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Ikusa no Yukai is a fictional anime/manga series created by Simon Kirby. Set in the late 1960s, it features a detailed fictional history and a large cast of supporting characters, many of whom first appeared appeared in the Miyamae storyline. Chronologically, War of the Spirits takes place roughly two years after the events depicted in Kagaya Hime Miho-chan, as oni from the Shadow Kingdom infiltrate the mortal realm with humorous consequences.

PremiseEdit

Ten year-old Miko Hasegawa has discovered that Miyamae Academy holds a dark and terrible secret: built over the ruins of an ancient Demon Gate, it is haunted by various supernatural entities, including ghosts, devils, and ijiwaru. Following a close encounter with some mischievous spirits, Miko enlists her two closest friends, Hiroe and Saori, to locate the source of these prank-playing apparitions. The usual hi-jinx ensue as the girls' plans are constantly foiled by the dark trickster Ankoku and his impish minions. Complicating issues further, nobody believes the girls are being ambushed by paranormal beings, dismissing clearly paranormal events as perfectly natural phenomena. Much of the show's humor pivots on Miko's inability to convince her teachers that the school is haunted, despite demonic creatures literally oozing out of the woodwork right in front of them.

CharactersEdit

  • Miko Hasegawa: The series' main protagonist, an early precurser to the present day Dojikko. Something of a bookworm, she learns about the Demon Gate while exploring the library's rare books collection.
  • Saori Takamura: Miko-chan's best friend and loyal confidant. A gabby tomboy, she often claims to be able to whip any boy in her class (and frequently does).
  • Hiroe Kiyushi: Ikusa's resident pretty girl; sweet, innocent and not terribly bright. Ironically enough, her innate telepathic abilities afford her considerable influence over Miyamae's demonic population.
  • Sama Tenaka: Miko-chan's next door neighbor and romantic interest for several of the female characters. As captain of the sixth grade, he can be extremely condescending to Miko and her friends, but often takes their side when the chips are down.
  • Ankoku Saruyu: Basically the same recurring villain from Kagaya Hime Miho-Chan, Ankoku is a prince of the Netherworld, charged with keeping the Demon Gate open. More a devious trickster than a Complete Monster, his main role is to stir up trouble between Miyamae-ku's "Meddling Kids" as often as possible.
  • Miss Yamada: the girls' beloved homeroom teacher (previously featured in Kagaya Hime), she is highly skeptical of the girls' stories and usually blames her students for the disruptions caused by Ankoku's poltergeists.
  • Principal Oji-san: A doddering but good-natured old twit who spends most of his time reading comics or playing marbles on his desk top. Affectionately referred to as "Grandpa" by the students.
  • Doctor Hentaru: Miyamae's Elementary's resident physician, placed in charge of the school's health and fitness program. Somewhat advanced in years, he frequently gets lost in his own clinic.
  • Nori-san: Noriko Hitashi is the resident nurse at Miyamae Academy's school clinic. She answers directly to Doctor Hentaru and spends much of her time covering up his medical blunders.

Faux HistoryEdit

Ikusa no Yukai was produced by Fujimura Doga and broadcast by Network JTV in 1969, running a total of 25 episodes. Ikusa no Yukai was the third of Fujimura Doga's non-existent anime series set in the fictitious suburb of Miyamae-ku. In common with other Fujimura productions, it was notable notorious for its minimal production values, shoddy animation and incoherent dialogue. Being a spin-off of the more successful Kagaya Hime Miho Chan, it recycled scripts and footage from the earlier series, resulting in accidental crossovers and unexplained character migrations.

Following a storeroom fire in 1971, the original prints were believed lost for over thirty years until an incomplete Chinese dub surfaced in 2002. Although badly degraded with age, twelve episodes were digitally restored and colorized for limited distribution on the Lost Anime Collection DVD. Unfortunately, only ten thousand copies were burned, making it one of the most obscure cartoons in the history of Japanese animation. The Boxed Set remains unavailable in the West, although pirated copies are rumored to turn up on the black market.

Oddly enough, despite its numerous shortcomings, Ikusa No Yukai has become something of a cult classic since its rediscovery in 2004. Described as an "important precursor to the moe genre" by Sukebe Oyaji magazine, the series was one of the first to feature mature themes in an animated medium, foreshadowing Tezuka's Marvelous Melmo by almost three years.

See alsoEdit