Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Akuemon

Akuemon is the sixth and last installment of a Tezuka Osamu anthology series called "The Lion Book Series." It consists of six standalone episodes:


1 The Green Cat 1983
2 Rain Boy 1983
3 Lunn Flies into the Wind 1985
4 Yamataro Comes Back 1986
5 Adachigahara 1991
6 Akuemon 1993

Orphan has already released The Green Cat, Rain Boy, and Adachigahara. With Akuemon, we're on the home stretch.

Like Adachigarara, this version of Akuemon features an original translation and an original encode. And like Adachigahara, Akuemon is a departure from the rather light-hearted and sentimental content of the first four episodes. It's a parable on the cost of violence, the need to make reparations, and the possibility of redemption. The protagonist, Akuemon, is a violent ruffian raised to a position of power by the local governor. His mission is to kill a thousand foxes, in order to fulfill a prophecy about the governor becoming the ruler of the land. Akuemon's thoughtless violence ultimately rebounds on him and his family, and he is forced to face the consequences of his acts. The end is uplifting in some ways, but it's redemption in societal terms: Akuemon must pay the price for his actions.

convexity did the translation, and as usual, it's fluid and accurate. Eternal_Blizzard did the timing, I did the editing and typesetting, and CP, Calyrica, and konnakude did the checking. Last, but hardly least, my colleague Skr from the Yawara! project did the encode. Whether this reflects the quality of the DVD or his use of stabilization technology, the encode shows much less frame-to-frame jitter than the first four episodes.

Two translation notes:
  • In the Japanese language, the word "shu" (酒, "liquor", pronounced shu) generally refers to any alcoholic drink, and that's what's shown in the sign onscreen.  The beverage called "sake" in English is usually termed nihonshu (日本酒, "Japanese liquor"), or sometimes seishu (清酒, "clear liquor"). Sake was not the only alcoholic beverage available in Heian Japan.
  • The provincial governor is called a "general" because that's the word used and because it's a position in the military.
As I've said before, Orphan is doing the remaining two episodes. Yamataro is in QC, Lunn in translation. In the meantime, enjoy this never-before-translated Tezuka Osamu episode.


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