Tegami Bachi (テガミバチ LETTER BEE, Tegamibachi, lit. "Letter-Bee") is an ongoing manga and anime. It takes place in Amberground, a world in a constant state of twilight, lit only by an artificial sun above the capital.
After his mother is taken away, Lag Seeing is left in his destroyed hometown until a Letter Bee, a government-employed courier, named Gauche comes to deliver him to his aunt. The two grow close over the journey and Lag decides to become a Letter Bee himself. Five years later, he reaches his goal, but discovers that Gauche went missing shortly after delivering Lag. Lag promises Gauche's younger sister, Sylvette, to find Gauche and bring him home. The allegory in this story is complex, and is highly reflective of the Japanese version of Catholic Theology.
- Lag Seeing: A 12 year old orphan boy. He was delivered as a letter by Gauche to his aunt when he was 7 and five years later becomes a Letter Bee. He was born on the Day of Flicker, the day the artificial sun went out.
- Niche: A peculiar young girl with the blood of Maka, a legendary beast. She is Lag's 'dingo', his protector. Her hair can turn into a sword-like form and she has a pet named Steak.
- Gauche Suede: A Letter Bee that has hopes to travel to the capital and become the Head Bee so he can provide a better life for his younger sister, Sylvette. At age 18, he carried Lag as a letter, but shortly after delivering him went missing. His dingo is a dog named Roda.
- Sylvette Suede: Gauche's younger sister that, like Lag, was also born on the Day of Flicker. She is paralyzed from the waist down and before Lag became a tenant, she lived alone and sold hand-made dolls to support herself.
In 2009 an anime adaptation of the manga was made, eventually spawning a second season in 2010. While the first season focuses on the everyday lives of the Letter Bees, the second season, Tegami Bachi REVERSE, focuses on the primary plot of recovering Gauche and the mysterious anti-government organization, Reverse.
Although the anime does not feature much gadgetry, its steampunk influences are subtle. The technology in the world of Amberground is reminiscent of Victorian-era technology, but there is little technology shown. The rare technology that is shown is powered either by steam engines or by heart, something very similar to the eastern concept of ki or chi, which is possessed by all things. The clothing worn by the people of Amberground is inspired by modern Japan with the architecture of Amberground being inspired by the Italian Renaissance in the manga and more northern European Renaissance in the anime.
Anime Episodes and Manga
The anime, at least the very first episode of it, can be found on YouTube here.
A translated version of the manga is available here.