Saturday, January 20, 2018

Hidamari no Ki, Part 1

In my look back at 2017, I said that Orphan would be undertaking two larger series this year. The first is the continuation of Stop!! Hibari-kun!, from 1983. And now, here is the second, Hidamari no Ki (A Tree in the Sun), from 2000. This historical drama has been on my wish list since I started pursuing orphaned shows. A fortunate chain of circumstances has allowed Orphan to bring it to you, at last.

First, the series appeared on streaming sites in Japan. This provided translation raws with reasonable video and audio fidelity. Second, the eleven volume manga became available online, both in Japanese and in (scanlated) English. Third, and most importantly, a new translator, Sunachan, joined Orphan. Sunachan had the stamina - and the experience with medical terminology - to undertake such a large project. And finally, an anonymous donor offered to purchase the Hidamari no Ki DVDs. This provided pristine material for generating final video and audio. Orphan will be presenting Hidamari no Ki in four "mini-batches" of six, seven, six, and six episodes respectively, with a full series batch at the end.

Hidamari no Ki is based on a manga by the legendary Tezuka Osamu. It tells the story of two young men during the Bakumatsu - the waning days of the Tokugawa Shogunate that followed the "opening" of Japan by Western countries. One is Manjirou Ibuya, a samurai raised in the strictest traditions of bushido. The other is Tezuka Ryouan, a doctor-in-training equally interested in women and the latest scientific discoveries. (Ryouan's last name is no coincidence; he is Tezuka Osamu's great-grandfather) Both have a penchant for getting into trouble. Ibuya inadvertently crosses an experienced samurai and is wounded in a duel. Ryousan ends up treating him. Then, Ryouan deliberately crosses the powerful official physicians of the Shogunate, who want to prevent Ryouan and his father from opening a smallpox vaccination facility. Ibuya ends up saving Ryouan from an attack by anonymous assassins. Ryouan goes to Osaka for further training and encounters both opportunity and tragedy. Ibuya exhibits exemplary leadership skills during the great Ansei-era Edo earthquake and is assigned to guard the new US consul to Japan. And that's just the first six episodes!

As the screencap shows, the male character designs are vintage Tezuka Osamu - large eyes paired with real noses, chins, Adam's apples, facial blemishes, and so on. The female character designs run more to type - either classic Japanese beauties, like Oseki, Oshina, and Okon, or dumpy matrons, like Ryouan's mother. This demonstrates Eguchi Marisuke's versatility as a character designer. The designs look nothing like his Adachi-inspired characters in Hiatari Ryouko and Nozomi Witches.

The Bakumatsu was a remarkably complex period, with factions promoting all kinds of views. The three most prominent were the bakufu - the military bureaucracy of the Shogunate, who wanted to defend their prerogatives; the neo-Confucians (Joui), who wanted to restore power to the Emperor as a prerequisite to expelling all foreigners; and the Westernizers, who wanted to embrace western scientific and political thought and modernize Japan along Western lines. Dividing lines were not clear-cut; for example, all factions wanted to embrace some aspects of Western military technology, for their own reasons. The eventual solution - the Meiji restoration - was a sort of "none of the above" answer and allowed Japan to avoid the fate of China.

The voice cast is stellar. Yamadera Kouichi (Ryouan) has had a spectacular career. Among his many roles are Spike Spiegel in Cowboy Bebop, Sukeroku in Shouwa Ginroku Rakugo Shinju, Ryouga in all the Ranma 1/2 properties, Melos in Hashire Melos! (an Orphan project), and the nameless hero of Otaku no Seiza. He also dubbed all the Mike Myers characters in the Japanese versions of the Austin Powers movies. Miyamoto Mitsuru (Ibuya) has appeared in numerous series, from H2 to this year's Kekkai Sensen sequel. Orikasa Fumiko, who voiced their mutual love interest, Oseki, played Rukia Kuchiki in all the Bleach properties as well as the heroine Okonogi Yuuko in Dennou Coil. The late Nagai Ichirou (Ryouan's father Ryousan) appeared in numerous shows, including Nora and Gosenzosama Banbanzai! He also dubbed Albus Dumbledore in the Japanese versions of the Harry Potter movies. Matsumoto Rica (Okan, a "nighthawk" or prostitute in Osaka) played Jim Hawking in Outlaw Star, the hero Fuusuke in the Ninku properties, and Satoshi in the Pokemon franchise. The director, Sugii Gisaburou, has done many outstanding shows, including the Mitsuru Adachi shows Nine, Touch, and Hiatari Ryouko; Nozomi Witches (an Orphan project); and several recent movies. The music is by the jazz/fusion composer and keyboardist Matsui Keiko and works well to underscore the series subtly.

Sunachan translated the episodes. Beyond that, she re-checked the episodes through editing and QC to ensure that the nuances of the translation were not lost. Eternal_Blizzard timed the episodes. Juggen provided a subtle karaoke for the ending theme, Hikari no Mukou e by Charcoal. I edited and typeset (not many signs). bananadoyouwanna, Nemesis, and VigorousJammer did QC. Skr encoded the original workraws that allowed translation to get started, and M74 encoded the final versions from the DVDs. The DVDs themselves were purchased by an anonymous benefactor. The entire team is intensely grateful to him for investing in this show.

Hidamari no Ki is a dense series, and there are lots of people, places, and things that need explanation. I've tried to keep on-screen translation notes to a minimum, but there are a few. Here are some additional notes for this batch of episodes:
  • Ep01. "Countless districts of Edo." Literally, the 808 districts of Edo. The number 808 is purely symbolic.
  • Ep01. "...with its pay of 15 bales for two people..." The combination of bales and people provides the measurement of a samurai's rank; in this case, not very high.
  • Ep01. "300 mon." An old unit of currency, not directly translatable to yen because of devaluation and inflation.
  • Ep01. "Hokushin Ittouryuu" is a school of martial arts, founded in 1820, focused on sword fighting.
  • Ep04. Ogata Kouan was a physician and scholar. His academy, the Tekijuku, taught medicine and Western learning. It was one of the foundations for Osaka University.
  • Ep04. Ryousen twirls his pinky when talking indirectly about a beautiful courtesan. The pinky signifies love affairs or sexual liaisons.
Because of the long delays in releasing more of Stop!! Hibari-kun, some viewers may wonder whether Hidamari no Ki will suffer the same fate. I expect this show to go faster because it doesn't require translation checking. We've restarted Stop!! Hibari-kun, of course, but an experienced, dedicated translation checker is needed for the show to progress more quickly.

Meanwhile, dig into Hidamari no Ki. It's a treat, a true overlooked gem. You can get this mini-batch from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Stop!! Hibari-kun! 7-12

As I said in my end-of-2017 summary, Orphan will be working on two relatively long series this year. One of them, of course, is Stop!! Hibari-kun!, the 1983 comedy series. It's taken a loooong time, but here are the next six episodes. I won't repeat all the background from my introductory post on the series. Nothing has changed - or does change, for that matter, because the show is completely episodic. Cross-dressing/transgender son Ozora Hibari is still the best-looking girl in the Ozora family; the family's adopted orphan, Sakamoto Kosaku, is still utterly confused about his feelings toward Hibari; and the rest of the family is still perplexed, apoplexed, bemused, or amused about the whole thing, often at the same time.

Moho Kareshi translated the entire series. Onibaba and tenkenX6 did translation checking on this second batch of episodes. Yogicat timed; I edited and typeset; Juggen styled the OP and ED; and Nemesis, konnakude, and VigorousJammer QCed. M74 encoded from a remastered DVD box. A few translation notes:
  • Ep07. Kotatsu means "little dragon."
  • Ep08. Utagoe Kissa means "Chorus Cafe." It originated in Japan around 1955 and lasted until the 70s. It's a "cafe" where people sing songs as a group, often accompanied by piano or accordion music.
  • Ep10. Kosuke's rivalry with his childhood friend Daisuke is illustrated with historical events, such as the famous duel between 17th century swordsmen Miyamato Musashi and Sasaki Kojiro, and references to the match between Rikiishi and Joe in Ashita no Joe, the fight between Amuro and Char in Mobile Suit Gundam, and between Take-chan Man and Black Devil Jr in Fuji TV's live-action "variety show" of the same name. (Thanks to Sunachan for tracking these references down.)
All of the episodes in this batch are canon, that is, they're taken from the manga, although episodes 8 and 9 are padded considerably.

The typesetting continues to be a PITA, and as with P**** B*** Cafe, I'm doing fewer signs as the series goes on. Episodes 10 and 11, in particular, have repeating signs that would require endless hand-clipping. At some point, with the scripts approaching 10,000 lines, I simply gave up. Feel free to do the rest yourself. ;)

When will the next batch be coming out? I don't know, so please don't ask. It's entirely at the mercy of the translation checking process. (Always looking for help there.) In the meantime, you can get this group of episodes at the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Toujours de l'audace (Audio Editing)

Over the years, I've discussed many of the skills needed for fansubbing: translation, timing, editing, typesetting, QC, and encoding. In 2017, I encountered a new one: audio editing. It's not often needed, but when it is, the situation is usually fairly dire.

I ran into two examples last year. The first case was in the fourth and final episode of Akai Hayate. For some reason, the ending song - and only the ending song - was horribly distorted on the laserdisc release. In comparison, the VHS version sounded much better, but it was only in mono. It was impossible to use the endings from the first three volumes, because the fourth volume's ending was unique. The second case was in the complete release of A-Girl. Due to an incorrect setting, tape stretch in the video resulted in bad audio, with the sound audibly dipping in tone. A second, audio-only rip, done with the right settings, sounded better but had different volume levels and slightly different playing times.

In both cases, the solution required splicing together different audio sources and then adjusting for differences in volume and tone. Enter Audacity, a full-featured, open source audio editor. Audacity can do almost anything, but its user interface is not particularly intuitive. Fortunately, the Internet has many, many write-ups on how to use Audacity for various tasks. Simply Googling "Audacity <do this task>" will find the right answer fairly quickly.

For both Akai Hayate 4 and A-Girl, the basic procedure was the following:
  1. Load both audio tracks into Audacity.
  2. Use the Time Slip tool to align the new audio track with the old one.
  3. Splice an appropriate section from the new audio track over the old one.
  4. Use the Amplify effect to adjust the volume of the new section to match the old one.
  5. Export the spliced audio as a WAV file.
  6. Use an external encoder to transform the WAV file to the audio format of choice.
Now, there are a couple of trivial and non-trivial annoyances in getting this done.
  1. The Time Slip tool doesn't have a fine adjust. All aligning is done with the mouse, and the mouse doesn't have enough resolution to get to a sample boundary, even at really high magnification. It would help if the tool responded to the arrow keys for fine-grain motion.
  2. Selecting a section of audio is clumsy. You can use the mouse to define the start - and even fine-adjust the start with the arrow keys - but the end is defined by dragging the start across the selection. Aegisub's system of allowing independent definition of the start and end points works better.
  3. There's no straightforward "spice and replace" function. Instead, there's a complicated series of arrow keys to get back and forth between old and new. Aegisub has a "paste over" function for replacing sections of a script, and that works better.
Still, there's a lot that Audacity will do automagically to make things work. For example, when it was time to export the spliced audio track for Akai Hayate 4, Audacity noticed that the spliced area was mono and duplicated the track to create a 2-channel (but still mono) mix.

So if you're a fansubber looking to expand your bag of tricks, I recommend spending some time fooling around with Audacity. You never know when it will come in handy.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 in Review

This year, I've tried to bury my anxieties by avoiding the news and doubling down on my hobbies. I don't know if it works as therapy, but it sure has resulted in Orphan releasing a lot of shows in 2017.

Orphan Fansubs

I called 2016 a "banner year" for Orphan Fansubs, but 2017 has been even more amazing. There have been three important factors in the explosion of releases this year:
  1. New staff, particularly an additional translator (Sunachan) and translation checker (tenkenX6).
  2. The increasing availability of back-catalog media, both physical and streaming.
  3. The hard work of core staff members in all disciplines: translation, timing, QC, and encoding.
As a result, Orphan released a record number of new projects in 2017:
  1. Yousei Ou. A high fantasy OVA about fairies, witches, and elves, with shounen-ai undertones. DVD encode.
  2. Chameleon. The first two episodes of a "Yankee" comedy OVA about a wannabe juvenile delinquent and his misadventures. Episode 1; episode 2.
  3. Cosprayers. The foundation series for Smash Hit and Love Love?, both of which are considerably better. DVD encode.
  4. A Penguin's Memories. A moving story about the tribulations of veterans returning from a war (presumably Vietnam), told with penguin instead of human characters. Laserdisc encode.
  5. Neko Neko Fantasia. A fantasy OVA about a kitten that wishes to be human so she can participate in Christmas. Laserdisc encode.
  6. Tsuki ga Noboru made ni. A Japanese boy's memories of country life during World War II, told retrospectively to a skeptical city girl and her father. A wonderful, one-shot OVA.
  7. Stop!! Hibari-kun. A comedy series about a cross-dressing boy who wreaks havoc by being the best-looking girl in the family and in school. Episodes 01-06. DVD encode.
  8. Grim Douwa - Kin no Tori. A fantasy movie from Toei, based on the Brothers Grimm story "The Golden Bird." It features outstanding animation and voice acting. High-definition TV encode.
  9. Junod. An inspirational biographical movie of Doctor Marcel Junod, who worked for the International Red Cross prior to and during World War II. High-definition TV encode.
  10. Fire Emblem. A fantasy OVA based on a video game. Laserdisc encode.
  11. Cosmic Fantasy. A sci-fi adventure/comedy OVA based on a video game. Laserdisc encode.
  12. Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo movie 1. The first big screen adventure of Kindaichi Hajime, teen detective. The plot revolves around a locked-room murder during a production of The Phantom of the Opera. Letterboxed laserdisc and subsequent "full 480p" encode.
  13. Daishizen no Majuu Bagi. A Tezuka Osamu TV special, about a human-feline hybrid trying to find her place in the world. High-definition BD encode.
  14. Eien no Filena. A sci-fi fantasy OVA based on a series of light novels.
  15. Yuukan Club. A comedy OVA about rich private school students with a mind for mischief and too much time on their hands. Laserdisc encode.
  16. Nozomi Witches. An OVA about an ordinary high-school boy who is encouraged by a bewitching classmate to become a champion boxer. Laserdisc encode.
  17. Alice in Dreamland. A recent movie retelling of Alice in Wonderland, using dolls. DVD encode.
  18. Aoki Honoo. A dark OVA about a young man's ruthless pursuit of success. VHS encode.
  19. Fumoon. Another Tezuka Osamu TV special, about the rise of an alien species brought about by human environmental devastation. High-definition BD encode.
  20. Akai Hayate. An original OVA about a civil war within a secretive ninja clan. Laserdisc encode.
  21. Wan Wan Chuushingura. A comedy/adventure movie about a plucky dog name Rock and his battles against an evil tiger and a clever fox. High-definition streaming encode.
  22. Seikima II - Humane Society. An OVA that purports to tell the "true" backstory of the death metal rock-and-roll band Seikima II. DVD encode.
  23. Okane ga nai extras. Four omake from the Okane ga nai OVA series. DVD encode.
  24. Al Caral no Isan. A science fiction OVA about mankind's "first contact" with extraterrestrials, who are much more than they appear to be.
  25. Cathexis. An anime music video, supposedly of songs by Nanjo Kouji, the lead character of Zetsuai 1989. Laserdisc encode.
  26. Hyakumannen Chikyuu no Tabi: Bander Book. The first Tezuka Osamu TV special, about a human boy orphaned in space and his struggle to discover his identity and his destiny. High-definition BD encode.
  27. What's Michael? OVA (1985). Short sketches about an orange tiger cat named Michael and his human and feline companions. Laserdisc encode.
  28. Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo movie 2. The second movie about Kindaichi Hajime. The plot revolves around a terrorist takeover of an isolated resort hotel. Laserdisc encode and "full 480p" encode.
  29. Shiroi Kiba: White Fang Monogatari. Jack London's classic tale of canine survival and bonding, set in Alaska.
  30. Rainbow Signal: Hi-Fi Set. An anime music video of songs by HiFi Set, a Japanese vocal group. It tells the tale of a pair of cute dragons in a futuristic city. Laserdisc encode.
  31. Hoshi Neko Full House. A rollicking sci-fi/comedy OVA, featuring a smuggler boy, a lecherous robot, three rich high-school girls, an alien lizard, and a flying star cat, who must save the world from a revolt by the supercomputer Eterna.
  32. What's Michael? OVA 2 (1988). More skits from Michael and friends, including a three-part parody of The Fugitive. Laserdisc encode.
  33. Oishinbo Ultimate vs Supreme: Dishes for Longevity!! Ultimate Menu and Supreme Menu battle over dishes intended to promote long life. Modified Yoroshiku subs; 720p BD encode. 
  34. Kaitei Choutokkyuu Marine Express. The second Tezuka Osamu TV special, about conspiracy and high adventure aboard an undersea express train. High-definition BD encode.
Not counted in this tally were two new versions of A-Girl, based on a complete raw; a new version of Dragon Fist, based on a laserdisc encode; a new version of Ginga Tansa 2100-nen: Border Planet, based on a high-definition BD encode; a new version of Tezuka Osamu Monogatari: I Am Son Gokuu, also based on a high-definition BD encode; and the "full 480p" versions of Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo movies 1 and 2. That's more than 40 distinct projects this year, with not a dud in the bunch. Congratulations, and many thanks, to the whole Orphan team.

Work for Other Groups

There seems to be less of this each year, particularly outside the "back catalog" kairetsu.

  • FFF. I'm editing the third season of Shokugeki no Souma. The Akatsuki no Yoma OVAs are all stuck at various points in the process.
  • Frozen-EviL. I continued to edit the slow-moving Blu-Ray version of Yawara!
  • Saizen. I continued to edit, and picked up typesetting, Laughing Salesman, and I QCed Psycho Armor Govarian.
  • C1. I edited and typeset the second half of Kakyuusei (1999) and project-managed the last few episodes to complete the series.
  • Soldado. I QCed this year's Ninku releases. I edited and QCed the Haguregumo movie.
  • M74. I edited and QCed the high-definition release of the Tezuka Osamu TV special Time Slip Ichimannen Prime Rose.
Laughing Salesman continues to be a pleasure; I find it's exceedingly dark humor appropriate for the times.

Favorites of 2017

I'm not an anime critic, and I don't play one on the Internet, so I no longer try to compile a "best of" list for the anime year. These days, I don't watch enough anime, outside of the genres I like (slice-of-life, comedy, sci-fi, seinen, josei, cats), to be knowledgeable enough to make a "Top 10" list. Instead, I'm listing my favorites of the year and why they kept me interested all the way through.

In alphabetical order:
  • ACCA 13-ku Kansatsu-ka. This cool and jazzy caper series hit the right spot for me.
  • Hoozuki no Reitetsu S2. A fiendishly funny series about life in Hell. This season provides more backstory about the main characters without losing comic focus.
  • Isekai Shoukudou. A comfort food series, combining fantasy and cooking in equal proportions.
  • Kappeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun. This year's outstanding zany comedy, with an equal-opportunity focus on its crazy side characters as well as its lead.
  • Kobayashi-san Chi no Maidragon. Much better than its hackneyed premise led me to expect. It turned out to be a comedy about family and the accommodations everyone has to make to get along.
  • Mahou Tsukai no Yome. Gorgeous and engaging. This series continues next year.
  • Natsume Yuujinchou Roku (S6). Even after six seasons, Natsume does not disappoint or grow stale. Its combination of hope and melancholy is unique.
  • Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi Hen. This sequel continues and broadens its characters' stories and provides a deep and satisfying conclusion.
  • Uchouten Kazoku S2. My favorite tanuki family returns for more adventures. Just as good as the first season, and open-ended enough to allow for a continuation.
  • Youkai Apartment no Yuuga na Nichijou. Another show with a supernatural theme. It combines great character comedy with supernatural adventure, but the former always takes precedence.
No sports, no mecha, no magical girls, no idols, no shounen (sorry, Boku no Hero Academia), and no violence against children (sorry, Made in Abyss). Among short series, I really liked Osake wa Fuufu ni Natte Kara (adult characters), and I'm heartened to see the return of Fireball, even if for only three episodes.

Looking Ahead

Orphan Fansubs is now more than seven years old. Since the group's inception, the team has finished more than a hundred official projects. I hope we'll be able to maintain a reasonable pace in 2018, but two long series projects are in the works, and they will take up a lot of time. So if you are an experienced fansubber, particularly a translator, typesetter, or QC — or even an editor, for that matter — and would like to join Orphan in exploring the highways and byways of the anime past, please drop me a PM on IRC or leave a comment on the blog.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Happy Holidays from Orphan Fansubs

On behalf of all the dogs and cats and other critters of Orphan Fansubs...

Here's wishing you a joyous, and safe, holiday season.

A-Girl v2

It's taken three tries, and fifteen months, but here at last is a complete and listenable version of the 1993 OVA A-Girl.

In 1992, Madhouse and Margaret Comics collaborated on an OVA of the shounen-ai romance Zetsuai 1989. This was successful, and in 1993, Madhouse issued six additional OVAs based on Margaret Comic properties:
  • Oshare Kozou wa Hanamaru
  • Singles
  • Pops
  • Oeda wa Nemurenai!
  • Kiss wa Hitomi ni Shite
  • A-Girl
Unfortunately, these additional OVAs were not successful and quickly sank into obscurity. None of them made it to Laserdisc, let alone DVD.

A-Girl is based on a 1984 shoujo romance manga by Fusako Kuramochi. It tells a very simple story: girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets boy. High-school student Mariko and her elder sister Mayu are forced out of their apartment by a fire and move in with their landlord. Mariko meets the landlord's handsome son, Natsume, who is also a model. They fall in love but break up when Mariko discovers that Natsume is seeing other girls. Eventually, they are reunited, and the end credits roll.

The story of this release, however, is far from simple.

The first raw we found, back in September 2016, was defective: small (512 x 384) and missing the end credits. Apparently, it was stitched together from three pieces on YouTube. The second raw was based on a used VHS tape purchased in Japan.  It wasn't perfect either: tape stretch caused noticeable audio distortion in three places - but at least it was complete. This month, VHS ripper realized that the audio distortion could be overcome. He made a new audio track, and I spliced the new track over the old one in the three chapters that were broken. That brings us, at long last, to this "VHS v2" release.

A-Girl was the directorial debut of Kousaka Kitarou. (He also did the character designs.) He later worked for many years as an animation director and key animator on Ghibli films before achieving prominence as the director of the award-winning Nasu: Anadalusia no Natsu. For A-Girl, he chose a novel approach: he made a "silent movie." A-Girl has no dialog and is performed against a background of Japanese pop songs composed by Okada Tooru and sung (in English!) by SEIKA. Dialog placards provide continuity, like in old silent films. It works pretty well and doesn't interrupt the flow of the story.

Iri bought the VHS tape for this release in Japan.He also translated and timed. I edited and typeset, Nemesis and Eternal_Blizzard did QC, gamnark ripped the VHS tape (and the replacement audio track), and M74 encoded it (and the replacement audio track).
As usual, you can get this version of A-Girl from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on If you like the music, the soundtrack is available on BakaBT. If you already downloaded the previous version, you can get a patch to v2 here. It's rather large; the entire audio track gets replaced.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Stop!! Hibari-kun! Song Book

Just in time for Christmas, a digital version of the 1984 Stop!! Hibari-kun! Song Book - a collection of songs from the anime, including the opening, the ending, and various insert and character songs.

I like to find and release the soundtracks from the old shows that Orphan subs, but sometimes it's not easy. Like the shows themselves, the musical offerings are often stuck on the wrong side of the digital divide. Even when a CD version exists, it's usually out of print.

As with most of our analog media, this album comes from Yahoo Auctions in Japan. Skr bought it for me and photographed the album art and insert pages. (I bought the album to get the official lyrics for the insert songs.) Skr then shipped it to Erik of Piyo Piyo Productions as part of a massive shipment of laserdiscs. (It fits right in, format-wise.) Erik transshipped it to me. I ripped it on my vintage Panasonic SL-1200 turntable via a USB encoding gadget. Then I spent too much time figuring out how Audacity worked, separating the songs into tracks, adding metadata, and encoding the WAV files to FLAC and MP3. They're now released.

This is my first time ripping and encoding an LP, so please be gentle.

You can get the encoded versions, FLAC or MP3, from the usual torrent site. The torrent descriptions also include direct download links.