Sensei Sunday: The Procession of Ghosts

This week, continuing the theme of Supernatural Storytelling, we’re discussing the Hiyakki Yakô


Prompted by curiosity, he arose; and when he got to the main building he found Hiyakki Yakô (meaning a procession of one hundred ghosts)—a term, I believe, which had been generally applied to a company of ghosts. The ghosts fought, wrestled, danced, and made merry. Though greatly alarmed at first, our priest became interested. After a few moments, however, more awful spirit-like ghosts came on the scene. The priest ran back to the small room, into which he barred himself; and he spent the rest of the night saying masses for the souls of the dead.

At daybreak, though the weather continued wet, the priest departed. He told the villagers what he had seen and they spread the news so widely that within three or four days the temple was known as the worst-haunted temple in the neighbourhood. —

Ancient Tales and Folk-lore of Japan, by Richard Gordon Smith, [1918]

If you’re familiar with anime and manga, there’s a good chance you’ll recognize the scene described above before.

There’s a scene in the manga for XXXHolic that has Watanuki participating a Hiyakki Yakô under a full moon.  The grand procession at the “reveal” of Spirited Away – shortly after her parents turn into pigs, Chihiro witnesses a grand procession of all manner of spirits and Yokai that are consistently linked back to other well-known sorts of Japanese spirits.

Shows with a Feudal Fantasy bent, like Inuyasha, will sometimes have mad streams of restless, angry, or hungry spirits, terrifying as they writhe against the sky.

There is a level of curiosity and helplessness when standing in the presence of the Hiyakki Yakô .  The concept varies from medium to medium.  The actions of the spirits range from a apparent lack of disinterest in the human (typically only one) observing the spirits, to malignance if the human were to be noticed – but that they are going towards something more important, more interesting (or maybe just more tasty).


(What are your favorite examples of the Hiyakki Yakô? Add any examples that you know of to the comments!  Is there a piece of folklore or Japanese Culture you’d like us to cover? Leave us a note!)

Anime News, Gossip, and Nonsense, First Friday, Uncategorized

Fandom Friday: Films and Such

A few tidbits for Fandom Friday this week!

(If we missed something, or you attended the Princess Mononoke showing last night, comment!  If you think you might join in on anything mentioned above, like and share!)


Manga Monday: My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia has been picked up by Funimation as an anime, and is being simulcast right now, averaging approximately one chapter per episode.

But why WOULD someone pick up yet ANOTHER series about super heroes in high school?

Try this on for size: We’re already watching them.  In My Hero Academia, you will find references to everything from Silver Age to hero dynamics.  Ready for the voiceover? **clears throat**




And Midoriya, born without a quirk, stands with his friends, destined to be one of the next generation of heroes…

This is actually a really, really timely series.   Disney holds the rights to Marvel, and DC has been trying for MONTHS to get their heroes back into the visual mainstream of the culture.  While the characters in My Hero Academia had the potential to be “so close” to  other heroes that already exist in the mainstream – they all tend to be fairly unique to the casual observer.

When Bakuguo eventually describes his power, you’ll see what I mean.  Once you get into the series, it doesn’t matter as much if someone has the same power as, say, Cyclops (out of his navel).  How they manage it is a little different.  It’s a part of their physical body – so using any power too long can lead to exertion.  If they keep the pacing the same as the manga, you’ll see how these characters not only embrace their individual skills, they are sincerely interested in doing the best they can.

There is mild swearing to be had in the subtitles, which carries over in the dub.  The FCC would probably require a mild redub to show it on TV.

Compare with:

  • A Certain Scientific Railgun
  • One Piece

Contrast with:

  • Cardcaptor Sakura
    • Midoriya is anxious to take on the mantle of Hero, whereas Sakura is pretty much bullied into it by Kero
  • Deadman Wonderland
    • While they both share a bit of the “Unlucky Gullible Everydude”, Midoriya is prepared with years of fanboy experience on his side.
Anime Primer, The Binge, Uncategorized

The Binge: Fullmetal Alchemist & FMA: Brotherhood

I started collecting the Manga for Fullmetal Alchemist (FMA) around 2004.  At some point, I had to make a choice: keep collecting, or look into other series.

That’s not too far removed from the decision that the team at Studio Bones had to make when it came to choosing a gecko ending for the 2003 version of FMA as an anime.  So it’s somewhat confusing to watch the first, and then watch the second – there are a few arcs that you can’t watch for the first time twice.

You can, but the shock is missing.

Luckily, the 2009 anime (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – FMA:B) glazes over the parts that it expects you to know.  ALMOST.

There are a few story arcs that are worth a watch in the 2003 series first.

The 2009 anime completely eliminates the Youswell arc. It’s worth a watch, as one of the characters from the 2003 arc shows up in FMA:B.  When he finally meets up with Edward, Ed has a “For me, it was Tuesday” moment. (As did most of the newcomers to the story, I’ve no doubt.)  They resort to a clip show to explain what happened, but it’s a “blink and you’ll miss it” moment.

There is more attention paid to the state alchemist exam and a major plot point that is gently touched on in the 2009 arc regarding Shou Tucker.  These episodes are ALSO worth a watch in the 2003 anime before going back to the 2009 arc.

The redux of the Cornello arc is arguably smoother in the 2009 arc, and for obvious reasons – quicker.  You miss out on finding out how he’s been manipulating Rose, though. so if you are curious, you CAN watch the Cornello arc in the 2003 anime as well.

I would argue that there’s no reason NOT to watch the 2009 anime first if you don’t want to hop from series to series.   I had already watched the first series, albeit a while ago.  So I knew what was up with Shou’s arc before it happened, and had a vague (VERY vague) recollection of Youswell.

One last thought:

When the manga ran out of episodes, the 2003 anime lived on, to make a satisfying ending for the direction they were headed in.

And it’s obviously different.  And PERFECT for those who watch through the 2009 anime and are craving more stories from Ed and Al, teenage alchemist misfits.


(This is Psiren. Have fun guessing which series!)

TL;DR – Both series are worth a watch.  Pick a series to watch the Shou Tucker arc  in – you only get to see it for the “first time” once. Have fun.