Rumik World: Fire Tripper

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“Fire Tripper” is a 50-minute OVA from 1986, based on the short story/comic featured in Rumiko Takahashi’s comic collection “Rumik World.”

After picking up her adoptive little boy cousin, Shu, from a small playground, 17 year-old, adopted orphan, Suzuko is caught in a gas explosion. When the flames clear, she finds she has been flung back in time to Japan’s Warring States period, with Shu nowhere in sight. She is found by a group of foot soldiers who immediately attempt to assault her. She’s saved by country bumpkin turned warrior/small village protector, Shukumaru, who guards his village from local bad guy, Akauma’s foot soldiers.

Shukumaru takes her to his home, where she meets his younger sister, Suzu, who carries a small bell, very similar to Suzuko’s own charm, her only memento from before she was adopted. Suzuko forces Shukumaru to take her back to the battlefield to look for her cousin. During her search and her subsequent stay at the village, the two become fond of one another, and Shukumaru eventually asks Suzuko to marry him; but Suzuko worries that she might be Shukumaru’s sister, because she suspects Suzu is her younger self, and that she must have previously traveled forward in time. However, it turns out that Shukumaru is also an orphan who was adopted under very strange circumstances.

With the help of yet another time slip, Suzuko unravels the mystery of who she is; who Shukumaru is; and her time traveling past, present, and future, while Shukumaru prepares to protect his village from Akauma’s marauding bandits.

"Fire Tripper’s" characters and story are very similar to "Inuyasha’s" (but I think Suzuko might be a little more on the ball than Kagome). The eventual climax with its “big question” is the same: Is it better to venture into the rougher, more exciting unknown in order to be with the one you love, or remain in your comfortable, safer, known existence? Although in both versions, the rougher unknown, the Warring States era, is highly romanticized. "Fire Tripper" shows off the strengths of a one-shot OVA in its ability to ruthlessly cut-out almost all of the unnecessary elements when telling this story. When compared to "Inuyasha", you can see how peripheral the heroine’s friends, the secondary couple, the sexier other woman, the sweet-yet-annoying other man, the cocky rival, the fraternal animosity, the Machiavellian main bad guy, or even the demon (yōkai/hanyō) element are to the story’s main plot and romance. Rumiko Takahashi’s short works demonstrate her skills as a storyteller, and ability to create almost immediately likable characters, while covering-up problems of creating believable characters that grow and develop over many volumes. Almost all her multi-volume series seem like bloated versions of her short stories that end up mired in mundane repetition. I really think her short stories are her stronger works, and I find it a little sad that they’ll never have the same kind of worldwide fame as her long running Manga and TV shows, due to the nature of product tie-ins and other components of commercial success.

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Curator: guyvariii
Gallery Created: 1/21/2004

Presentation 8.65/10   Collection 9.12/10   Overall 8.70/10   Votes 65 votes
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