Rating: 4.5

At the end of the 12th century, near Kyōto, lived the Buddhist monk Myōe (明恵). Among many other works, he founded the Kōzan-ji temple (高山寺). Inside that temple is kept the Chōjū-jinbutsu-giga (鳥獣人物 戯画, usually abbreviated to Chōjū-giga), "caricature of animals and people", a set of scrolls carrying pictures of people and anthropomorphic animals. These are sometimes described as "the first manga", although there's plenty of debate about that. They've recently been brought to the attention of western people via a short advertisement commissioned to Studio Ghibli by Marubeni Corporation.

All of that is history on our world. In the world of Kyousougiga (京騒 戯画, "caricatures of the boisterous capital"), things went a bit differently.

You see, beside Kyōto, in another reality, is a garish and lively alternate capital, created by a Myōe who has the ability to give life to his drawings. His family (Myōe himself, a black rabbit he drew and named Koto (古都), who thanks to the intercession of the Buddha became his human wife, and three children, one mostly human, two drawn) moved into this reality after the people of Kyōto got fed up with having these not-quite-human people around. In this city there is no death, no conflict, all days are happy. A prophetic dream of destruction, though. convinces Myōe and Koto to depart, leaving the city and its reality in the hands of their children. And, apart from boredom and loneliness, things would not have changed much.

But some unspecified time later, a young girl called Koto (written in Kana, コト, not in Kanji like Myōe's wife) crashes through the walls of reality looking for a black rabbit.

Who's Koto? What is she really doing in the city? Will Myōe's and Koto's children ever see their parents again? Will they avert the prophesied destruction? Can such a family ever be truly happy? Who's Myōe anyway?

Kyousougiga explores themes of family, a creator's responsibility towards their creatures, and how to create inter-dimensional portals by hitting a giant remote-controlled mecha with a big magical hammer.

I don't think a review can do justice to this short series: it's packed full of feelings, and fun, and over-the-top absurdist action. Every character, including the giant mecha Bishamaru and Myōe's dog, are charming and well-rounded. The art is clean and deceptively simple, conveying the unearthly nature of the alternate reality. The music complements the whole work, the opening song in particular is very catchy and nicely sets the tone for the story.

You can watch this masterwork by TOUDOU Izumi (東堂 いづみ, Ojamajo Doremi, Purecure) and MATSUMOTO Rie (松本 理恵) on Cruncyroll You should probably skip episode 0, which may spoil some of the story.

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DatesCreated: 2016-05-02 10:35:39 Last modification: 2023-02-10 12:45:24