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O~i! Ryōma (お~い!竜馬?) is a Japanese shōnen manga written by Tetsuya Takeda and illustrated by Yu Koyama. It is a comical and serious account mixing history and fiction of the life of the Bakumatsu period leader Sakamoto Ryōma.

Outline

  • Broadcast as an anime on NHK television from April 7, 1992 to March 30, 1993.
    • Scenes from Shanghai to his return to Japan were cut and connected to the assassination scene. Until the Meiji Restoration, his actions are presented in digest.
    • The opening and closing themes are sung by the author Tetsuya Takeda.
    • There is a VHS version but no DVD is currently available. The series has not been rebroadcast.
    • It is the first anime to be broadcast in stereo on NHK via airborne signal.
  • In October, 2005 theatrical troupe Guinyaon staged an adaptation produced by and starring Tadahisa Mimata (三又忠久 Mimata Tadahisa?), born May 27, 1967
  • Based on the novel Ryōma ga yuku by Ryotaro Shiba (司馬遼太郎 Shiba Ryōtarō?), born August 7, 1923; however, it differs in that unlike the novel it details the early years of Sakamoto's life in Tosahan (modern-day Kōchi Prefecture) and the discrimination against the country gōshi (郷士?) by the upper class jōshi (上士?) samurai. Instead of relating Ryōma's struggle to overthrow the Tokugawa bakufu, the novel focuses on this class struggle. The result is an arguably more empathetic story. Specifically Yōdō Yamauchi (山内 容堂 Yamauchi Yōdō?) (November 27, 1827 – July 26, 1872), jōshi samurai Shōjirō Gotō (後藤 象二郎 Gotō Shōjirō?) (April 13, 1838 – August 4, 1897) and politician Itagaki Taisuke are all dramatized as villains in conflict with Ryōma. The descendants of Yamauchi have objected to his vilification in this way. In fact, author Tetsuya Takeda appeared in a 2006 Taiga drama Kōmyō ga Tsuji (功名が辻) as a vassal of Yamauchi.
  • Largely fictional. For example, gōshi samurai Zuizan Takechi (武市 瑞山 Takechi Zuizan?) (October 24, 1829 – July 3, 1865) and Izo Okada appear as childhood friends; after becoming a lordless samurai Ryōma goes to Shanghai; Ryōma has an interview with 14th shogun Tokugawa Iemochi; Ryōma is oppressed from childhood by Shōjirō Gotō and Itagaki Taisuke.

Synopsis

It is November 15, 1835 near Kōchi Castle. The youngest daughter of the Sakamoto family, Otome Sakamoto is stargazing and sees a comet. That day her mother, Sachi Sakamoto, is about to give birth. The comet appears as a dragon and a horse, and Otome shouts to it "Make the child born tonight a boy! I promise I'll make him a strong samurai!" after which the comet changes to a soft glow. Soon the first cry of the baby is heard - a strong baby boy. However, the newborn boy has long hair on his back which is seen as strange. At this the father, Yahei, is dumbfounded but Otome names the boy Ryōma, a name combining Japanese characters for dragon and horse.

Ryōma quickly grows but is a coward and a crybaby. He's mocked for his back hair and bullied everyday by children in the neighborhood. He's not a good student and is thrown out of his juku. Otome and the second oldest sister Ei don't give up on Ryōma and raise him more strictly. Even so Ryōma's unique characteristic is his kind heart. This kind heart amazes the bullies in the neighborhood, led by a young Izo Okada. Zuizan Takechi, helped by Ryōma, is also impressed by his capacity for good. It looks as though Ryōma will enjoy a peaceful childhood, but he soon learns about the oppression of the gōshi (郷士?) by the upper class jōshi (上士?) samurai. His mother is chased to her death by the daimyo Yamanōchi, after which Ryōma vows to himself "I want to become stronger!" at the age of 16.

Media information

Manga

Vol. Release date[1] ISBN
01 February 1998 ISBN 4-09-152801-5
03 June 1998 ISBN 4-09-152803-1
04 August 1998 ISBN 4-09-152804-X
05 October 1998 ISBN 4-09-152805-8
09 June 1999 ISBN 4-09-152809-0
10 August 1999 ISBN 4-09-152810-4
11 October 1999 ISBN 4-09-152811-2
12 December 1999 ISBN 4-09-152812-0
13 February 2000 ISBN 4-09-152813-9
14 April 2000 ISBN 4-09-152814-7

Notes and references

  1. (Japanese) "Amazon.co.jp". Retrieved 2007-03-17. 

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