Posted from my Facebook June 23, 2012.
On 11 March 2011, a travesty occurred in Japan which devastated the country equal to the events of the United States’ disasters on 11 September 2001. Not terrorists, not man-made phenomena, not even Godzilla, could make a travesty so huge on this nation of islands; but a single earthquake, followed by tsunamis and nuclear waste warnings, brought attention to the country that coincidentally founded anime, that the world had to respond. To this day, there are still many victims who suffer from the colossal damage; and yet, this anime I will discuss rose from the ashes in response to the cries of the Tohoku region.
Furusato Saisei: Nihon no Mukashi Banashi –or its English title Folktales from Japan— is a collaboration between TV Tokyo, Tomason, Sony, and Peter Pan Creation to tell the stories passed down by the people of Japan. Each episode consists of three short tales roughly 7 minutes long apiece. According to Crunchyroll, most of these stories are in fact told from Tohoku in hopes that hearing these stories would give the victims some comfort. Additionally, however, I feel that this has another effect: that the Japanese and anime lovers worldwide can learn a little more about the values and culture which emanated from this region as well!
While Folktales from Japan is a family-friendly series –unlike most of the series that Americans enjoy– to call it a series specifically for children would be an understatement. Like folktales from any part of the world, there’s wit, morality, and something to be learned from an older generation which transcends across all ages. I’m sure a lot of fans are somewhat disappointed that the art style is certainly different from what they’re used to (I’m talking about girls with big eyes and wavy long hair), but that simply makes this series more unique to viewers.
I won’t go into detail about any specific episodes because I’d probably spoil the stories for my readers (or they pretty much already know), but I will say that you might recognize the values and maybe some references you might have come across in other anime and manga you have watched or read. To be honest, I’m personally a little behind on this currently-airing series, but I do plan on watching the rest of the episodes.
As one who traces some of my roots back to Japan, a concerned citizen of the world, and an anime-lover, Furusato Saisei: Nihon no Mukashi Banashi comes highly recommended from me; if not for enjoyment, definitely for the knowledge gained from watching each story.