Saber Marionette J (セイバーマリオネットJ, Seibā Marionetto Jei) is an anime produced by Hal Film Maker, aired on TV Tokyo from October 1, 1996 to March 25, 1997. It is the second installation of the Saber Marionette line of series, preceding Saber Marionette J Again and succeeding Saber Marionette R. The show was localized in North America by Ocean Productions and into six other languages by various companies.
In between production, Saber Marionette J made transitions in other media. A manga serialized in the Kadokawa Shoten magazine Dragon Age was circulated from October 1996 to November 1999, collected into five volumes by the company. A concurrent radio drama was broadcast and the show's original soundtrack was published by Kings Records. The show was also the basis for a PlayStation fighting game called Saber Marionette J: Battle Sabers, developed and published by Tom Create.
Otaru Mamiya is an adolescent working-class laborer, single, independent who's about 18 years old, and living on his own in the fictional city state of Japoness. Employed as a fish peddler and running a morning's catch, he is hit by a car driven by Mitsurugi Hanagata, an acquaintance, spoiling his merchandise and sparking a fight the two agree to take elsewhere.
Traveling to a gully outside of the town, the boys continue their quarrel on a bridge where a skilled Otaru makes quick work of his opponent. In an unfortunate turn of events however, Otaru, balancing himself on a fencepost which breaks off, is dumped into the river below where he is helplessly washed away.
Moments later, having drifted ashore in a small pond, Otaru finds himself at a rural athenaeum, the Japoness Pioneer Museum. He curiously explores the decrepit building, falling through a trapdoor and into a secret underground basement where he finds and awakens an encapsulated marionette. She introduces herself as Lime, embracing the dumbfounded boy with a laugh and revealing an unprecedented ability to express emotion.