Thursday, February 6, 2014

Maze TV Special ("The Fanservice Episode")

So here's another legendary creature from the ocean of untranslated anime brought safely into port: the special episode of the Maze TV series, aka, The Fanservice Episode. This episode has no relationship to any part of the storyline. It exists, as one of the characters says, as "an awesome treat for Maze fans looking for extra fanservice." It's really an excuse to show all  the female characters topless and to let the cast indulge in some yuri antics. Every character makes a cameo appearance, many in short sketches unrelated to the main story in the episode.

The plot, such as it is, revolves around a trip to a cursed hot spring that causes everyone who bathes in it to suffer from personality reversal. (Does this sound familiar? Even one of the characters think so.) This occurs three or four times, so that the characters can undergo transformations into different sexual tropes and then try out "infinite diversity in infinite combinations." The male characters are mostly bystanders, and male Maze doesn't make an appearance until the very end, which is of course inconclusive.

The episode reached its exalted status as "the one that got away" simply because it was omitted from all DVD editions of Maze and thus never appeared with English subtitles or dubbing. The primary raw floating around the Internet originated from a VHS tape and is truly terrible. Nonetheless, the intrepid team at Orphan Fansubs was not deterred and vowed to bring this lost "classic" to light. Well, actually, the completeness fanatics on the team, like me, simply wanted to see Maze translated in full.

The initial translation is from an anonymous source. convexity checked and corrected the script, freekie from KiteSeekers timed it (thank you!), I edited and typeset it, and Juggen styled the OP and ED, which are taken from the R1 DVD rips. Some points to note:
  • At the start, Princess Mill panics and worries that the episode will spill all the "secrets" of Maze, namely, that she's intersexual (a hermaphrodite), Golude's a lesbian, and Ranchiki is gay. All of these reflect the manga; the TV series glossed over these points.
  • Transformed into a shy and demure girl, Princess Mill reacts to seeing bare skin by saying "I've lost my innocence." Literally, it's "I can't get married now."
  • The female half of the Creator cracks a joke, saying that the result of setting fire to a toilet is "yakekuso," translated as "desperate burning crap." This is a Japanese pun: "yake" means burned, "kuso" means shit, and "yakekuso" is desperation. Not the most inspired localization, but the best I could come up with.
Just as the project was finishing up, a better raw surfaced, possibly a LaserDisc rip. While not ideal, it's not the blurred mess that the VHS raw is. Accordingly, we are able to present the Maze TV special with more of the important, ah, details clearly visible. Enjoy!

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