• Titles: Ohedo Rocket, Ooedo Rocket
  • Genre: Comedy, historical, parody
  • Episodes: 26
  • Studio: MADHOUSE

The Edo period was a tough time. Japan decided it was time to make sure the citizenry was upstanding and righteous and strict morality laws started to be imposed everywhere. But we only really care about this specific group of row houses where Seikichi and his friends live! As you may know, luxury leads to moral depravity! So anything that isn’t considered essential to everyday life is sanctioned. Such as entertainment for instance. This isn’t exactly the best news for Seikichi who happens to make fireworks for a living. A particularly excessive and unessential good. And it really isn’t good news for anyone who enjoys a bit of fun and spectacle. Thankfully, a princess from the moon is about to change everything!

Ok, I didn’t do the plot of Oh! Edo Rocket justice. If you get right don to it, it’s actually a pretty epic historical tale mixing classic Japanese folklore and reimagined history with an emphasis on the wonders of science and physics. Actually, that doesn’t really describe Oh! Edo Rocket either. This is going to be a rough post.

I think cats are always a great place to start

Production

I really loved the way this anime looked. It’s not very new, it first aired in 2007, but the character designs are quite cartoonish which gives them a very timeless quality. That’s something I notice, if you don’t want to date your anime, don,t try to be overly realistic or trendy. The cast of Oh! Edo Rocket doesn’t really look like any other anime I can think of, which makes it difficult to tell which era of animation they are from.

But for me, it was the backgrounds that made the show really shine. The backgrounds in Oh! Edo Rocket are rendered in a way to be reminiscent of traditional ink paintings. This is an aesthetic that really spoke to me and captured my attention right away. It also ends up making the anime look visually rich and very interesting. At least it did to me. I was genuinely surprised to find out this was not a recent series as I couldn’t see any of the signs of ageing usually associated with older anime.

It does help that 1, Oh! Edo Rocket isn’t all that old and 2 the animation is fluid and well used. Because the nature of the series allows for frequent talking head scenes without it seeming cheap or out of place, I think the animators smartly put their resources where it really mattered and the end product looks like an even and impressive show. Good job MADHOUSE, I guess! I have a feeling they didn’t need my approval…

sadly the stills aren’t quite doing it justice

Story & Characters

I picked up Oh! Edo Rocket because Dawnstorm mentioned it in my comments once. By now, I have learned to jump on any recommendation I get from Dawnstorm. And so far, they have pretty much all worked out, with a few shows becoming some of my favourites.

Ok, so Oh! Edo Rocket is a farce. It’s pure comedy through and through. In the first episode, the characters blatantly break the 4th wall and I thought, oh… this is not what I expected. From then on I was treated to just about every single classic comedy genre possible. Aside from the ongoing and constant 4th wall breaks, there are non stop anachronisms (half of which are pointed out for your watching convenience), a lot of blue humour (that’s sex jokes but mostly tongue in cheek), slapstick, stand up, puns and even parodies of other shows.

And I loved it. I know that it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, some viewers do get tired of constant nonsense however I thought it was one of the best ways to unwind at the end of the day. I watched a few episodes and bam, I was smiling and ready to just relax.

everyone knows you can’t relax with a short on

This is not to say that there isn’t an actual story in Oh! Edo Rocket. My synopsis..s… were both accurate. There is a historical treatise in there that is rather critical of some of the policies in Japanese history. Take that mid-1800s politicians! And for all its silliness and lack of care for strictly sticking to the historical context, it does get the big points right. And it presents them in an irreverent and surprisingly brutal way.

Like the comedies of the olden days that allowed bards to criticize power without getting beheaded… in theory. Oh! Edo Rocket is one of the few animes I have watched to be that openly cynical.

But there is also a more traditional adventure written in. One that feels like a very wacky retelling of a few Japanese myths put together. Maybe the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. I particularly appreciated that the moon beasts, in their beast form, sort of look like huge mutant rabbits. I don,t think it’s even pointed out but that’s what I saw. And I thought it was a nice nod.

This is what rabbits look like where you live as well, right?

Fact is, there is a story there, complete with proper conflict and obstacles to overcome. A story that I got engrossed enough in to really care about, and by the last few episodes, I was loudly cheering for Seikichi and Sora to actually make it to the moon. The characters are properly developed, the main characters all get complex backgrounds and layered personalities. And everyone is consistent which is always a plus in my book.

I remember a while ago I had a reader comment that Naruto was way too crass for them. I would imagine that this reader would find Oh! Edo Rocket unwatchable. Compared to Naruto, it’s probably filth. And it can be pretty immature in its humour as well. So if that’s not your jam or you just happen to not be in the mood for that sort of thing, then I would not recommend you start watching Oh! Edo Rocket right now.

if the idea of a houndstooth kimono is as hilarious to you as it is to me, you might like this!

There are some off-coloured jokes, a lot in fact. Some punchlines don’t really land and it is relentless in its silliness. But you can’t say it doesn’t have a story or a solid cast of characters that are well-thought-out and written with care. The show may not have been for everyone, but I was left with the distinct feeling that the production team and writers were creating it for themselves. Because they liked it and thought it was funny.

Do you know what I mean? How you can sometimes tell when the people involved don’t really think a comedy is funny and they are just writing what they think the public thinks is funny. This was more like listening to a bunch of comedians trying to make each other laugh than working for the public. It can turn some people off but it worked for me.

You might like this anime if:

You enjoy historical fiction but aren’t too hung up on accuracy. You just like comedy a lot!

My favourite character:

Genzo (I figured he needed this)

Suggested drink:

Rocket Booster Cocktail

  • Every time Ginjirou gets flirty – blush
  • Every time Akai is a pain – take a sip
  • Every time sanctions are a bummer – appreciate that you can drnk if you want
  • Every time there’s a 4th wall break – raise your glass
  • Every time there’s an anachronism – explain to everyone why it’s wrong
  • Every time Genzo gets depressed – take a sip
  • Every time Sora is in beast form – take a sip
  • Every time Shunpei pines – take a sip
  • Every time anyone mentions balls – put the drink down
  • Every time soeone blushes – awwwww
  • Every time people forget about Genzo – take a sip
  • Every time anyone drinks – join them
  • Every time there’s a TV set – watch
  • Every time Mr. Old Man shows up – cheers!
  • Every time Seikichi gets jealous – take a sip
  • Every time Shunpei stresses out – take a sip
  • Every time there’s a murder – Oh My!
  • Every time Shunpei says “big brother” – take a sip

I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.

2 thoughts

  1. I’d forgotten just how gorgeous those backgrounds look.

    I really loved the show. I think my favourite scene is when the “men in black” infiltrate and try to casually ask the reformist magistrate’s ninja whether he noticed anything strange lately, who then drew a circly in the sand, which promplty summoned a “bird” to calculate pi pecking in the ground. The two watch for a while with their respective poker faces, and then the ninja says something like, “But that’s not what you were asking about, is it?” The entire show is like this.

    I find a good clip to show people whether they like the show’s general mood is the “cat song”. It’s a good non-spoiler display of the how show runs with its particular brand of insanity.

    I also really like the opening: “Take me far away….”

    I’ve been waiting for this ever since I spotted the pictures in the sidebar.

    1. Aren’t they!

      I feel like this is not my best post. I found that the anime was wide reaching and went through a lot of changes and I couldn’t figure out how to capture that in a single post

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