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Manga: Zipang

A manga and 26-episode anime built around the premise of a modern JMSDF Aegis destroyer named the JDS Mirai traveling through time back to the Battle of Midway . . . and the crew doing nothing. Fearing a Temporal Paradox, the ship's captain decides stay as isolated as possible, while trying to figure out a way back home. This course of action does not go as planned, due largely to an Imperial Japanese Navy officer the executive officer rescues, who reads the contents of the ship's library - and thus learns the true nature of the war and what came after it.

Compare and contrast Zipang's events with the actions of the crew of the USS Nimitz in the 1980 movie The Final Countdown, where that ship was sent to Pearl Harbor ( and rescued a senator from the time period, too).

Tropes:

  • Alien Space Bats: How the time storm comes to exist, how it works, and why it's targeting the Mirai at that particular time... who cares?
  • Anyone Can Die: Aside the fact that some historical figures can and will die, the Mirai's crew isn't exempt from this. Not even their captain, as the manga version shows later on.
  • Cool Boat: The Mirai fits in that it is a modern AEGIS ship in WWII, which means it practically outclasses everything in the seas. That, and the ship it is a quite realistic design, which is a nice change of pace from the more fantastical designs of other fictional vessels.
    • It's supposed to look realistic: the Mirai is mentioned as a fictitious Yukinami class destroyer, a variant of the real Kongo class destroyer designed to carry helicopters, which is in turn a modified version of the American Arleigh Burke class destroyer. (Interestingly, the JMSDF has since brought the Atago class destroyer into service, which is a real variant of the Kongo class intended to carry a helicopter, making it a real-life version of the Yukinami class for all intents and purposes. They even predicted, with impressive accuracy, how much larger a Kongo would have to be to add those capabilities.)
      • Not so much a prediction of a future capacity as a prediction that Japan would start building a version of the Flight IIA Burke-class destroyers (the first Flight IIA Burke, which added the hangar, was USS Oscar Austin (DDG-79), which entered service in 1998).
    • And of course there's the several appearances of the Battleship Yamato, a real-life Cool Boat in that it was the biggest battleship ever built.
  • Cool Plane: The Umidori, the fictional VTOL scout craft of the Mirai which looks like the result of a tryst between an Apache attack helicopter and an Osprey.
    • For classic plane fans, there are several WWII aircraft, most prominently the Dauntless dive bomber. While scores of it were chewed up by the Mirai's modern weaponry, one piloted by a particularly gutsy and lucky pilot managed to score a solid hit on the Mirai by ramming it . . . and the pilot lives too.
    • The Zero makes a few appearances on the Japanese side. In particular, the rare floatplane version of the Zero intercepts the Umidori when the latter is sent to reconnoiter the Chichi Jima Island (a fairly heavily inhabited neighbor of Iwo Jima that does not have the real estate to support a real airfield).
  • Cut Short: In the anime, the plot is not resolved in any way, instead just petering out when they ran out of episodes.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The differing mindsets of the militaristic Imperial Japanese and the more pacifistic modern-day crew of the Mirai are explored in several instances.
    • This shows up again in the encounter between former Prime Minister Yonai and the main characters (at least in the anime version). Yonai opposes the warmongers but believes that, for the future peace and prosperity of Japan, a painful and destructive defeat is necessary. The main characters have trouble buying into his line of thinking.
  • Grey and Grey Morality: The show strives for this, but given that this is Imperial Japan in the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II, the show only manages this by ignoring the five-to-twenty million people who died due to Japanese economic mismanagement and War Crimes - and focusing instead upon Japan's two million military and one million civilian dead. That said, some 3-5 of those 5-20 million overwhelmingly-Asiatic dead were soldiers, like the 100k who died on the ol' Bataan POW March.
    • Not completely avoided. The anime shows scenes of the Japanese military (especially the Kempeitai mistreating local civilians in the Malayas.
  • Kaiju Defense Force: The Mirai and her crew, naturally.
  • Meaningful Name: The name of the ship (Mirai) means "future" in Japanese.
  • Moral Myopia: The Zipang's crew would like to stop the war, so that the Japanese People won't suffer as much as they did in the original timeline... and they have no problem with helping Japan's brutal military dictatorship to drive their country and their people into the ground before they are inevitably defeated by the weight of Allied Industrial superioritynote . That millions of people are suffering and dying pointlessly as a direct result of the regime's refusal to surrender bothers them not at all.
    • See the entry above under Deliberate Values Dissonance.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Though they try to avoid mucking with the timeline, once things start to spiral it never even occurs to the crew that maybe they should side with the Britain and/or the USA - you know, countries with governments that aren't brutal military dictatorships responsible for the deaths of millions.
    • Deconstructed during Heroic BSOD by Masayuki. He was the pacifist in the future who seriously thought about resigning from the SDF when Japan might have to send its forces to support US during its conflicts in the Middle East. But he insists that the Mirai has no choice but to fight the Allies because, like it or not, they are a Japanese warship and every Allied ship and plane they came across in the past saw them as an enemy and attacked them.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Our heroes may have 'succeeded' in prolonging the war... if they have, this will result in greater Japanese civilian deaths than in the original timeline, as the US won't be around to rescue the country from the brink of starvationnote  in 1945. Overall civilian and military casualties may well be an order of magnitude higher (to the tune of c. 5-20 million total Japanese dead) if The Allies have to resort to Operation Downfall instead of merely the (.3 million-killing) Atomic Bombs as per the original timeline.
  • Not So Different: Neither the JMSDF nor the IJN personnel want Japan to be defeated, brutal military dictatorship or not, and don't really care how many non-Japanese people suffer or die as a result of their actions.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: the IJN officer they rescue from a crashed seaplane fits this trope to a T.
  • Rogue Agent: As seen in the later chapters, Kusaka is now attempting to utilize the raw resources in Manchukuo to sustain Japan's war economy and build a nuclear weapon, outside the authority of the Japanese military.
  • Shown Their Work: For the most part, the show does a remarkably accurate job of portraying various aircraft and ships that appear throughout the series. The two major exceptions include using a laser-guided Harpoon missile to attack an American base (the Harpoon is not laser-guided nor designed to attack land targets, at least not the versions the JMSDF would have), and using a Tomahawk missile to sink an aircraft carrier (an anti-ship variant of the Tomahawk was made, but was only ever used by the U.S. Navy and retired before the manga was even published.) Note that no JMSDF warship is armed with Tomahawk missiles on the basis that it is a purely offensive weapon, and equipping it would violate Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, which would presumably preclude being armed with any land-attack-capable Harpoons.
    • Then again, right at the start of the manga, the ship is being sent on an offensive joint missing despite protests, so loading up on some offensive weaponry might be understandable
    • Also, for the second exception the use of a Tomahawk against an aircraft carrier of the time period in question falls down when you realize that it probably won't kill the ship; the Tomahawk's warhead is only a thousand pounds, comparable to a dive-bomber weapon of the age. Very few carriers were lost to a single thousand-pounder.
    • The Wasp was not just damaged by the Tomahawk. The missile detonated a flight deck-worth of bombers. Compare this to the sinking of the Japanese carriers in the Battle of Midway.
    • This raises interesting questions about jurisdiction. The present Japan abides by such laws as to limit its military capacity and activity (laws that, in the story, didn't actually exist, giving them the same weight as morals and principle), but this was Japan in 1941, which had a considerably more violent approach to warfare. Which rules, if any, is the captain bound by?
    • Not only the characteristics of the destroyer—the writers also did their homework on moon phases. To be clear: both the 4 June dates, in 2004 and 1942, are correctly shown (full moon and last quarter, respectively). Attention is called to this, and it's one more thing that proves something has gone wrong.
    • Curiously in the midst of all the Shown Their Work, the Mirai's superiority only lasting for the first thirty or forty targets it engages is never discussed in the anime (though it is in the manga). It would be quite possible for WWII enemies to mob it to death; it only has eight or less Harpoons, forty-two or less S M2s, and an unknown number of Tomahawks.
      • Loadout would be something on the order of 60 anti-aircraft missiles, 10 anti-submarine rockets, 20 anti-ship missiles, 6 torpedoes, 600 5" rounds, and a combined few minutes' worth of CIWS. The Mirai would have a fair chance of getting the jump on a small US carrier task force, and damaging or destroying many of its ships and aircraft at standoff range, but such an action would completely deplete its weapons and render it vulnerable to being run down by surface ships. The Mirai's Harpoon missile could engage Iowa-class battleships at more than twice the range of their guns (50-60 miles vs. 24 miles), but only a small fraction of the range of carrier-based aircraft (nominally 200 miles). Additionally, the Mirai could potentially expend its entire complement against a large, heavily-armored ship such as a battleship or battlecruiser without sinking it, while even a single hit from a 16" round or a 1200-lb air dropped bomb could easily blow the Mirai in half. The ship's advanced radar and anti-air capabilities could offer tremendous assistance as a battleship or carrier escort, but by itself it simply could not effectively engage capital ships of the era. What it all comes down to is that the Mirai, like many modern warships (and even warships of the 1940s) was never intended to be a One Ship Navy, and was instead designed around the assumption that she would be supported by other warships and a logistics system for resupply.
      • This point is actually brought up by Kikuchi in the anime, when the aircraft from the Wasp are detected. This is why he suggests that the Mirai should engage the aircraft with the gun and the Sea Sparrows, rather than with SM 2's because they only have so many of the latter.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The JMSDF apparently trains its people to emphasize non-lethal methods, something that wears off the more time the crew spends in combat.
    • The non-lethal emphasis is actually a case of Reality Is Unrealistic. This troper actually read fiction made by a retired JMSDF Admiral that postulated JMSDF commanders who will not even shoot at the incoming missiles (not the planes, the missiles) when under attack, which suggests this is at least a thinkable level of restraint as far as the author was involved.
  • Trapped in the Past: One of the few instances where the characters make an honest and serious attempt to keep their heads down.

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alternative title(s): Zipang
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