp launches a massive air strike against the Mirai.
- Episode 21. 1 versus 40 — On board the I-21, Kadomatsu tries to get a warning to the Mirai via Morse code but is stopped by Taki. At first, Mirai attempts to leave the scene, rather than stand and fight, but Taki forces the issue by ordering the I-21 to surface so that it would be left vulnerable to an air attack. Rather than leave I-21 to be attacked by the Americans, Captain Umezu decides to stay around and face the attack. Oguri thinks they should engage the Americans afar, taking advantage of their technological advantage, but Kikuchi argues that they should wait until the range closes, since the supply of the long range Standard missiles is limited. In fact, Kikuchi thinks he can spare lives by demonstrating Mirai's firepower to destroy only a fraction of the American strike force, so that the rest would be frightened away. The strike force from the USS Wasp finds the destroyer. Using its advanced weapons, the Mirai shoots down two-thirds of the American aircraft in less than a minute. However, although the Americans are shocked, they don't slacken their attack, leaving the Mirai's crew dumbfounded. Commander Hutton, in particular, presses his attack by diving his plane into the bridge of the ship from the future (though bailing out at the last second so it is not suicide). The Mirai is damaged and suffers numerous casualties.
- Episode 22. Warning — The JDS Mirai monitors radio traffic indicating that the Wasp is preparing a second strike. Since the radar and the main cannon are damaged, Gunnery Officer Kikuchi recommends launching a Tomahawk missile to destroy the Wasp rather than wait for the second wave to strike. Lt. Commander Oguri suggests instead that a Harpoon missile be used instead to damage the flight deck instead. Kikuchi counters, however, that during the Battle of Coral Sea, USS Yorktown (CV-5) was back in operation only after three hours' repairs after a similar damage, and besides, since JDS Mirai came back in time, Allied forces have constantly seen it as an enemy and sought to destroy it, Mirai can't run forever and hold back punches if its crew are to survive. Captain Umezu agrees but first sends a warning to the Wasp and orders that the Tomahawk be self-destructed if the American ship calls off the second attack. Unfortunately, the American Admiral Noyes believes the warning is a bluff. The I-21 observes the launch of the Tomahawk and Kadomatsu lays the blame for the upcoming loss of lives on Taki, which makes an impression on Capt. Shimamoto, the submarine's commander. It is revealed that, just two months before they were to graduate from the Maritime Defense Academy, the Persian Gulf War broke out and the prospect of Japan sending warships in support of American operations against Iraq was raised. Kikuchi decided to drop out rather than risk the possibility of being involved in killing — which led to Kadomatsu and Oguri coming to blows. Kikuchi decided to stay in the SDF only for the sake of their friendship.
- Episode 23. Sinking the Wasp — The Tomahawk missile hits the Wasp. Its explosion and resulting secondary explosions from the carrier’s munitions and armed aircraft destroy the ship and it sinks with heavy casualties, leaving Admiral Noyes and Captain Gray dumbfounded as they join the survivors on board lifeboats. On the opposite side, Gunnery Officer Kikuchi is racked with guilt over his decision, even though he still believes it the only acceptable option. On the I-21, Lt. Commander Taki wants to launch torpedoes to sink the Mirai, but Kadomatsu says the sub will have to surface to make the attack, since its batteries are nearly dead from following the destroyer at high speed submerged. Surfacing will make it vulnerable to retaliation. Captain Shimamoto, the submarine's commander, supports Kadomatsu’s statement, even though it is not really true. Afterward, Captain Shimamoto tells Kadomatsu that Captain Umezu's decision to stay behind and needlessly endanger his ship and men was foolish, but that he admires his humanism regardless. Taki is ordered to abort his mission and report back to Japan, but warns Kadomatsu that he will not find safety in Japan as they are many like him who wish to see the Mirai stopped.
- Episode 24. The Dead and the Alive — Following the previous episodes' events, people on all sides are having hard time coping with what has so far transpired. On a U.S. destroyer carrying the survivors of the battle against the Mirai, Commander Hutton is a drunken wreck, seized by the nightmares of the battle and melancholy over the many subordinates he lost. On the Mirai, the crew is also coping with the shock of the battle and loss of their comrades — to the point that Gunnery Officer Kikuchi had to be sedated. On Guadalcanal, where the Ichiki detachment has just been wiped out, Lt. Commander Okamura is tending to a group of tattered Japanese survivors. The survivors include a very dejected Lt. Colonel Tsuji. Okamura convinces Tsuji that he must report to the Imperial GHQ about the difficulties that the Japanese troops are facing on Guadalcanal and urge a prompt and total evacuation to save the lives of thousands. In Tokyo, General Ishiwara meets Admiral Yonai for a hot-pot lunch at the famous Dozeu Restaurant, near the Tokyo Train Station. Yonai, to surprise of Ishiwara, remarks that Mirai must be destroyed for the sake of Japan's future.
- Episode 25. Coming Home — Upon "returning" to Yokosuka, the crew of Mirai find that the navy has arranged to have them dock away from the harbor, under the guns of a naval artillery battery. Feeling suspicious, Mirai contacts the Yokosuka Naval Base to demand that someone with real authority be sent to negotiate the conditions of their stay. The navy brass are divided over what to do, but Admiral Yonai enters the conference room to volunteer himself as the envoy and goes to Mirai alone. On board the Mirai, Yonai remarks to Captain Umezu and Kadomatsu that he'd rather see Mirai reduced to a pile of scrap metal. He reminds them that they are not of this era and that it is best that Japan lose the war to awaken her people from the allure of imperialism and militarism. Even if the defeat costs lives of millions, it is necessary to shock the Japanese people into rejecting the military dictatorship so that Japan could prosper for the next 100 years. Yonai suggests that the crew of Mirai should seek to preserve their lives so that they can help rebuild the postwar Japan, not involve themselves needlessly in changing the course of the war, even for the sake of saving lives. Kadomatsu has trouble accepting this line of argument. Meantime, the car carrying Lt. Commander Taki and another naval officer runs over a young boy near the harbor — who, in next episode, is revealed to be Kadomatsu's (in this period) eight year old father. At the same time, Lt. Tsuda meets Lt. Commander Kusaka at the Hotel New Grand in Yokohama, where the latter reveals his plans for 'Zipang' and announces that he will be soon leaving for Manchuria.
- Episode 26. The Place of Return — Having been granted a shore leave by the Japanese Navy, Kadomatsu goes to his father's home town in Tokyo's Fukugawa district to find him and unburden himself of old family ghosts — his father and grandfather had an extremely uneasy relationship. However, he finds out to his shock that his father, as an 8-year-old in this era, was hit by a car (carrying Lt. Commander Taki) and died three days before. Stunned, Kadomatsu finally accepts that Japan of this time is not the Japan of his future and decides to hunt down Kusaka, who is actively changing the past. He visits former Prime Minister Yonai with his new resolve and learns that Kusaka is most likely heading to Hsinking, Manchuria, seeking to fulfill his and General Ishiwara's dream of using Manchuria as the economic heartland of a powerful undefeated Japanese Empire. Admiral Yonai offers to arrange contact with his colleagues in Shanghai who might be able to help, but Kirin is far away from Shanghai. Kadomatsu returns to Mirai to inform the captain of his decision to leave the ship to pursue Kusaka on the Asian mainland and learns that the navy has agreed to provide Mirai with supplies on the condition that her crew submit to the Imperial Navy command and help them with strategic planning for the war, among other things. The crew has finally accepted that the only way to survive in this era is to cast their lot with the Japanese Empire after all. However, in case the navy might attempt to take over the ship against their will, the crew has rigged the ship with explosives. In the meantime, Lt. Commander Kusaka is heading to Manchuria in a train under an assumed name, Wang To-Hai (王拓海) (To-hai is "Takumi" in Chinese pronunciation), disguised as a Chinese. The episode ends in a cliffhanger: the future fate of the Mirai remains as uncertain as ever. Kadomatsu has just arrived at Shanghai, starting his search for Kusaka in China. Kusaka is engaged in his own schemes in China as he seeks to change the course of the war.
- Kadomatsu Yosuke (Japanese: 角松洋介) — JMSDF Commander and second-in-command of the Mirai. He adheres strictly to the ideals of the postwar Self Defense Forces and considers saving lives, regardless of consequences, as his most important duty. His father was also a JMSDF officer and appears frequently in flashbacks.
- Kusaka Takumi (Japanese: 草加拓海) — An IJN Lt. Commander whose courier seaplane launched from the battleship Kirishima was shot down during the Battle of Midway and rescued by Kadomatsu. He considers the encounter with the Mirai as an opportunity to change the history for the better. He rejects both the militarism of the Japanese Empire and shame of defeat that he attributes to the postwar Japan. Instead, he seeks to create a new undefeated Japan that he calls Zipang. While he admires the humanism of Kadomatsu, he dismisses it as a luxury unsuited for wartime and is willing to shed a great deal of blood in pursuit of his ideals.
- Kikuchi Masayuki (Japanese: 菊池雅行) — JMSDF Lt. Commander, Gunnery Officer of the Mirai, and a classmate of both Kadomatsu and Oguri from the Officer Candidate School. He had joined the Self Defense Force for economic reasons and consistently seek to avoid situations where he might be forced to take lives. In 1991, just the possibility of Japan sending warships to support American operations against Iraq during the Persian Gulf War was enough to cause him to resign from the academy — although his commitment to friendship with Kadomatsu and Oguri is such that he decided not to resign when his departure threatened to strain their friendship. His fear of taking human life backfires on him badly when he holds back punches against the U.S. naval aircraft attacking Mirai — and results in a serious damage to the Mirai and many casualties. In addition, he is extremely fearful of changing the past — and its possible consequences: from the minute the Mirai goes back to the past, he warns everyone of the dire danger of changing the past.
- Oguri Kouhei (Japanese: 尾栗康平) — JMSDF Lt. Commander, Navigation Officer of the Mirai, and a classmate to both Kadomatsu and Kikuchi. Unlike Katomatsu and Kikuchi, he is not racked by inner conflict following the Mirai's arrival in 1942. Rather, he is a happy-go-lucky character who believes that they went back in time for a reason.
- Okkasama (Japanese : あなたのお母さん)
Main differences between the anime and the manga
There are numerous differences between the chapters of the manga and the episodes of the anime:
1-At the beginning of the manga it is explained that the Mirai is assumed to leave for Ecuador, in a joint exercise operation with the United States Navy, after the country seem to have fallen either in a war or a civil war, while in the anime it's only mentioned that the Mirai will leave in a regular naval exercise with the United States Navy, besides, in the anime there also a previous part where Commander Kadomatsu, Lt. Commander Kikuchi and Lt. Commander Oguri adressed to the new cadet of the JMSDF, that doesn't exist in the manga. At last, the one who told to Lt.Commander Kusaka that, the Mirai is a ship from the XXI° century, in the anime is Commander Kadomatsu while, in the manga, is Lieutenant Kashibara.
2-There is a change of guns between the Kempeitai officer that interrogate Kadomatsu on the train for Singapore and Lt. Commander Okamura at Guadacal, in the manga, the Kempeitai officers hold a Nambu Type 94 pistol while Lt. Commander Okamura a Nambu Type 14 pistol, instead in the anime is reversed, also, in the manga, Captain Saburo Umezo give to Kadomatsu a Beretta M9 for his mission while, in the anime, give him a Sig Sauer M11(Actually, this should be more realistic, since the M11 is the official handgun of the navy). Curiously, the Nambu Type 94 portraited in the manga is slightly different from the "original" Type 94 pistol, which is not the case in the anime.
3-In the struggle between Lt. Commander Kadomatsu and the US Marine,who is later strangle to death by Kadomatsu, Kadomatsu managed to take the upper hand in differents ways;in the anime, Kadomatsu gave him(the marine) a kick between his legs, while, in the manga, he managed to grab a rock and hit the marine at the head with it. Moreover, the "landing party" of the Mirai is differently equipped, in the anime, the party wear a black combat suit, a combat helmet with integrated night vision and has a portable laser-guidance system, while, in the manga, the party wear the normal naval suit,a regular not-equipped combat helmet(the night vision is separated and it's look more some strange type of glasses)and has a far less "portable" laser-guidance system. Curiously, some fans have noted that the author committed a historical error: the US Marine at Guadacal, both in the manga and anime, are mainly equipped with the M1 Garand, the first semiautomatic rifle generation of the US(Which gave at the US Forces, during WWII, an important tatical advantage), but, at the Battle of Guadacanal(even if the Garand was first introduced in 1936 in the US Army, and by 1939 and 1941, both the Army and Navy were already full equipped), the 1st US Marine division were still equipped with the old Springfield Model 1903 clip-loaded rifle of WWI(Some other fans have used this, the differences between the "Original" and "Manga" version of the Nambu type 94 pistol and also, the fact, that the true commander of the USS Guardfish(SS-217), the submarine which attack the Mirai at the beginning, was named Thomas B.Klakring, and not Chris Evans, how is later reported in both the manga and anime version,as prove that the Mirai didn't actually transport back in time but, in the 1942 of a different alternative universe, even if, so far, only seven volumes were traslated in english).
4-Without mention the numerous differences bewteen the scene of the battle between the USS air-carrier WASP (CV-7)and the Mirai(Probably, due to avoid show images or scenes too cruel) the main differences are that; in the anime, the officers of the Wasp received the message from the Mirai, a little after they are hit by the Tomahawk, while, in the manga, they received the message a little before they abandon the ship, also, in the manga, the one who first saw the Tomahawk fired from the Mirai was Commander Kadomatsu, while in the anime was Chief Petty Officier Yanagi, who later explain at Commander Taki what is a Tomahawk, besides, in the manga, the captain of the submarine I-19 does not give to Kadomatsu any explanation why he choose to lie to Commander Taki, which he gives in the anime. After, when Commander Kadomatsu give to Commander Taki the telegram, in the manga, it wasn't outside the submarine as in the anime, but inside the "captain quarters" of the submarine, also it seems that Commander Taki think the possibility to commit suicide with his pistol after his failure and, at the end, the last difference is that in the USS San Francisco(CA-38), after Captain Hutton found out that Lieutenant Jones survived the battle, thus he(Lt. Jones) was badly injured and uncoscious, when Jones later regain consciousness, he ask for the bill Hutton promised him before the battle but, in the anime, Hutton give to him the bill and Jones suddenly dies, leaving Hutton to grieve over his death, while, in the manga, Hutton find out that he lost the bill in the battle(When he jumped from his plane), but he lied to Jones and said he keep for him, promised himself that he's gonna rip off a "sucker" at pocker to regain the lost money, both him and Jones are lastly see smiling, with the latter who apparently survive.
5-The father of Kadomatsu, in the anime, is showed to have die in a car accident, which is involved Commander Taki, while in the manga, so far at least, is only revealed that he was hit by "a car of the navy", also, in the manga, the idea to mine the ship, as last resort to prevent any attempt to take the ship by force, is originally from Commander Kadomatsu, while, in the anime, is showed that the idea is from Captain Umezo.
|Character||Voice actor||English [Geneon Entertainment] (2006)|
|Commander Yosuke Kadomatsu||Tetsu Inada||Mark R. Kaufmann — replaced by George N. Cahill III for the last 3 episodes|
|Lt. Commander Takumi Kusaka||Hiroki Touchi||Edward Choy Keng Choong|
|Lt. Commander Masayuki Kikuchi||Takanori Hoshino||Paul John Pistore|
|Lt. Commander Kouhei Oguri||Yuji Ueda||Jamie Ross Meldrum|
|Captain Saburo Umezu||Yuusaku Yara||Joe Murray|
|Lt. Mamoru Satake||Takashi Matsuyama||Terry Lee|
|Chief Petty Officer Isshin Yanagi||Eiji Takemoto||Darryl Ervin|
|Lt. Sachiko Momoi||Yoshiko Iseki||Chio Su Ping|
|Hideyuki Kashiwabara||Ryo Naitou||Jeremy Craig|
|Lt. Kazuma Tsuda||Kenji Nojima||RayRay/Wayne Kauchak (season 1)|
|Lt. Commander Eichiro Taki||Unsho Ishizuka||Curran Shane Mardjuki|
|Lt. General Kanji Ishiwara||Naoki Tatsuta||Joe Murray|
|Commander Samuel D. Hutton||Masashi Hirose||Daniel James Dugard|
|Commander Chris Evans||Paul John Pistore|
|Captain Gray||Jurota Kosugi||Ian Patrick Corrigan|
|Kaoru Yonakura||Hiroshi Shimozaki||Joe Murray|
|Rear Admiral Leigh Noyes||Bon Ishihara||Jerry Szombathy|
|Katagiri||Naru Kawamoto||William Gary Ladick|
|Captain Shimamoto||Takeshi Koyama||William Gary Ladick|
|Yasushi Asou||Jeremy Craig|
|Katsutoshi Hayashibara||Mamoru Miyano||Dwayne Tan|
Zipang was licensed for release in North America by Geneon Entertainment with DVD release starting in September 2006.
- Screen Ratio: Widescreen 1.85:1 Color (Anamorphic)
- Layers: Single Side, Single Layer
- Release Date: 9/5/2006
- Subtitles: English
- Packaging: Keep case
- Audio Tracks: ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Stereo and JAPANESE: Dolby Digital Stereo
In popular culture
- The Japanese company Pit Road has released a 1/700 scale plastic kit of the JDS Mirai that includes a tilt-rotor MVSA-32J Umidori (Seagull), also in 1/700 scale.
- The Japanese company F-Toys has produced a set of five “trade” kits that include the Mirai, the MVSA-32J Umidori, the USS Wasp, the I-21 submarine and a Type 2 float plane. The set was released on March 21, 2005 and the scales vary.
- A video game version of Zipang for PlayStation 2 was released by Bandai in Japan on May 26, 2005.
- Marvelous Entertainment Inc. of Tokyo released the soundtrack CD on March 24, 2005 (catalogue number MJCD-20025).
- G.I. Samurai
- The Final Countdown a film with a similar premise where an American aircraft carrier is sent back to before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
- Axis of Time