Title: Genji Fantasy: Neko ga Hikaru Genji ni Koi wo Shita
Original Title: GENJI FANTASY ネコが光源氏に恋をした
Running Time: 20 minutes
Directed by: Rika Ōta
The story follows a modern high school girl named Hana who is transformed into a cat and transported back in time. She travels 1,000 years ago to the Heian Era as portrayed in The Tale Of Genji, arguably the most famous novel in Japanese literature. Guided by the novel’s titular character Hikaru Genji, Hana experiences firsthand the emotions that the author Murasaki Shikibu depicted in her novel.
I will start by saying that this isn’t an anime I watched recently but more then a year ago. I still decided to bring it on the blog because I thought it could be interesting to speak about it… and I also remembered it after watching A Whisker Away (you can find my review of it by clicking here) as in both the story the protagonists mutate into a cat.
I had the opportunity to watch this anime when I went to The Tale of Genji Museum in Uji while I was in Japan. For those who don’t know it, The Tale of Genji (originally Genji Monogatari) is a classic work of Japanese literature written in the early 11th century by Murasaki Shikibu. I was reading this book while I was in Japan; my original plan was to read it all before arriving, so to go to the museum while knowing the whole story, but when I landed at Osaka I still had to read the second part of it.
The anime was completely in Japanese without subtitles and so for a moment I thought that I would have spent the whole duration of the movie without understanding a single thing… luckily the magical audio guide they gave me at the entrance started explaining all the scenes in English!
While the whole museum was about the facts and the events happening in the book Genji Monoagatari, the anime was more about the author Murasaki Shikibu, how she was living while writing the Genji and what could have given her the inspiration to write some parts of the book.
The historical scenes of the anime are based on The Diary of Lady Murasaki and other historical materials, such as the real-life noble Fujiwara no Michinaga.
I found the story to be really cute. I liked that it can do the double work of entertaining the viewer with funny and thrilling scenes while also educating him on the life of the author.
The ending was especially funny and I think that the animator did a really good job overall.
I will leave you with the PV of it:
I strongly advise you to visit the Tales of Genji museum if you have the possibility to go to Uji in Japan, even if you don’t know the story. You will have the possibility to know about one of the most iconic pieces of Japanese literature and also enjoy yourself with this little funny anime.