Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Nagasarete Airantou

I don't know why I (and many other fansubbers) feel such affection for Nagasarete Airantou, a 2007 comedy series. It's a harem show, and it conforms to almost every cliche of the genre, from the clueless hero to the wholesome female lead to the connivers and naifs who make up the rest of the cast. Its premise is as simple as can be. A teenage boy (Ikuto) is stranded on an island full of girls, from which he can't escape due to whirlpools, tornados, sea dragons, and other convenient topographic features. Said boy reacts like every harem lead, harboring no impure thoughts and getting nosebleeds whenever any of the girls shows an inch too much skin. Stir and repeat for 26 episodes. Still, I like it.

The show plays it straight. There are no knowing asides or winks to the audience. The fanservice is frequent, but there's no more skin on display in the DVDs than in the original TV broadcast. The comedy is character-driven, with each of the main female characters (Suzu, Ayane, Machi, Rin, Chikage, Mei Mei, and Shinobu) given at least one episode devoted to them. The Serious Development that all anime comedies must display in their last three episodes is kept fairly light-hearted. And although the show ends as it starts - with Ikuto being pursued by every nubile girl on the island - there has been some progress: Ikuto and Suzu (the wholesome one) realize that they have formed a bond. Now they'll have to defend it from a hundred other girls and the village elder, who is exceedingly keen to have lots of grandchildren.

The voice cast is stellar. Shimono Hiro first demonstrated as Ikuto the near-hysterical teen-aged boy voice he would bring to Baka to Test and The World God Only Knows, not to mention Momoo the masochistic dog-god in Binbougami ga. Horie Yui, as Suzu, played another of the numerous good girls who have dotted her career. I find Shiraishi Ryoko's turn as Rin very appealing; she's better known for her role as Kaede in the Negima series and a string of male roles, including Hayate the Combat Butler and Kyousuke in My Sister is an Osaka Mama. Takahashi Mikako, as the sinister Machi, Chiba Saeko as the hysterical Ayane, and many others contribute to making the tropes in the harem come to life.

Nagasarete Airantou has been on my list of shows to redo for a very simple reason: the original subtitles, by Ayako, are dismal. The original editor believed that every new line should start with a capital letter, even if the previous one ended in a comma or nothing at all. The DVD version by Polished Fansubs used the Ayako subtitles pretty much unchanged.  The cumulative impact of all the errors made the show unwatchable for me; I never got past episode 7 during the original TV run.

I started on the premise that I would just redo the editing, but when I started, I found that the timing was badly off as well. Timing is not my forte, so the project languished for three years. Then my heartfelt plea for a real timer brought archdeco, from FFF, onto the team. At the same time, laalg had returned to translating, and she agreed to translation check. Finally, CP and Saji from the Yawara! project signed up to do QC, and things really started to move.

The actual flow, starting from the Polished scripts, was as follows:
  • Re-timing, including karaoke retiming (archdeco).
  • Translation check (laalg).
  • Re-editing and additional typesetting (Collectr)
  • QC (CP, Saji)
The colored subtitles have been retained, mostly because the team thought of going over to a more modern scheme of Main, Overlap, Thought, Flashback too late in the process. They lend a distinctly 2007 feel to the result.

The translation changes have not been extensive, but some serious errors were found and corrected. For example, when Rin, the bashful and ultra-strong island carpenter, is introduced, there's an onscreen sign that Ayako translated as "bisexual type." Actually, it says, "Popular with girls." Rin is not attracted to other women. In fact, she's quite bothered by the attention she gets from the other girls on the island.

Another change has been the treatment of "danna," which is the word Rin uses to refer to Ikuto. This can mean mister, guest, or husband, but it doesn't mean "master," which is how Ayako translated it when it first appeared. (Carpenters would call their master 棟梁, touryou.) Because Ikuto doesn't react to the word until Rin explains what she means (at which point he has a nosebleed), it is translated as "mister" before that point, and "Hubby" thereafter.

Some other points:
  • Ep4 - Ooshigearu is actually Ushigaeru, the great American bullfrog.
  • Ep9 - "Is this a comedy sketch?" A classic comedy trope where a metal tub falls on the head of a comedian after he says or does something funny or stupid.
  • Ep10 - Soumen are very thin wheat noodles. Hiyashi Udon is a type of cold udon noodles topped with various ingredients (mostly vegetables). Yakisoba are fried noodles. Onigiri are rice balls.
  • Ep15 - "I've got a feeling I've seen this before." Mei Mei's title page is a parody of Toei Animation's standard opening screen.
  • Ep17 - Shinobu's cow mascot is "Bifuteki," which is slang for beefsteak. Ayako had rendered it as Beef Jerky.
  • Ep21 - A tanuki is a raccoon dog. In Japanese folklore, tanuki are believed to have shape-shifting abilities.
  • Ep23 - Suiheiri etc. A mnemonic for memorizing chemcal elements: 水兵リーベ僕の船 (I'm a sailor, Libe is my ship.) Sui{hydrogen} hei{He} ri{Li} be{Be} bo {B} ku{C} n{N} o{O} fu{F} ne{Ne}.
The editing changes have been extensive. Aside from cleaning up the grammar and punctuation, I've attempted to remove the overuse of impersonals and passive voice. I also corrected a number of inconsistencies in the use of the colored styles, particularly for minor characters, and in names. Some of the episode titles have been changed, and the romanization has been made consistent. Most of Ayako's translation notes were removed by Polished, and I've only added a few back that make essential plot points or cultural references.

There's a fair amount of additional typesetting. Signs have been added in almost every episode, but the really difficult ones are done "Yawara" style with {\an8}Sign: typesetting. The main title screen has been typeset, and fansub credits have been added as well.

Nagasarete Airantou is the longest project Orphan Fansubs has ever attempted, and the time and effort it took makes me even more appreciative of the "one-man band" shops, like Polished, ReDone, and Jumonji-giri. I could not have done it without the help of archdeco, laalg, CP, and Saji. After this, Orphan has one more twelve episode series to finish, and then it's back to shorter shows. Life's too short, alas, to rescue every bad set of subtitles that are out there.


  1. Yeah, there was definitely a reason why I always did my best to avoid Ayako's subs. If even I with my pretty much nonexistent Japanese skills can not only tell that a line is wrong, but also how it's wrong and what it really should be, their team has no excuse.

    1. Ayako was never known for their accuracy. They always were a speed sub group, and sometimes, where the only group which would finish a series. Nagasarete Airantou fell into the later category, as no one bothered to finish it.

      And if I was in a position to know Japanese, I would not be bothering with fansubs in the first place, so I had to rely completely on their scripts. Sure, I could have gone back and done some QC, but seeing how I was even too lazy to QC just the changes I made, there was no possibility I was going go bother checking Ayako's work.

      I really just wanted a cleaner image with pre-existing subs, so my release was Bush-era "Mission Accomplished".


      Polished Subs

    2. Didn't mean to offend you in any way, don't worry, just commented on the "quality" of Ayako's original script (and their other releases).

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  3. Awesome work. Saves me the trouble of having to do anything.


    Polished Subs

  4. Geez, I wish I'd found you sooner. I thought the Polished version would be the last version of Nagasarete Airantou.
    I just started editing this myself over the last few days, was doing ep. 4 when I suddenly got the bright idea of googling to see if anyone else might be working on it
    I will check your version out ASAP, because the old version has one of the worst subs I have in my whole anime collection...so I'm grateful, this is hard work.

    P.S. You're wrong about 2 things which Ayako was actually right about. Danna really does mean master, as in "master of the house". It is not "mister". If anything, it's more like calling someone "sir" in English. After the TL note appears, I just wanted to leave it as "Danna." The other thing is Ooushigaeru, which I had changed to be "Giant Frog". So it's not just ushigaeru, but Ooushigaeru giant bull frog. If you check vol. 2 of the manga, you'll see it.

  5. Just for reference: this rip is made by artyfox from rutracker, Polished just grab artyfox's raws and add Ayako subs. As he usually did in most of his releases.