In episode 8 of Hoozuki no Reitetsu several facts about a certain Edo period artist, Hokusai, were mentioned. Even if you do not recognize his name, you are probably familiar with his world-famous print The Great Wave off Kanagawa.
What I like the most about watching Hoozuki no Reitetsu are precisely these snippets of information about the Japanese culture. I really appreciate the meticulousness with which the translators and editors subtitle it. There are so many Buddhist terms, so I expect the research behind this to be exhausting.
The series itself is not particularly special — some may even say it is substandard — but I really enjoy learning about the various mythical creatures, religion and folklore through anime. I don’t intend to talk about the series today, so for more information please see its ANN entry. News flash: Hoozuki no Reitetsu is getting a second season this fall!
In the eighth episode painting on one of the walls around the palace “Flames of the Blade Mountains” flakes. Hoozuki decides a new painting should be painted. Only after it’s done, the artist and his friend learn the original painting was by Hokusai.
Apparently, in Hell Hokusai is just about to publish his debut manga in the monthly “Dead of the Night”. Hoozuki wonders how the editors will deal with Hokusai’s constant changes of address. Fact: Hokusai moved 93 times during his 89-year life. Or his constant changes of pen names. Fact: Hokusai changed his artist name 30 times during his life.
In his time, manga was used to describe a “collection of sketches not connected by anything”. (Far from today’s understanding of the word.) Anyway, Hokusai created this series of sketches ranging from landscapes and nature to the everyday and supernatural.
Block-printed in three colours (black, gray and pale flesh), the Manga comprise literally thousands of images in 15 volumes, the first published in 1814, when the artist was 55. The final three volumes were published posthumously, two of them assembled by their publisher from previously unpublished material. The final volume was made up of previously published works, some not even by Hokusai, and is not considered authentic by art historians.
A reward for those who reach the end: In episode 7 around 8:12, we can see three main characters from the anime of Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, Shizuku Mizutani, Haru Yoshida and Asako Natsume. The director for both series is Hiro Kaburaki.
Also if you’re interested in Japanese painting, I recommend watching the Miss Hokusai movie. It’s centered on Hokusai’s daughter, O-ei, but 先ず最初に she’s a very interesting person and artist herself and 第二に she lived with her father, so he has a lot of screen time as well.