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
- 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 them 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 (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. 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.
- For Want of a Nail: The Mirai notably declines to be the nail right the point at which it is commonly agreed by historians that a nail could have done Japan any good- the ship pops in on the first day of the Battle of Midway, in which Japan lost four aircraft carriers and is considered to have begun its defeat, but heads for home instead of the battle.
- 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 Bataan POW March.
- Kaiju Defense Force: The Mirai and her crew, naturally.
- Meaningful Name: The name of the ship (Mirai) means "future" in Japanese.
- Moral Myopia: The Mirai'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... with little mention that in doing so they are 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 is not debated or mentioned.
- 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 a 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.
- My Name Is Not Shazam: The name of the ship is Mirai, not Zipang.
- 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, regardless of politics and the suffering of non Japanese in the war.
- Officer and a Gentleman: the IJN officer they rescue from a crashed seaplane fits this trope to a T.
- Rogue Agent: Kusaka heads off to attempt 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.
- 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.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The JMSDF trains its people to emphasize non-lethal methods, something that wears off the more time the crew spends in combat.
- Trapped in the Past: One of the few instances where the characters make an honest and serious attempt to keep their heads down.