Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sei Michaela Gakuen Hyouryuuki

This one's a little hard to explain.

Sei Michela Gakuen Hyouryuuki (St. Michaela's School Drifting Story, to use the common English title) is a set of two 18+ OVAs, each with two episodes. The second set was released on DVD; in North America, the title was changed to Sins of the Sisters. The first set was never released on DVD anywhere and never translated: an orphan.

The difference in treatment has always intrigued me, because the story in the second set is impossible to understand without the first set. (It's difficult to understand even with the first set, but I'll get to that.) Neither is particularly hardcore. The sex scenes are few, and in the first set, no pixellation is needed at all. If released today, the first OVA set would not considered hentai. The story dominates.

And what a peculiar story it is. It centers on the mythology of the 13th century Children's Crusade. According to legend, a devout band of children attempted to march to the Holy Land and free it by faith alone, only to be betrayed and sold into slavery by treacherous merchants. (Most of this appears to be apocryphal.) Sei Michaela Gakuen Hyouryuuki takes this further by making the chief betrayer the Pope himself. The leader of the ruined Crusade, Hans Heilner, dies and becomes an angel. However, he renounces his status to pursue revenge against the Church and God. He reincarnates as a young woman, Mimura Aiko, at a Japanese all-girls Catholic school, St. Michaela Academy, during World War II.

It seems a Sinister Plot is underway at St. Michaela. The students, known collectively as the Girls' Crusade, are undergoing training in singing and dancing, but also martial arts and swordsmanship. The girls think they are preparing to be performers in the Takarazuka Review, an all-female musical variety troupe, but in fact they are destined to become comfort women (Sins of the Sisters calls them sex slaves) for the Japanese Army. The sacrifice of their collective virginity will re-energize the soldiers and enable Japan to win the war. Still with me?

Meanwhile, a band of soldiers from the 17th century's Shimabara Rebellion has also traveled back in time, hoping to bring the girls and their military (rather than sexual) prowess to aid the rebellion and enable it to triumph over the still shaky Tokugawa Shogunate. Mimura Aiko is determined to defeat all these plots - both the Japanese military's and the Shimabara Rebellion's - and lead the Girls' Crusade on a direct attack against the Church and God himself. Mayhem and sexual shenanigans ensue. At the end, Aiko appears to have triumphed, and both the Church and war itself have been abolished, but various characters continue to be haunted by events that occurred on the original (historical) timeline. That sets the stage for Sins of the Sisters, which also involves the Children's Crusade, time travel, characters from the original timeline who apparently died, and many other complications. It's little wonder that descriptions of the two OVA sets hopelessly confuse the plot lines.

I'm still puzzled about why Sins of the Sisters was released on DVD and then licensed in North America, while Sei Michaela was never released on DVD at all. Both are quite strongly anti-Catholic, a common enough theme in Japanese anime. Is it that Sei Michaela is also violently anti-nationalist, attacking both the Tokugawa Shogunate and the World War II Japanese military? (The scene in which Japanese soldiers line up to gangbang the schoolgirls would not play well in today's Japan.) I can't find anything about this in English sources.

Because Sei Michaela was only released on LaserDisc, sources are rare, and the only Internet source I was able to find is downright terrible. It's a mess of blended frames and ghosting. Further, it combines the two episodes into one. If a better source turns up, I'll release a new version.The translation is from an anonymous source, checked in a few places by convexity. Eternal_Blizzard did the timing, I edited and did the typesetting. Calyrica and CP checked the result.

So here's another rarity rescued from well-deserved obscurity. If you're looking for standard hentai material, skip this. But if you're intrigued by odd, hidden corners of the anime world, Sei Michaela might be of interest.

1 comment:

  1. >
    For people who don't know Italian, Google Translate it or ask Collectr, Saizen, Live-eviL or Licca Fansubs to sub it properly.