Anime / Kazemakase Tsukikage Ran

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Meow and Ran

Kazemakase: Tsukikage Ran (English title: Carried by the Wind: Tsukikage Ran) is an anime series directed by Akitaro Daichi (who also gave us Kodocha, Jubei-chan, Fruits Basket, and Now and Then, Here and There), that aired for 13 episodes in 2000. It follows a basic adventure formula, with different settings, villains and people to help in every episode. The series derives most of its strength from the often humorous and dynamic interaction between Ran and Meow, who could be seen as lovely angels with a twist.

Ran is a young female ronin with an unmatched degree of swordsmanship. She wanders through Japan, looking for thrills and a steady supply of good sakénote . One day she runs into Meow, a somewhat younger girl who has tremendous skill in Chinese martial arts and a lust for strife matching her own. Together they wind up in all kinds of adventures, ranging from skirmishes with the yakuza to helping clueless parents to duking it out with an overgrown European woman.

The series was licensed in North America by Bandai, but no one seemed to realize it at the time and it quickly went out-of-print.

Tropes:

  • Acrofatic: Meow's supposed Criminal Doppelgänger is surprising nimble for a blimp.
  • Action Girl: Both Ran and Meow, especially when the fighting starts. Whether or not they make Lovely Angels is questionable since they usually tend to split up in a fight.
  • The Adventure Continues: The last episode ends like all the others; the pair walking into the sunset.
  • Aesop: Mei gives one in universe (basically social dwarnism) but the episode itself gives a counter one (greed self-destructs).
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Ran fits all the qualifications, especially aloof. This is usually given away by her voice but edging close to Bifauxnen, considering an old woman is reminded of her son after meeting her.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Meow. She shows attraction to handsome men, but she's also seen ogling pretty girls from time to time.
  • Ascended Fangirl: Stephanie wants to be a samurai because she's read about them.
  • Badass: Ran is the number one samurai in this show.
  • Badass in Distress: Meow is a skilled fighter but she's handed the Distress Ball on occasion, which offers Ran a chance to kick butt. As soon as Meow gets free, she joins Ran in beating up the bad guys.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Ran and Meow never appear dirty or unkempt after fighting or walking through the countryside for days. Even if it rains a lot and they lack food. The closest they get to battle injuries is Ran getting her hair ribbon cut, which only makes her long hair sprawl in a fetching manner.
  • Big Eater: Ran. It's justified since poverty gives you few chances to eat well. The massive Stephanie is also this. Meow dislikes the possibility of having to provide money for two Big Eaters.
  • Bloodless Carnage: When Ran hacks up bad guys there is no blood (or even clothing damage), yet when Mei is stabbed in the side a huge bloodstain appears on her dress.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Stephanie loudly proclaims her stereotypical views of Japan and its people, but she's unambiguously the strongest character in the series, and she has come closer to defeating Ran than anyone else.
  • Boring Invincible Hero: Ran almost never faces an opponent depicted as a serious challenge.
  • Braids of Action: Meow always wears her hair in braids and is a martial artist whose competence is only surpassed by Ran.
  • Broke Episode: Ran frequently runs out of cash. One episode begins with her sprawled out on the road, weak with hunger after not having eaten for several days.
  • Catch Phrase
    • "I am just a beautiful traveler." Ran sure is modest.
    • Ran also proclaims: "Utterly inexcusable."
    • "I'M SO PISSED OFF!" and "Wait up!" for Meow.
  • Cat Girl: Despite lacking the ears, Meow tends to make a cat-like impression, especially when fighting. Plus, ya know, her name is MEOW.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Overlaps with Excuse Me While I Multi Task; Ran throws thugs around while hitting up Meow for lodging cash. Meow has been imprisoned in a dungeon and Ran's breaking in.
  • Chinese Girl: Meow and her childhood friend Mei. In Japan, they are the only ones wearing Qipao and using martial arts.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Stephanie is as spaced out as she is big. She thinks everyone in Japan is either a geisha, a samurai, or a ninja. And when she finds people who don't fit these roles, she tries to reconcile them as combinations like Geisha-Ninja or Samura-Ninja.
  • The Comically Serious: Ran when she's indignantly muttering, "Utterly inexcusable."
  • Color-Coded Characters: Ran, one of the two heroes, wears a white hakama. Many of her opponents, including her Evil Twin, wear black. Meow wears pink and is much girlier than her partner.
  • Criminal Doppelgänger: One episode deals with two female bandits (a swordswoman and a martial artist) who have escaped from a prison island and are killing people. Ran and Meow apparently fit their descriptions and the village they're passing though tries to apprehend them. It turns out that the swordswoman very much looks like Ran. Meow's counterpart looks nothing like her.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Meow mostly talks and acts before she thinks, hiding well her skill in martial arts.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Meow when she's about to be literally crucified in the 12th episode.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Any battle Ran takes part in will end quickly.
  • Cycle of Vengeance: Ran warns about this trope at the end of the 11th episode; eventually you're the bad guy.
    Ran: Well? Don't you agree that murder to avenge murder is silly? One murders the other, on and on... It never ends. End this foolishness now. If you insist upon killing this man, do it. Then his children will be out to kill you. If it comes to that, I won't let them. I, Tsukikage Ran, will kill you on their behalf. Then the killing for revenge will end in a draw, hmm?
  • Dark Action Girl: The two female bandits (a ronin and a martial artist), whom Ran and Meow are mistaken as, are just as capable fighters as them. Mei also fights evenly against Meow.
  • Deadpan Snarker: As early as the first scene, Ran is telling off a group of mooks for disturbing her nap on a beautiful day.
  • Death by Irony: Mei is stabbed from behind by a samurai addict who came to have more of her drug and was taken out by her. Also, this happens after she has chided Meow and Ran of not killing off her henchmen they had taken out, saying that sparing them will cost them their lives.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Ran is considered similar to Kenshin Himura but there's one big difference; she is not a Technical Pacifist nor is she atoning for anything. She knows non-lethal techniques like when she slapped a woman with the flat of her blade but she does not care to use it every time.
  • Doorstop Baby: Meow is stuck with a baby in one episode.
  • The Drifter: Both Ran and Meow wander from town to town.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Ran is pretty popular with the ladies.
  • Evil Counterpart: Ran and Meow encounter two female bandits who happened to be a ronin and a martial artist. While the ronin certainly qualified as Ran's counterpart (both in skill and appearance), Meow was shocked and then irritated to learn that the martial artist (as skilled as Meow) was a dumpy middle-aged woman.
  • Famous Last Words: By Mei who's held in her childhood friend Meow's arms in the 9th episode.
    "This is a pretty good death for me, don't you think?"
  • Fighting Fingerprint: Junzaburo's status as Ran's mentor is shown by their shared fighting stance.
  • For Great Justice: Meow will fight anyone for this reason. She even calls herself "The Beauty of Justice".
  • Genius Ditz: Meow acts very ditzy, except when she's fighting.
  • Genki Girl: Meow has a great deal of energy and is cheerful to contrast the deadpan Ran.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Ran would rather spend her last coin on sake than on food. It's arguable whether she's a Hard-Drinking Party Girl or a full-on alcoholic. Meow is a straighter example because she only drinks during a feast or other such 'party' occasion.
  • Iaijutsu Practitioner: Already in the opening, Ran is shown to be this.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ran is aloof, sarcastic and mostly concerned about having sake, food or solace at handy. But she does help out if she considers people to be unable to solve the problem by themselves.
  • Jidai Geki: Fits the genre, though the actual time frame is ambiguous.
    • Given Stephanie, it must be after Europeans established contact (1543), but before Japan was closed off (1641), assuming a minimal level of realism.
      • Hiraga Gennai (1729-1779), also known as the electric guy from Read or Die, shows up in one episode.
    • Mei wears a tight-fitting Qipao, a style of clothing that was only invented in the 1920s.
  • Large Ham: Meow can be enthusiastic when she introduces herself and other occasions. This involves a louder voice and practiced posing.
  • Limited Wardrobe: They have one outfit and you never see them wash it. Ew. They are apparently immune to all kinds of dirt and grime but Meow's outfit does show signs of wear and tear around the edges.
  • Libation for the Dead: We don't see it, but Ran tells a dead sake brewer's apprentice that his dead master is the one that deserves his first batch, not her.
  • Lovely Angels: As mentioned under action girl this is a Downplayed Trope. They travel together but rarely fight in unison.
  • Meaningful Name: Meow's fighting style involves the heavy use of cat-like moves. Appropriately, it's known as Nekotekken, literally "Iron Cat Fist".
  • Motive Rant: Once's Mei's business is exposed, she goes on one about why she partook in it.
    Mei: You dare ask why? Meow, you really are lucky to be so carefree. Do you know what the most important thing is for living? Money. Dad died without being able to see a doctor. Mum died from overwork. Poverty is to blame for everything. If we only had money, they would still be alive today... Strangers offer consolation, but when it comes right down to it, they won't help you. You're the same! What were you doing while I was suffering? You were out on a carefree journey! It all comes down to money. Take a look at this house. How hard do you think I worked? I finally came to this point. Finally. I won't let anyone interfere!
  • Mooks: All their enemies are either this or Elite Mooks.
  • Ninja: Meow at times is mistaken for one. Some of the opponents are real ones.
  • No True Scotsman: The samurai in the 11th episode; the only 'true' samurai in their opinion are samurai that think like them. For instance, they show honor in one scene where they refuse to sneak attack and instead decide on a time and place of neutral favor. Then they attack three to one, even when their opponent reveals himself to be (basically) unarmed. Everyone who doesn't act like this is a 'coward' or a 'maggot'.
  • Once an Episode: Meow running after Ran.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Stephanie is a blonde and blue-eyed European.
  • Pretty Freeloaders: Ran mooches off Meow all the time.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni : Ran is the blue oni (stoic, deadpan) and Meow is the red oni (cheerful and energetic).
  • Ronin: Ran is a wandering samurai because she doesn't want to work for anyone. The opening theme is about the simple joy of the masterless samurai. "I have my freedom and saké."
  • Serious Business: Ran almost caused a fight over watered down sake. "Sake is like blood! You will shed a tear for each drop spilled."
  • Shadow Archetype: Meow has one in Mei. They were childhood friends who both studied martial arts (they're nowadays on the same level of skill). While Meow left to seek adventures with merriment and goodwill, Mei worked hard to get out of poverty that took the lives of her parents, but not through honest business.
  • Shrines and Temples: The pair come across them from time to time. Meow prayed at one for food and instead robbed the collection box.
  • Slipknot Ponytail: This happens to Ran just before her Evil Counterpart collapses after being defeated.
  • Status Quo Is God: Nothing ever changes, but this is justified as the pair are constantly traveling and Ran drinks all their money as fast as she can.
  • The Stoic: Ran, when she's in battle mode, is completely serious.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Ran's previous lover was the person who taught her kendo, and sake drinking.
  • Title Drop: "Where should we go next?" "Wherever the wind blows us."
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Taken liberally. The two leads fit, with Ran as the Girly Girl (graceful and concerned about appearances) and Meow as the Tomboy (energetic and impulsive).
  • Tsurime Eyes/Tareme Eyes: In one episode this is was the visual cue that distinguished the Yamato Nadeshiko from the Evil Matriarch. The first had the eyes downward while the second pointed up.
  • Vagabond Buddies: This is Ran & Meow's relationship. They travel together "wherever the wind blows us".
  • Walking the Earth: "Traveling is great."
  • Yakuza: They're everywhere. One episode had them controlling the local production of sake.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: The mistress of one of the lords fits the bill: elegant, kind, devoted to family and tough as iron, as well as the physical traits like hair style and clothing.

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