Historical Anime Onihei Streams TV Ad Before January 9 Debut

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Edo-era series adapts Shōtarō Ikenami's novel series

The official website for Onihei, the television anime of Shōtarō Ikenami's Onihei Crime Reports in Edo (Onihei Hankachō) novel series, began streaming a commercial for the anime on Thursday.

The video reveals that Amazon Prime Video will exclusively stream the series.

The anime will star:

Kenyuu Horiuchi as Heizō "Onihei" Hasegawa

Romi Park as Omasa, a female spy who loves Heizō

Daisuke Namikawa as Tatsuzō, Heizō's son

Sayaka Senbongi as Ojun, Heizō's daughter

Nobuhiko Okamoto as Chūgo Kimura, a dōshin in the police force for arson and robbery

Kiyomitsu Mizuuchi as Chūsuke Sajima, the head yoriki in the police force for arson and robbery

Kenji Hamada as Yūsuke Sakai, the head dōshin in the police force for arson and robbery

Hidenobu Kiuchi as Yasugorō Koyanagi, a dōshin in the police force for arson and robbery

Shōzō Iizuka as Hikojū, an old spy who serves Heizō

Yoshimasa Hosoya as Kumehachi, an ex-thief turned spy

Hideyuki Tanaka as Samanosuke Kishii, Heizō's close friend

Shigeyuki Miya (Buzzer Beater, Lupin the 3rd: Green vs Red, Blood Lad) is directing the television anime and also designing the characters. Studio M2, the new studio of Madhouse and MAPPA founder Masao Maruyama, is animating the project. Maruyama is producing, and TMS Entertainment is credited with production. Onihei is the first Ikenami work adapted into anime. Singer Saori Yuki (Kasumin) is performing the theme song "Soshite... Ikinasai" (And... You Must Live).

The historical novel series depicts Heizō Hasegawa, who metes justice on wrongdoers and supervises the crackdown on arsonists and robbers in Japan's Edo period (1603-1868). Maruyama commented that the anime will not just follow the original novel's story, but will show the unique appeal of anime. The 13 television episodes will adapt different stories from the novel series.

The television anime will premiere late at night on January 9 (effectively on January 10) at 2:05 a.m. on TV Tokyo, TV Aichi, and TV Hokkaido. The series will also air on TV Q Kyūshū, TV Setouchi, TV Osaka, and the Jidaigeki Specialty Channel.

A separate original video anime (OVA), titled Onhei ~Sono Otoko, Hasegawa Heizō~ (Onihei: This Man, Heizō Hasegawa), will ship on February 22.

The 40-minute OVA was actually in production before the television anime, although the television anime will premiere first. The OVA sets up the character of Heizō, the man feared by thieves and miscreants as the "Demonic Heizō" during the Edo Period. A young man traces the stories about Heizō from Kumehachi, Hikojū, Omasa, and others who know and admire him. The young man learns about Heizō's early years and how he became a police operative. Miya is also directing the OVA at Studio M2.

Ikenami serialized the story in Bungeishunju's Ōru Yomimono novel magazine from 1967 to 1989, and Bungeishunju published 19 volumes for the main story. Later paperback reprints divide the story into 24 volumes. The serialized novels inspired the first live-action television adaptation in 1969, as well as three subsequent series and a 1995 live-action film.

Sentarō Kubota and Takao Saito launched a manga adaptation in LEED Publishing Co., Ltd.'s Comic Ran magazine in 1993. Bungeishunju published the manga's 98th compiled book volume on June 21. JManga once partially published the manga in North America.

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