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[Young Suzu-chan is trapped within the burning building, amidst an attack from a warring faction.]
[Hono Tripper logo]
Hono Tripper
(Fire Tripper)

[ production info ]

Copyright: © 1985 Takahashi Rumiko, Shogakukan © 1992 Central Park Media
Genre: Romance / Occult
Length: 50 minutes
Rating: NR, Parental Guidance Advised
Format: Original Japanese Dialog, Subtitled (VHS), English Dubbed (VHS)

Director: Uemura Osamu Screenplay: Konparu Tomoko Original Story: Takahashi Rumiko Character Design: Aoshima Katsumi

[ rated pg ]

adult situations

Parental Guidance Advised

  • Profanity: Minimal

  • Sex/Nudity: Several scenes of indistinct nudity, though not in a sexual context. There are two attempted rape scenes, though neither come close to getting anywhere.

  • Violence: Several scenes of violence, as might be expected in a OAV which deals with the pre-shogunate civil wars. Also noteworthy is the subordinate role of women that's typical of this era.

[ plot summary ]

vhs jacket

In the 15th century, civil war is sweeping feudal Japan. Six year-old Suzuko finds herself a victim of circumstance, trapped within a burning building with no means of escape. Shukumaru, her older brother sees the helpless child, just as a burning timber falls from above...

Young Suzuko awakes surrounded by unfamiliar surroundings, in late 20th century Tokyo. She is discovered by a childless couple, who decide to take her in and adopt her...

Seventeen year-old Suzuko walks home from school, when she spots a familiar young child -- five year-old Shu, who is busily showing off the recent scar from an appendix operation. Suzuko chides the young boy, and offers to walk him home. But as the pair walk home, a leaking gas storage tank explodes... and Suzuko find herself in feudal Japan, amidst the bodies of samurai killed in earlier battle.

Looters from one of the warring factions find the young girl, and decide to take advantage of the situation, when she is rescued by sixteen year-old Shukumaru, the appointed leader of a nearby village...

[ capsule review ]

Suzuko walks home from school.

Shu decides that it's time for Suzuko to wash her face.

Suzuko had only this bell when she was discovered by her foster parents.

Shukumaru and Susuko begin their new life together...

I generally don't like time-travel stories. They're usually unrealistic, and don't really consider the possible implications of the overused 'grandfather paradox' idea. Not so with Takahashi Rumiko's Fire Tripper, though. This is a wonderfully tightly conceived story, which uses the paradox theorem with a level of imagination that I haven't seen before, and haven't seen since.

Fire Tripper is first and foremost a love story, centering around Suzuko (played by Shimamoto Sumi, who also plays the part of Otonashi Kyoko in Maison Ikkoku, and the title character in Kaze no Tani Nausicaa) and Shukumaru, played by Mizushima Yu. While the 'boy rescues girl, boy falls in love with girl' plotline may be commonplace -- especially in a Takahashi romance/comedy situation -- the dilemma which arises from the time-travel incidents adds an inspired conflict: in this case, how on earth can you fall in love with someone, and possible marry someone who might possibly be your own brother? While most people will be able to figure out how this all resolves itself well before the end of the story, it's nevertheless a very deft touch by the veteran manga artist.

Music was largely unremarkable throughout the show, with the exception of the eerily haunting opening theme, Pre-Sentiment, written and sung by Akimoto Kaouru. Unfortunately, we don't actually get to hear the song in its entirety... We get to hear part of the song during the opening credits, and then the same portion again during the ending English credits. Animation is better-than-average, with a fair amount of attention to detail in the backgrounds, as well as the occasional full-perspective shot thrown in. Don't expect ultra-smooth results, however, as this OAV is fairly old, and harkens from a time when cel animation was all hand-drawn. Character designs faithfully convey the classic Takahashi charm.

The real strength of this show is the tightly woven, intelligent story, coupled with a competantly directed screenplay. Perhaps the one weakness that I found disappointing was the denoument -- a series of stills depicting couple in a 'happily ever-after' situation. Extraneous to the story itself, though this ending will probably appeal to the Harlequin Romance soap-opera types. Fire Tripper might be an older show, but it's so well-realised, and so satisfying, that I just might have to re-think my stand on time-travel stories.
- AN, 99.03.15

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/A 4 stars N/A
Direction: N/A 4 stars N/A
Acting: N/A 4 stars N/A
Animation: N/A 4 stars N/A
Music: N/A 3 stars N/A
Translation: N/A 4 stars N/R
Overall Rating: N/A 4 stars N/A

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Page last modified 1999.03.16