Thursday, October 19, 2017

The End of the Road: Kakyuusei (1999)

So here, at long last, is the end of the "-uusei" franchise: 1999's non-hentai TV series, Kakyuusei (1999). With the release of this show, all titles in the series are now available with English subtitles:
  1. Doukyuusei: Natsu no Owari ni (1994); released in the US on DVD; rips available.
  2. Doukyuusei Climax (1995-96); subtitled by Orphan.
  3. Kakyuusei: My Petty Class Student (1995); subtitled by Orphan.
  4. Doukyuusei 2 (1996-98); subtitled by Orphan.
  5. Tenkousei (1996-97); subtitled by Orphan.
  6. Doukyuusei 2 special: Sotsugyousei (1999-2000); subtitled by Orphan.
  7. Elf ban Kakyuusei: Anata Dake o Mitsumete... (1998); subtitled by IY-F.
  8. Kakyuusei (1999); subtitled by C1.
The first five are borderline hentai; the last three are PG-rated. Both Doukyuusei 2 (shorn of its sex scenes) and Kakyuusei (1999) were broadcast on TV. All the others were OVAs. All of them, except Kakyuusei (1995), were released on DVD; that one only never got past  laserdisc.

Kakyuusei (1999) has the same plot structure as all the rest. The happy-go-lucky but undistinguished protagonist, Yamaguchi Tsuyoshi, a third-year high-school student, discovers the girl of his dreams, in this case a demure first-year student named Minamizato Ai. Before they can find their stumbling way to true love, Tsuyoshi is distracted by a series of other girls. Eventually, the series settles down to a final rivalry for Tsuyoshi's affections between Ai and her best friend Iijima Miyuki. Tsuyoshi is aided, sort of, by his comical wingman, Gotu Minoru, who has a hopeless crush on their homeroom teacher, and opposed by the rich school playboy, Haruhiko Satake, who believes he is God's gift to women. Eventually, true love triumphs. What a surprise! The show is entirely innocuous, with nothing more serious than a kiss. The fourteenth episode isn't really part of the series. It provides a bit more fanservice, but nothing like the famous extra episode in Maze.

This series has been a long time coming. It began three years ago, when C1, an old line fansubbing group, suddenly revived after a four year coma. Progress was slow, because the group leader had real life commitments, and the project almost died twice. As result, the credits are a bit complicated:
  • Translation: EmptySoul (1-7), Moho Kareshi (8-14).
  • Translation Check: Meiko (1-7), EmptySoul (8-12), kokujin_kun (13-14).
  • Timing: EmptySoul (1-12), Eternal_Blizzard (13-14).
  • Karaokes: EmptySoul (OP, ED1); Eternal_Blizzard (ED2, ED3)
  • Editing: Collectr (all).
  • Typesetting: EmptySoul (1-8), Collectr (9-14).
  • QC: Calyrica, Eternal_Blizzard, Xanth.
  • Encoding: anonymous.
The source is an R2J DVD set, but it's a mess of interlaced and blended frames, just like most of the other shows in the series. Perhaps a more labor-intensive encoding process could have done better, but the series isn't worth it.

Toochika Kouichi, who voiced Tsuyoshi, played the lead in the Comic Party shows and has had an ongoing role in all the Naruto properties. Sango Minako (Ai) played the same role in Elf Ban Kakyuusei and appeared in Tenkousei and other h-anime shows. Sonozaki Mie (Miyuki) played the same role in Elf Ban Kakyuusei and had featured roles in Kingdom, Strike Witches, and the Happy Lesson properties. The director, Kashima Norio, has a few other directing credits, including Elf Ban Kakyuusei and Refrain Blue.

There's nothing that really distinguishes Kakyuusei (1999) from any of its siblings. It has the tamest content but otherwise follows the same plot line. If you aren't totally jaded by harem anime derived from eroge, you might like it; but it seems fairly generic.

A batch torrent will be forthcoming for ease of downloading. There won't be any changes.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Okane ga nai! Extras

So here's an orphan series, sort of: the four omake or extras from the Okane ga nai! OVA set. They are technically orphans because aarinfantasy only did the first three, and Nosmas omitted them from its R1 DVD rip altogether. Here are all four, from the R1 DVDs, softsubbed.

If you're not familiar with Okane ga nai! (No Money!), it's a yaoi OVA about a college student (Ayase) forced to pay off his debt to a loan shark (Kanou) by selling his body:


That's probably enough information for most people. If you need more, read the Wikipedia article.

These omake emphasize comedy rather than drama, so they're a showcase for the voice actors to display their comic talents. Ayase is played by the incomparable Fukuyama Jun, who has starred as Panda in Shirokuma Cafe, Geass in Code Geass, and Kuro-sensei in Assassination Classroom, among numerous other major roles. Kanou is voiced by Kosugi Juurouta, who has had many featured roles, including Touji in Ninku and Gisuke in Kage. The amateur AV photographer, Gion, is played by Okiayu Ryoutarou, whose 30-year career recently included the title role in Keppeki Danshi Aoyama-kun.

M74 encoded and timed, I edited and typeset, and Nemesis QCed. I haven't done much to the subtitles, other than restore Japanese name order and honorifics. On the other hand, the typesetting was an effort. For example, episode 2 has 27 lines of dialog and 7600+ lines of typesetting. Enough said.

You can get these mini-episodes from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Status

Here's a status report on current projects:
  • Stop!! Hibari-kun. All episodes encoded, translated, timed, typeset, and through QC. Episodes 1-6 released. This project desperately needs a dedicated translation checker. Awaiting translation check on episodes 9+.
  • Kasei Yakyoku. A joint project with Iquix. Episodes 1-4 in translation. We have new VHS raws for episodes 1-2, and laserdisc raws for episodes 3-4. We would really like to find a laserdisc of episodes 1-2. Awaiting translation.
  • Kindaichi movie 2. Laserdisc encode done. Translated, typeset. In fine timing.
  • Al Caral no Isan. Internet raw. Translated. In editing.  
  • Hoshineko Full House. Internet raw. Translated. In timing.
In addition, there are a number of resub projects pending, including Blue Sonnet and Kashou no Tsuki. Finally, we have a gigantic jigsaw puzzle to do: putting together scripts for AWOL Compression Remix from the VHS tapes of the original AWOL TV series.

As you can see, translation and translation checking are the bottlenecks. Lack of translation resources has led to putting a number of projects on the shelf for now, including Boyfriend, Chameleon, Condition Green, Dokushin Apartment, Every Day Is Sunday, Greed, MapleStory, Marginal Prince, Sanada 10, Smash Hit,and Techno Police 21C. New, interesting raws are arriving all the time.

If you'd like to help with translation, typesetting, QC, or even editing (I'll share, really), please let me know.

[Updated 08-Oct-2017]
 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Seikima II - Humane Society

If you've followed Orphan's releases, you should know that many OVAs of the 80s and 90s were made as promotions for other media, like manga (Yuukan Club, Nozomi Witches), light novels (Eien no Filena), and video games (Cosmic Fantasy). 1992's Seikimatsu - Humane Society (Seikima II - Humane Society) was a promotion for a rock-and-roll band. It wasn't the first of its kind; it was preceded by 1991's Ziggy Sore Yuke! R&R Band, for example. But it may be the strangest.

Seikima II was a Japanese death-metal band, of the kind parodied so lovingly in Detroit Metal City: kabuki makeup, songs about rape, murder, and satanic destruction, and a public persona of devilish evil. The OVA purports to tell the backstory of the band, which, according to its publicity, was composed of actual demons (akuma) from the parallel dimension Makai. In the OVA, five vicious demons (the five band members), led by Demon Kogure (the lead singer), are plotting the destruction of humanity. The only effective opposition comes from the saintly Rosa, who is actually the reformed war goddess Freyja in disguise. The demons attempt to activate their ultimate weapon, the Tower of Babel, before Rosa can complete her counterweapon, the Tower of Cain. The demons {spoiler alert} triumph and are on the verge on destroying the world when their leader suddenly decides that they should, instead, form a rock-and-roll band in order to convert people everywhere into demon worshipers. End of story.

For some reason, I am irresistibly reminded of the Monty Python sketch "Hell's Grannies." At the end, a pompous British colonel stops the sketch with: "Started off with a nice little idea about grannies attacking fit young men, but now it's got silly." Seikima II - Humane Society starts out as a nice little fantasy about demons versus gods, but then it gets silly. The demons themselves are goofy; for example, Sgt Luke is deathly afraid of celery, and Prof. Ishikawa uses his clairvoyance mostly to peek at women. The ending credits include a live performance by the band, replete with bad makeup, bad hairdos, and cheesy special effects, emphasizing just how silly it all is.



As befits a death-metal band, normal speech played backwards is used for various incantations. Where we could make them out, these lines are set reversed, in a different font and color, as "spells."

A few translation notes:
  • "Its name was... maneki neko." The famous beckoning cat figurine of Japanese commerce.
  • Odr (or Óðr) is a warrior from Norse mythology associated with the goddess Freyja.
  • The giant water bugs in Ishikawa's plague are native to east Asia but are now considered endangered in Japan.
  • A daisangen hand is an easily completed hand in Mahjong.
  • The Japanese dialog uses akuma for generic demons and the English loan word Demon as Kogure's first name.
The five band members played themselves, and the lead "demon" (Kogure) is quite good; his opening English monologue is a treat. Doi Mika, who voiced Rosa, played the lead in Explorer Woman Ray and provided the wonderful narration in all the Mushishi properties. Matsumoto Yasunori, who voiced Odr, Rosa's foremost soldier, played the lead in action shows Armor Hunter Mellowlink, Hard the Bounty Hunter, Starship Troopers, and Oz. He also showed his flare for comedy as Tohru the magician in Every Day Is Sunday and Dick Saucer in Dragon Half. The director, Kamiya Jun, worked on many projects, including Blue Seed and its sequel, Girl from Phantasia, and the first Kingdom series.

Seikima II performed from 1982 to 1999, with occasional reunion concerts after that. They continued their association with anime as well (thanks to the anonymous commenter for this information). Demon Kogure appeared in Wanna-Bes and Urotsukidoji II. The group did the theme song for Maze in 2001, and just last year they did the openings for Terra Formars Revenge. Because their activities and popularity continued well into the digital era, this OVA was released on DVD. Iri found the disc and translated it. ninjacloud timed, I edited and typeset, and Nemesis and VigorousJammer did QC. M74 encoded from the R2J DVD. Ziggy Sore Yuke! R&R Band is also available on DVD, but no promises about that show.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that this genre of music is not aimed at my demographic. (I stopped listening to rock-and-roll in the early 1970s.) Accordingly, I'm not the best authority to consult on the merits of the band or the OVA. But whether you find it all entertaining or silly - or both - you can get Seikma II - Humane Society from the typical torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Wan Wan Chuushingura

Wan Wan Chuushingura (The Doggie March) is a 1963 Toei Douga feature-length cartoon (they weren't called anime in those days). Starting in 1960 with Saiyuuki, Toei put out a feature-length color cartoon every year. These movies were aimed at children and have been characterized sometimes as faux Disney, with G-rated plots, lots of sidekicks and hijinks, and interpolated songs. In the hands of a master, like Takahata Isao, the formula worked brilliantly (1968's Horus no Daibouken); in less inspired hands, it produced mediocre results. Wan Wan Chuushingura is better than most. It is one of just two Toei productions from the 1960s that has not been translated into English. (The other is Andersen Monogatari.) It is best known for two things: first, it's based on a manga by Tezuka Osamu; and second, it was Miyazaki Hayao's first film as an animator (he did in-between animation).

Wan Wan Chuushingura tells the story of Rock, a country pup who lives in a mountain forest. His mother, Shiro, is a fierce defender of the local fauna from the depredations of Killer the tiger and his evil but clever sidekick, Akamimi the fox. (Never mind that tigers live in jungles, not on mountains, and are solitary except when mating.) When Akemimi lures Shiro into a fatal encounter with Killer, Rock vows revenge. However, he is too young and small to achieve much. He sets out for the city to recruit allies and falls in with a rough but lovable gang of street mutts. After many adventures, Rock eventually leads the city dogs into battle against Killer and Akamimi, with predictable results, if not exactly in a predictable way.

In the title, "wan wan" is Japanese onomatopoeta for a dog's bark, as "nyan nyan" is for a cat's meow. "Chuushingura"  (Treasury of Loyal Retainers) refers to a famous Japanese historical episode, the 47 Ronin, which is frequently dramatized in Japanese movies and plays. Except for the dogs seeking revenge against Killer, the anime doesn't draw on any part of the actual incident. (There aren't even 47 dogs.)

The animation in Wan Wan is fluid, and the action sequences are both exciting and good-looking. The movie is mercifully free of the soulful and romantic songs that periodically wrecked the pace of 1960's Saiyuuki. Aside from the opening and ending, the only other song is a lullaby that Shiro sings to Rock, and it's entirely appropriate in the context. On the other hand, there are a couple of "poetic" dream sequences that seem to be padding. Perhaps they were intended to give younger viewers time to calm down before the next thrill ride.

Because Wan Wan was made more than 60 years ago, the voice actors belong to a different era and are little known to modern audiences. Hori Junko, who played young Rock, had an amazing career, starting in the 1960s and appearing as recently as the last decade. The late Kamo Yoshihisa, who did a great comic turn as the clever but craven Akamichi, worked mostly in the 1960s. The fluid and engaging animation was directed by the late Daikuhara Akira, who worked on several Toei Douga features. He received a Lifetime Achievement Prize in 2006. The musical score is functional, but the catchy opening and closing song, The Doggie March, is a total earworm.

Iri translated the show, and M74 timed it. I edited and typeset (not much to do there), Nemesis and bananadoyouwanna did QC, and Skr encoded from a high-definition stream. The video is full of grain, which led to a large encode; of course, it might just be dirt on a non-remastered print rather than true film grain:


Maybe we'll get a real Blu-Ray someday.

So fall in line with the 47 (well, 31 or so) doggies and march, march, march to see this entertaining story. You can get it from the usual torrent sites and from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Akai Hayate

So here's another OVA stranded on the wrong side of the Digital Divide: Akai Hayate (Red Hayate), a four-parter from 1991. As far as I can tell, it is based on an original story by Yamasaki Osamu, who is better known as a director. His directing efforts include Gallery Fake, Yotoden (OVA and movie), Hakkenden (both series), and Hakuoki (all versions). Akai Hayate was licensed by the now-defunct Central Park Media and released in English on VHS tape; a rip of those tapes was released by ARR, minus seven minutes of episode 2. This is a new version, based on the Japanese laserdiscs, and complete.

Akai Hayate tells the tale of a secret ninja organization called Shinagara which has controlled Japan for "thousands of years." Its strongest warriors use "Shadow Armor"(mecha-like suits constructed from magic and shadows) and named attacks to fight:


As the story begins, Kanuma Hayate, the son of Shinogara's leader, Kanuma Tanzou, suddenly and inexplicably assassinates his father. As a result, Shinogara splits into warring factions, with three of its six Shadow Warriors (Sanezuna, Miyabi, and Genbu) supporting the new leader, Ranotei, and the other three (Hayate, Date Ikkaku, and Satomi Shuri) in rebellion. The Shinogara loyalists hunt down and mortally wound Hayate. To survive, he transfers his spirit into the body of his sister, Shiori. She must now evade Shinogara's myriad assassins and unravel the mystery behind her father's death, with the intermittent help of the other rebel warriors. The show has a very somber tone, with lots of violence and violent deaths. (There's a bit of nudity and sex too, typical of an OVA from that era.) As might be expected in a civil war, there are no winners and no happy ending.
 
The cast consists of stellar character actors. The gravelly-voiced narrator was played by Tesshou Genda, who played Moloch in the Azazel-san franchise, Colonel Muto in Joker Game, the narrator in Kyoukai no Rinne, and the title role in New Laughing Salesman. Kantou faction leader Date Ikkaku was played by Yao Kazuki, best known for his lead role as Dark Schneider in Bastard!! and his recurring role as Franky in One Piece. Nansou faction leader Satomi Shuri was voiced by Gouda Hozumi, who played one of the leads in the Sengoku-era Sanada 10 series.  Seki Toshihiko, who voiced the fighter Nagase Jun in the first episode, played Riki in Ai no Kusabi, Sanzo in all the Saiyuuki TV series, and the title roles in Alexander (Reign the Conqueror) and Kaiketsu Zorro. The director, Tsuruyama Osamu, is better known as an animator; he did the character designs for Wolf Guy, for example.

Because the ARR rip was incomplete and subsize, M74 and I had long wanted to do a new version. We enlisted Zalis of ReDone Subs, who transcribed the existing subtitles and filled in the missing seven minutes. He also did a cursory check of the translation, which is quite liberal. We haven't tried to correct the usual R1 compressions and omissions, beyond the obvious clunkers. Iri filled in a couple of missing lines of the episode 1 insert song; M74 timed; I edited and typeset; Juggen styled the songs; and Nemesis and VigorousJammer did QC. M74 encoded from laserdisc images provided by an anonymous benefactor. This is an Orphan-M74-ReDone joint release. (Sorry, AniDB mods, but all three groups really did do significant work on it.)

While Akai Hayate feels like it consists of recycled elements, that may just be a modern perspective. I'm sure it felt much fresher when first released in 1991. You can get it from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Fumoon

Orphan and M74 continue their high-definition survey of the Tezuka Osamu "Love Will Save the World" TV specials with 1980's Fumoon. Based on Tezuka's manga "Next World," Fumoon is a passionate plea for humanity to treat its only world better and to save it from the scourges of war and environmental devastation.

Fumoon takes place in a world dominated by the rivalry between the Uran Union (USSR) and the Star Nation (USA). One of the worst victims of this rivalry is Horseshoe Island. Once beautiful, it is totally polluted and barren, except for oversized insects and centipedes. Out of this disaster has arisen a new intelligent species, the Fumoon. These "new humans" have supernatural powers and control of anti-gravity, among other capabilities, not to mention lovely feminine eyelashes:


The Fumoon are discovered by Dr. Yamadano, who captures one, takes it back to Japan, and shows it to his detective friend, Ban Shunsaku, and Ban's nephew and apprentice, Kenichi. The captured Fumoon, named Rococo, awakens and escapes in a flying saucer, taking Ban along. Keniichi vows to rescue his uncle and sets off for Horseshow Island with his little sister, Peach. There, they are captured by the Fumoon and learn the secret of the Fumoon's seemingly random activities: Earth is about to be enveloped by a cloud of deadly glass. The Fumoon are planning to escape, taking with them a cross-section of Earth's plant and animal life, but no humans, to seed a new homeworld.

This is only the beginning of the complications, which include, among other things, machinations by a Japanese industrialist to use the Fumoon in a reality TV show, mindless crowds destroying mankind's only hope for fending off the gas cloud, and all-out war between the Uran Union and the Star Nation. Ultimately, love does save the world, but not human love. I think Fumoon is a bit overstuffed with twists, turns, and incidents, but the show moves along at a brisk and entertaining clip, gliding over the plot holes.

Fumoon makes extensive use of Tezuka Osamu's "Star System," in which familiar characters are reused in new plots and often in new roles. For example, Ban Shunsaku appears in many Tezuka manga and anime, including Metropolis and Midori no Neko. (He had cameos in Bagi and Ginga Tansa 2100-nen too.) Keniichi's younger sister Peach is better known as Pinoko in Black Jack. The leader of the Uran Union is Duke Red. Although this can be distracting, Tezuka drew his manga that way, and the anime shows adapted from them follow his conventions. The use of the Star System was toned down after Fumoon.

Tomita Kousei played Ban Shunsaku throughout his career, including the recent Young Black Jack TV series. He also played Okocho in Ear of the Golden Dragon, which Orphan translated. Matsushima Minori played Peach (Pinoko) just this once. She had many other roles, including the lead in Akane-chan. Okamoto Mari (Rococo) played Emiya in Ginga-Tansa 2100-nen. She appeared most recently in this year's Little Witch Academia. The late Takiguchi Junpei (Yamadano) is probably best known as the voice of the Millenium Earl in the original D.gray-man series. The late Utsumi Kenji, who played the industrialist Gamata, played Ham Egg in the original Astro Boy, Dracula in Don Dracula, and many other Tezuka Osamu characters.

Yogicat transcribed the subtitles, which were professionally done, and M74 timed them. I edited and typeset, and M74 and Nemesis did QC. M74 encoded from a BDMV graciously provided by Beatrice Raws. This is a joint Orphan-M74 release.

While I prefer Tezuka's more tightly plotted specials, like Ginga Tansa 2100-nen, Fumoon is very entertaining, and its critique of environmental devastation, not to mention the threat of nuclear war, looks remarkably prescient. Unfortunately, nothing like the Fumoon has appeared (so far) to save us from ourselves. You can get the release from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.