Monday, May 20, 2019

Meisou-Ou Border v2

Orphan is releasing a second version of Meisou-Ou Border (Wandering Kings: Border, or something like that), with vastly improved video. This version is so different that I feel it should have an entirely new blog post, not just a rehash of the old one.

Meisou-Ou Border is based on a 14-volume seinen manga by Marley Carib and Tanaka Akio. Only the first three chapters are available in English. It tells the story of two drifters, Kubota and Hachitsuka, who return from the Middle East and choose to live on the margins of conventional society in Tokyo (the "border" of the title). The OVA, from Artland, relates the first four chapters of the manga. An unscrupulous documentary producer send his minion, Hosoki, to lure Kubota and Hachitsuka down to Osaka with the promise of high pay. There are other fringe benefits, such as room, board, and paid female companionhsip. The producer places the two men as "innocent bystanders" in the middle of a yakuza gang war. They manage to hold their own, much to the producer's dismay, and then they drift back to Tokyo. The episode closes with an unrelated encounter between Hachitsuka and his former mentor, Jinnou, now a homeless man down on his luck - a stark lesson in the difficulties of leading an unconventional life in 80s Japan. The tone of the show is mostly comedic, even during the yakuza fight, but the ending is sad and elegiac.


The voice cast includes:
  • Horiuchi Kenyuu (Kubota) has an extensive resume, including the title role in Guin Saga, as well as Jin Akira in Wolf Guy, Lid in Greed, Nest in Eien no Filena, and the refined son in Eguchi Hisashi no Kotobuki Gorou Show; the last four are Orphan releases. He recently appeared in Sirius the Jaeger.
  • Yara Yuusaku (Hachitsuka) played the destroyer captain in Zipang. He had many featured roles, appearing in Next Senki Ehrgeiz, Eien no Filena, Hidamari no Ki, Nozomi Witches, both Sangokushi OVAs, Prime Rose, both What's Michael? OVAs, and Eguchi Hisashi no Kotobuki Gorou Show, all Orphan releases.
  • Genda Tesshou (Narrator) played Colonel Muto in Joker Game, Moloch in Yondemasu Azazel-san, Rei in the Urusei Yatsura franchise, Moguro Fukuzou in New Laughing Salesman,  "Oyaji" in Mitsuboshi Colors, as well as Paul Rusch in Yume Kakeru Kougen, the loyal lieutenant Galbreath in Next Senki Ehrgeiz, the dragonman Baguda in Greed, the narrator in Akai Hayate, Dog McCoy in Dallos, Hebopi in Wild 7, rebel leader Oosukune in Izumo, and Rikiishi's trainer Kuroki and  Kirishima in Eguchi Hisashi no Kotobuki Gorou Show, all Orphan releases.
  • Yamamoto Keiko (Hachitsuka's squeeze "Baba") is an industry veteran. She played Choromatsu in the original Osomatsu-kun, Sand Witch in all iterations of GeGeGe no Kitarou through 2007, and the title role in the Bakabon TV series.
  • Masuoka Hiroshi (Hirokawa, the TV producer in Osaka) appeared several times in Tokimeki Tonight, an Orphan release. He is best known for Minami's father in the Touch franchise, Masuo in Sazae-san, Jam Ojisan in the Anpanman franchise, and Cyborg 005 in the early Cyborg 009 properties.
  • Yoshida Miho ("D-cup" Hiroko, one of the Osaka sex workers) debuted in Touch. Her best known role is Afura Mann in the El Hazard franchise.
  • Suzuka Chiho (Naomi, the other sex worker) debuted in Meisou-Ou Border. She had features roles in Lesson XX, Detective Conan, Cowboy Bebop, and Uchuu no Stellvia.
  • Kitigawa Takurou (Hosoki) had featured roles in Pollyana, the Tenchi Muyo OVAs, Gantz, Monkey Turn, and Another.
The director, Ishiguro Noboru, was an industry veteran who directed several episodes of Animated Classics of Japanese Literature; he also worked on Mushishi (another Artland property) before his death in 2012. The musical score is good, but I can't find out anything about the composer.

Our intrepid media guru ripped this version from a VHS tape using Orphan's "new" All-in-Wonder 7500 lossless capture setup. The idea for using this ancient technology (the driver runs on Windows XP!) came from Suzaku in Live-eviL, who used it for the Yawara! Atlanta Special laserdisc capture. Accordingly, it's only appropriate that Suzaku encoded this show. (We are very grateful.) The results are amazing: no interlacing artifacts and no blended frames - in fact, one of the very best VHS encodes I've ever seen. Iri translated the show. ninjacloud timed and then retimed for the new raw. I edited and typeset. While the editing changes from the original are minimal, there is extensive additional typesetting, thanks to the improved video. Calyrica and Nemesis QCed the original release; VigorousJammer did a quick release check.

Meisou-Ou Border tells an intriguing story and left me hungry for more. Unfortunately, this is all we'll ever see on anime, and the manga scanlations stopped two years ago. You can get the show from the usual torrent site or IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Audio Side

Although Orphan is a fansubbing group, the 'completionist' impulse that runs through the group's charter sometimes extends into other media. In particular, the team has acquired and released a number of soundtracks for its projects or prospective projects. Other enthusiasts have done a lot more, but finding and ripping soundtracks has become a notable sideline to Orphan's main fansubbing mission. For one thing, it's a lot easier to capture and encode audio, and it doesn't require translators or video encoders.

Most of the music has come from CDs, but there are other sources as well, including records and "dual track" laserdiscs. Here's a list of the ones I can remember.
  • Alice in Cyberland OP-ED single. CD source.
  • Boyfriend music collection. CD source.
  • Capricorn image album. CD source.
  • Eien no Filena soundtrack. CD source.  
  • Fukuyama Gekijou soundtrack. CD source.
  • Genji Pt 1 soundtracks and image album. CD source.
  • Grimm Douwa: Kin no Tori OP-ED single. CD source. 
  • Hashire Melos ED single. CD source.
  • Hidamari no Ki ED1 and ED2 singles. CD source.
  • High Speed Jecy soundtrack. CD source.
  • Kakyuusei (1999) soundtrack. CD source.
  • Kiss wa Me ni Shite soundtrack. CD source. 
  • Majo demo Steady image album. CD source.
  • Next Senki Ehrgeiz OP and ED singles. CD source.
  • Nozomi Witches soundtrack. CD source.
  • Oedo ga Nemurenai! soundtrack. CD source.
  • Oshare Kozou wa Hanamaru soundtrack. CD source.
  • Project A-Ko 2 extended soundtrack. Laserdisc source.
  • Singles soundtrack. CD source.
  • Stop!! Hibari-kun Songbook. LP source.
  • Yuukan Club ED1 single. CD source. 
Most of the work has been done in the material's country of origin, but Stop!! Hibari-kun! was done in the US, because none of the team's overseas members has a turntable. Sometimes it pays to be old.

Soundtracks are also available for many of Orphan's other projects as well:
  • A-Girl soundtrack. CD source.
  • Ai no Kusabi music collection. CD source.
  • Akatsuki no Yona music collection. CD source.
  • Amatsuki music collection. CD source.
  • Condition Green song collection. CD source.
  • Cosprayers soundtrack. CD source.
  • D4 Princess music collection. CD source.
  • Dallos soundtrack. CD source. 
  • Ear of the Golden Dragon music collection. CD source.
  • Hand Maid Mai music collection. CD source. 
  • Hidamari no Ki soundtrack. CD source. 
  • Izumo (1991) soundtrack. CD source.
  • Joker: Marginal City music collection. CD source.
  • Nagasarete Airantou music collection. CD source.
  • Nora soundtrack. LP source.
  • Purple Eyes in the Dark. All songs from Purple Eyes in the Dark image albums 1 and 2. CD source. (Image album 1 has not surfaced.)
  • Rainbow Signal: Hi-Fi Set. All songs from Hi-Fi Set albums Pasadena Park and Indigo. CD source.
  • Sanctuary original soundtrack. CD source.
  • Sangokushi TV specials soundtracks. CD source. 
  • Sangokushi movies 1 and 2 soundtracks. CD source. (No OST for movie 3.) 
  • Shirokuma Cafe music collection. CD source.
  • Smash Hit! soundtrack. CD source.
  • Sonic Soldier Borgman 2058 soundtrack. CD source.
  • Sonic Solder Borgman: Madnight Gigs. All songs from Sonic Solder Borgman: The Last Gig of the World. CD source.
  • Starship Troopers soundtrack. CD source. 
  • The Tale of Princess Kaguya music collection. CD source.
  • Tokimeki Tonight background music. CD source.
  • Yume Tsukai music collection. CD source.
  • Zetsuai, Bronze, and Cathexis music collections. CD source.
These can be hard to find, because they're scattered among public and private trackers, forums, and IRC bots.

Orphan's wish list isn't very long. The top item is the Majo demo Steady soundtrack, because it's on the digital tracks of the laserdisc, and with that we could get a better source for the video too. An alternative is Miki Takahashi's Dress-Up, which at least has the rest of the songs from the OVA. Soundtracks for POPS and A Penguin's Memory are available on CD but are quite expensive. Purple Eyes in the Dark image album 1 has some of the best songs in the music video. The Kindaichi movie soundtracks were available online in the past, but the links are now dead. If you can help with any of these albums, please let me know.


Friday, May 17, 2019

Boyfriend OVA (Boyfriend v2)

As I mentioned in my original release post, the 1992 OVA/TV special Boyfriend had a complicated release history. It was released as a 110-minute OVA on two VHS tapes or one laserdisc. It was also released as an abridged, 94-minute TV special, on one VHS tape.
TOVA-1117 - TV special version 94 minutes
TOVA-1118 - OVA first half "The Encounter" 59 minutes
TOVA-1119 - OVA second half "The Promise" 51 minutes
TOLA-1131 - OVA first and second half, 110 minutes (laserdisc) 
Orphan's original release used the abridged TV version, as encoded from VHS tape by ARR. After a long delay, a team member was able to buy the laserdisc version. Accordingly, we're rereleasing Boyfriend, now a two-part OVA: The Encounter and The Promise.

As I wrote last year, Boyfriend is a fairly routine shoujo romance crossed with a sports anime. Yuuki, a girl with a weak heart, falls for Takatou, a rebellious but talented basketball player. Complicating matters, her childhood friend and quasi-fiancee, Nakatsugawa, is the coach of Takatou's basketball team. A player on the girls' basketball team, Mami, has a crush on Takatou. A rival from another basketball team, Akira, wants to best Takatou in both basketball and love. As the climactic championship game between Takatou's and Akira's teams approaches, Yuuki must undergo risky heart surgery to save her life. Will she survive her ordeal? Will the lovers be united? No points for guessing the right answers. 



The OVA version has a bit of additional content - a cold open and an additional scene between Yuuki and Takatou in each episode, as well as an additional verse for the ending song. They help with the continuity, particularly the added scene in the second episode, but their removal wasn't a deal-breaker. The real problem with the ARR VHS rip was the video and audio. The tape was stretched, or the player had wobble; in any case, the video occasionally lost tracking, and the audio had terrible pitch issues. The laserdisc is an enormous improvement. The video is a direct capture with the Domesday duplicator; the audio in an AAC encoding of the digital audio output.

The voice cast consists of well-known seiyuu of the era:
  • Tsujitani Kouji (Takatou) played the title role in the Captain Tylor franchise and the lead role in the 3x3 Eyes OVAs. He also played Guy in Ai no Kusabi, Shou in Condition Green, and Seishirou in Yuukan Club, all Orphan releases. His most recent role was in Kokkoku, which just finished.
  • Hidaka Noriko (Yuuki) played Satsuke in My Neighbor Totoro, Akane (the female lead) in Ranma 1/2, Peter in Peter Pan no Bouken, Mrs. Yamada (the mother) in the first two Chi anime series, Near in Death Note, Kikyo in the Inuyasha franchise, and Noriko in Yuukan Club, an Orphan release. She is still active and recently appeared in Little Witch Academia.
  • Inoue Kazuhiko (Nakatsugawa) played Yamaoka Shirou in Oishinbo and Yuki Eiri in Gravitation, but I know and love him best as the irascible, sake-swilling Nyanko-sensei in the Natsume Yuujichou properties. He also played Ryousuke in Daishizen no Majuu Bagi, Kitten Smith in Starship Troopers, and Liu Bei Xuande in both Sangokushi OVAs, all Orphan releases.
  • Yao Kazuki (Sofue) is best known for his lead role as Dark Schneider in Bastard!! and his recurring role as Franky in One Piece. He also played Date Ikkaku in Akai Hayate, an Orphan release.
  • Mizutani Yuuko (Yuuki's friend Aki) has many credits, including Pinoko in all the Black Jack properties, as well as Rika in Sei Michaela Gakuen Hyouryuuki, Lila in Eien no Filena, and Dr. Uematsu Kikue in Yume Kakeru Kougen, all Orphan projects.
  • Yamaguchi Kappei (Takatou's teammate Ougi) has played the lead character in the Detective Conan franchise, Ranma in the Ranma 1/2 franchise, Inuyasha in all the Inuyasha properties, Kudou Shinichi in the Conan franchise, Usopp in the One Piece franchise, Sakuma Ryuichi in Gravitation, Arslan in the first OVA series, the title role in Mouse, and Shibuya in Zetsuai 1989 and Bronze: Zetsuai Since 1989 (both Orphan releases), among many others.
  • Yokoyama Chisa (Mami) played the title roles in Galaxy Fraulein Yuna, Iron Virgin Jun, and the Sakura Taisen franchise, as well as Sasami/Pretty Sammy in the Tenchi Muyo franchise. She played Hu Si, the were-tiger, in Wolf Guy, an Orphan release.
  • Touma Yumi (Hanyuu, the captain of the girls' basketball team) played the title roles in Emma: A Victorian Romance and Baby Felix. She has appeared in numerous shows, including Boyfriend, Condition Green, Fukuyama Gekijou, and Eguchi Hisashi no Nantoko Nareudesho, all Orphan releases. 
Moho did the original translation, and laalg the original translation check. For the new version, Sunachan translated the additional dialog, ending verse, and signs. ninjacloud did the original timing and the fine timing on the new version. I edited and typeset throughout; the improved stability of the laserdisc version allowed for additional typesetting. BeeBee and VigorousJammer QCed the original release. Topper3000 checked the new version. Our intrepid raw hunter captured the laserdisc RF output with the Domesday Duplicator and decoded it. He also captured the digital audio as FLAC, because the audio decoding software is still a work in progress. Erik of Piyo Piyo Productions encoded the video, and I transcoded the FLAC audio to AAC. (No, we're not releasing FLAC audio for laserdiscs. Get real, dude.) This version is probably not definitive. The decoding software and encoding process has improved over the last few months, and it will continue to improve in the future.

You can get the Boyfriend OVAs from the usual torrent site or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net


Monday, April 29, 2019

Sangokushi movie 2

The second movie of the Sangokushi trilogy is 1993's Sangokushi Dai Ni Bu Choukou Moyu! (Sangokushi: The Yangtze Is Burning!). It covers roughly 13 years, from Cao Cao's victory over Lu Bu in 198 CE, through the Battle of Red Cliffs in 208 CE, and the aftermath up until 211 BCE. As other players are swept from the board, the story focuses on Liu Bei and his increasingly desperate attempts to prevent Cao Cao from seizing all of China. The turning point is Liu Bei's recruitment of the best strategic mind of that generation, Zhuge Kongming, the Crouching Dragon. Kongming orchestrates an alliance of convenience between Liu Bei and Sun Quan, the ruler of the emerging southern kingdom of Wu, as they seek to stop Cao Cao's "million man army" from rolling over all of China. Their victory over Cao Cao at Red Cliffs and Liu Bei's seizure of the southwest as his realm create the Three Kingdoms that give the era its name.


However, reaching that point is not easy. Liu Bei experiences setback after setback, even after recruiting Kongming. At more than one point in the story, with his fortunes at a low ebb, he describes himself as a failure. Still, he is able to retain the loyalty of his core set of warriors and even expand their number, when the mighty Zhao Yun enlists to serve the cause. Kongming first has to engineer multiple escapes from Cao Cao's hordes, but then he is able to seize the initiative and pull together the coalition that would finally check Cao Cao's ambitions... and create the opening for Liu Bei's ambitions to rule.

Like the Sangokushi television specials, the movies are based on the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms rather than the actual historical records themselves. This makes Liu Bei and his retainers more prominent than perhaps they were in history. It also allows the creators to pick and choose the story they want to show for Liu Bei's wife, named Lihua here. The TV specials modeled Lihua after Liu Bei's third wife, Lady Sun, sister to Sun Quan of Wu. However, the real Lady Sun did not meet the tragic fate depicted in Sangokushi 2; she simply went back to her brother in Wu. The movies' Lihua is based on Liu Bei's second wife, Lady Mi. Again, her tragic fate is not historical; she simply disappeared from the historical record after Cao Cao captured her in 200 CE. But Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a novel, not history, and its authors took considerable liberties with actual events, just as modern historical romances do.

Sangokushi Dai Ni Bu Choukou Moyu! retains the same actors for Liu Bei, Cao Cao, Zhang Fei, and Guan Yu as the first movie. The major new seiyuu are:
  • Yamaguchi Takashi (Kongming) was primarily an actor and a presenter. The Sangokushi movies are his only anime roles. 
  • Shibata Hidekatsu (Sun Quan) played Baron Ashura in Mazinger Z, Kenzou Kabuto in Great Mazinger, King Bradley in both versions of Fullmetal Alchemist, and the Third Hokage in Naruto. He played the hero's father in Dragon Fist and the voice of God in Tezuka Osamu's Tales of the Old Testament, both Orphan releases.
  • Hori Hideyuki (Zhao Yun) played Zach Isedo in Al Caral no Isan, Sid in Ai no Kusabi, Falk Green in Hi-Speed Jecy, and Baraba in Eien no Filena, all Orphan projects. He played the title role in Baoh, Phoenix in the Saint Seiya franchise, and Tezuka Osamu himself in the Black Jack TV series.
  • Sugiyama Kazuko (Xiulan, Kongming's housekeeper and eventual wife) played Heidi  in Alps no Shoujo Heidi, Ganmo in Gu-Gu Ganmo, Ten-chan in Urusei Yatsura, Akane Kimidori in Dr. Slump and Arale-chan, and Korosuke in Kiteretsu Daihyakka.
  • Yara Yuusaku (Zhou Yu, Wu's commander-in-chief) played the destroyer captain in Zipang. He had many featured roles, appearing in Eguchi Hisashi no Kotobuki Gorou Show, Eguchi Hisashi no Nantoko Narudesho, Next Senki Ehrgeiz, Eien no Filena, Hidamari no Ki, Nozomi Witches, both Sangokushi OVAs, Prime Rose, and both What's Michael? OVAs, all Orphan releases.
As with the first movie, the supporting cast is vast, but most are onscreen only for a short time. The musical score for all three movies is by Yokoyama Seiji, a prolific composer of anime scores, including the Saint Seiya franchise and Magical Taruruuto-kun.

The Orphan staff is the same as for the first movie. Iriliane translated, Yogicat timed, I edited and typeset, and BeeBee and Topper3000 QCed. M74 encoded from an R2J DVD. Because of the length and complexity of the movie, it was a mammoth effort by all concerned. Unfortunately, the third movie is even more complicated. And as with the first movie, you may need to fiddle with your player to get the signs to display correctly.

So gird your loins, pad your bottom, and go watch Sangokushi Dai Ni Bu Choukou Moyu! in its full 148-minute glory. You can get the movie from the usual torrent site or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

No Safe Harbor

In the bad old days, like the mid-00s, getting subtitled anime to play properly was an exercise in frustration. The new Matroska (MKV) format was barely supported. There were many players, each with its own idiosyncrasies. Every codec was standalone and had to be installed separately. Codecs often stole each other's identities or registry entries, producing chaos. It was every subber for him/herself, and God against all.

Then a group of fansubbers got fed up and decided to set a de facto standard. They created the mischievously-named Combined Community Codec Pack (CCCP, the Cyrillic acronym for the USSR) to dictate how fansubs should be decoded. They assembled a player, a set of filters, and a subtitle renderer into a coherent package, and it basically all worked. Peace and stability returned, to Windows at least. But in 2016, the CCCP project disbanded.

Personally, I barely noticed. True, the last CCCP didn't handle PGS subs correctly; I didn't care much. PGS subs are for (lazy) BD rips, not fansubs. However, Commie recently released its batch of Chihayafuru S1, and it didn't play. When I complained about this, I was peremptorily told that CCCP was "really old" (3 1/2 years!), and I should upgrade to the latest and greatest version of MPC-HC or MPC-BE or mplayer or some other playback gadget. So I did. Chihayafuru played correctly. PGS subs played correctly. Victory!

...until I started my release check on the second Sangokushi movie. To my horror, signs that I had set in Aegisub and that had played correctly before no longer looked right. Correct in VLC and CCCP; incorrect in MPC-HC and -BE. After some digging, I traced it to a bug (feature?) in the internal subtitle renderer in MPC-HC. Sangokushi is encoded anamorphically. The correct display aspect ratio is set during Matroska muxing. The subtitle renderer is ignoring the Matroska aspect ratio and using the encode aspect ratio. CCCP overrode the default MPC-HC renderer setting and forced use of an external package called vsfilter. Viewers using later versions of MPC-HC/BE must do that as well.

So, if you have abandoned CCCP and want to use MPC-HC/BE, then you  must first install xy-vsfilter separately (look it up on Google). Then, in MPC-HC/BE, override the default internal subtitle renderer and choose xyfilter instead. The option to do this is in different places, so you'll need to poke around. Once you've changed the subtitle renderer, Orphan's anamorphically encoded videos will play properly. Chaos tamed, at least temporarily, and at least on Windows. Everyone else will have to use VLC unless/until the internal renderer starts to respect the Matroska aspect ratio.

In the longer term, Orphan will stop making anamorphic encodes. They're only an issue for DVDs anyway, not VHS tapes, laserdiscs, or Blu-rays. They're an incredible PITA for typesetting, as well as a fruitful source of playback errors. In the meantime, here's a list of affected releases:
  • Alice in Dreamland
  • Bronze: Zetsuai Since 1989
  • Cosprayers
  • Code Breakers OVAs
  • DAYS OVAs
  • Hidamari no Ki
  • Okane ga nai!
  • Sangokushi movie 1
  • Seikima II: Humane Society
  • Stop!! Hibari-kun!
  • Ultra Nyan 2
  • Wild 7
  • Yume Tsukai
It is, unfortunately, very unlikely that we'll ever re-encode these shows. We apologize for the inconvenience.




Thursday, April 18, 2019

Tezuka Osamu's Tales from the Old Testament, Ep 4-6

Here are the next three episodes from Tezuka Osamu no Kyuuyaku Seisho Monogatari: In the Beginning (Tezuka Osamu's Tales from the Old Testament: In the Beginning). For general background on the series, see the blog post for the first three episodes.

The second DVD includes the last of the mythical stories from Genesis - the Tower of Babel - and the beginning of the history of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).
  1. The Tower of Babel. The Genesis portion is very short, basically the verses where God "confuses" the tongues of men as punishment for their hubris in trying to build a tower to heaven. The episode is told from the perspective of a non-Biblical character, a boy named Asaph, who runs away from his desert home to see the wonders of the "town of stone" and is nearly killed in the destruction of the tower. Rocco the fox plays the role of Asaph's dog.
  2. Father Abraham. This episodes tells the story of Abraham's summons from God, his departure from his homeland with his family for parts unknown, and the miracle of the birth of his son Isaac despite his wife Sarah's advanced years. Rocco functions as Sarah's pet and comfort for her barrenness.
  3. Sodom and Gomorrah. This episode relates the story of the decadent towns of Sodom and Gomorrah, where Abraham's nephew Lot and his family have settled. God is determined to destroy the towns for their wickedness, but in a remarkable sequence, Abraham argues with God not to destroy the righteous with the wicked. Rocco provides comic relief.
The story of the Patriarchs begins in Genesis 12, with God's command to Abram, as he was originally known, "Go forth..." (In Hebrew, "Lech lekha...") This passage is a turning point in the tone of the text, from mythical to historical, and is a watershed moment in the Old Testament. (It has been commemorated in a beautiful children's song by the late Debbie Friedman, Lechi Lach.) But the story of Abraham and Sarah is not without its controversies; for example, Sarah's laugh. When God informs Abraham that he and Sarah will have a son, he laughs. When the heavenly messengers repeat the same thing in Sarah's hearing, she too laughs. Centuries of censorious (male) commentary interpreted Abram's laughter as joy and Sarah's as disrespect, even though the Hebrew word used in both places is the same. Yet the messengers seem unperturbed by Sarah's laughter, even after she denies it, and tell the couple that their son will be named Yitzhak (Isaac), "the laughing one."


The episode order is a bit strange. Episode 6 really occurs in the middle of episode 5, when Abraham leaves the land of Haran and Isaac has not yet been born. It also omits the many seamy details included in the original text:
  • When Abraham and Sarah are in Egypt, he passes her off as his sister, and she ends up in Pharoah's harem for a while.
  • When the angels come to Lot to announce the imminent destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the townspeople demand that he bring them out. Instead, he offers them his virgin daughters to do with "as they like."
  • When Lot and his daughters are living in a cave after the destruction, the daughters get their father drunk and sleep with him, to guarantee the continuation of his line.
In the anime, the principal "sin" of Sodom and Gomorrah seems to be that the women wear fox furs.  Well, the series was intended for all ages.

The new additions to the voice cast were veteran seiyuu.
  • Sakaguchi Daisuke (Asaph, episode 4) starred as Shimura in the Ginpachi franchise, Kousuke in Kamen no Maid Guy, Tadayashu in Moyashimon, Manabu in Tokimeki Memorial 4, Kaoru in Welcome to the NHK, Kenji in Yoiko, Shikimori in Maburaho, and Jin in Aoyama-kun.
  • Hirao Jin (leader, episode 4) had featured roles in many shows.
  • Katou Seizou (Abraham) played Putyatin in Bakumatsu no Spasibo, Oz in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz TV series, Okaa-san in Tokyo Godfathers, and Aran in Freedom. He appeared in Kage and Perrine Monogatari, both Orphan releases.
  • Midori Junko (Sarah) had featured roles, mostly as aged women.
  • Hayami Shou (Angel) starred as Nanjou in Zetsuai: 1989 and Bronze: Zetsuai since 1989, and Kushinige Hodaka in Oshare Kozou wa Hanamaru, all Orphan releases. He has had many featured roles, including Iason's friend Raoul in Ai no Kusabi, Hojo in Sanctuary, Pat Leivy in Starship Troopers, and Junoichi in Blazing Transfer Student, also all Orphan releases.
  • Nakagi Ryuji (Lot) appeared as Coach Yuutenji in Yawara! and in other featured roles. 
The Orphan staff credits are the same. Skr did the heavy lifting: translation, timing, typesetting, and encoding. I edited. Nemesis and Topper3000 QCed.

You can get this batch of episodes from the usual torrent site or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.



Saturday, April 13, 2019

Sangokushi movie 1

As I've noted before, the Japanese are fascinated with chaotic historical eras, like their own Warring States and Bakumatsu periods, and China's Three Kingdoms era. The latter was the subject of a 60-volume manga epic, Sangokushi, by Yokuyama Mitsutera, which has been animated at least four times:
  • A 1982 TV special, Sangokushi, for which no raw is available.
  • Two movie-length TV specials, Sangokushi (1985) and Sangokushi 2 (1986), already subbed by Orphan.
  • A 47-episode TV series, Yokoyama Mitsuteru Sangokushi, already subbed by Crossfade.
  • Three theatrical movies, released in 1992, 1993, and 1994, currently not subbed.
Orphan will be releasing the first English-subtitled version of all three theatrical movies.

The first movie is Sangokushi Daiichibu Eiyuu-tachi no Yoake (Sangokushi: Dawn of the Heroes), released in 1992. It starts further back in time than the Sangokushi OVAs, with the Yellow Turban rebellion that initiated the downfall of the ruling Han dynasty. At the start of the story, both Liu Bei, its eventual protagonist, and Cao Cao, its eventual antagonist, are minor players. Liu Bei is striving to find a way to bring order to a chaotic world. As he puzzles he way toward the correct course of action, he befriends two powerful warriors, Zhang Fei and Guan Yu. Together, they take the Oath of the Peach Garden, to live and die together as warriors for justice. Meanwhile, Cao Cao is pondering how to fulfill his destiny as "a hero in a chaotic world or a villain in a peaceful one."


Initially, power seems to belong to usurping warlord Dong Zhuo and his right-hand man, the hero Lu Bu. But the two soon fall out over a woman, and the resulting power vacuum gives Cao Cao his chance. Even though Lu Bu is the stronger warrior, Cao Cao has the devil's own luck on the battlefield. Liu Bei tries to stick to the right course, but he is just a minor piece on the giant chessboard of China's warring states. War rages up and down the country, with inconclusive result, thus setting the stage for the next two movies in the series.

The voice cast includes:
  • Aoi Teruhiko (Liu Bei) played relatively few roles, but they were all star turns, including the title roles in all the Ashita no Joe properties and the first Hashire Melos special.
  • Han Keiko (Lihua, Liu Bei's future wife) starred in numerous World Masterpiece Theater adaptations, playing Becky in Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Annette in Alps Story: My Annette, Meg in Little Women, and Nancy in Pollyanna. She played Queen Promethium in Queen Millennia and its numerous spinoffs and sequels, as well as Luna in the Sailor Moon franchise.
  • The late Aono Takeshi (Guan Yu)  played Masaki Katsuhiko in the Techni Muyo franchise and Bookman in the original D.grayman. He appeared in Techno Police 21C, Grim Douwa - Kin no Tori, Fire Emblem, and Stop!! Hibari-kun!, all Orphan releases.
  • The late Ishida Tarou (Zhang Fei) played Duke Red in Metropolis and appeared in numerous other movies and TV shows.
  • Tsukayame Masane (Lu Bu) had many featured credits and is still active.
  • The late Takiguchi Junpei (Dong Zhuo) brought his distinctive voice to the roles of Scratch in Techno Police 21C, the villainous king of Kanemacchi Castle in Grim Douwa: Kin no Tori, and the Mouse Thief in Stop!! Hibari-kun!, all Orphan releases.
  • Watase Tetsuya (Cao Cao) is primarily a film and TV actor. Sangokushi is his only listed anime role.
The director, Katsumata Tomoharu, is a veteran with many credits to his name, including Danguard Ace, Captain Future, the first few Yamato movies, Rokudenashi Blues, Odin, and the Saint Seiya Hades OVAs.

This project is Iri's brainchild, and he translated all three movies. They are inordinately long; the dialog in each movie is equivalent to six or seven anime TV episodes. It is also quite formal and deliberately a bit stilted, to convey the formulaic nature of many of the interchanges. Sunachan, who speaks Chinese as well as Japanese, checked the names and the signs. Yogicat went into overdrive to do the timing. I edited and typeset. The typesetting was a PITA, because of the large number of maps that are overlaid across action scenes and scale against the background. BeeBee and Topper3000 did QC. M74 encoded from a Japanese DVD.

So if you're ready for another plunge into the complex world of the Three Kingdoms, this time with a much more detailed and complex story line, you can get Sangokushi Daiichibu Eiyuu-tachi no Yoake on the usual torrent site or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.