Born from a much loved, but lowly ranked concubine, Genji Hikaru is called the Shining Prince and is the beloved second son of the Emperor. Although he cannot be an heir to the throne of his father, Genji spends his life surrounded by every pleasure and love. And yet, his one longing in love is something that even the power of an Emperor can never give him.
An anime adaptation of Asaki Yume Mishi, Waki Yamato's historical shōjo manga retelling of The Tale of Genji about a motherless prince and his descendants. The anime celebrates the thousand-year anniversary of the original novel, although the exact date of its writing is unknown.
Includes examples of:
- Arranged Marriage: A very common custom at the time. Genji marries Princess Aoi after his coming of age, due the high rank of the princess and the relations that his father wanted to build to him.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Used in different circumstances: Lady Fujitsubo can't tell Geiji that she loves him because she is married with his father; later, she can't tell her husband that she suspects that her baby is not his but his son's.
- The Casanova: Each episode is named after one of the Genji's ladies/conquers 'til episode 8.
- Censor Steam: Since Genji is with his ladies in bed, in several scenes, his nudity (and his partner's) is blurred or darkened. The first sequence of the first episode it supposed to be sexy, but it's so heavy censored that it has the opposite effect.
- Compressed Adaptation: Inspired by the novel The Tale of Genji, but with half of the book left out.
- Empathic Environment: The weather and seasons always reflect the events or the characters' mood. It's always spring (with cherry blossoms) when Genji falls in love with someone new; it's always raining when he is sad and there is a strong storm when he dramatically meets Lady Fujitsubo after spending a long time without seeing her.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": All "names" of the characters are not real names but titles; "Hikaru Genji" means "the Shining Prince of the Minamoto Clan", "Lady Aoi" means "Lady Blue" and so on.
- Gainax Ending: All of sudden, in the last episode, in the middle of several unfinished situations, the whole series ends with Genji saying some last words and... that's it. Credits roll.
- Incest Subtext: Lighter than the original novel, but still, Genji is in love with his father's new wife, Lady Fujitsubo, who is supposed to be his new "mother".
- Large Ham: Genji sends wistful morning-after love poems to the ladies he's spent the night with, which are composed and received with the Heian-appropriate degree of tasteful weeping and sighing. Morning-after poems were a standard Heian convention for lovers and an art form unto themselves, but in true Genji style the compulsory wistfulness at parting is turned up to 11.
- Melodramatic Pause: Several, with variations in the close-up style and the piano tone. Most memorable are the two in episode 5.
- Mukokuseki: Lady Fujitsubo has dark purple hair and matching purple eyes; several characters, including Prince Genji, have dark blue eyes; Lady Aoi has sky blue eyes and greenish hair; Lady Murasaki has the most impossible clear blue eyes.
- Mundane Made Awesome: All of them to the point of abuse. Tons of cherry blossoms petals falling from dozens of trees! The huge moon shining over the brilliant lake! Birds and birds flying over the blue sky! Dresses colorful as rainbows! Oil lamps shining! Special light and blur effects all over the place!
- Not Staying for Breakfast: Or for any meal, Genji is always in a rush because of his busy agenda. Some of the ladies weren't pleased, especially Lady Rokujo.