Kodama in Anime

Let’s dive into some figures of Japanese folklore and their representation in anime. Today I would like to focus on kodama, Japanese spirits that inhabit trees. Japanese dryads, if you will.

Up until a short time ago, the word kodama immediately made me think of the Ghibli rendering—glow-in-the-dark bobbleheads with wonky heads from Princess Mononoke.

Then I watched Hoozuki no Reitetsu and saw a totally different kodama.

Instead of tiny toy-like figures with asymmetrical faces, I was met with a child-sized spirit with an apron over a kimono and leaves sticking out everywhere. Now, they are both cute, but otherwise rather different. That made me think, what about other depictions of kodama in anime? Continue reading

Hokusai in Hoozuki no Reitetsu

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.

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!
I hope you’ll join me, fellow art lovers, otaku and other interested readers~