I have discovered treasure on Netflix.
It should come as no surprise to you that I am as enamored of Japanese Anime as any cartoonist nerd-boy has ever been.
I told you already about Astroboy and the old movie The Magic Boy (1959). Now witness my newest Anime/Manga love.
If you watched the opening in that video, you will see right away the first, best reason I have to fall in love with this moving painting, this gloriously subtle Japanese art print set to motion and music. If you like that opening sequence, you have to see the first season ending sequence as well. Izumiko slowly and elegantly walks as spine-tinglingly exquisite melancholy music plays and gallery-quality scenery behind her is interspersed with unfurling fans. You have to see it to understand what I mean. I’m sorry I did not find a YouTube version to post. But you can find it at the end of every episode you watch. Wait a minute! What do you mean you didn’t watch that opening YouTube video? Don’t make such a mistake! Go back and watch it right now! Oh, you did watch it? Okay. But go back and watch it again. Believe me, it is that good.
My sister Mary, the archery coach, may guffaw at the way Miyuki draws his bow, but, hey! That’s actually the way the Japanese teach it. Everything in this cartoon show is stunningly realistic. And everything is subtly building up to a story that is wholly surreal and unbelievably touching. Look at how it combines with popular music in this YouTube highlight reel;
It is filled with wizards and warlocks, spirit creatures and Japanese nature goddesses, and a conviction that love and goodness will find a way to win out.
The story is about a young girl, Izumiko Suzuhara, who has been raised in mountainside isolation at Tamakura Shrine, an otherworldly place in a beautiful forested landscape. She has an unusual problem. She short-circuits electronic devices, burning out the school computers and breaking every new cell phone her family gives her.
A family friend visits as she is trying to make the decision whether to go to the mountain village high school or go to the Tokyo school her absent father and mysterious mother have recommended to her. The friend leaves his son, Miyuki Sagara to be her protector, though she doesn’t understand why she needs a protector, or why they have chosen a boy she has always believed hated her. He has been a bully to her in the past. But Miyuki has studied to be a yamabushi, a mountain monk, since a very young age. It turns out that Izumiko is chosen to be the vessel of a Kami, a good spirit who protects and empowers the world.
There is no way to adequately explain why this Japanese cartoon is so good and so necessary to be viewed by anybody and everybody I can put the word in with… It is one of those, “you-know-it-when-you-see-it” things.