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Zipang is a manga and 26-episode anime built around the premise of a modern JMSDF Aegis destroyer named the JDS Mirai traveling through time back to the Battle of Midway ... and the crew doing nothing. Fearing a Temporal Paradox, the ship's captain decides stay as isolated as possible, while trying to figure out a way back home. This course of action does not go as planned, due largely to an Imperial Japanese Navy officer the executive officer rescues, who reads the contents of the ship's library, thus learning just about everything that happens to Japan after 1942.

The manga, written by Kaiji Kawaguchi, was serialized in Kodansha's Weekly Morning magazine from 2000 until 2009 and was collected in 43 volumes. A 26-episode anime adaptation was aired in 2004 which adapts the first 70 chapters of the manga, and it was licensed by Geneon for distribution in North America (one of the final titles that Geneon completely released in North America in the one-disc-per-box format).

Compare and contrast Zipang‍'‍s events with the actions of the crew of the USS Nimitz in the 1980 movie The Final Countdown, where that ship was sent to Pearl Harbor (and rescued a senator from the time period, too).

Tropes used in Zipang include:
  • Alien Space Bats - How the time storm comes to exist, how it works, and why it's targeting the Mirai at that particular time... who cares?
  • Alternate History - The longer the JDS Mirai's crew stay Trapped in the Past, the more their crew members' actions start unwittingly altering the course of history.
    • The ending itself. The Japanese surrender peacefully to the United States in 1945 on more equal terms, resulting in a more powerful Japan and a less costly Cold War, among others. Eventually, an alternate JMSDF launches another version of the Mirai decades later, which never experiences the peril of the original ship that helped cause this new timeline in the first place.
  • Anyone Can Die - Aside the fact that some historical figures can and will die, the Mirai's crew isn't exempt from this. Not even their captain, as the manga version shows later on.
  • Cool Plane - the Umidori, the fictional VTOL scout craft of the Mirai which looks like the result of a tryst between an Apache attack helicopter and an Osprey.
    • For classic plane fans, there are several WWII aircraft, most prominently the Dauntless dive bomber. While scores of it were chewed up by the Mirai's modern weaponry, one piloted by a particularly gutsy and lucky pilot managed to score a solid hit on the Mirai by ramming it . . . and the pilot lives too.
  • Cool Boat - the Mirai fits in that it is a modern AEGIS ship in WWII, which means it practically outclasses everything in the seas. That, and the ship it is a quite realistic design, which is a nice change of pace from the more fantastical designs of other fictional vessels.
    • It's supposed to look realistic: the Mirai is mentioned as a fictitious Yukinami class destroyer, a variant of the real Kongo class destroyer designed to carry helicopters, which is in turn a modified version of the American Arleigh Burke class destroyer. (Interestingly, the JMSDF has since brought the Atago class destroyer into service, which is a real variant of the Kongo class intended to carry a helicopter, making it a real-life version of the Yukinami class for all intents and purposes. They even predicted, with impressive accuracy, how much larger a Kongo would have to be to add those capabilities.)
    • And of course there's the several appearances of the Battleship Yamato, a real-life Cool Boat in that it was the biggest battleship ever built.
  • Cut Short- In the anime, the plot is not resolved in any way, instead just petering out when they ran out of episodes.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance - The differing mindsets of the militaristic Imperial Japanese and the more pacifistic modern-day crew of the Mirai are explored in several instances.
  • Grey and Grey Morality - Given the setting that the story takes places in, this is inevitable.
  • In Spite of a Nail - The war in Europe still ends more or less as it does in reality. It's the internal power struggles that emerge between the Pacifist and Militarist factions in the Japanese government, however, that cause even more changes in the Pacific theater.
  • Kaiju Defense Force - The Mirai and her crew, naturally.
  • Meaningful Name - The name of the ship (Mirai) means "future" in Japanese.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong - There are quite a few sympathetic Imperial Japanese characters, including those in high positions of power, who vehemently disagree with the Militarist direction of their country. But nonetheless try to find ways to protect their homeland and find a more amiable end to the war.
  • Officer and a Gentleman - the IJN officer they rescue from a crashed seaplane fits this trope to a T.
  • Seinen
  • Shown Their Work - For the most part, the show does a remarkably accurate job of portraying various aircraft and ships that appear throughout the series. The two major exceptions include using a laser-guided Harpoon missile to attack an American base (the Harpoon is not laser-guided nor designed to attack land targets, at least not the versions the JMSDF would have), and using a Tomahawk missile to sink an aircraft carrier (an anti-ship variant of the Tomahawk was made, but was only ever used by the U.S. Navy and retired before the manga was even published.) Note that no JMSDF warship is armed with Tomahawk missiles on the basis that it is a purely offensive weapon, and equipping it would violate Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, which would presumably preclude being armed with any land-attack-capable Harpoons.
    • Then again, right at the start of the manga, the ship is being sent on an offensive joint mission despite protests, so loading up on some offensive weaponry might be understandable
      • Also, for the second exception the use of a Tomahawk against an aircraft carrier of the time period in question falls down when you realize that it probably won't kill the ship; the Tomahawk's warhead is only a thousand pounds, comparable to a dive-bomber weapon of the age. Very few carriers were lost to a single thousand-pounder.
        • Technically, neither was the Wasp. The Tomahawk penetrated before exploding (which dive bombs rarely did), and the resulting fire caused the carrier's weapons stores to explode, sinking the ship. As to why Kikuchi expected a single Tomahawk to do this, perhaps he was just that sure of his skills that he could hit the ammo stores aboard the ship.
    • This raises interesting questions about jurisdiction. The present Japan abides by such laws as to limit its military capacity and activity (laws that, in the story, didn't actually exist, giving them the same weight as morals and principle), but this was Japan in 1941, which had a considerably more violent approach to warfare. Which rules, if any, is the captain bound by?
    • Not only the characteristics of the destroyer--the writers also did their homework on moon phases. To be clear: both the 4 June dates, in 2004 and 1942, are correctly shown (full moon and last quarter, respectively). Attention is called to this, and it's one more thing that proves something has gone wrong.
    • Curiously in the midst of all the Shown Their Work, the Mirai's superiority only lasting for the first thirty or forty targets it engages is never discussed. It would be quite possible for WWII enemies to mob it to death; it only has eight or less Harpoons, forty-two or less SM2s, and an unknown number of Tomahawks.
      • Actually, they did mention it during the battle with the Wasp. Besides, Zipang credits the gun with the ability to pick off WWII planes like a sniper rifle.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism - The JMSDF apparently trains its people to emphasize non-lethal methods, something that wears off the more time the crew spends in combat.
    • The non-lethal emphasis is actually a case of Reality Is Unrealistic. This troper actually read fiction made by a retired JMSDF Admiral that postulated JMSDF commanders who will not even shoot at the incoming missiles (not the planes, the missiles) when under attack, which suggests this is at least a thinkable level of restraint as far as the author was involved.
  • The Slow Path - How the manga ends. The surviving Mirai crewmate goes on see the alternate world unfold, living long enough to see the alternate JMSDF launch a new Mirai decades later.
  • Trapped in the Past - One of the few instances where the characters make an honest and serious attempt to keep their heads down. Ultimately, they never get back to their own time.
  • Temporal Paradox - Despite their best efforts, the crew of the Mirai cause one simply by existing in the past - a car driven by an IJN officer distracted by discussion about the Mirai kills a boy who would have grown up to become the ship's executive officer's father.
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