The Tale of Genji (1987) is an animated film based on the classic 11th-century novel by Murasaki Shikibu, the Tale of Genji. Genji, the son of the emperor, is the talk of the Kyoto nobility for his charm and good looks, yet he cannot stop himself from pursuing an unobtainable object of desire: his father's young and beautiful bride. Following the tragic consequences of his obsession, Genji wanders from one affair to another, always seeking some sort of completion to his life.
Includes examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: Inspired in the novel, The Tale of Genji, but adapted with creative freedom.
- Anti-Hero: Genji.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: In some shots, some of the ladies appear half-naked, but without nipples.
- Beautiful Dreamer: Genji, again.
- Bishōnen: The prince Genji, You can easily mistake him by one of the ladies, specially when he is wearing purple makeup.
- Bookends: The movie opens and ends with Genji dancing with his fan.
- The Casanova: Genji has several lovers; he jumps to one to another.
- Cherry Blossoms: One of the main themes.
- Dramatic Thunder: In the beginning of the movie.
- 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.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: Yuugao. In the very next day of her death, Genji can be found tired and yawning at his palace.
- Gainax Ending: The ending doesn't make any sense for most of the audience because is a typical zen philosofical ending: after a revealing dream about his personal fears, Genji contemplates how empty is the meaning of life and dances with his fan. I'm not kidding.
- Gray Rain of Depression: Genji is depressed because he can't remember all his lovers in detail and it's mixing up all of them. He asks, "Where did they all go? What am I looking for?"
- Love Makes You Evil: Lady Rokujo.
- Meaningful Funeral: Lady Aoi's.
- Melodramatic Pause: When Genji hears from the other nobles gossiping that Lady Fujitsubo is pregnant.
- Mukokuseki: Averted, all characters have Asiatic features.
- Oedipus Complex: Lady Fujitsubo asks if it's true that she resembles Genji's mother, he answer that he doesn't remember her. She says: "Is it really me that you are seeking?"
- Pop-Star Composer: Haruomi Hosono of Yellow Magic Orchestra composed the film's score, creating ambient music with traditional Japanese instrumentation.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Yuugao in the first five minutes of the movie, before the opening.
- Scenery Porn: The scenery is made to resemble traditional japanese paintings.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Genji does this once.
- Tomboy: Lady Murasaki, who prefers to play with balls as opposed to dolls.
- Upper-Class Twit: Genji.
- Why Did It Have To Be Sakura: Genji has nightmares with sakura petals and several occasions imaginary fallen petals appears when something awful is about to happen. He develops some sort of "sakura trauma".
- Wife Husbandry: Even sometimes referred to as a Hikaru Genji Plan. In this version, Genji completes his plan and makes Lady Murasaki his last conquer. To Genji's credit, it was not his idea, but To no Chuujo's. It's also him who suggest that Lady Murasaki resembles Lady Fujitsubo; Genji answers that it was Love at First Sight (even if she was just a child).